The much anticipated (and arguably equally dreaded) renovation work has begun.And not a moment too soon as France essentially shuts down for the entire month of August, it's somewhat official vacation month, although a lot of those vacations spill into July.
Fortunately for me, although my plumber and electrician are French, and therefore we're weaving around their various vacation schedules, Chris, my mason and a licensed general builder, is from Guernsey so he's happy to work during August.
Ultimately, what's happening as a result of all the plumbing problems I'd encountered upon returning from Portugal is that I've accelerated the work I wanted to do. The original plan was simply to upgrade the existing bathroom, relocating the toilet inside, because, although separated by a wall, the lavatory sits at one end of the house and the bathroom at the other. You have to walk from one end of the house to the other (okay, admittedly it's not that big, but it is awkward) just to wash your hands. I wanted to convert the old lavatory into what would be the one and only closet, to house the water heater currently in the bathroom, and coats, since the tiny room is just inside the front door.
Chris, who rushed over the day I returned in mid-March to discover three burst pipes, looked around after he'd done the repairs. We'd been discussing whether I should just bite the bullet and start the upgrade as my bathroom sink was now out of commission, leaving me just one sink in the house, the kitchen sink. That alone was making me cringe. I instinctively braced myself at his skeptical expression.
"You know, it's nice that you want to improve the bathroom but you do realize that it isn't going to add a centime of value to your house." I froze. "The French might like it but they're not going to pay for it. Your problem is that you don't actually have a kitchen." (Tell me about it. That kitchen sink I mentioned is in the middle of the living room, next to the fireplace. Don't ask.)
"Make the bathroom your kitchen," he continued, "since it runs the length of the living room, leave the toilet where it is, and I'll build you a shower room inside the downstairs bedroom and then you'll essentially have a new kitchen, something you've never had before, and a new bath. And that will more than realize itself if you ever sell."
Someone here was finally talking my language.