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‘Topping Off’ celebrations at Le Cuvage in the Roannais by Brian Franklin

Over the Autumn in 2005 our ‘Grand Design’ project in the Roannais continued apace. Incredibly, all the work progressed like clockwork.

Even we were amazed at how smoothly things went. Our previous renovation and conversion of The Stables at the Château des Cresses was, to be honest, fraught with various beginner’s problems, mostly due to communication difficulties, although despite being messed about a bit, the result was a success – and we were happy with that.

We expected some difficulties with our first project in France – it went with the territory of taking on a renovation job in a foreign country, relatively far from our base in the `UK. So, when it came to ‘Le Cuvage’, we were more experienced and aware of the many problems likely to occur.

As it was a much bigger and more involved project our approach was, of course, more detailed and professional. We were determined to get this one right form the start!

However, because of our past experiences we could not help being a little apprehensive, constantly expecting a phone call, letter, or e-mail revealing some terrible and fundamental problem which was insurmountable, and, therefore, to be reflected in huge additional costs. This was a big investment for all of us, so some fear and trepidation was to be expected.

I am glad to say, these fears were never realised. Luckily we did not encounter any big problems. And there is no doubt that we were both surprised and refreshed by the professionalism and organisation of the team we had chosen to organise the renovation and conversion of ‘Le Cuvage’. In retrospect, this was thanks to a number of salient factors:

1) It was a joint project with French friends of long-standing, who we could trust and who were on the ground at all times.

2) We employed a highly-regarded, local French architect with a reputation at stake.

3) We selected and used recommended, reliable builders and contractors after detailed assessment, seeking several competitive quotations for every element of the work.

4) We all approached the project with shared aims, care, intelligence, experience, and with quality always in mind.

5) We also had the money, more or less, readily available to invest at all stages, and in line with pre-agreed budgets. Any extras had to be contended with as they occurred.

6) There was a genuine communal approach to the whole project by all involved, as though we were creating something very special together. A team spirit was evident throughout. It was a great feeling. It was a joy!

Read the full article at:  This French Life –  ‘Topping Off’ a ‘Grand Design’ building project in the Roannais!