Heritage projects which continue to inspire us

Heritage is important to the vast majority of us. After all, preserving our heritage helps to protect the future for future generations. Many of like to retain traditional features in our homes if we have an older property, and we often like to visit historic places of interest whilst on holiday.

 

In recent months we have shared stories of two heritage projects, one which was completed a few years ago in Dax and another planned for the future in Orthez. Understanding our culture and the local traditions are therefore extremely important to us.

 

A couple of other stories from across our region further illustrate this point.

 

The luxurious Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz – built in 1854 by Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie de Montijo – opens for reservations in early November. This is following its successful renovation into a hotel that forms part of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation empire. In the summer of 2022, the hotel will be open to the public[1].   The Hôtel du Palais is a lavish affair – 86 guestrooms and 56 suites which the company is hoping will blend tradition with modernity.

 

Another renovation project is similarly interesting and inspiring. Less opulent perhaps, but an undertaking which embraces France’s heritage and traditions: the frigate Hermione.

 

Currently undergoing renovations to its hull and other repairs in a dry dock in Bayonne, the Hermione is a replica of the 18th century ship of the same name. This vessel is celebrated because it was used by an American General to travel back to the United States, allowing him to re-join his forces in the wars of independence.

 

Today, the Hermione is the largest seaworthy replica in the world. Managed by an Association, the Hermione undertakes a variety of training projects, travelling around France and the world. It is a magnificent boat. We wish it a speedy return to the high seas, hopefully by the spring of 2022[2].

 

Two different projects; each serving different needs, with varying budgets and objectives; but which share a common purpose: to retain the heritage and protect the future.

It is no different to a housing project in many respects. By combining the use of modern and traditional techniques and materials, here at Kiwi Construction we are able to design and renovate properties that reflect both planning requirements and the local heritage.  

 

If you would like to discuss your own renovation or construction project, please get in touch.

 

Joeline & Grant

————————————-

 

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/         

[1] https://tophotel.news/hyatt-unveils-the-new-look-hotel-du-palais-biarritz/

[2] https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/societe/l-hermione-restera-plus-longtemps-que-prevu-a-bayonne-1630991863

Inspirational architecture that inspires us

The heritage, traditions and architecture of our area has inspired so ever since we first moved to the Landes twenty years ago.

Dax is a case in point. Grant used to play rugby for Dax, and over the years we have come to really appreciate and enjoy what the town has to offer, whether this is the Dax Feria festival held during the summer or the lovely buildings within this important spa town.

Renovating property is of course our raison d’être. We enjoy the challenge of restoring properties, retaining the essential character of a building whilst updating and modernising to ensure that it is a comfortable place to live in.

The Hotel Splendid in Dax is a great example of a building that was reborn. The architect was André Granet, designing the hotel in the era of the ‘roaring twenties’ in 1928. Therefore the building has as a distinctive Art Deco style, and was frequented by many famous people, one example being the writer Ernest Hemingway.

Locals will know it is an extremely large hotel totalling 13,500 m2 in size, comprising 149 rooms and suites. However, in recent years the hotel building deteriorated, closing in 2013.

Fortunately, that though is not the end of the story!

Work began in 2014 to renovate the Hotel Splendid and over a period of four years was lovingly restored by a large team of artisans, including work on the chandeliers of the hall of the staircase. The reconstruction project cost more than 16,5m€ and reopened in the spring of 2018.

We think it is a truly wonderful building – a real asset to Dax. We hope you do too.

If you would like to discuss your own renovation or construction project, please get in touch.

Joeline & Grant

————————————-

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

https://www.kiwiconstruction.fr/         

Photo Credit: Hotel Splendid

Orthez, capital of the historic Béarn – and our latest project!

We have an exciting new project…

Recently we took on a new property venture in the centre of Orthez, Béarn’s historic capital for two centuries. The building has an interesting history. Originally used as a hotel, the previous family – who lived there for more than two generations – converted the property into a clothes shop, before closing the business a few years ago.

