Medieval to Comfortable with a Coat of Paint

(Note: This story was first published on April 23, 2016.)


The kitchen as it looked when we first saw it

It’s always the same – you buy a new house thinking it’s “perfect”, then move in and find out that it doesn’t feel perfect at all, if fact it’s a bit depressing. We had planned on doing a lot of decorating to update our new house in Montagnac, but hadn’t really noticed in our love-at-first-sight state, that she really needed a major facelift, as well.

It took us about two days in our new kitchen to realize that our slight malaise was not wholly attributable to jet lag, and that it would need to be lifted by a coat of white paint on all of the kitchen walls that were not made of stone. To preserve the medieval charm of the kitchen/living space, we wanted to show off the gorgeous vaulted stone ceiling, and the four columns that luckily still exist in the four corners of the room. The plaster walls, however, could only be described as dingy.

img_3019I think we’ve now made at least 25 trips to numerous hardware stores in various towns, but our first trip to the closest one was to buy white paint for old stone walls. Within the first few hours of painting, we realized that we should probably ask if there is a special mixture for crumbling medieval stone/plaster, so back to the store we went and learned the first of so many new French words that had never been necessary in our francophone lives before: rebouchage (filling for holes in the walls), premiere couche (first coat of paint), forets pour béton (drill bits for concrete), vises (screws), etc.

While it has not been all vocabulary fun and games, we have been amazed at how quickly the kitchen has been transformed from dark and somber to light and bright.
img_3020 img_0514

While I had packed painting pants, I had overlooked a painting shirt, so Jack kindly sacrificed one of his “Picasso” t-shirts for me.


What a breath of fresh air the kitchen now is – a joy to come down to in the morning, for a couple bowls of café au lait!
Jack hanging antique plates we bought in nearby Pézenas, over new curtains I had just made
More on the kitchen renovations (and our orgy of antique buying!!!) tomorrow…

Bonne journée, Kate

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