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

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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/         

 

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/         

 

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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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Found your dream French home needs renovating? We can help

Imagine. You have found the French property of your dreams. It is in the perfect location – however, the property needs significant renovation.

Finding the ideal home in France is what many of us long for, but when we do it can feel overwhelming thinking about the organisation of the build or renovation project and the decisions that need to be made and the paperwork to complete.

We understand that.

Since 2005 Kiwi Construction has been working in France undertaking all types of renovations – interior and exterior – with specialist expertise in heritage properties.

That is why whatever the project, our focus has and always will be taking away the pressure from our clients so that they can enjoy their lives.

Living in France, like all countries, can sometimes provide a particular set of challenges, particularly if you are not fluent in the language. We are fully bi-lingual and experienced in managing projects, including dealing with planning applications for example.

If the property requires partial or complete demolition, we will organise this and dispose of the rubbish to ensure a clean and tidy site on completion.

Co-ordination of many projects – large and small – often involves working with a number of different artisanal trades; that’s our job, allowing our clients to deal with just one: us!

We can similarly help with the interior decoration to achieve that stylish finish to a property.

Grant Norris, co-owner of Kiwi Construction, oversees all elements of a renovation/build project as well as helping clients to choose the right tiles and select the colour of paint they are looking for to ensure that the end product is a home that our client will love.

At all times, our role is to plan for the long term. We will make sure a property is designed exactly to our client’s requirements, with all work guaranteed for 10 years.

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

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Beautiful bifold doors for your home in France

Bifold doors are the perfect solution in many parts of the home.

Sometimes referred to as folding sliding doors, bifold doors are incredibly flexible. They are useful for connecting an interior to a terrace, a swimming pool or maybe to a covered exterior gallery and a conservatory.

Bifold doors slide open easily; the panels are designed to fold up against the wall like a concertina. Unlike older designed doors, bifolds slide smoothly into place providing a contemporary look for your home.

Bifold doors are strong, secure, easy to use and stylish, too.

What are the other benefits of bifolds?

  1. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. On a hot sunny day, open your bifolds to cool a room. When it’s cold, bifolds are thermally efficient to keep your home snug and cosy.
  2. Bifolds are space efficient. Unlike patio doors, bifolds fold-up neatly allowing you to use the wall space.
  3. Bifolds bring the natural light into your home. This is especially useful if you are seeking to brighten a dark area with sunlight.
  4. Bifolds are low maintenance. Because they have fewer panes or frames you will spend less time cleaning. Properly fitted bifolds – by a professional – will not require regular maintenance or repair. (All of our work is guaranteed for 10 years).
  5. They look fab!

We think therefore that bifold doors are ideal for your home in France.

We only fit the very best quality bifold doors.

That’s why we have teamed up with Polish company AL-Tech who are market leaders in aluminium windows, bifold doors and more. AL-Tech has a range of Swiss, German and Czech engineering business partners and all fixtures and fittings comply strictly with French requirements – RT 2012 – for building and installation.

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

 

Summer and autumn festivals in Les Landes and Pays Basque

During the late summer and autumn, the days are gradually shortening but there is still plenty to enjoy in Les Landes and the Pays Basque with its many fêtes and musical events.

The warmth of the summer sun and the cooler evenings is a positive invitation to everyone to enjoy a good party, the streets rich in colour with the local celebrations.

Many villages and small towns continue with the tradition of a summer festival and it is a good way to meet people as well as sample the delicious food and drink. Indeed, there are at least 40 events in Les Landes during the first 3 weeks of August, ranging from our own community of Tihl (2 – 5 August) to the larger festival in Capbreton (9 – 11 August). There are sadly too many to name individually!

La Fête Du Sel is a 4 day festival (12, 13, 14 & 15 September) in the town of Salies-de-Béarn.   The name “Salies” derives from the French word “sel”(salt) to describe the saline water content in the surrounding area. Salt is recognised historically for its beneficial properties resulting in Salies-de-Béarn becoming a popular Spa town.  The festival programme includes concerts, street markets, dancing, parades and lots of other activities. It is not to be missed!

Another of our favourites is the La Fête du Piment à Espelette in the Pays Basque. The annual event takes place at the end of October (26 & 27) when the town is transformed into a riot of ruby red, spicy peppers (piments in French), which you can see displayed all around the town. The festival attracts 20,000 people and is now in its 51st year.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.