As soon as we saw the property, we loved it, because of its heritage and the renovation opportunities.

It is located opposite a 15th century church, its’ heritage dating to the time of Gaston Fébus, Count of Foix and Viscount of the Béarn way back in the Middle Ages.

The site has huge potential, with the possibility of converting it into residential apartments or mixed use, for example with a restaurant or brasserie. Like any renovation project, there is much to be done… however, with vision, imagination, planning and hard work we are very confident that the property will be transformed over the next two years.

Respecting the heritage of a building whilst giving it a new lease of life as a result of a renovation is at the heart of what we do. We have over 25 years’ experience of living and working in France, and value hugely being part of our local community here in the Landes.

You may be very familiar with one of our common expressions – seeking to make the impossible, possible for our clients. We guess the same applies here! At the current time this wonderful old building is certainly in need of some TLC. But that’s our goal to give just that… and it promises to be a fascinating journey.

If you would like to discuss your own renovation or construction project, please get in touch.

Joeline & Grant

————————————-

 

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/         

 

How to find peace and tranquillity in your own home.

Finding the time to relax and unwind is important to us all.

The last year has been a challenge for everyone, and increasingly people are reflecting upon how to deal with stress, as well as improve their wellbeing.

One of our longstanding clients in the pretty town of Salies-de-Béarn have precisely done that, and this year decided to create their own area of personal space. We have worked with the family for more than 10 years, helping them to gradually renovate the property inside and out.

The location is stunning. In the garden, you can see views of the Pyrénées mountains and the surrounding area is green and peaceful. So it was decided to build a pergola on the terrace, adjacent to their swimming pool. Our clients practice yoga and are interested in Zen teaching. We have therefore planned the project carefully, developing a good understanding of Zen design principles in the process.

In the photographs, you can see Grant and Marc working hard on the project. The pergola is made from Cumaru, the hardest wood in the world – with no staining required. As you can see, the pergola has amazing views. We were fortunate to capture one beautiful photo of the sun setting at the project completion.

In addition to constructing the pergola, we gave some of the outdoor buildings a freshen up with a coat of paint.

Today, the garden with its pergola is a haven of peace and tranquillity. It is a place to sit quietly, to read a book, or even chat with family and friends by enjoying the wonderful outlook. It is a location definitely to be recommended!

If you would like to plan your own personal retreat, or indeed any other type of renovation or new build project, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Joeline & Grant

————————————-

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/         

 

What makes you smile?

This may seem like a strange question. After all, with the Covid19 pandemic, the global health crisis and the huge impact this is making on people and their businesses across France, you may say that there is not too much to smile about!

However, smiling, laughing, having fun and enjoying ourselves is incredibly important, especially at the moment. So we decided to make this the subject of our blog, as 2021 is now well underway… with a brief reflection on last year.

What has been good about 2020?

Well, we have made it through the year! As a family, we – touch wood – kept our good health, continued to deliver various projects for our clients and found time to appreciate the good things in life.

2020 has also reminded us of another key aspect of our lives: the importance of the little things, however small.

For example, this year we have set out to become more self-sufficient by growing vegetables in our potager. We planted 10kg of bio potato plants, yet despite our hard efforts only harvested around 1kg.  It also took us 6 months to grow broccoli…It was not the return that we were expecting, but the whole experience was fun and brought us together as a family.

We did though have some other successes… Earlier in the spring we planted out lots of tomatoes with mixed results. Later in the summer  however, out of the compost bin we discovered what seemed like 25 different varieties of tomatoes, all which grew quickly and were delicious. So I guess it goes to prove that you cannot easily create the perfect garden… and instead have to let nature take its’ course.

Finally, may we take this opportunity to wish all of our friends, family and clients all the very best for the remainder of this year. Spring is on its way!

And – keep smiling!

Joeline & Grant

————————————-

 

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/