Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tile tales

Exciting things are happening to our terrace! Is has been a bit of a long saga but soon, hopefully by the end of next week, all will be finished! Hurrah!

The project started in summer 2010 as part of works we had done before we moved over permanently in the August. We'd had the space dug out,concrete poured and a small retaining wall built. Unfortunately the concrete did not slant properly away from the house. Sorting the terrace went on the list of things to have done, but meanwhile we lived with it in its raw state for a while. By the tail-end of last summer we knew what we really wanted and what it was to look like once the structural issues were sorted.
July 2010: 1st concrete, kitchen door unfinished,wee wall yet to be built
When we'd bought the house there was no terrace or drive; effectively the house was surrounded by grass except for a small concrete apron by the front door. All of which isn't the least problem when the house is a 'maison secondaire' and only used when the weather is good. We, however, are living here permanently, so wet soggy grass which soon turns to gloopy mud in winter is not an option.

Spring 2010: the way it was when we bought it
So August 2011 saw us start the hunt for the right tiles, coping stones for the wee wall and considering chaux colours for its render. This required a fair few visits to places like Leroymerlin and other suppliers of builder-y things. We'd arranged for Ken Blomeley who'd done our drive to come and do the work. 
September 2011: concrete, steps & soak away sorted, retaining wall yet to be finished
In September Ken sorted the drain/soak away; laid another layer of concrete which ensured that all the water drained away correctly; built the steps leading away from the terrace; rendered and coped the wee retaining wall and laid a permanent path round to the kitchen door [he'd put in a temporary one in for us in Sept 2010]. You can read about it here. When this work was finished we decided to wait for spring to lay the tiles as we didn't want to risk an unexpected frost. 
 Ken sorting out how he wants to lay the tiles
All sorted. The tiling went into Ken's planner for April ..... and then the weather gods intervened....
path ready for grouting
Any reader of our blog knows that we --and fellow bloggers in this region-- have been muttering about the weather all through April, May and June. It has been mostly grey, cool and highly changeable, with loads of rain! Any chance of laying tiles on a sunken terrace was out of the question!  Until now.... :-)
kitchen door area almost all laid
It's beginning to look really good. The path and the area just outside the kitchen door has now nearly all been tiled and is ready for grouting.
close up of the tiles before grouting
Next week the main terrace area will be tackled. Roll on the finished space and some summer weather to enjoy it!

14 comments:

GaynorB said...

It's looking fantastic.

All that's missing are few chairs, a table and a bottle of fizz!

Enjoy the terrace.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - yup, it's really beginning to come together.
... chilled bottle of fizz on finished terrace! My kind of thinking :-)

the fly in the web said...

Ah! All is explained!
People lay terraces in order to drink chilled bottles of fizz!

Seems a very good idea to me.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Fly - do you know of any other reason?? [innocently puzzled look} ;-)

Ron Ron said...

The Staff says... "to put potted plants on! Surely?"
The Staffette is with you!!
And both Staff and Staffette want to know if you managed to get the compulsory little ballons?

Leon and Sue Sims said...

With summer now heading more your way, you'll enjoy relaxing outdoors in what looks like will be great surroundings. Yes, with a glass of cool summer wine.

Vagabonde said...

That path looks inviting. I also liked the castle you showed – Montpoupon. I had never heard of it but there are so many castles in France. That is one of the reasons I like to watch the Tour de France on TV because the helicopter over it often shows castles and other interesting monuments in the villages the Tour goes through. It’s almost like taking a tour of France (virtually unfortunately.)

ladybird said...

The tiles look great! They have a nice authentic feel and blend in nicely with the outdoor style of the house. Looking forward to seeing the final result ... with chairs and bubbles in place, of course! Martine

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Ron Ron - no ballons as yet

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Leon & Sue - well the idea was that it would be an outdoor room; it's big enough to have a seating and an eating area

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vagabonde - following the Tour on TV is good fun; you get a nice dose of 'culture'. Last year it came pretty close: about 30k away and we recognised some of the roads the riders were on.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - thanks we searched for quite a while to find something that does exactly that: suit the house.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

That looks fantastic. We would love to make a nice terrace at the back of our house, but because there is a foundation, it also means that your taxes go up!!!! So far we have just gravelled but it is not ideal. Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - must be different regs in different depts.
It is really coming together and we can't wait to see [and post about :-)] the finished result! Then all we need is warm summer days/evenings to enjoy it!