(Extra) ordinary – A Ruined French House and a Fireplace

When we moved to France a few years ago, one of our projects was to be the restoration of a rather dilapidated cottage – the former caretaker’s cottage – in the grounds of our house.  At the time the cottage was already in a state of poor repair but it did at least boast a roof and being typically optimistic English people with some experience of renovation we did not consider the task beyond us.  One night shortly after our arrival we were woken by an extraordinary sound like a thousand large marbles rolling off a tin tray, the source of which we discovered the following morning was the roof of our cottage collapsing inward and the sound of all the tiles slipping from the rafters to the ground below. What had seemed at first to be a reasonable project had suddenly disappeared into the distant future and now required the proceeds of a small lottery win.  I calculated today that if I manage to sell 25,871 greeting cards or 2,031 prints in the near future, the project may still be on……….. luckily I remain an incurable optimist.

The cottage itself remains remarkable for 2 extraordinary reasons – the first because it has a beautiful Charentaise style fireplace complete with limestone lintel and chimney-breast on the outside of the building and secondly because mother nature, in her infinite wisdom and artistry, has woven a design of golden leaves and intricate ivy forms around the facade, of the most extraordinary beauty.  Maybe we’ll just leave it as it is……………..

Ruined house fireplace 5

Ruined house fireplace 3

Ruined house fireplace detail 16

Ruined house fireplace detail 3

Ruined house fireplace 2

I thought this might be an interesting addition to this week’s Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge on the theme of Extra-ordinary. 


ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

If you enjoy the photos on my blog please do visit my brand new website http://www.janemorley.photography where you will find many more photos and also http://www.theartcardpress.com for latest news, a host of greeting cards and photographic prints!

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue says:

    Your very own ruin – how cool is that? I would leave it as is!! Ivy is no friend to bricks or stone….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Sue, ivy is public enemy Number One to Mr H but it’s the only thing holding the cottage up at the moment so I think it needs to stay for now! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price says:

    Too bad the restoration plans collapsed with the roof, but you still have a really cool ruin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I guess you’re right Timothy, it does have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ doesn’t it ?! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth says:

    It’s beautiful just as it is!! Do you know why a fireplace was built on the outside? Maybe another building attached?

    I like the muted colors of the photographs. Hope you’re staying warm there with winter advancing so quickly. We’ve had a bit of snow here already in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Beth, Glad you like my ruin! Yes I think there was another building there at one time. I’m pleased to say our house is in rather better repair than the ruin but it’s definitely getting cooler here now – we don’t often get snow but the wood burners are now lit in the evenings that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. facetfully says:

    A beauty of a fireplace , indeed! The optimist in me sees that all it needs is a home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite so facetfully! I’m glad you like it! We originally thought it would make a very cool area for outdoor eating, barbecue, terrace that sort of thing, you never know one day it may happen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. facetfully says:

        I like those creative ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, my, Jane! As our older daughter once famously said, “I never had a problem like that before!!” I think that bit of restoration might be a bit much and it could be more fun to have your very own ruin. As you and Sue were discussing, removing the ivy, a necessity to any work, might bring the entire structure to ruin. Right now, it looks as though a giant hedgehog has taken up residence atop it. 🙂

    janet

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    1. Haha! It does look a bit like that doesn’t it! yes I think underneath the walls are OK so it is still recoverable but a heck of a job! The ivy seems very much at home there! 🙂

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  6. Jane Lurie says:

    What a beautiful project awaits…someday… Until then, you capturing it’s wonderful details like the ones above. Better get making your cards, Jane.😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, yes it certainly could be a beautiful project, we used to call it honeymoon cottage as we imagined it would be perfect for that but I think it has a different kind of romantic appeal now! The cards are underway though just in case! Have great week 🙂

      Like

  7. kazg10 says:

    Perfect for extraordinary but what is it lol… it looks like an ancient fireplace in the middle of a pasture 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kaz! It is a little surreal isn’t it! There was certainly another building attached at one time, I believe a family of 7 lived in it in the 1950’s!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kazg10 says:

        wow how amazing and frightening that things as we know it may not be or change in the future once we leave…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes indeed Kaz! I hope we can restore this place – the whole place not just the cottage – to something resembling it’s former glories back in the 1800’s – still such a lot to do!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. kazg10 says:

        A wonderful worthwhile challenge is to hold onto something that could easily be let go and hard to keep hold of. I hope you are documenting all of your restoration with photos Jane to share at some stage. How proud you must be of what you have done so far, I hope so anyway. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I wish I’d been taking photos when we started Kaz, at least anything we do now I can record but we need France to move out of recession before we can do anything major for a while! We keep plugging away bit by bit though!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Exquisite. I’m moving in and you can restore around me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re on Sarah! WE might have to trim the ivy off you from time to time 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I’d want to keep the ivy – I could then imagine I’m playing Peter Pan at the Scala!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well yes that’s true I hadn’t thought of that – but we might have to treat you for greenfly once in a while too !

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Pat says:

    Very beautiful vestige of that fireplace! place of meeting of the family in the old houses !! nice article

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Jane, this looks like Sleeping Beauty’s estate complex. Also make me remember of paintings by artists centuries years ago I saw — my poor knowledge, my only reference of Europe culture — Louvre n Stadelmuseum Frankfurt that I enjoyed there very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you idelhomemaker, I’m so pleased you think it looks like an old painting, I was hoping to capture that sort of effect and the idea of Sleeping Beauty is just right! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Saxon says:

    Call Kevin McCleod stat! I’m a sucker for a ruin. Would love to buy one of those dilapidated Italian villages you see from time-to-time. Only slight sticking point is lack of an EU passport oh and a few million to spare…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HaHa Saxon, I’m not sure anyone can help with this one! Maybe one day….. Nice idea for the Italian village, perhaps a lottery win or a gold strike is in order?!

      Like

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