More Light at Last

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Jean Michel’s first retirement project is finished. All five doors on the front façade of Closerie Falaiseau now have glass panels instead of three glass and two solid wood doors. The difference in light is amazing!

Closerie Falaiseau, with the two full doors from the outside

Closerie Falaiseau, with the two solid wood doors seen from the outside

The first step in November is to order the new glass. The next step, in December, is to block up the ground floor doorway with glass wool insulation while the first door is being converted. It’s winter after all!

The door in the office with its wooden panels

The door in the office with its wooden panels

To replace the solid panels with glass, the surrounds have to be removed. Jean Michel  is hoping to be able to use them again but he soon realises that it won’t be possible. He’ll have to make new ones.

The door with one glass pane

The door with one glass pane

After the surrounds and solid panels have been removed, the glass panels are fitted and work on the new surrounds begins. This door is quite tricky because the top is curved to go under the arch. The glass has a straight edge of course but there isn’t a lot of leeway because it’s regulation double glazing and very thick.

Alain arrives just in time to help Jean Michel hang the door

Alain arrives just in time to help Jean Michel hang the door

The first door is now finished and ready to be hung. I’m just about to help Jean Michel carry it across the courtyard when our helpful neighbour Alain walks past and lends a welcome hand.

Door in place with the glass fibre behind

Door in place with the glass fibre insulation behind

The door’s up and looking good. All that has to be done now is to remove the glass fibre insulation outside for the light to come streaming through into the office.

Light flooding into the office in the morning

Light flooding into the office in the morning

The final step is to make the wooden shutter that will protect us from burglary and keep out the cold at night in winter. It obviously has to be identical to all the others in the house.

Downstairs shutter drying in the kitchen after the first coat of varnish

Downstairs shutter drying in the kitchen after the first coat of varnish

Once he has finished making it and put on the first coat of varnish, Jean Michel brings it into the kitchen to dry as the temperatures are going down fast.

Now the glass wool is on the upstairs door into the living room

Now the glass wool is on the upstairs door into the living room

Various events get in the way – my flu, Granada, etc. – before he is able to start the second door. Initially it goes much faster because he has already gained experience. He knows he won’t be able to re-use the surrounds so doesn’t have to take such care removing them.

Staining the door in the kitchen out of the cold

Staining the door in the kitchen out of the cold

However, it’s February and it’s much colder outside so the even the varnish on the door has to be done in the kitchen or it won’t dry. It’s also very cold in the garage where Jean Michel is working.

Alain to the rescue again

Alain to the rescue again

This time, since the door has to be carried upstairs, he makes an apointment with Alain to come by rather than trust to luck.

The house with the two new glass doors

The house with the two new glass doors

We’re delighted with the result of course, but we’re surprised to see that the door looks narrower than it did before.

Upstairs lock

Upstairs lock with the two shutters

Inside, you can see the locks and bolts better.

The two upstairs shutters being held together while the glue is drying

The two upstairs shutters being held together while the glue is drying

Because of the position of the lock, two shutters are needed this time. But as I explained in an earlier post, a little problem arises when Jean Michel is using the plunge router to make the profile on the edge of the surrounds. A screw comes loose and causes a bigger hollow than he intends. Fortunately, though, after a short rest, he’s able to rectify matters.

The delinquent plunge router that lost its screw

The delinquent plunge router that lost its screw

I volunteer to help with the varnishing this time but it’s a technique I’ve never used before (very different from painting) and I’m afraid I’ll make a mess of it so I leave it to Jean Michel who has a lot more practice.

Breakfast in the upstairs living room so we can look through the new door

Breakfast in the upstairs living room so we can look through the new door

Initially we’re not used to having the glass panels and the corresponding light and we keep thinking we’ve left the door open!  Now in the morning when we have breakfast in the upstairs living room, we don’t turn our chairs in the direction of the fireplace as we do at night, but towards the door and the countryside beyond. More light at last!

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18 Responses to More Light at Last

  1. Helen says:

    Michel’s skills are very impressive. I imagined he had a desk job previously. Would that be correct?
    I love his scarf and beret!
    Enjoy the light.
    Helen recently posted…Down on the FarmMy Profile

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Jean Michel’s original profession was diesel engineer trained in the navy and he initially looked after generators at the Bank of France. Someone had to be present around the clock in case something went wrong. When he was there on a Saturday, there was no work to do, so he made use of the carpentry workshop and learnt to use various machines. His job later evolved and he was in charge of all the technical installations at the bank which was, indeed, a desk job.
      It’s Alain our neighbour wearing the scarf and beret.

  2. Kathy says:

    Looks fantastic Rosemary. I love how it lets in the light and shows off your garden and brings the outdoors in.

  3. That’s a whole lot of work!
    William Kendall recently posted…Snowdrifts And ShadowMy Profile

  4. Susan Walter says:

    Wow! that will make a tremendous difference. Those rooms were distinctly gloomy before. JM’s done a great job. I’m super impressed.
    Susan Walter recently posted…Snakeshead Fritillary Fritillaria meleagrisMy Profile

  5. Stuar says:

    As an amateur woodworker myself, I am very impressed with this project. The doors and shutters look fantastic.
    Stuar recently posted…à la gare d’AmboiseMy Profile

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thank you, Stuart. I am always amazed at what he can do. The next project is to make a picture window in a 70 cm thick wall!

  6. Bill Wilson says:

    Beautiful work !!

  7. Beautiful! Love seeing how the work progressed – very impressive and the new doors are gorgeous.

    Enjoy the light! Cheers.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thanks, Carolyn. We’re having some sunny (though a little cold) days at the moment so making the most of it!

  8. What a great end result Rosemary! I love how you’ve put in the new doors but still kept all the character it looks beautiful with the light streaming in! Your husband must be an accomplished renovator! We have just had our patio redone – similarly keeping the character of our house but now with more light we had to pay tradesmen though! Hope you’ve recovered from your nasty bout of flu and are enjoying some spring weather!
    Rosemary Thomas recently posted…Isole di BrissagoMy Profile

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thanks Rosemary! The previous owners really respected the character of the house so we want to do the same. I’m so fortunate in having such a talented husband.
      We are enjoying the spring weather even though I’m not feeling on top of the world yet. Hopefully it will come soon.

  9. butcherbird says:

    Everything looks fntastic – especially with all that light!
    I look forward to seeing it in July August when I am there.

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