Why barn conversions are so popular in France

It is easy to understand why barn conversions are so appealing.

Barns are incredibly spacious and are therefore perfect for creating rooms and living areas which are generous in size, often with large windows that are full of character.

We love barn conversion projects, too.

Barn conversions are ideal for modern, contemporary open plan living, and for enjoying the wonderfully exposed beams, the high vaulted ceilings and the stone construction. They provide homeowners with a blank space to showcase their own creativity and style within an overall design.

Our home is a former barn and was originally occupied primarily by the farm animals with only three rooms used as living space. Now, it is a delightful family property which we love living in.

One of our other favourite renovation projects was also a barn project, Amou in the Chalosse, part of France’s historic Béarn region. Today it is a beautiful three-bedroomed property, complete with its’ own swimming pool.

Understanding how barns were constructed and the heritage they bring to the area is equally important.  Locals will be very familiar with the use of galet stones for barns and other buildings, the smooth stones found in rivers and inland when seas covered the land thousands of years ago.  Across the region, the types of rocks used vary, thus giving buildings their own distinctive look and style.

If you are considering converting an agricultural barn into living accommodation, you will need planning permission. This applies regardless of whether it is a stand-alone property or part of a number of dwellings. At Kiwi Construction, we can help you with obtaining planning permission, the design and layout and also oversee the renovation project, from start to finish.

Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your project.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

 

Contact :

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

 

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/         

 

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque #holidayhomes #bearn #landes #multidisciplined #inhouse

3 things to check before winter catches you out

We love the wintertime: the days when the air is incredibly clear and fresh, the snowfall, and the cold winter nights spent by the fire.

However, although there are many reasons to love winter, as we all know there is a less romantic side. Every winter we have our fair share of wind, rain and frost so it is important to start preparing your home for the colder weather to come. Here are a few tips:-

  1. Look after your chimney

During the winter there’s nothing to beat a wood burner or open fire to create a cosy and warm atmosphere in the home – but equally it’s crucial that your chimney flue pipes or ventilation pipe is swept a minimum of once a year by a qualified chimney sweep. They will provide you with a certificat de ramonage – and if the wood burner is your main source of heat and used regularly, we advise that twice a year is best. This reduces the chances of a potentially damaging chimney fire and will give you peace of mind.

  1. Check and clean your guttering

During the autumn leaves and other debris can accumulate in your gutters. And if they become blocked, the water can spill over the side causing other problems such as mould or even damage to the foundations. So it is wise to check and clean your guttering now before it is too late.

  1. Check your heating system

If you have an oil or gas central heating system, don’t forget to have this serviced annually to ensure it stays well maintained and runs as efficiently as possible.

These are just a few tips to get your property ready for winter.

One final tip. The French government has recently extended the criteria for its Maprimerenov’ grant scheme, which means that more homeowners are eligible to apply for the financial assistance for energy efficiency and insulation type work. Please get in touch if you wish to discuss further.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact :

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

 

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/         

 

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque #holidayhomes #bearn #landes #multidisciplined #inhouse

Getting ready for autumn

Autumn is approaching and we have a couple of projects of our own to share with you. 

The first is the renovation of a 30-year wooden monastery garden table, originally built by Grant. It is pretty sturdy as you can imagine – but was in need of a relook, so recently Grant and our sons Noah and Tibeau have been working hard to give it a makeover using a sander, grinder and of course, plenty of muscle.

Made of sleepers, Noah sanded the table down and once it had received some further TLC, treated it with linseed oil. It has lasted well since Grant first constructed it all that time ago – and the refurbished article should last another 30 years…

I have had some new projects to keep me fully occupied too during the very difficult covid period, apart from working on our business, Kiwi Construction.

Fish is one of our passion foods and smoked fish tastes sublime!

So, we have made our own smoker. We cured the salmon overnight, adding some sugar and salt to draw out any impurities from the first. Next, the fish was hung and smoked for four hours.

We love our smoked salmon at Christmas – we cherish the whole French tradition of eating together with family and friends, so the smoked salmon is a real treat….we can’t wait.

