The Nouveau Chateau

After the failed bid on the House at Pig Corner we spent months looking around. We saw so many awful houses. Nearly every house we saw was bad: bad houses are hard to sell and spend years on the market. These houses might have been on a busy road, or had awful renovations or water damage, but for me the killer was having a bad lot. So many otherwise good houses failed because of their lot. For example, the second good house we found:

 

chateau-ish house 195

 

This newish chateau-looking house was amazing. Built around 1968-1970 it had plenty of space and it looked hilarious from the outside. There was an entire unfinished level that was a basement to the house but at ground level on the sunny South side. Lucy wanted the room in the West tower. The price had started out around 500 000 euros but the owner was dying and the price dropped and dropped. The owner had to sell before he died to avoid inheritance issues.

We decided to look at it when the price was 320 000, then when we went to visit the house the agent told us the price had dropped to 270 000. He called back a couple of weeks later to tell us it was in the low 200s. We could have bought it for less than 200 000. It would have been a bargain, but we didn’t make an offer.

 

chateau-ish house 065

 

The house had a hectare of land. But effectively there was only the small, sloped garden that you see in the photo above. The rest of the land was off to the sides and down a steep hill. The soil was terrible and it would take ages to get something useful growing there. There was a big field right in front of the house but it belonged to the farm next door and they wouldn’t sell it. And the silly thing was that it reminded us too much of our old house in Seattle. It didn’t look like it from the outside, but the layout was similar with a big bedroom suite for the parents. It had radiators, modern wiring, built-in dishwasher, multiple bathrooms and a huge verandah with a view down the valley to the Pyrenees. But we didn’t move out here to live in a modern house. We had that back home. We wanted an old farmhouse with land around it. Something that you have to learn how to live in, and that surrounded you. This wasn’t it.

 

chateau-ish house 056

5 responses to “The Nouveau Chateau

  1. It was totally cool. When we walked in I thought that house was the one we were going to live in. It had an amazing view down the valley and you’d spend all your time on the big verandah off the kitchen – you can see the balcony in the top photo. If the house was in Seattle it would be worth a pile.

    It was also a bit flashy for us. It is the sort of house you notice and take pictures of as you drive by. We are trying to integrate, and living in a flash house woudn’t help us blend in.

    These articles are my way of writing down how we ended up buying a farm. I’m getting there.

  2. It even had fly screens! They were tucked into the window to be pulled down when you needed them. OH fly screens, why doth Southwest France not use you?

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