Salut, darlings! For those who are new here, my name is Shannon, and I am an American living full-time in France.
At the end of October 2020, we purchased a house in Bretagne, France. We love this region because it reminds my husband and me of the Pacific Northwest, with lovely temperate weather and gorgeous beaches.
The property is on three acres of land and has four buildings – all are in various stages of renovation. Work keeps us in Paris and beyond, so we are taking the time now to renovate the property.
In this video, I share with you the deconstruction of a lean-to. I also explain why we are demolishing this part of the building and our plans.
I originally shared this video on my Instagram channel, and I received a lot of great questions. I answered those questions with visuals and saved the responses in my Instagram highlights. So, if you want to see the visual answers, go ahead and check that out over on my Instagram page.
Here are the Q&As in short form. If you have questions, please feel free to post those in the comments below!
Q1: When did the permit process start?
A1: We hired the first architect and started the design and permit process in November 2020. We submitted to the Mairie and planning commission a first design that was in keeping with the house’s original style.
However, quotes started coming in, and with supply chain issues, the costs of products and labor began to skyrocket. The quotes were almost the same price as the entire house and land were to buy!
We returned to the drawing table and decided to move forward with this modern design, which also better addresses some security and maintenance issues that the first design had.
NOTE: If you are considering buying a home in France, especially a 2nd home, be sure to understand squatter’s rights (Google it for more info).
I also love that the new design includes eco-friendly features such as a green roof. And the electric volets (shutters) will help regulate heat and cold.
Q2: Was the modern design challenging to get approved?
A2: A great question! You must know a bit about homeownership in France. Design approval is unique to each Mairie and their design & planning department.
You need to submit permit requests for projects that you may not expect to like:
Changing the color of your home, shutters, or exterior doors
You want to add or change your shutters or windows
Or add or change a garden shed or pool
The rule of thumb is that if someone can see the change from the street or drone overhead, you need to get permission from the Mairie.
I live “plein campagne” with no direct neighbors and about a ten-minute drive to the nearest village, so I had a more straightforward approval process than others.
Q3: What are you going to do with all of the rock that was removed? Will you reuse it for another project?
A3: The stone will be repurposed back into the new design. If you look at the PIP in the video, you’ll notice that the large glass windows sit on low stone walls. We will repurpose the stone back into these new walls.
Q4: How long will this extension project take?
A4: One of the lessons I learned (and continue to re-learn!!) is that systems and processes in France take EXTRAORDINARILY longer than what I am used to in the States. I am hoping that the construction team will be finished before next summer. I would be thrilled if I could return to the house in March or April 2023.
In my Instagram story (saved in my highlights), I also share images of the kitchen remodel happening simultaneously!
So, what’s next? My husband, Jeff, returns to France from the States this weekend. WAHOO!!! We will celebrate my birthday with some end-of-summer activities and trips to the beach before we return to Paris in mid-September.
Thanks so much for watching this video!
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