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/         

3 fabulous festivals 🎊 not to miss this summer 🌞

We love to party – and the summer is the perfect time to do this in the Landes and the Pays Basque. We have selected three of the very best summer festivals; full of colour, music, dancing, street theatre and of course plenty of delicious food and drink.

  1. Fêtes de la Madeleine – Mont-de-Marsan

For five nights in July, the capital town of Les Landes celebrates the traditional festival of Madeleine with concerts, events, shows, meals and other entertainment.  You will see thousands of people enjoying the festival in blue and white outfits. Plenty of animations for all the family to enjoy! 17 to 21 July 2019.

  1. Fêtes de Bayonne

Bayonne is a captivating little city of timber-framed houses set on the confluence of two rivers. Every July a 5 day festival is held which is the largest in France. Like other festivals, people will dress up in red and white (matching the colours of the Spanish city, Pamplona) and enjoy the music, street theatre and parades. 24 July to 28 July 2019.

  1. Dax, La Feria

Each year in mid-August, the town of Dax holds its feria, a gathering mixing bullfighting – bloodless – and popular celebrations for all the generations. During the five days and five nights of this festival, there are hundreds of thousands of visitors dressed in red and white, singing and dancing to the sound of bandas orchestras and musicians. 14 – 18 August 2019.

Enjoy the summer – and hope you have an opportunity to visit our beautiful region and wonderful festivals.

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

Discover the delightful sweet and dry wines of the Jurançon region

The Jurançon wine region is discreetly situated in the beautiful part of South West France where we live. The stunning Atlantic coastline is to our west, we have the lush green forests of the Landes, the city of Bordeaux to the north and further south it is not too long before reaching the foothills of the Pyrénées and the gateway to Spain. And we love it.

What is there not to appreciate about Jurançon wines? They are wonderful!

They are either delectably sweet or perfectly dry – and a glass of Jurançon is fabulous with foie gras.

It’s fair to say that Jurançon wine is less well known than other appellations, however, we can claim that it is one of the oldest. The appellation dates back as far as the late 14th century when the best vineyard areas were recognised and valued by the princes of Béarn and the parliament of Navarre for taxation purposes.

Why are Jurançon wines so good? The weather certainly helps – the combination of the cool sea breeze from the ocean, the dry warm Föhn winds from the Pyrénées and the pleasantly hot summer temperatures providing a longer period of time for the delicious grapes to ripen.

Virtually all of the grapes grown in the region are white, mostly from the Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng, with a third variety being the Camaralet de Lasseube. These grape varieties have adapted well to the climatic conditions, with the fruit growing high above the ground. This benefits the grape by avoiding the worst of the spring frosts, making the grapes very resistant and hardy.

If you have never visited this fantastic region before, why not come and try Jurançon wines for yourself?

Santé!

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/         

 

Realise your French dream – and avoid costly mistakes 

Renovating a property in France is the dream for many of us.  We love the characterful properties, the laid back lifestyle and of course the spectacular coastline and countryside.

The Landes in South West France is a popular destination for many homebuyers who appreciate the unspoilt natural landscape, the respect for the environment, its close proximity to Spain as well as the excellent transport links to cities such as Bordeaux and Paris.

Once you find the house that you have been looking for, it can be tempting to press ahead without necessarily giving sufficient time or consideration to the finer details in planning your construction project. However, in the long run this haste could prove very costly indeed.

Recently there has been a good case in point. On the French Riviera, the owner of a €50 million château has been instructed by the court to demolish his property because he had not obtained proper planning permission.

This maybe an extreme example; it is important to note though that the construction of any building over 10 m2 requires planning permission. It always pays to ensure you have the right permits.

Also, if you carry out any renovations yourself and decide to sell on your property, you will be liable for the cost of maintaining these improvements for a period up to 10 years. That is why all professional artisans hold what is called decennial insurance.

Fortunately there is a solution: at Kiwi Construction we can do all phases of renovations for both interior and exterior projects specifically specialising in heritage properties. We have been working in the region since 2005 and therefore have more than 15 years’ local knowledge. We understand the sensitivities of local planning and have our own in-house draughtsman who has 30 years’ experience.

If you are considering any kind of renovation project please contact us and we will be happy to talk through your ideas whatever the challenges. We make the impossible, possible!

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