Tag Archives: house

No TV?

Television icons
Image via Wikipedia

In the final week of working hard to get things right (or just done), at a certain point you just have to make decisions. Nasty ones. You have to choose between the must-have and nice-to-have. And that’s not an easy job. One says he really thinks curtains are essential, the other claims to die without TV. Do we really need that door between the two basements? or do we put our energy in finding the right furniture? It’s constantly putting pressure on the working relationship because you’re just so tired you really don’t care what the other says or even about the arguments. All space evaporated. But what to do … you have to go on. Continue reading

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Finally: the Official Launch of Supergites.nl

It’s finally live: the official Supergites website. Though it’s still in Dutch, it’s there and that’s the most important thing. The French, English, and German versions will follow in January, as will the calendar and the automated reservation module.

We also registered the gîte at the funniest website, Vakantie bij Nederlanders in Frankrijk . nl, which translates to ‘Vacation with the Dutch in France’. We’re eager to see how it works and whether it gives us any leads.

The gîte will be ready for rent April 1. Tomorrow we’re off to France for 7 days of hard labour. 🙂

Check our new design at Supergites.nl.

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Looking for summer?

Mr. Winter is about to leave. The sun is getting warmer. The first flowers are popping up from the cold soil. In Tourteron we’re looking forward to Spring and Summer 2010. It’ll be the first time you can enjoy the peace of the valley, the shades of the fruit trees, the smell of the flower garden, and the quality of the house.

To be sure those weeks off are yours, you should go to supergites.nl and make your booking.

Merci!

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Eating nearby: “Great food, Fair price”

During the search for the Super Gite and the renovation of it we’ve spent many nights in a friendly chambre d’hôte 60 km from our mill. We drive up and down every day passing some cute villages on our way. One of them is Signy l’Abbaye, which is a bit more mundane  than most of the others (take note: the church is those villages is most significant building). The average town has five farms, two mansions, and one big church.

Signy l’Abbaye has a long history. It was founded around the 12 century,  and used to be famous for (what’s in a name?) its abbey. Nowadays it’s just a bit bigger and more appealing than the surrounding villages. It has some notable edifices, two nice bars, and at least one good restaurant mentioned in the Guide Rouge de Michelin.

A perfect entré for € 3,50

A perfect entré for € 3,50

That restaurant is Auberge de l’Abbaye, the Abbey Inn. 🙂

We found it by accident. We drove by around lunch time and thought: why not? Let’s try this humble, little place. To our surprise–and our delight–the food there was so tasty and cheap.

I mean, being Dutch and all that, we were impressed to find a quick lunch consisting of an entree and a main course for only 10 euro 40! Impossible, you think, but the selection on the menu is rich and impressive. You can pick from five starters and five main dishes. I chose the Wrapped Brie and a Chicken Soufflé.

This starter was perfect: crispy on the outside, and the brie inside lightly melted and warm. Unbeatable!

I like to cook, and I know about prices of the ingredients. So this starter of only 3 euro 50 is really a miracle.

We’ll certainly go back often, even though it’s around 30 km away. But distance is relative in a large country like France, as opposed to what we’re used to in the Netherlands.

Restaurant Auberge de l’ Abbaye, 2 pl. A. Briand F – 08460 Signy L Abbaye! +33 3 24 52 81 27
Closed 12 January-8 March – closed Tuesday dinner and Wednesday. Price: (12€) 14€ – Menu: 20€/38€
Traditional

The same family has run this former post house since 1803. It upholds its traditions with a rustic decor and cuisine made with locally grown produce. Tasteful guestrooms.

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First Act

First Act

First Act

Every play has its First Act: the part with the first signs of the story line. It unfolds what we have tasted in the Prelude. For our adventure of the Super Gîtes that First Act was today.

The previous owners started renovating the kitchen–but stopped right when they finished the ceiling. You can see the electricity points where they wanted to hang the lights. They came no further than a light bulb. That IS convenient, but not pretty. The ceiling was OK and yet we opened it, smashed it with a hammer.

I consider this to be the First Act. The demolition of what is there. All you have seen of the interior will be gone soon, coated with a thin layer of white dust. Dead electricity wires sticking out of the stone walls and no sewer to release your daily pressure. This division of the ‘show’ will reveal the death of an old house and take around one  month (I hope).

