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Le Cuvage is back in French Property News!

Once again ‘Le Cuvage’ is back in French Property News magazine for their February 2009 issue.

Part 6 of Brian Franklin’s ongoing ‘Renovation Diary’ is now stretching towards the finishing line!

Under the title ‘All kitted out!’ Brian’s attention in this month’s editorial turns to the ‘finishing touches’ with fixtures and fittings, but also with some interesting facts and useful guidance.

With all major works completed at the end of 2006, this interesting French renovation story moves on.

As Brian Franklin says in his article: One of the salient reasons our ‘Le Cuvage’ project progressed with such confidence and competence was the detailed pre-planning involved. We employed a French quantity surveyor, along with an independent project assessor, or ‘conducteur’, as our French friends called him.

Before we moved a single lump of earth or hacked into any part of the original building’s structure, we commissioned a comprehensive build programme assessment, and cost estimate by a specialist building ‘economiste’. He organised ‘devis’ (quotations) from a minimum of three different contractor companies before making any recommendations.

The companies were assessed on experience, quality of workmanship, reputation, and approach, as well as price. This pre-estimate and budget confirmation covered all the key areas of the build, including structural works, carpentry, windows and doors, heating and electrics, plumbing, partitioning, plastering, painting, and roofing, etc. The final document was very detailed and professionally put together – in fact, a veritable tome!

Brian covers a lot of detail in his various article about this renovation project, and has provided a great deal of useful and interesting information for anyone aiming to buy and renovate a property in France.

In this particular editorial piece, he goes on to say: ….another aspect of development in the preparatory stages of some building sites is often overlooked – that of earth removal. This can be particularly expensive in France (hiring diggers, lorries, and finding somewhere to dump the soil).

We were lucky. Tons and tons of earth had to be removed at the front of the ‘cuvage’ before any real building work could commence. This was essential to define the surrounding land levels, and to carve out new driveway accesses.

Huge trucks of the cleared earth were moved a very short distance to the rear of the château’s Orangery, owned by some of our French friends, who needed to build up the land to the rear of their property. So free dumping for us, free soil for them! Now the Orangery has enough extra land for a full-sized tennis court.

Brian continues: Progress of the renovation and conversion of Le Cuvage was pretty rapid. In the early stages of a project like this, it always feels like destruction rather than creation, and it was a little sad to see this ancient barn being brutaly disturbed from the slumbers of its historical tranquility.

Brian Franklin’s ‘Top Tips’ when buying and renovating in France, featured in this February issue of French Property News are:

1. Reduce risk by choosing your region well. Proximity to airports, access to autoroutes, schools and other local amenities are all important.

2. Assess the cost of renovation as accurately as possible, including extras. Budget well. Get good local advice.

3. If the project is 170 sq. m. or more, you’ll need to employ a good, locally recommended architect to assess the project and draw up some plans for the local builder to follow.

4. Check and double check what the estimates include (removal of top soil, installation of bathrooms, etc.)

5. It is good to have some honest French friends on the ground to keep an eye on progress for you if you are still resident in the UK. It will also help to get better prices from local contractors.

For more information on this fascinating ‘Le Cuvage’ renovation project in France visit and take a look at the Purefrancenow Blog within the ‘property’ category.

For more images and information visit ‘Le Cuvage’, where you can also book a holiday and stay in this superb property for a week or more. Or you can treat yourself to a Luxury Gourmet week-end at Le Cuvage.

We expect there will be more about ‘Le Cuvage’ soon. In fact, Brian Franklin’s ‘Renovation Diary’ continues in 2009 French Property News during March and April, followed in May with a ‘Property Spotlight’ on the beautiful Roannais region in the Rhône-Alpes. It’s certainly worth  watching out for!