- Renovations for 2022
The Big Winter Project for early 2022Our project for the start of 2022 was to replace the roof over the master bedroom in L'Ecurie Holiday Cottage. The roof had very little insulation - no boards under the tiles and no waterproof membrane. There were also long cracks in the ceiling of the bedroom and after investigating up in the loft, we saw that the suspended ceiling had moved over the years, so would never be able to be repaired.
So, we took the plunge, and started work in February - employing a builder and with us as labourers! Annette emptied the loft of all of the existing insulation - a horrible job as it was the vermiculite type of insulation and the hatch to the loft was very small. Jason then helped to remove all of the existing tiles and cement boards over the bedroom roof.
Work progressed well - the weather was kind to us and by the end of February the roof was re-tiled, the existing ceiling was removed, thick insulation was added on the inside, then the ceiling was plaster boarded into the eves of the roof.
Once all of the dusty work had been completed, Annette painted the ceiling and walls, added new artwork to the bedroom and prepared the room for the next guests.
Here are some photos showing how the work progressed.Other Smaller Projects that have now been completed by Spring 2022:
- The entrance door to Le Vieux Café has been replaced with a fully double glazed door.
- All beds now have new waterproof mattress protectors
- We have finished tidying up and planting lots more small bushes around the pool area to give a splash of summer colour!
Our Winter Projects for 2021 at Maison LairouxAs we all know, 2020 was a very complicated year - with travel restrictions and total lockdowns on and off throughout the year.
During November 2020 we started on a big project to improve my vegetable garden - changing the shape and orientation of the raised beds, making the pathways wider and replanting lots of the bushes and plants. We managed to get lots done during our November lockdown, then the winter rains arrived and the final touches will be finished throughout 2021.
Our 'Big Project' for our holiday homes this year was to re-vamp our pool area. We bought new Indian Stone paving slabs for the pool surround and we have extended the paving further behind and to the side of the pool to give more space to relax. We have also built a pergola in the pool area to give a bit of shade - as we're fed up with constantly replacing broken parasols!!
Here are some photos to show you the works that we have done! We will be changing some of our website main images at the end of summer - with new drone footage of our renovated pool area.
New for 2020 at Maison Lairoux Holiday Homes2019 was a very busy year for us here at Maison Lairoux. We had guests in throughout the year from February to December, with very few gaps in-between! We were really ready for our holiday this year and we made it a big one!! House-sitters were organised for the cats (Thanks Wiebke & Boris!) and then for the whole of November, we took a long haul holiday to Bangkok, New Zealand and Beijing!! It was amazing and we loved every minute of it.
Now back here in France, we have drawn up our plans for jobs over the winter!
- New roof installed over our lounge and the games room - completed in September/October before our holiday.
- New Velux windows in the lounge and games room as the current ones were not in a good condition! - Finished in November.
- Replacing runners in the shower doors in both cottages.
- Landscaping around the pond in the lower garden - ongoing for Spring
- Building several Insect Hotels for the butterflies and bees! Two done, one more big one to go!
- Sorting out the borders of our pond - removing weeds, doing a bit of landscaping and then scattering wild flower seeds - should look lovely this summer.
- The Gym has had a new plasterboard ceiling, insulation, has been painted throughout and has new prints on the walls.
- And, our Big Project for the New Year was to completely renovate the Games Room - including:
- Laying a new self-levelling cement floor, then painting the floor.
- Repairing the stone wall around the stage area - revealed more stone, re-pointed the wall.
- Painted all wooden benches and bannisters in white satinwood paint to lighten the room.
- Insulated the back wall and re-plastered it, then painted it.
- Added a new wall of built-in shelving across the back of the Games Room - to house all of the books, DVDs, games, dressing up clothes and toys.
- Stage Area: insulated the floor and laid a new vinyl floor.
- Re-painted all the walls in the games room.
- Added 3 new large blackboards & a wigwam!
- Sorted through all of the games and DVDs to check for any damaged/missing bits. Replaced lots of stuff!
- Printed out lots of my photos of local attractions on to large canvas boards and hung them around the games room.
- Finally took lots of photos of the new Games Room!
Here are some photos of our projects as the work progressed.
The End Results for the Games Room:
New for 2019 at Maison Lairoux Holiday Homes2018 was another busy year for us here at Maison Lairoux Holiday Homes, but we managed to squeeze a two week holiday in at the end of September. This year, we headed off on a road trip around the south west of France - starting with a few days in the brick city of Albi - set on the banks of the river Tarn.
We then had a 5 night stop off in the Pyrenees - at Bagneres de Luchon. We stayed in a great bed & breakfast - The FreeRange Chalet, run by Geoff & Vicky. We spent our days exploring the mountains, and even popped over to Spain to visit the Aran Wildlife Park. This was a great base for our trip & recommend it if you are visiting the Pyrenees - in summer or for winter activities!
