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

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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/         

 

#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/          

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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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/         

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

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

 

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.