To convert a barn, buy something that needs work or splurge our very limited budget on something that’s done? That is the question. As my husband keeps saying ‘we don’t want to end up like V & S’ friends of ours who moved on a whim and have scraped by for the last 15 years on odd jobs and the kindness of neighbours. Whilst I sometimes think that living on a knife edge is a wonderful sharpener of your survival instincts, it would be nice to have a little fluffy cushion of cash…
So do we go for the ultra cheap but needs doing option? The semi done, needs finishing? Or the done except for cosmetic changes (and we’re all handy with a paintbrush) home?
I like the idea of the barn conversion – we had a huge old stone barn at La Croix Haute with beautiful oak A frames, all hand pegged, a testament to a different age of care and craftsmanship. I dreamed about replacing the huge arched doors with glass ones and digging out a pool. Instead I painted the doors a strange enamelled turquoise (a Noz special) that made them look like the portals to a realm of doom, hated it, and slathered on a plain pale grey. And that was it. We patched its roof and stacked our wood in it and gave a home to an owl and bats and various rodents. The barn remained lovely and unloved, crying out for someone with the cash to do it justice. For us it was a repository of old lives – an ercol dining set, my dad’s leather swivel chair from which he loved to pontificate and hold court – and found treasures – a copper lined hip bath, a hand cranked invalid trike. We left everything for the new owners to trash or treasure.
France is full of old barns, equally lovely and unloved. Maybe one of them will be right for our new home and business. So the answer to the question seems to be – to barn. At least for now.