construction france

Making the best of the space in your home in France

Why is creating an effective use of space in your home so important?

We discuss that question often with our clients; we understand how crucial it is to plan the layout of their home to design the floor area as efficiently as possible. Whether the property is large or small, planning the allocation and positioning of the interior space is a key step for ensuring that your home is appropriate to your needs both now and in the future. 
Retaining the character of the property as part of a renovation project is an essential part of what we do, respecting the heritage of your home whilst also making it more comfortable for modern living. So, what are the main things you need to consider?

1. Think about the position of the plumbing for bathrooms, toilets, showers as well as for kitchen units. In the first instance, consider the practical needs of you and your family. Any significant new renovation is likely to require new plumbing pipes, so decide where you wish them to run and the position of your kitchen and bathroom areas. Termites can also be a problem, needing a water supply to exist. This could be from condensation on a water pipe or a leak in a badly maintained wall… so another reason for looking closely at the structure of your property.

2. If you are planning an extension, avoid through rooms. You need to ensure that your home is liveable and the circulation space healthy, therefore it is wise to consider the function of every room at this planning stage. Providing direct access to areas such as the kitchen, dining and living space is especially important.

If you are considering a renovation project and thinking about making the most effective use of space, contact us and we will be happy to help. We have extensive experience in undertaking renovation and constructive projects in this beautiful region, working with a range of property professionals.

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

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #planning #spaceutilisation

How heat efficient systems can reduce your energy bills

If you live in an older property in France, you may be familiar with the challenge of keeping the property warm and properly ventilated.

We advise our clients that three of the most important considerations are good insulation, installing a cost effective heating system and ensuring a good circulation of air in the building.

Insulation will help to ensure that the property is air tight and well insulated. This will keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter and save up to 80% in heating and cooling losses. Insulation can also help to reduce condensation.

Having a well maintained, efficient heating system is also crucial. There are of course a range of options, including solar heating, geothermal heating, wood, oil, electric or non-geothermal systems such as heat pumps.

However there is a third consideration which often clients do not think about…. the importance of good ventilation and the efficient circulation of air. Mechanical ventilation systems – often referred to in France as Double Flux VMC or otherwise known as Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems – can reduce your heating bills by around 20%. They work by drawing in the fresh air from outside and take it out via a simple flux mechanism.

There are a number of benefits: you’ll experience fresh, cooler air during the summer (perfect for hot evenings and nights) and it’s cheaper compared to air conditioning. These ventilation systems are better for your health, too. You will be less likely to experience mould in the house and for those who suffer from conditions such as asthma, the cleaner, purified air will be a real advantage.

So if you are looking to retain the character of your beautiful older property in France – but introduce modern thermal efficient systems to make it more comfortable – now you can… 
Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #ventilationsystems#thermalefficiency

batiment biarritz

Why you’ll love the food and drink of the Pays Basque

Food in the Pays Basque in South West France is a heavenly mix of Spanish and French cuisine: and increasingly other countries too. The region is famous for its tantalising sweet-hot peppers, an abundance of fresh seafood, hearty hams and other succulent meats, as well boasting an extensive choice of delicious cheeses. What is there not to love?

The legendary American Chef Julia Child once said, “Wine is meant to be with food – that’s the point of it.” And here in the Pays Basque, we have our fair share of superb wines from local vineyards; amongst these are the distinctive wines from Irouléguy (the smallest wine appellation in France) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, to the more widely known Madiran and Jurançon vintages.

There is so much to enjoy in Pays Basque dishes, both traditional and more modern.

On a typical Pays Basque menu you will generally find food steeped in tradition and flavour. Basque chorizo is one example; smoky and spicy, this tasty sausage has a vibrant red colour from the dried smoked Espelette peppers that are famous in the region. Let’s also not forget the celebrated Bayonne ham, a wide variety of duck dishes and cod prepared in a special Basque style sauce with peppers and flavoured with garlic.

Seafood is, without question, excellent; the superb Atlantic coastline is an ideal place to discover the best oysters in France as well as all kinds of fish and shellfish… accompanied by a chilled glass of rosé or white wine, perhaps?

As our taste buds change, the cuisine of the Pays Basque is also evolving to adapt original flavours and combinations. Many restaurants will include exciting new fusion recipes, prepared using ingredients from across the world and offering an additional dimension to French cooking; the aromatic and fragrant appeal of Thai food, elegant Japanese cuisine such as sushi and the spicier flavours of the orient, for example.
If you love good food or drink, you’ll love the Pays Basque.

