During a phone conversation with a stateside friend last week, she asked me which adjectives would accurately describe our new house. Ah, an easy one, I thought.
But some of what I came up with surprised her.
Of course, there were the usual suspects:
Beautiful. Ours is a very old stone townhouse in the heart of our village. And, from what I can hear of passing conversations, we are not the only ones stricken by her good looks.
Traditional. Built in the 'old style' (who doesn't love old French houses?), everything on my 'must have' list was combined in this one medium-sized package: visible ceiling beams (les poutres), terra cotta tiles (les tomettes) throughout, a huge fireplace, and a beautiful terrace – overlooking no fewer than three vineyards and an orchard in full bloom. As far as I'm concerned, life, or at least houses, just can't get much better than that.
Roomy. I never, ever, thought I would see the day when I could honestly say that we have more space than we need, but…we have more space than we need. And, after five years of living in a Paris apartment, that is no small thing.
Bien située. We literally face the village school. This means that, playground noise aside, mommy can merely open the door and shove her own kiddies out the door with her foot on the days she doesn't feel like getting dressed. Kidding, kidding…sort of.
A not-so-usual suspect
Quirky. A side effect of a house laid with old-fashioned terra cotta tiles in every room (including on the terrace) is that there are no completely flat floors. No big deal, right? Well, no, except that the scale (recently ordered by FdC to make sure she is actually losing that baby fat) has nowhere to sit. Nowhere. Not if she wants an accurate reading, at any rate.
Worse than that, there is not a single right angle anywhere in the house. Not even one. Try ordering rugs for floors like that. Or, better yet, try hanging a shower curtain in a bathroom where not only the tub is situated at bizarre angle, but the ceiling is, too. So, curtain-less we shall (unwillingly) remain.
But for completely off-the-wall house-describing adjectives, I can offer these:
Secretive. One of my least favorite aspects of the Paris apartment was the exposed pipes, especially those in the bathroom. I simply could not understand why, in a country whose engineers are capable of the likes of the TGV, plumbing could not be hidden somehow – especially in the newer buildings. An exposed pipe in a bathroom equals, as far as I am concerned, a dirty eyesore.
And if plumbers can't find our plumbing, then who can?
Haunted. Yes. You read that right. More on this last adjective to follow in future postings.
There are indeed a lot of adjectives I would use to describe this house in the south, but boring isn't one of them.
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March 27, 2006
Subject: Living in France, blog