Just Merveilleux?

Life at № 42

The best Christmas gift EVER.

mazamet1920s

So I finally did it, I took my courage in both hands and emailed the pictures of the work on the house to the family who built it… who had the interiors done by exceptionally talented artists and artisans, and who spent their Christmases here for many generations. I really wanted to be sure I was getting the concept right, and only the people who lived and breathed the place could tell me. I got this wonderful message back (my translation):

“I looked at the pictures of “our” house with much emotion.
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to, because I was so afraid of what you might have changed.
What a beautiful surprise…
You’ve kept the Spirit of the House. Everything looks the same, but to my shock, in a better way. It’s hard for me to accept it’s Christmas and we aren’t there, but thank you for what you’ve done.
I’m sadly happy, or happily sad?
We wish you as many marvellous moments there as we had!”

That’s a relief. I’m on the right track. This was the one seal of approval I wanted and needed.

The woman who wrote the letter is the great-granddaughter of the one you see in the picture above (sitting by the central door with the scottish terrier.) And the man in the window on the top left is her great-great-grandfather. I’ve told them they must come to dinner whenever they visit the region. They live in yet another large property in the Lyon region, but I do hope they find the time to come one day.

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20 comments on “The best Christmas gift EVER.

  1. karenjane
    December 27, 2015

    That is wonderful news, & you must feel so happy knowing the previous owner approves of all your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      Well, I’d meaning to send them pictures for months, and was never brave enough until a few days ago 🙂 So yes, it’s fantastic!

      Like

  2. tildeb
    December 27, 2015

    Yes, I really like that phrase, “the Spirit of the House”. It captures the idea that the house and property are subject to the ‘owners’ who live there but they are really borrowed only for a length of time. What you do to the house and property matters because it lives on even after you are gone. Each house in this sense is a legacy project and those who keep this in mind when doing renovation and property work almost always add personal touches to this feeling, this spirit, that belongs to the house itself. This is the real value of the house and setting and one we come to know intimately by living there. This feeling is the house’s gift to us, the temporary occupants, and we are wise to pay it heed. By doing so we then receive this spirit to enrich us in our daily lives.

    I think you’re doing a great ‘job’ in every sense of the word by bringing you and the house into alignment, into a shared spirit. I think this feeling is what the great-granddaughter was referencing that she once had with this house – as well as feel its loss, so to speak – and I think her opinion matters because it’s a means for you to adjudicate yourself and all of your expense and effort through the eyes of someone who has shared that feeling.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      I loved it too. It’s interesting and amusing (and comforting) that we all share this sense of The Spirit of the House. Or House of the Spirits? 🙂 We are now, of course, connected forever. I’m sitting by the fire where she once sat. I sleep in her grandmother’s bedroom. We all know how to jiggle the key of the door from the garden to the basement. We all know the sensation of seeing the camellias open in winter. It’s nice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have a basement?
        That’s awesome.

        Like

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        January 3, 2016

        The house has a full basement, the same size as the other floors. The original staff kitchen staff living room are down there. There’s also the boiler room, a workshop, a wine cellar, a room for garden equipment, a room for wood storage and a bathroom 🙂

        Like

  3. Helen Devries
    December 27, 2015

    You must have been nervous…people have a vision of their house as it was at one period – fixed in amber….so how lovely to have such a response.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      I was scared to death. How does one compete with Maison Jansen (and the sort of budget people who could hire Maison Jansen had)?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sirius Bizinus
    December 27, 2015

    Who needs Christmas miracles when you have such wonderful sentiments like this? I am very happy for you that you were able to get this response. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      Lovin’ the new gravatar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sirius Bizinus
        December 28, 2015

        Thank you! It’s Sir Puppykins the Adorable, a completely not made up deity. Like Zeus, he grants stupid wishes!

        Like

  5. docatheist
    December 27, 2015

    What a fantastic and personally momentous thing, for you and for the house’s previous family! Perhaps you are still a little shy of being proud of yourself, so let me say that I am very proud of you! You have done and are doing a marvelous and wonderful thing that enriches all who are exposed to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      How have you been? Still planning to move to another continent?

      Liked by 1 person

      • docatheist
        December 28, 2015

        I’m afraid I’ve been working harder than my health will support, even though by normal standards it wasn’t that much. I’m resting up now, though, and hope to do better for 2016. Still thinking about that move, too, though it might also be too much of a health challenge. We’ll see.

        Like

  6. foolsmusings
    December 27, 2015

    What a lovely gesture and an equally lovely reward. Well done sir!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. carmen
    December 27, 2015

    What a lovely Christmas message to receive, Mr. M!! As you might hear in these parts, “You done good, buddy!” 🙂 Makes all the ‘sweat equity’ worth it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      December 27, 2015

      Well, we’ll see in a few months what the completed project looks like. If the last house is anything to go by, it’ll take me approximately 15 years more of adjustments to get it just right 🙂

      Like

  8. davidprosser
    December 28, 2015

    What a very genuine compliment to your taste and style.
    Hugs

    Like

  9. acflory
    December 28, 2015

    Ah Pinky, that’s praise indeed. You really have breathed new life back into that house. -hugs-

    Like

  10. That’s nice, I’m glad you contacted them and were affirmed.
    I’m sure it made your day.

    Liked by 1 person

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