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

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #jurancon #madiran #wine #food #cuisinepaysbasque



Les cercles : républicains et associatifs

Spécifiques au Sud de la Gironde et au Nord des Landes de Gascogne, les cercles font partie de l’histoire d’hier comme de la vie culturelle et sociale d’aujourd’hui.
On peut y parler gascon, écouter du rock, y voir une exposition, participer à un tournoi de belote ou de fléchettes ou simplement y boire un verre entre concitoyens… Les Cercles des villages des Landes font partie du patrimoine vivant, même si leurs statuts et leurs règlements ne sont plus ce qu’ils étaient vraiment autrefois.

De « cercles républicains » fondés en 1830 à « cafés associatifs » au 3e millénaire, ces lieux typiques remplissent une mission primordiale au sein des communes rurales. Bien moins nombreux qu’antan, ils sont au centre de toutes les attentions de la Fédération des cercles de Gascogne pour que perdure leur rôle rassembleur.

Des lieux en vie

Nés dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle à l’initiative de notables réunis autour d’idées communes (le plus souvent politiques), les cercles reflètent les affinités de leurs membres avec des appellations éloquentes : de l’Union, Républicain, des Démocrates, des Citoyens, Ouvrier, des Travailleurs, de la Concorde, de la Paix, de la Fraternité, de l’Avenir, etc. Leur existence est légalisée avec la Loi de 1901 sur les associations mais leurs principes restent pendant quelques décennies inchangées…

Pas de membres mineurs, pas de femmes (par ordre du Préfet !) et des lieux strictement réservés aux hommes qui y viennent deviser, s’informer, boire du vin… Depuis, les mutations de la société ont inscrit les Cercles dans l’ouverture. D’ailleurs, les institutions départementales et régionales travaillent même sur leur pérennisation au travers de pistes articulées autour de l’animation, de promotion des productions locales, voire d’informations touristiques.

Avec 25 ans d’expérience et de savoir-faire mis au service de ses clients, l’entreprise générale de bâtiment Kiwi Construction cultive de grandes valeurs éthiques : honnêteté, intégrité et professionnalisme. Grâce à une équipe d’experts et à l’utilisation de matériaux de qualité ainsi que des dernières technologies, Kiwi réalise tous les projets de rénovation et de construction, quel que soit leur dimension. Sa devise ? « Rendre l’impossible possible » ! Contact : Kiwi Construction – 460 chemin de Pedoucasse, 40360 Tilh. Tél. 05 58 55 35 22.

entreprise de maconnerie biarritz

Enjoying the sunshine in your swimming pool in France

The sun is shining against a bright blue sky, the temperature is lovely and hot – perfect conditions for a dip in the cool, blue water of your own swimming pool. If you are looking to build a pool for your home, or maybe you are seeking to renovate an existing one, below are a few things to think about.

We have years of experience in building pools and we will be delighted to help you consider all the different issues required to ensure that the final result will look and feel fantastic. The addition of a swimming pool will generally increase the value of a property so it can be a good long-term investment.

Firstly, what type of pool would you like? The choices are many… do you prefer an outdoor pool or an indoor pool where you can enjoy a swim whatever the weather; a pool house, spa facilities, hot tubs… not forgetting terracing, covers to reduce evaporation and security fencing. With water being a precious supply, it’s also worth thinking about recycling water for your pool, reducing the impact on the environment and your bills by installing a below the ground reservoir which will collect rainwater for use during the long summer months.
Finally it’s also important to factor in the necessary time for planning permission. For example, a swimming pool sized between 10m²- 60m² will require a Déclaration Préalable which can take around one month to be approved, plus you will need to allow some time for preparing the documentation.

We hope that this has given you some ideas on the things to consider when planning a pool project for your home in France.

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

Builders Landes

Applying a great finishing touch to your French home

When it comes to renovating your property in France, applying a great finishing touch will give your project a ‘wow factor’, impressing both family and friends. Once the plumbing, electrics, joinery and other work is complete, this is the time to start looking forward to completing the remaining work for your fully renovated French home. And with our 25 years’ experience in France we will ensure that the investment you make will deliver great results.

The quality of the plaster work in your home is crucial. We undertake all aspects of plastering, including the skimming of walls and ceilings to make them paint ready. We also provide plaster boarding and dry-lining on stud walls or on a metal framework. From mixing up the plaster and preparing the surface to applying a smooth coat, our experienced and skilled team will create a finished product that you will love.

Achieving a superb finish using proper techniques and the right preparation is always essential. So if your home needs a fresh lick of paint in a specific room or area, or a complete re-decoration, we can advise on the best quality paints and materials to achieve the look and feel you are seeking, and within your budget. We are also able to provide services for both commercial and residential painting and decoration for internal and external work.

We are confident that with our quality of craftsmanship, experience and skill you will be able to enjoy your home for many years to come.

