Nope. The mirrors aren’t antique. Neither are the beds (mattresses are one area where I absolutely refuse to go “antique”). However, the cute little bedside table from the 1940’s with its marble top, and the bedside lamp with its base made out of local stone are just two of the things that were included in the “contents” that we bought along with the house.
We never actually met the woman who was the previous owner. She had already been ensconced in a cushy retirement home in Uzès in Southern France by the time we had our first visit, and the house was being sold on her behalf by her adult children who were all very nostalgic about waking up to the sound of the church bells across the street. They were also very interested in who should get what piece of furniture, and during our visits we were witness to many heated debates on this topic.
Finally the day of the final sale rolled around. At the Notary’s Office the children began to discuss who was going to actually move the furniture. This dampened their enthusiasm considerably.
The Notary, who also happened to be a very florid drunk, was still noticeably squiffy from lunch and was probably desperate to go and enjoy his afternoon bottle of wine in the broom closet. He shooed us out of his office just as the younger son was embarking on an exegesis about his lumbago with this parting advice, “Why don’t you just sell the furniture to Monsieur and Madame Germain? That way nobody will put their back out.”
Deep in thought we all migrated back to the house, where someone started serving kirs. The seller’s children reminisced, and we listened with interest about how their father had been in a German prisoner of War camp for three years during WWII, and how their mother and the wizened old woman next door had had an argument over the best way to prune roses and hadn’t spoken in the past ten years. And the kir flowed right along with the memories.
In short order we all got sauced. Then, with tears in their eyes, they agreed that none of them wanted to actually move the furniture, so they offered to sell us most of it plus all of the flotsam and jetsam in the attic that nobody wanted to troll through for the paltry sum of 10,000 francs (about $2000 CDN).
We agreed, bien sûr. We weren’t so sauced that we didn’t know a good deal when we saw it.
Over the years we have found countless treasures in what was left us, old cooking implements, ration tickets from WWII, old school books, etc. etc.
But as far as furniture, one of my favorite things is this lovely wooden buffet that we left in its original spot in the kitchen. On top I’ve displayed some of the things we found in the attic, such as a metal salad spinner, huge thick wooden homemade cutting boards, and enamel milk jugs.
It was Franck’s Mémé who made the little lace runners that go along the bottom of the shelves. She taught me that no French woman would ever think of having an armoire or buffet in their house that didn’t have this little womanly touch.
The kitchen table is also original, but as I don’t have a good photo of it let’s continue to the living room!
In my opinion, the huge Burgundian stone fireplace is what makes this room. I also happen to have a penchant for the little white cupboard to the right of it that is embedded in the stone walls which are several feet thick. This used to be the fridge before the house had electricity, and even if you stick your hand in there on the most scorching of August days it is lovely and cool. But I digress again, these things aren’t furniture…
However, the two wooden chairs did come with the house, although we got them completely refinished and reupholstered. The coffee table with the screw-pull legs did too, and although we bought that little squat wooden cupboard behind them (called a “confiturier” as it was where jam was stored) so did that cool red-tasseled lamp.
And next time, we will move the camera a little to the right and discover the pièce de resistance of the furniture we bought with La Maison des Deux Clochers.