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What Makes A French House A Home

Your French Home

So many people who buy a house in France have been dreaming about it and planning it for a very long time. Buying your own ‘little bit of France’ is luckily a dream that lots of people manage to turn into reality. However, when you have your first viewing trip in search of a French property and begin to look more closely at French homes, some people are a little dismayed! Often the idyllic cottage exterior is not matched by a tasteful and comfortable interior. There is no denying that French taste is very different from U.K. taste and the way most French people live their lives is different. Remembering back to when I first took potential buyers on viewing trips more than 30 years ago, the first impressions that my buyers gained was of houses that needed complete modernisation, renovation and redecoration. The second impression was to wonder how and where the current owners relaxed as there was rarely sofas or armchairs and often each bedroom led off another! Fortunately that was 30 years ago and life has changed, making French houses more comfortable and attractive. However, if you are looking at French property under £100,000 do still be prepared for a shock, but not always. There are now some amazing houses at this price that are really lovely homes and these days with so many images loaded onto websites potential buyers do get a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Living In Your Garden

Most of us who look to buy a home in France inhabit the interior of our U.K. home much more than we are likely to in France. This is particularly relevant if buying property in central or southern France where the climate is so much better. Remember when looking for a French home that you are likely to spend at least half of the year living outside. To make a French house a home I think it is important to be able to access the garden from as many ground floor rooms as possible, so that you can open the house to the garden but more specially allow your garden to feel part of your home.

How Else Can You Make Your French House Into A Home?

  • Probably by not getting too carried away with the feeling that you have to make it French. It is quite amazing how, despite the fact that I thought I had decorated and furnished my French homes in a French style, all my French friends and neighbours always fell in love with the ‘English look’ that I had created. I always tried to avoid items that were, to my mind truly French, unless I really liked them and I guess I incorporated some of my favourite belongings from my home in England. In fact, I think I enjoyed taking French furniture finds back to England as much as I enjoyed furnishing my French home with them.
  • To make your French house into a home I think it is best to decorate it sympathetically blending in with the structure and the environment. Let the house ‘speak’ to you, and if possible don’t rush into major changes until you have made friends with every corner of it.
  • If you are not shipping furniture out from the U.K. take time to find pieces that you really like. As you immerse yourself in your new environment you are likely to find yourself drawn to items that will be appropriate and will enhance the your French home.

inside a house in france

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