We then moved on to a pretty little town called Peyraic de Mer, near to Narbonne. This was set on the edge of a lagoon, and our B&B - with private lounge - had stunning views over the lagoon - full of flamingos! The sunsets were amazing! We stayed at La Maison des Lagunes run by Peter & Myriam - another one to recommend for it's brilliant location!
We ended our trip with a couple of days in Bordeaux where we discovered the St Michel Markets and the bustling central back streets full of cafés and restaurants.When we arrived home, we got straight back into work and finished off lots of fiddly little jobs that have been bugging us for ages - mainly on our side of the property!
Changes for L’Ecurie in 2019:
- Replaced all of the lighting in the living room and dining room
- Replaced the dining chairs with six new leather backed ones - comfortable!!
Changes for Le Vieux Café in 2019:
- Knocked down the wall behind the toilet in the ground floor bathroom, as we had a leak somewhere
- Replaced the wall with new tongue & groove boards that we have painted.
- Removed the damaged ceiling over the WC on the first floor & replaced with new one.
- Re-designed the terrace - it is now twice the size and has some lovely Indian Stone Slabs as flooring.
- Built a new low table and BBQ serving table from recycled palets.
- Added some new sun loungers to the terrace.
- A new wooden Pergola has been built over the dining table, giving some shade in the summer - no more umbrellas blowing over!
General Works around the Property for 2019:
- My new greenhouse has been finished after the storm from last year.
- New shelving & work benches for the greenhouse built using recycled pallets - already full of plants waiting to go out!
- Planting wildflower borders around the area surrounding the new sofa in the lower garden (April)
- New Bin Storage area being built by the gates - we've already created the base from flagstones and will shortly be building cupboards to hold the bins.
Here are some photos of the works completed so far …..
New for 2018 at Maison Lairoux Holiday HomesOur holiday season for 2017 carried on into October this year, so we finally managed to grab a holiday at the beginning of November! This year we headed much further south - and ended up in Tenerife. The sun was shining and the island was great for exploring. Spent lots of time wandering around the volcanoes in the centre of the island and took part in a couple of organised walks through the rugged landscape - climbed/hiked down the Masca Gorge for 4 hours (really difficult!!) and hiked along the mountain trails with some spectacular views from the top.On the 1st January 2018 we were hit by a tornado ripping through our part of the village! We have spent the last couple of months sorting out the damage and talking to our insurance company. This is now all coming to an end (Mid-March) and everything will be back to normal very shortly! We lost part of the roof to our house, lots of tiles flew off the roof in L’Ecurie, my greenhouse was destroyed, and a couple of our shutters were ripped to pieces. Very frustrating that it has taken so long to sort out, but glad that we can see light at the end of the tunnel!
Changes to L'Ecurie and Le Vieux Café in the winter of 2017/2018
This winter we didn’t have too much to do in the holiday homes! (Hurray!!)
- installed new double glazing in every window / door to the holiday home
- Changed the curtains in the living and dining room
- Added a new Senseo Coffee machine
- New bathroom toiletries - nice hand cream and liquid soap
Le Vieux Café:
- Removed the pergola from outside of the house - to be replaced with a more solid wooden one.
- The front facade of the house has been professionally cleaned
- Added a new Senseo Coffee Maker
- New bathroom toiletries - nice hand cream and liquid soap
Here are some photos of the works completed…..And finally… we have set up a page on Instagram to publicise Maison Lairoux
We post lots of images of the local Vendée area, wildlife and tourist attractions - so, if you use Instagram, please feel free to comment on our images, and if you post any images whilst on holiday - use the hashtag #maisonlairoux and then we can comment back!
And of course, please share our Instagram page with lots of your family and friends!
Click on the link at the top of the page to Follow us on Instagram.
New for 2017 at Maison Lairoux Holiday HomesAt the end of September Jason and I managed to grab a quiet week away from Maison Lairoux and we headed up to Brittany for a few days of sight seeing and relaxing! We stayed in a hotel near to Carnac and visited lots of lovely towns along the coast including Vannes, Quiberon and Auray. We also took a boat around the Morbihan Gulf and visited some of the islands. All very relaxing and we ate way to many crepes!!
This winter we had lots of small projects to complete for each of the holiday homes. Here's a list of what we have finished (just in case you think that we sit around twiddling our thumbs over the quieter winter months!!)
I need another holiday after all of this!!Changes to L'Ecurie and Le Vieux Café in the winter of 2016/2017
Our main focus this winter was Le Vieux Café
Le Vieux Café:
- Installed new double glazing to the 7 windows in this holiday home to match what we had installed in our house last winter
- Finally got around to re-staining all the shutters - all 11 sets!
