My Mazamet

Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho

Roof-work, kitchens and sculleries

Can you spot the man on the roof?

Can you spot the man on the roof?

Now there’s a good picture for proportion! Doesn’t he look tiny? He’s replaced eight broken roof tiles and repaired cracks on the chimneys. Fortunately the roof is in quite good condition.

What he was doing when I took the picture was fitting a chimney cap on that particular one because it’s the one that goes down to the newly installed wood-burning stove (in the study.)

I love how the doors align and you can see right through to that back wall which is covered in ivy.

The kitchen has arrived in a ton of boxes which are all in the hall. The fitters start work on Tuesday. For some reason they need a whole week to do it. Having that done will be a relief. Using a 1927 kitchen which had been conceived for servants isn’t the most convenient experience. The way it was originally designed is you get to the kitchen by going through the fine scullery. It has cabinets from floor to ceiling and its own sink. This area was used to keep porcelain, silver and other tableware.

It’s also where the scullery maid would wash the dishes. Then comes the actual kitchen which had furniture, open shelves, and a few cabinets- and the cooker and oven.


And then finally the other scullery, where pots and pans were kept and washed, probably by a different maid.

scullery002The pots/pans scullery is becoming a laundry room. The fine scullery is losing its sink (a wine rack is going in its place), and we’re keeping the cabinets for their original use. The kitchen itself is going to be contemporary, but with curved cabinets to match the art-deco ones in the scullery. By next week Friday we’ll have the after pictures. That’ll be two rooms mostly done, not yet refined, but functional. In the study all we need furniture-wise is a coffee table, then curtains, but that can wait. That’ll be three rooms done-ish! I also got furniture for one of the guest bedrooms. A 19th century wrought iron and brass bed, and two chinese side tables with mother of pearl inlay, also 19th century.

Some days I feel terribly overwhelmed. Furnishing and decorating a house like this is a daunting task. Some days, like today, I just need to stop and do nothing at all because my head is spinning. Other times I’m paralysed by the fear I’m doing it all wrong. Then Mike says stop overthinking every little thing and that tends to be enough to get me back on track. Anyway, we’ve only been here for six weeks, so it’s a decent amount of progress, I think.


11 comments on “Roof-work, kitchens and sculleries

  1. davidprosser
    May 21, 2015

    Seeing the man on the roof really does put the whole place in perspective. Without him the place would have looked quite ordinary in a photograph as th doors nd windows would have been imagined as normal size.
    Hugs to you both.


    • Mr. Merveilleux
      May 21, 2015

      I know! Isn’t that just extraordinary? I can’t tell you how surprised I was when I saw the house in person. From the pictures I found it nice, but had no idea of the real size. Three adult men could easily stand side by side on a window sill 🙂


  2. Charmaine Martin
    May 21, 2015

    Excellent progress! This is a marathon, not a sprint. The rooms you’ve done look lovely and livable for the long term. There is no “wrong” – this is YOUR home you’re making. Please yourselves. You know you’ll be changing it in the future to incorporate new-found treasures. Just enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. makagutu
    May 21, 2015

    Pink, anytime you feel you are doing it all wrong, pinch yourself. From where I sit, you are doing a superb job. And it is not a sprint. Go easy on yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory
    May 21, 2015

    Only six weeks? You’ve moved mountains already, and as much as you’d like to see the house finished and perfect, you should be enjoying this period of intense creativity as well.

    Btw I hope these pics you’ve posted are part of a pictorial diary you will publish one day. What you’re doing is part of the house’s heritage, n’est ce pas? 🙂


  5. roughseasinthemed
    May 22, 2015

    I like the fine scullery. Actually I like both. You caused a fine marital disput as I said I would have left it, he said it needed updating, then we argued about when it dated from. So, do you have the answer to that?.

    Next, that other picture of the kitchen with a job (?) would that have been a range originally? It looks like the size and location for one.


    • Mr. Merveilleux
      May 22, 2015

      The sculleries are from 1927, the cabinets that are where the range used to be are ultra-modern, top of the line, 1950’s 😀
      We’ve been having the same argument again and again. I too would have kept it, and just cleaned it all up. My interest is preserving the house as it is even if it’s not as comfortable as a modern home. Mike on the other hand wants new bathrooms with underfloor heating- and he says it’s not fair for me to expect him to wash pots and pans in a box room (I cook, he washes up)- and that he’s not my maid blah blah blah.
      I’m choosing my battles carefully.


      • roughseasinthemed
        May 22, 2015

        Hob. Not job. I think I had something else on my mind there.

        Anyway. I think the dated cabinets are so period, they are rather classy. And I love the black and white tiling, like the bathroom you showed us earlier. I think A’s carp was about the quality of the tiling as they looked somewhat uneven as though the plaster underneath hadn’t been done very well.

        It’s academic in a way. We never change our houses until we are due to sell. We actually do need a new bathroom and kitchen at the flat, and a sink would be a good idea at the finca. Trouble is, we are very good at making do and adapting. Plus I loathe built in furniture. It ruins the proportions of rooms.

        I’d (we’d) probably have put a range back though. After he convinced me to get a Rayburn in our last UK house to fit in the neat original perfect-for-the-range spot, I was immediately converted. Stylish and functional in one.


  6. Tish Farrell
    January 6, 2017

    I never imagined myself saying this, but I’m having a fit of scullery envy. One would be a treat, but TWO! Our cottage is like a long house – one room opening into another, and nowhere to put anything. A bigger house would help of course. Your house is very very lovely, and I too would want to keep its older features where possible. Hard choices sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2015 by in Mazamet, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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