Tag Archives: Renovation

The Next Supergite?

Court

Image by Supergites via Flickr

Have you ever looked for a house and found one that was so grand that, even though it was way over your capabilities, you just had to see the inside? It happened to us with this ‘Ferme Des Dames’ near Reims.

Accidentally we ran into this object online. Hugo send me the url and asked me what I would do with this Farm and Chapel. I fell instantly in love with the view, the stones and the atmosphere. These combined form this unique peaceful place to unwind. I could see myself gardening a little in the early morning overlooking the dewy valley. Or sit in the courtyard sipping wine made from the grapes over the terrace. Meanwhile the kids of our friends are running around with a ball. But *G* Continue reading

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Thermobull: The Russian Stove

Forget Janus. Be honest: If you think of cold winters, you think of Russia. And that’s exactly where Themobull is from. Just a few months ago we found this stove online and after a little research we found a Dutch reseller in Wijhe. Read: Searching for a Super Stove.

The Dutch reseller Kachelplaats was really friendly and helping and even willing to deliver the stove all the way down in Northern France. It was basically the shipping costs that made us think: is there a better way? Google gave us the Latvian dealer for Europe. There’s nobody selling it in Northern France. We had to arrange that ourselves. 🙂

We called Latvia. The dealer, as friendly as the Dutch, advised us not to buy the Professor because for its 1000m3 power would be far too warm for our 450m3 living room. We ordered one model smaller, the Docent or ‘Учителя’ as you wish. The Учителя is a sweet 200+ kg black steam train look-a-like stove with huge brass covers and logo. It’s a heat monster in shining armer.

Three weeks and one French strike later, our package from Latvia arrived. We were happy like children at Christmas Eve. See the unpacked pictures at Facebook.

The packed Themobull Docent

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From Water Mill to Supergîtes

We thought it was a nice gesture to thank our constructor Stéphane with a picture book. With this book, showing what has been done to create this superb gîte, he can present his first big job as a constructor to potential clients. It’s a simple story line of pictures in chronological order. You can look into it at ISSUU where we’ve published the digital version.

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A first Super night in our own Gîte

After 11 months of hard work, miles of traveling to and from France, laboring the garden and sanding the wood it was finally the moment that the beds arrived. We worked double shifts in the last weeks to get everything ready to install the beds immediately at their final place. The beds are huge and heavy, 100% natural material and fairtrade produced .. besides that they are gorgeous looking …

We had to wait all this time not because of the production but because of our own delay. The whole renovation took more time than estimated due to several reasons. You can read about them in the blog.

But this was THE day .. the day followed by the first night in our own Supergite, sleeping in our brand new beds.  Continue reading

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Bank issues

My first pay cheque
Image by dmmd303 via Flickr

You think the banking system is the same all over the world. OK, maybe not so the same in India or Uganda but in Europe all the banks use the same method to transfer money from one account to the other. Right? We discovered that’s not the case.

We started to become superstitious about the French banking system when we went shopping on a Saturday at a large Carrefour. In our lane right in front of us a family had piled up their caddie (shopping cart) and when the sweet caissière finally bleeped all 241 items, they grabbed their paychecks.

“You mean those paper receipts we used in the 80’s of last century?”
“Hell yeah, those!”

Without even a glimpse of embarrassment they copied the total costs hand written on a check and handed it over to the cashier. She stamped it and the shopping were paid. Deal done.

This all looks quite innocent. But what do you do when you have to transfer large amounts of money? Like when you want to buy a kitchen? Believe it or not: a paycheck does it all. And that’s where it really went wrong.

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Mud and Christmas

For all those who dream about owning a lovely old house that needs “just a little work”: There are moments that you just think, “What were we thinking?” One of these moments came right in the middle of our Christmas vacation.

A few days back, Stephane sent us fantastic pictures of the mill in a romantic winter landscape and we were really eager to see the beauty of the mill covered in snow. Even though we knew there was work waiting for us. “Who cares about a bit of cold when you can see such a superb, white scene while you’re working?”

The two days of Christmas we spent with friends. The snowy weather had changed into long and hard rains. It was really raining cats and dogs in the hills of the French Ardenne. So by the time we arrived at Tourteron the day after, the cranes, trucks and cars in combination with the ‘permafrost‘ had turned our loan and garden into one huge swamp and deep craters filled with mud. Slipping from the fence to the front door was the way to go over the next couple of days’ work. We were not so happy.

The first day we had to dig out the larger stones to make sure they didn’t break the new sewer system. We also had to transport white sand for the foundation in the pouring rain. Then we had to move one pile of 150 plasterboards in between the rain storms. They are not supposed to become wet since they’ll fall apart if they soak in water. The plates, sized 1,20 by 3,00 meters, weight 32 kg, had to go to the first floor and second floor. Eventually they’ll become the new walls and ceilings of the rooms. There we went in our muddy boots, feeling like double our normal weight, up and down the mill leaving a trail of dark-brown, slippery wet dirt. It was a French hell. 🙂

But in the end… we did lend a hand, and that makes us feel good.

This is how it looked:

Mud, septic and some kind of garden.

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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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