The Norris family really appreciates the values of working hard as well as playing hard; and it is great to have opportunities such as this, which bring us all together whatever is going on in the world.

Joeline

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact :

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/          

Our postcard to you from Hossegor

We love Hossegor. If I had to explain in one sentence why, Grant and I would say:
It’s naturally beautiful with an amazing coastline; it is a foodie’s paradise and you can put your car keys away – because it’s a great place to travel around by bike.
However, that is not all! So I thought this month we’d share with you a few highlights of the time we spent this summer in this charming Landaise town, surrounded by the peaceful pine forests.

🚴‍♂‍ It’s better by bike. Hossegor is incredibly bike friendly – and great for pedestrians, too. There are bike lanes everywhere to go to the beach, travel into town or venture out into the countryside. Pop out to the boulangerie in the morning, head to the seafront for a cooling dip or enjoy a peaceful evening on the beach.
🥐🥘🦈 Food, glorious food. There are plenty of great cafés, bars and restaurants in town plus superb markets to buy the freshest of fruit, vegetables and seafood. For us, there is nothing better than an evening spent watching the sun go down enjoying some oysters, bulots and a cool glass of rosé. Perfect.
🌲 It is close to nature. Perhaps unlike some other towns nearby, Hossegor has magnificent natural surroundings and is easily accessible; close to the forest, the marine lake and within an hour of the Pyrénées mountains.

There cannot be many places with so much to offer: the sandy dunes and beaches, plenty of walks as well as cycle routes, the fab food and it is THE place to go for water sports.
We hope that you enjoy the photos – and if you have never visited, hopefully it inspires you to go someday…
Enjoy the rest of the summer,
Joeline
Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact :
Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0) 6 11 80 21 86

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

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How we are rethinking our home and outdoor space

This year all of us have spent more time living in our homes probably than ever before. Our home is our sanctuary, the place we retreat to in order to feel safe and comforted from the world.

In recent weeks we have spoken to many clients who together share the same aim: to make their homes function better, enabling them to relax and entertain with friends and family.

A recent project is a case in point.

We have been working with a client who run a B&B and live in the Béarn on a lovely estate, for at least 10 years. Over the past decade we have revamped the whole house, worked on the pool exterior and landscaped the garden.

In June, they asked us to work on another project: internally fitting a new bathroom and outside with the installation of a new pergola.

Pergolas are the ideal solution if you wish to extend the living space outside. They create enough shade to allow you to relax outside on hot days, provide greater privacy, add definition to a space and are the perfect place for entertaining. They look pretty stylish, too!

One of the things we are passionate about here at Kiwi is using natural products that suit the local environment. We understand the importance of valuing our heritage and enjoy blending modernity with the character of older buildings; for example, for the pergola we used oak sleepers for the retaining walls.

Our inhouse team of talented, multidisciplined trades look forward to helping you with your latest project. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact :
Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

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From an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan… our latest renovation project

Here at Kiwi Construction we like a challenge; we love to make the impossible, possible! So, we are as pleased as punch to have completed in April our latest project, constructing a new pool and pool house for a holiday home in Espiute. We started and finished the build within 3 months, working of course within the necessary restrictions relating to social distancing and safe working.

There were other challenges, too.

The area around the beautiful 18th century house in the delightful Béarn countryside is full of narrow lanes, so when the task involves transporting a large pool structure you can imagine that it requires careful planning – and driving!

Fortunately, our team of multi skilled, multi-disciplined trades relish these tasks and more. Kiwi is proud of the fact that for every development we use our in-house team: masons, plumbers, electricians, carpenters. This benefits the client as they only have one point of contact and enables us to manage all aspects of a scheme.

We started the project in January, putting in the foundations and laying the concrete for the pool base. The pool is located next to an old derelict barn, now converted into a pool house. In one of the photos, you can also see that we constructed the terracing and a rendered wall, adjacent to which is a pump house. Heating for the pool and the main house is supplied by the same system.

Over a period of 7 years we have been working with the same family, so it is great to see another project coming to fruition. An old barn is now a good-looking pool area for the family and their guests to enjoy. Please get in touch if our multi-service and friendly team can help you achieve your dreams, turning them into reality….

