When we discovered La Ville Heleuc in 1976, we found stones, earth, wood, slate and some roof tiles. Only the small house (Le Fournil) showed signs of renovation with cement, windows, a door and shutters. The tower of the manoir was covered with a cement slab, and blackberry bushes, gorse, etc. grew inside the house.
From the very beginning, we preferred natural materials such as stone, wood or slate for exterior and interior renovations.
La Forge over time
We moved into La Forge at the end of 1978, the left half of the ground floor was still Michel’s workshop at that time. In 1979 a canopy was built to protect the entrance and the workshop was converted into the kid’s room in 1980 with the arrival of our third daughter. On the upper floor, the original roof structure was visibly preserved, the roof was insulated and clad with wood. One of the gables was clad with simple floorboards, the other with an olive-green canvas. A new floor was laid over the old floor and stained dark brown with walnut. In 2004 the canvas was painted white to brighten up the room above. 5 years later, the wood paneling was painted with a white Biofa stain and the floor was sanded to regain its natural color and then treated with natural oil. Finally, the roof window was enlarged to bring even more light into the interior.
From “little house” to Le Fournil
The “little house” we stayed in when we arrived was completely renovated in 2010/11. At first we took everything out until only the stone walls, the wooden carpentry and the slates were left. After the earthworks, the opening of the gable and the lime-hemp base, the wooden structure for the extension was built. After the roof had been covered, the interior work began: insulation of the granite walls with lime-hemp plaster, roof insulation with wood wool, underfloor heating, granite slabs from Isaac Hill, Fermacell slabs with clay plaster or lime paint, earth plaster on the lime-hemp insulation, bamboo flooring etc. etc. etc. There is a book in the guest house that documents the history of this renovation.
As far as possible, we reuse materials instead of disposing of them. The old wooden paneling of the small house has found a place in Le Fournil, where it now covers the entrance cupboard and the back wall of the kitchen unit. The old stairs are used by children to climb up to the zip line. Old tree trunks were turned into bedside tables. In La Forge, authentic boat lanterns, an old sail and a steering wheel are reminiscent of the sea.