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

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #painting #plastering

Builders Biarritz

Making your renovation project energy efficient

Renovating an older property in France can have a number of benefits. It can restore a building that has become derelict or is in extremely poor condition; perhaps improve the overall living environment or result in a home that is more thermally efficient. Whatever the objective of your renovation project – and perhaps it is all of these – it’s important to consider a number of factors and plan accordingly, including the re-design, materials and of course your budget.

Energy efficiency is crucial in many ways. Even in south-west France, during the winter months the weather can be cold at times which means that without good levels of insulation, you could lose a considerable amount of heat. This will result in potentially higher energy bills than is necessary – and a colder house.

Ensuring that the roof structure is sound, structurally robust and water-tight should be one of your first priorities. We have 25 years’ experience in constructing, renovating and repairing all manner of different roof types and we are able to advise you on the best and most appropriate form of insulation. We use insulation called “Super 12” which has the highest energy rating and is often used in older roof structures; it’s ideal when you want to retain an older aspect of a roof truss, for example. We only use insulation and other materials that are fully compliant with French regulations.

It’s also important to think about the efficiency of any boiler, central heating system or wood burner to ensure that they are well-maintained, appropriate to the size of your property and remain fit for use.

You may also not be aware that there are some financial incentives available to permanent French residents with regard to energy efficiency. This includes being able to offset some of your income tax liability against the cost of materials and equipment and a reduced level of TVA. To find out more concerning eligibility, we recommend you discuss this with a qualified French-based accountancy firm.

Warmer weather may now be on its’ way – but springtime is the perfect time to plan ahead and ensure that your home is warm and thermally efficient for next winter.

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

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans#buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque#energyefficiency

Builders Landes

Revitalising stonework to create impact

When you find the French property of your dreams, but realise that the stone work is looking tired and not making the most of its’ beautiful features then we can help.

Original stonework is an important feature of many properties across France and is often one of the reasons we fall in love with a house. Restoring it to its former glory is not as difficult as you may think, as we have an experienced team of qualified masons who can restore or build with the following materials: brick, building stones (including marble, granite and travertine), limestone, cast stone, concrete blocks, glass blocks and cob. They use only the best materials and with our extensive knowledge of the local area, we can ensure that the newly renovated property reflects the heritage of the region and will be somewhere which you will enjoy living in. In the photos you can see how one of our current projects is progressing and is near to completion.

One way of revitalising old stones and creating positive impact is by using sandblasting and repointing, either internally within the home or outside for example with an exterior building or a garden wall. This could be by creating a new feature wall or by renovating an existing structure. Sandblasting involves projecting fine particles of sand at a surface and is the most effective way of restoring stone work and removing years of grime and soot. It’s also important not to underestimate the value of repointing. Mortar can account for around 15% of the surface area of a wall and is vital for preventing leaks and damp.

We understand the need to pay careful attention to the original features of the property, providing you with sound advice and guidance on how to renovate your home in a way that is in-keeping with the local area but also meets the requirements of modern day living. Over the years we have managed many projects that can appear to be impossible – and delivered great results for our clients. If you have a property that is in need of some care and attention – contact us and we’ll be pleased to discuss it 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.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #masonry

Marrying the old with the new

What’s your preferred style of French property? A traditional farmhouse set in the countryside; an elegant town house or maybe a villa that’s perfect for a short trip to the beach…. Finding a dream in France is an exciting project and one full of possibilities. And if you’ve already bought your home, getting started with the renovation is the important next stage.

France has a rich and varied local heritage with different architectural styles evident in each part of the country. In the Landes and Pays Basques regions in south west France property construction similarly reflects the traditions and culture of these areas with a several distinctive building types.

The pretty red and white houses are typical of the Pays Basques region, generally rectangular in shape and constructed using stone; the Maisons Béarnaises identifiable from their steeply pitched tile or slate roofs; and half-timbered colombage farmhouses and houses which are popular in various parts of the Landes and Pays Basques.

In the Pays Basque the majority of colombage properties are farmhouses which have upper floors generally constructed in an oak timber frame. In the north Landes area – notable for the huge Forêt des Landes that covers two-thirds of the area, providing plenty of wood for local building trades – you will also find beach style houses and Oustaù properties notable for their wood pigeon wing-shaped roofs.

Once you’ve found your dream home in France and you’re planning your renovation project, deciding how to marry the old with the new is crucial: modernising your house whilst ensuring that the essential character of the building is sensitively retained.

We love these projects; working with you to create a home that has the look and feel that you’re seeking, whilst respecting the culture and traditional heritage of the local area. Often aspects of a build project can appear tricky, but with our know-how, experience and practical approach we will find a solution that works. And the finished article will be well worth the time and investment.

With us, we’ll make what may seem an impossible dream… possible.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz and the Pays Basques and Landes departments.
Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #colombage