- Master bedroom - plaster-boarded and insulated two exterior walls as they were damp in the winter
- Repainted Master bedroom & changed light fitting
- Exposed stone walls around the windows in the 2 twin bedrooms
- Fitted window sills to all bedrooms
- Replaced all the tiles in the kitchen and then repainted all walls and ceiling beams, changed light fitting
- Painted hallway walls and beamed ceiling
- Painted lounge walls and beamed ceiling, changed light fitting
- Replaced all towels
- Replaced most bed linens
- Added new wall art to lounge
- Painted the master bedroom
- Replaced all towels
- Replaced all bed linens for kingsized bed
- Filled in & insulated a large recess in one of the bedroom walls
- Added new wall art to lounge
- Sprayed the roof with anti-mousse to get rid of moss growing up there
Here are some photos of the works completed…..And finally… we have just set up a page on Twitter to publicise Maison Lairoux and the other properties that we manage.
We Tweet about events in the area and lots of useful info from the Vendée. If you use Twitter, please follow our page and re-tweet where you can!
And of course, please share this page with lots of your family and friends!
Click on the link at the top of the page to Follow us on Twitter.
New for 2016 at Maison Lairoux Holiday HomesAt the end of the 2015 summer season we were exhausted - so we decided that this year we would take our much needed holiday along the Atlantic coast of western France. We drove down to Bordeaux, which is about 2 hours away and stayed for 5 nights - spending lots of time sight-seeing around the World Heritage City Centre and the vineyards surrounding the city. We then moved on to the lovely Cap Feret and the Bay of Arcachon - with the incredible Dune du Pilat - the largest sand dune in Europe! Leaving Arcachon, we headed towards the Spanish Border - and stayed just inside France at St Jean de Luz - visiting the Pyrenees, crossing the border into San Sebastien and relaxing in Biarritz. On our return we stayed in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region near to Blaye for a couple of nights.
After a very relaxing 2 weeks, we headed home and began our winter projects.
Most years, we have concentrated on upgrading or renovating our two holiday homes, but this year we had to do a large renovation project to our house! Apart from decorating our house, we had not really undertaken any major works to our house - so there was a lot to do!
We started by knocking down all of the internal walls to our first floor (the original walls were not insulated and were built of thin brick and wood which needed replacing). We then insulated all of the exterior walls, internal walls and ceilings, as well as upgrading the windows to double glazing. We also re-wired and re-plumbed both bathrooms. With new walls installed, we set about tape & filling the new plaster board, decorating 2 bedrooms and tiling 2 bathrooms (plus installing new showers, WCs and sinks!) We then laid new floors and put the furniture back! This took about 4 months to complete, and we have just got a few fiddly bits to finish off when we are less busy!
Here are some photos of the work that we completed……Changes to L'Ecurie and Le Vieux Café in 2016
All of the big renovation jobs have now been completed for both holiday homes, so no major projects here this year!
However, we have replaced a lot of the furniture and fittings
- New 3 seater leather sofa and armchair
- New cover for the pergola seating area
- New ventilator for the bathroom
Le Vieux Café:
- 2 New 3 seater leather sofas
- New TV/DVD stand for the lounge
- 6 New dining chairs for the kitchen table
- New stainless steel kitchen sink
- New light fittings in all of the bedrooms
- New single bed frame in the master bedroom
- 2 new bedside tables for the middle twin bedroom
- Renovated front door - sanded, stained and latch mechanism replaced
At the end of 2016 we will be replacing the windows in Le Vieux Café to match the new double glazing that we have installed in our house next door.And finally… we have just set up a page on Facebook to publicise our Holiday Homes.
We will be adding lots of tourist Information and news about local upcoming events. It will also be a space for you to post photos, memories and reviews of local attractions, restaurants and things that you have enjoyed doing.
And of course, please share this page with lots of your family and friends!
Click on the link at the top of the page to Like & Follow Maison Lairoux Holiday Homes on Facebook.
New for 2015 at Maison Lairoux Holiday HomesOnce we said goodbye to our final guests of 2014 we headed off on holiday ourselves. This year we visited various parts of the Dordogne - starting in Perigueux, then moving on to Sarlat, and finally visiting Rocamadour. Each area was very interesting - with visits to cave systems with underground rivers, medieval towns, prehistoric settlements and impressive cathedrals.
When we returned, we put our 'DIY heads' on, and started planning our projects for the winter.Changes to L'Ecurie for 2015
In October 2014 we started to rip out the existing kitchen so that we could install a brand new one and have a better working space. The water tank that was hanging on the wall by the window has now been moved out of the kitchen and into a newly built storage cupboard in the master bedroom, giving more wall space and a better flow of units.
