Dividing the House in Two

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We’ve now furnished most of our new house in Blois and Relationnel is onto the second-last major operation – dividing the top floor from the bottom floor. Downstairs, there are now three rooms: the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom (with its en-suite bathroom).  There is both an internal and external staircase leading up to the top floor so we had to find a way of closing off the internal staircase which currently leads into the downstairs bedroom.

Relationnel came up with the idea of adding French doors and was able to recuperate some beautiful solid oak panelled doors from a renovation site. However, he had to completely strip them and then adapt the height and frames to the doorway which, being very old, is not quite straight! It all turned out to be much more complicated than expected but the first set is now in place.

Above one end of the downstairs living room, there is a mezzanine, which means that it also has to be divided off so that we can go can through the back door and up the stairs without disturbing our gîte guests. We can’t use the external staircase on the front façade because the door only opens from the inside! So there will be a second set of French doors to close off the mezzanine.

Relationnel didn’t think the second operation would be as complicated but the 4 cm thick solid oak proved to be temperamental. From time to time, I was called upon to help move the doors and panels and I peoved to be especially useful when it came to putting the incredibly heavy doors on their hinges. This is a very delicate operation and none of the usual nifty solutions seemed to work. In the end, Relationnel just had to use brute force.

The top floor has now been successfully separated from the bottom though the whole process took a full day more than expected. Meanwhile, I put the Ikea garden table, bench and chairs together. I followed the instructions carefully but the first chair was missing a step so to my disappointment, I had to call on Relationnel’s greater experience. When I began the second chair, I discovered that they had changed the instructions and the pre-mounting operation and the missing step was no longer missing! If you’ve ever put Ikea furniture together, you know that they have a little L-shaped piece that you use to screw the different parts together. Well, Relationnel has the greatest little screw driver with a lever system that makes screwing a breeze and is far better than that L-thing. You can even change the setting to make it unscrew.

Relationnel has gone back to Paris tonight but I have to be here for the electricity company tomorrow morning so that they can increase the wattage we can use simultaneously. At the moment, I can’t use the oven and the hot plate at the same time or the power cuts out completely. So I will be taking the bus and train home tomorrow afternoon. I checked out the bus this morning. It’s a 15 minute walk, then a 15-minute ride to the station. I made sure I booked early and chose a cheaper time slot. This time, I’m paying 26 euros for a direct trip. Who knows, I might even get good at this commuting business!

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