Monday, December 19, 2016

Making a French Home Livable (starting with no appliances, cupboards or closets)!

Last week was a very busy week!  PB was off to the US for a meeting, so I was able to leave work a little earlier and start unpacking my house, but I was immediately aware of the remaining furniture that I needed to get (like an armoire)!  It's difficult to set your house up for comfortable living when you have nowhere to hang your clothing . . . or store anything . . . or put your dishes!  My primary goal for the week was to be able to live at the house by the time my appliances showed up on Saturday.

I have an old wood armoire that I plan to refinish for the guest room, but it arrived full of webs (and a couple of spiders), so I've left it closed up for now!  Since there is really NO storage in older French homes, outside of the dirt-floored cave, I knew I'd need an area to store things that I don't want in the cave, such as off-season clothing (since armoires are generally smaller than a normal US closet).  So, I bought a small, inexpensive cloth armoire for the office . . . which is now serving as my only armoire since my nice wood one isn't going to show up until I'm back from vacation.
The left is for hanging clothes and the right for folded - this is a common layout here

For things you feel comfortable buying online, I'd recommend CDiscount.  I've purchased many items from them already and they've all been of good quality (at least of the quality I expected given the site information) with quick shipping.  Larger furniture will have a scheduled delivery date also (like my table & chairs).

I also received a very good recommendation from PB to use Darty for appliances.  Of course, his recommendation was under duress because I threatened to make him install my appliances if I had to find a place myself and ended up with them just dumped on my porch!  Darty was great about scheduling a time for delivery and installation, plus the men who installed my appliances were very nice, careful about not damaging my house and explained in very slow French (and a little English) what I needed to do before using my appliances.  I had realized that I was getting a French-sized fridge (I searched for one sized for 2-3 people - why cool empty space!), but I had not realized that I was buying a tiny oven!  The metric system still doesn't quite make sense to me, so I sometimes think I've figured out what the measurements mean only to find out that I'm very, very wrong.  I'm not sure my US baking pans will even fit!
For my American friends who are still worried about where my "kitchen" is, I've realized that my sink has the pipes for a dishwasher, so I'm still debating if I want to buy one and put it between the fridge and sink.  I'm not sure a dishwasher really makes sense for just one person - I often ran mine in the US only partly full because I'd run out of something.  More importantly, my cabinets will arrive shortly after I return from Austria . . . although, one will clearly fit next to my oven now, which I hadn't been expecting.
This photo is from Alinéa, which is where I bought the same blue cabinets!  No upper ones, just a selection of the lower free-standing cabinets.

I think that having a whole house to design (almost) from scratch has me doing some serious nesting because I have themes going everywhere!  Blue in the kitchen, teal in the attached laundry area (entry carpet and curtains for the slider door) and a mix of those colors in the adjacent bathroom.  Living room in black, white and green.  Dining area with black, silver and gray.  I've even finished my guest room . . . well, not the spidery furniture, but this part!  My guests will soon have a dresser next to the bed and a spider-free armoire also!
Bottom line is that my last apartment never felt like "home" and neither did the house I was just living in, but this place does!  Even though it's exhausting to assemble furniture, move boxes around, unpack and try to figure out where I want everything to go (often involving rearranging the furniture), I'm loving it!  I've went from grudgingly entering an Ikea once (and buying nothing) to making TWO visits to Alinéa in one week, plus making a third order online.

My new house even greeted me with a winter rose bloom!

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