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact :
Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

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Contemporary house for sale in lively French village

Looking for a beautiful, modern home, tastefully renovated – where all you need to do is to move in and start living your dream?

Our 3 bedroom property is for sale at 330,000€ in the lively little village of Amou in the Chalosse, part of France’s historic Béarn region. Walk to the Sunday Farmer’s Market, sit and enjoy life go by in a local café; Amou is ideal place for young families or retirees seeking a different pace in their lives. The village has schools from maternal to college and in nearby Orthez there are 3 lycées (one of which is bi-lingual from maternal to lycée). There is a public swimming pool.

We love this delightful property – we built it! However it’s time for someone else to enjoy this lovely home which is still under its 10 year decennial guarantee.

Located in a quiet street within walking distance of the village, the house is light and airy benefiting from the large windows and skylights.

On the ground floor, the entrance leads to an en suite bedroom, the living room and a good sized kitchen with space for a dining table. The bay windows open onto a terrace with a low maintenance garden and a fabulous swimming pool, perfect for relaxing on a sunny day.

The first floor has two large bedrooms with built-in cupboards, a bathroom with shower and a bathtub.

The house is perfect for couples and families who prefer modern living in a classic French village. Amou is also located 45 minutes to both the mountains and the beaches in one of the natural and enchanting parts of France.

For further information please get in touch below.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact:

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (o) 6 11 80 21 86

 

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/         

 

Stylish city-living renovation adds a touch of class in Bayonne

The northern Basque city of Bayonne is a charming and picturesque town. We love to stroll along the River Nive admiring the wonderful architecture along the way, consisting of Basque houses and half-timbered buildings with their distinctive colourful shutters. The area is lined with several cafes, bars and restaurants and is delightful.

Bayonne is also the home of clients with whom we have worked for several years. The couple own a 5th storey level apartment in the centre of town, constructed in the 1960s and in need of updating and renovation. The objective: bringing the lovely property up to modern 21st century standards; a fabulous new and contemporary kitchen and bathroom, a classy living room and dining areas.

So, in October 2019 we got to work! Grant and the team used a crane (see photos) to move all of the building materials and furnishings up to the 5th floor.

By the end of December, the project was completed. The couple love to decorate with strong, bold colours and have chosen verdant greens and a stunning black and white combination in their home. This imaginative and creative scheme helps to marry together the old with the new, resulting in a beautifully refreshed apartment.

The clients are now enjoying life in their tastefully refurbished apartment, a true embodiment of classical French city living in the 2020’s.

We enjoy taking on all manner of projects, large or small, in the countryside or in the city… making projects which sound impossible – possible!

If you would like to discover more about our services, please click on the Facebook Messenger link https://m.me/KiwiConstructionFrance?ref=w6184123.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact:

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/         

 

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque  #holidayhomes #bearn #landes #windows

Quality energy saving windows and doors in France

Replacing your windows and doors for your home in France can have many benefits. Modern technology means that new windows and doors are more energy efficient and cost less to maintain. They look fab too!

For example, it’s estimated that the average French home loses up to 30% of its energy through windows, doors and roofs. That’s bad for the planet – and for your pocket.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to find doors and windows of the right quality and be confident that they will be fitted by a reliable, experienced professional.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with AL-TECH, a manufacturer of quality windows, doors and sliding doors with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. All of their products are constructed using state-of-the art machinery and a team of highly experienced technicians.  Kiwi Construction are the official distributors in South West France of the full range of the AL-TECH collection: windows, doors, sliding doors, pergolas, gazebos, garage doors, aluminium framework and automated roller shutters.

So if you are searching for windows and doors for your home in France – for a renovation or a new build, look no further!  In a nutshell:-

  • We are a local/regional supplier and installer
  • We only supply and fit quality products at the best price to you
  • All our work comes with a 10-year decennial guarantee
  • Our team are English speaking, experienced trades

If you would like to discover more about our services, please click on the Facebook Messenger link https://m.me/KiwiConstructionFrance?ref=w6184123.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Contact:

Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

grant.norris@wanadoo.fr

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/