When we moved over to France we registered as freelance ‘micro-entrepreneurs’ (self-employed). We both work from home, at the mill, working for clients via the internet. The daily commute consists of falling out of bed and, after a leisurely breakfast, looking out over the river, either from the kitchen (in inclement weather) or (more often) the balcony or terrace, we head back upstairs to start work.
We have plenty of space for a home office but so far we just don’t seem to have got round to creating one. For 18 months I have camped on the landing, on a large table, surrounded by still-unpacked boxes of books, craft supplies and anything else that hasn’t been given a permanent home yet. Colin decided to move into the front bedroom where he spends his days pouring over spreadsheets and charts on a number of screens arranged across an old dining table.
This room was particularly depressing when we moved in. The grubby yellow wallpaper and Marsupilami border probably looked cute when the room was first decorated for the previous owner’s little daughter but, as she had just finished secondary school when they moved, it had definitely seen better days! The sliding doors installed across an alcove to form a wardrobe had long since fallen off their runners and a previous leak from the toilet stack pipe next door had left long dark brown trickle-y streaks down the wall.
At the end of October we took a week off around the public holiday of Toussaint (All Saints Day) and spent a few days, getting up late, pottering in the garden, visiting the area and generally chilling. By Wednesday morning Colin was getting fidgety. He was bored. He needed a project, he said. (So much for the lazy week off…)
We couldn’t do any more on the living room until the external wall had been re-rendered as this meant changes to the windows, so we decided to take a big breath and get started on the ‘Finish Upstairs’ project. Step 1 – decorate the last guest room.
After sorting out leaks and improving insulation it was down to the decoration. There were three main objectives:
- add plenty of clothes storage space
- bring in as much light as possible ( the room faces west so only gets direct sun in the evening – cool in the height of summer but gloomy in winter )
- make the bedroom as comfortable and relaxing as possible
A day out in Rennes (coincidentally, the home of our nearest Ikea store) provided the tall mirrored wardrobes, drawers and bedside tables and plenty of soft furnishings. We decided to go for a colour palette of teal blue grey and dusky pink, as we wanted the room to feel comfortable for both ladies and gents. The natural daylight is bounced round the room by the large mirrors during the day and we switched the standard, tatty bare bulb which hung from the centre of the ceiling for a couple of down spots. A more intimate and cosy atmosphere is given by the over-wardrobe spotlights and table lamps, which can be controlled and dimmed from the comfort of bed, via a remote smart dimmer switch.
So, that is Step 1 finished. All I need now are some pictures. I don’t know about you, but the art I hang on the wall has to say something to me – I can’t just buy a mass-produced poster because it is the right colour. So I’m hanging fire for now until the right thing leaps out and says ‘take me home’. If anyone knows of any contemporary landscape/wildlife watercolour artists who do nice inexpensive prints of their work, please do leave me a comment. 🙂
Next the landing…