Since moving to La Taillede in the summer of 2014, we have done an awful lot of work here; mostly renovating the buildings and fitting them out. We had help from a building company to put the concrete floors in, the windows and the exterior doors, but all the fitting out has been done by our team here, with additional help from Josep who did mostly stone work and tiling.
We set out to produce all our own wood for the project so we bought a band saw for sawing the trunks up, and a planer that can plane 4 sides at once. This means we can make everything from roof beams right through to tongue and groove for paneling. We are lucky that at La Taillede we have a mixed hardwood forest, mostly oak and sweet chestnut but other species as well such as ash, lime, beech and even some cherry and walnut. We built a solar kiln to speed up the dying process and a covered wood store in the saw yard.
In the woodworking department, Matt has done a lot of the felling of trees and manages the forest. Luka took over the operation of the band saw from Nigel when he arrived, who now does most of the carpentry work; not bad for a 75 year old! Ali does the pyrography (wood burning), Dani is chief varnisher and Luka crafts some items himself but also does a lot of the fitting for Nigel. Quite a team!
We have built a 4 bedroom, 3 bedroom house for Nigel and Gina in the building at the end of the Bergerie. This was probably originally the shepherd’s cottage. We have created 4 holiday apartments (gites) in the main building, built a yurt platform with summer kitchen & bathroom, and are currently completing Matt and Ali’s house.
In total we have built 7 kitchens; all the fitted cupboards are made here out of our own wood and even the concrete work tops were all cast here and polished by Luka. We have completed 11 bathrooms (with 2 more to go in our house), a wood fired hot tub, all the beds and most of the garden furniture. Along side that we have cut all our own firewood for each winter and this year will hopefully have some to sell. We certainly haven’t been idle or bored!
We think that there is something special about having used wood from the forest at La Taillede to renovate the property. Partly because it is all completely sustainable and has no carbon footprint apart from the fuel to fell it and saw it, but also because it just seems fitting to use our own wood. It also means we can get creative and end up with some unique pieces and personal touches to the gites.
Now we have finished the main work on the buildings we are deciding what to make next whether it be garden furniture, hot tubs or something else, maybe cheese boards!
The gallery below is a quick tour of the woodwork at La Taillede so far. If you have something you would like us to make for you please get in touch!