We have brightened the kitchen up with new light fittings and have painted the dark wooden ceiling white. The floor and walls have been retiled and all of the electrical equipment has been replaced, including a new built in electric oven, gas hob, extractor fan, large fridge/freezer and new stainless steel kettle, toaster and coffee maker.
The old units were put to good use as storage cupboards for all of the jams, chutneys and liqueurs that I make over the summer!
The master bedroom has also been redecorated and new light fitting and curtains added. The water tank that was originally in the kitchen, is now hidden in a large storage cupboard, with extra space for the ironing board, washing basket and cleaning equipment.
Still to finish before Easter:
- Install blackout curtains to the twin bedroom - Finished in March!
- Paint all living room and dining room ceilings white - covering the dark slatted wood - Finished in March!
- Install new lighting into the living room - Finished in April!
Now that the weather has improved we have started to make huge changes to our vegetable garden - removing all existing planting beds and replacing them with raised beds and proper walkways - making it easier to grow vegetables and walk around in the winter. Here are before and after photos. We’ve
nearly finished all of the work now (mid-April) and will soon be planting to our tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and french beans.
As summer starts to take hold, we have made a new addition to the front of Le Vieux Café - we have added a large metal framed pergola with a pull-across awning to shade guests from the hot sun whilst dining outside.
New for 2014 at Maison Lairoux Holiday HomesAt the end of September we managed to take a well-earned holiday and spent 2 weeks driving around various parts of France, taking in the scenery in Carcassonne, the Tarn Gorge, Avignon and the Auvergne. As soon as we returned, we started to cut back many of the large and overgrown trees at the bottom and sides of our lower garden. This has now opened up the views across the valley, and we have a wide panoramic view of the Marais and over to Curzon on the other side. This took several weeks of hard work and we now have lots of wood for the log burners for next winter!!
Once the shutters were complete, we also changed the front door to Le Vieux Café, as we could hear the wind whistling through the old door!Our main project for early Spring was to empty our swimming pool, and replace the liner. The original liner was 14 years old and was beginning to show its age, so we pulled out the old one, put in a thick underlay and then rolled out the new liner. The pool took nearly 4 days to fill and now looks perfect for the summer!
This year we have completely changed the outside seating area for this holiday home. We have removed the wooden decking that was starting to sag a little, and have replaced it with a larger cobbled terrace, complete with a wooden pergola. The table and chairs are also new - and more comfortable, and the views from this area are great - looking over towards the wetlands below. The terrace is surrounded with flower borders, and the pampas grass in the centre of the lawn has grown quite large now, so gives a lot more privacy for your dining area.
Inside, we have added a new wood burner in the lounge for the winter months and a king sized bed in the master bedroom.
New for 2013 at Maison Lairoux Holiday Homes
Our first job was to move the gate posts to the courtyard, as several guests last year had commented that they felt too close to the car parking area when they were sitting outside to eat at Le Vieux Café. We knocked down 4 metres of wall, fencing and hedges and moved the opening to the courtyard to a more central location. This enabled us to re-build a short wall where the gates originally were located and then surround it with flower beds and large plant pots to give more privacy and an extra seating area for guests staying at Le Vieux Café.
We have changed the outside teak dining table and chairs for a more modern metal and glass table with comfortable chairs - large enough to comfortably seat 8 guests. The new seating area next to the al fresco dining area has two stylist sun loungers for relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.
Inside Le Vieux Café we have also redecorated the master bedroom and hallway and have sanded and re-varnished all of the bedroom and hall floors.In December 2012, the Mayor's Office decided that our little road was in need of repairing, so the road surface has been re-tarmac'd and we have been given lots of space to plant flowers and shrubs along the border.We also have two new seating areas for all guests to use. One is under the covered veranda outside of the games room. We have bought some comfortable wicker furniture where you can sit in the shade if the sun gets too hot! We have also put a table and four chairs within our Potager (vegetable garden) - which overlooks the large lawned garden - a great place for spotting the barn owls at dusk or sipping a glass of local wine as the sun goes down!In our two bedroom holiday home - L'Ecurie - we have replaced the old bathroom with its crazy green tiles. We ripped out the bath, sink, bidet and WC and started again from scratch this time adding a large (160cm) modern shower cubicle, nice wooden sink unit and new WC. For guests with young children who would still like to use a bath, we have a child-sized plastic bath that can be used in the shower cubicle. Here are photos of before and after the work!This winter seems to have lasted a very long time, and has been very wet. (Not much snow though!) The local Marais (Wetlands) is still flooded and the cows and horses have not yet been allowed back on the grasslands of the Marais as the ground is too wet! The weather now seems to have improved for the end of April, and the local wildlife is starting to come back - we have heard our first cooks and Hoopoes of the year and the butterflies are springing to life in the vegetable plot.We look forward to meeting all of our guests this year - making new friends and catching up with those that have visited before.