Fool for France

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Finally,  my skylights have arrived and are being installed. On the left you see the “before” skylight: single – pane,  condensate – attracting, generally leaky, thoroughly problematic. No wonder there were only a couple of them. Beneath each existing skylight is a patch of skylight – sized rotten floorboards.

I had been thinking the attic would have a more casual vibe than the rest of the house, with its dark wooden beams and rough, character – filled floorboards. Art fart country loft, I thought, I cannot wait. Then I found out what insulation and plasterboard do to walls and an old ceiling; basically they cover up so much that what is left looks a little out of place. I thought well, okay, with the right paint and lighting, and of course those way cool floors, it will still be great. Now big chunks of floor are going.

With its kitchenette and bathroom down the hall, the attic is in danger of coming out looking like an upscale country pub. Maybe I should put in a tartan carpet and submit to fate.  Eew, no, such a bad idea.

Whatever I do, I’ll be happy to have skylights like the one on the right. These are Conservation roof lights, approved for listed houses in England. They maintain the proportions of the old lights but they are double paned and have sturdier frames.

I added some skylights. Back during my fantasy loft phase I specified huge ones for the north – facing roof, so the spaces should be light – filled.  The guys are waterproofing and insulating like crazy. The rotting floorboards should be a thing of the past and it should feel toasty warm up there, even in winter.

8 Replies to “Skylights!”

  1. Well we just fitted regular new style veluxes, can’t see them unless in a helicopter and they look fine , best thing we have done apart from roof terrace. Basically they are simple, double glazed & thermally efficient, all of which are brand new concepts for this house

    One more single pane leaky “tabatiere” to replace in tulip bedroom, but will be making hole bigger to increase light as this is biggish room with smallest window in whole house!!!

    Can you find old floorboards to fill the gaps? Our 16th/17thC floorboards have been taken up historically for stuff like electric wiring and are not therefore perfect but they still look great . I guess we are luck that we have no rot

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    1. Smart move, getting a place where no one can see the skylights, except from the inside. I think too, at least from what I’ve seen your place lends itself to a cleaner, more industrial aesthetic. At my place I have been looking at a few things that are clearly modern but they are tougher to work in, while having them look right.

      It’s an interesting thing to keep in mind while you are househunting. You have to like what you see, of course, but also like what you will see once it is fixed up. I did not see much of what is going in right now but I had a general sense of the direction I’d be heading. I think I’m on my last project, though, so I hope it all works out.

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      1. Veluxes look fine fron inside
        Simple, neat, effective
        My builder has done his best to line up & match in with existing ( but eccentrically spaced) roof timbers so I am happy
        Personally I think the odd clearly modern piece is a great contrast juxtaposed with the old and original.
        Good design is good design , whatever it’s age and provenance.
        I have had negative feedback from the restoration purists but do I care?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Trust me, no purist would like all of my decisions, either. Just as every winemaker claims s/he expresses the spirit of the terroir, those of us who love our renovation projects argue that we are only really bringing out the character of the house. We blind ourselves to our own input, our own terroir, baggage, opinions, whatever. I’m okay with that.

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    2. And oh, the floorboards. I wish I could just fill in. Seriously, the more you look the worse it gets. I think we are up to about a third of the floor needing replacement, in patches, like a floor with measles. Then the rest is still warped old odds, ends and reject pieces, held in place by sander-eating 16-penny nails. On the floor below, where the basic floorboards are nice, I insisted they deal with the issues. In the attic, I folded. The only question is what we’ll do now.

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      1. I guess floor wise we were lucky
        Minimal filling needed though we do have a level disparity in one area ( but only at one side of room!)
        My newer 19thc floorboards are pretty complete with just a little patch of long vacated worm which, frankly, I am not going to replace. Once lime washed /waxed they will look fine
        If we wanted perfect finishes everywhere we would not have purchased period hovels!

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