The French do have a funny way of working. Most of the time they’re more friendly than the global opinion suggests. And some times not.
We bought the mill in March 2009 from a French doctor who lives 30 kilometers in the nearby city of Rethel. The family used to use the mill only as a summer get-away. Therefore it was not insulated nor decorated. And it had no mailbox.
With the first mail was a handwritten note requesting a mailbox. The previous owner never received any mail at the Ruelle de la Fontaine (Spring Alley). The note, written on the back of a letter, was stuck between the shutters. We thought it was so sweet that we bought a typical French boîte aux lettre the very next day and fixed it at the side of the fence.
When we picked up this weeks mail there was a new and very official letter from the main postoffice in Attigny. With some help of a dictionary we were able to translate the meaning: our brand new mailbox was too far from the public road. With the rain and snow of the past weeks the postman probably got sick and tired of getting his shoes dirty. There’s not much we can do though. The fence IS the official border of our land. The mail box is fixed exactly on that border. We guess they think that the dirt road to the mill is private property. It sure looks like it.
The down side of this story is that we have to write a letter to the postoffice of Attigny to explain the situation:
Cher monsieur Facteur,
Dans votre lettre d’entre vous nous demande de mettre notre boîte aux lettres sur le côté de la voie publique (D30). Nous sommes au regret de vous dire que ce n’est pas possible. Cette pays n’est pas la nôtre. Sur une précédente demande par l’un de vos facteurs, nous avons installé la boîte aux lettres à la frontière officielle de notre pays aussi proche que possible de la clôture.
La route humide et sale, va bientôt être beaucoup mieux après la rénovation de l’usine est terminée. Nous espérons continuer à recevoir du courrier à la Ruelle de la Fontaine.
Marco de Boer / Hugo Kalf
The renovation is getting somewhere. Walls start to appear. Electricity pipes pop up everywhere. And the layers of insulation are helping to make the mill feel comfy even in this bare cold winter of 2010. Reason enough to start exploring the next level of our journey … decorating.
We’re looking for a good and stylish yet easy to match in most peoples tastes and habits. Not an easy job because Design is fragile and robust is ugly. So Droog Design is off as is IKEA. We’re seriously thinking of Gelderland. We grew up with Gelderland sofa’s at my parents. Somehow Gelderland has this perfect mixture of decent, style and class without being boring or uncomfortable like other modern furniture.
Sleep is absolutely underrated in most homes. Some people say they can sleep anywhere. We discovered years ago that it ain’t true. One day we made a decision to buy a box spring bed base after sleeping in a hotel where they had the absolute dream beds. Now beds come in many shapes, versions, qualities and prices. We’re thinking of Lavital, a great Dutch brand in box-spring beds.
We’re into modern art – sorry for the romantic among us. We’ve been collecting photo art for some time and certainly we’d like have a few at the Mill. One Dutch photo artist –Lard Buurman– will be decorating the masters bedroom with a picture one of his Chinese journeys. For the other rooms we’re thinking of Hendrik Kerstens or Tom Lawrence.
Colors are a struggle and they always have been … what to pick, where to paint, which colour will it be? … We’re all just pointing fingers at a Flexa stripe but we never think of the different lights through the year. A color might be fresh blue in summer but turn a dirty grey in winter. So – i think i can tell you … most paint in the house will be either a white with a slightly off tone and a grey like grey grey .. glossy .. sharp, classic without being too bright. Loving it. The shutters? Ciel d’orage an Astral.
- Reader Questions (homedesign.marthastewart.com)
At the Mill of Tourteron everybody is working hard on the renovation. Deliveries of equipment and materials create a continues coming and going of trucks and vans. And even though it’s minus 3º Celsius the workmen don’t care and arrive at 7 in the morning to leave at 6 in the evening. Almost like ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘ people are working around the clock.
The current severe winter is not helping much. Due to the freezing temperature we can’t pore concrete for the drainage nor for the bathrooms. First we’ll have to insolate the old wooden structure to start getting it a bit more cozy inside the mill. Stephane bought 4 heat blowers but in my modest opinion … i would even heat my bathroom with those. Too small for King Frost.
But nevertheless there’s improvement. The downstairs bathroom has a new wall. The ceilings have glass wool insulation. The new walls are built. We can’t wait to make new pictures.
So it’s time we start to communicate the Supergîte concept and spread the word: “A Supergîte has the comfort of a star hotel with the privacy of a home.”
With one of the biggest Dutch tour operators we added our publication (in Dutch – I know – it’s a start).
“Hot chocolate any one?”
Publication at D-Reizen