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.