We will tear down the kitchen, the bathroom, the ceiling of chambre 2, the sewer system, the electricity plan, the walls of chambre 3, and the roof of the right wing. Then we’ll make holes in the roof of the living room. Uff! When I think about it I feel my heart pounding. The first act is a dangerous spectacle of dust and stones…debris is the magic word. It will be messy.

From the dust it will rise: the best holiday home you can imagine. 🙂

And the kitchen ceiling? We know now it can contain the extraction hood.

You can see what’s there now here and what will be there then there.

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Glasshouse

glasshouse |ˈglasˌhous| noun [Brit.]

a greenhouse, |ˈgrēnˌhous|, a glass building in which plants are grown that need protection from cold weather.

This weekend we found our inspiration for the flower and veggie garden. This strange, neck-shaped piece between the orchard and the field has always been a bit of a struggle for us. We had no idea how to turn it into something of value. Should it be a playing ground? A beautifully simple grass field? A kitchen garden full of savory herbs?

Since we’re living in the fast lane, we actually do take time to enjoy the good moments of life. So one sunny Saturday we went to Staverden Castle (Kasteel Staverden). We only had thoughts of some wine and finger food, but

There it was! The Victorian Glasshouse.

The metal structure painted white with its elegant, cave-shaped roof grabbed our attention. We went inside over and over again. It was warm, comfortable, useful, inspiring! And it had absolutely dazzling character. This was exactly the eye-catcher that this part of our garden cried out for! If we build a glasshouse like this at the end of the heart line, we’d have a perfect ‘folly’. It would bring great perspective to the flower garden and drive people right into this part of the garden where they could wander between the blooming beds and enjoy the scents of nature.

The glasshouse could also be used as a winter shelter for citrus trees or as a greenhouse for orchids, or even a nursery for our the indigenous plants of our garden. With just a few seats and a heater it would make a fantastic place to sit in early spring or even late autumn. Can you imagine reading a book surrounded by the smell of orange blossoms with buckets of rain pounding on the metal and glass above?

Our only problem was where to get one?! 🙂

We placed an ad on the Dutch eBay. The copy we placed translated as: “There’s no match between our house from 1813 and a modern aluminum glasshouse. Therefore we’re looking for an ancient Victorian glasshouse between 20 square meters and 40 square meters which has a brick substructure. Who has got one or knows somebody that has got one and wants to get rid of it? It is not a problem if it is a bit broken; it can be a renovation project. We’ll come to pick it up wherever in the Netherlands and Belgium.”

If you are from the UK and you have one to offer, don’t hesitate to reply. 😀

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The New Collection

We’ve started working on the court and the orchard. They are around the mill and there is grass there that needed to be maintained anyhow. It’s logical to start here and –mind you– a good garden needs at least three years of work. The first year is for shaping and planting the new collection. The second year is for (re)planting, growing and maintenance. And during the third year you’ll be (re)planting, growing, maintenance and enjoying.

So this is the year of The New Collection. We bought some plants in France, but they are way too expensive! We’d rather buy the plants in the Netherlands for example at Abbing (Zeist) … I just love to search around that huge nursery.

So far we have planted the following:A part of the New Collection

Achillea millefolium ‘Cloth of Gold’

Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’

Anaphalis triplinervis

Anemopsis californica

Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’

Armeria maritima

Aster ‘Monte Cassino’

Astilbe tangutica

Astilboides tabularisThe untamed garden

Astrantia major

Brunnera ‘Langtree’

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

Calamogrostis brachytricha

Campanula addenda ‘Blue Star’

Carex muskingumensis

Centaurea montana ‘Grandiflora’

Chaerophyllum roseum

Clematis montana ‘Rosebud’

Darmera peltata

Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’

Filipendulina rubra

Iris ensata ‘Diamant’

Iris japonica ‘Variegata’

Luzula nivea

Molinia transparentThe shape of the new borders

Pachysandra terminalis

Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’

Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’

Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’

Polygonatum vanitatum

Primula  ‘Gold Lace’

Primula vialii

Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’

Rodgersia podophyllaPlanting

Rosa ‘Penny Lane’

Thalia dealbata

Thalictrum rochebrunianum

Trachelospermum jasminum

Trachystemon orientalis

Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’

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