Shop front

In the frame: an architect’s compromise

Must any meeting with a tradesperson involve air being sucked through teeth? After an 800km drive to meet an architect this week, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

I drove ten hours from Lille to south-west France on Monday, met the architect there on Tuesday morning and then drove ten hours back home again. It was exhausting.

As regular readers will know, we have found a property we want to buy and turn into a cheese-and-wine business.

I don’t want to be all mysterious about it, but we haven’t signed the compromis de vente yet. So, forgive me, but I’d rather not say just yet exactly where it is.

There are some clauses we have had built into the draft compromis that will allow us to walk away from the deal if they don’t work out. One of them is the front of the building.

At the moment, the shop front has an arched window above a stone base.

Shop front

I explained to the architect that we want to take out that base and fit folding doors. We figure that during the summer, people can then sit in the doorway and feel that they are outside but be in the cool of the building.

There will be chairs and tables in the street too, of course.

However, the architect saw things differently – cue the air-sucking. His primary role is to make sure that the beauty of the village is maintained.

“You’ll need to keep the arch,” he said after a long pause.

But folding doors with individual panels of different heights simply won’t work. So I suggested inserting a plinth horizontally beneath the arch of the window instead, which would allow folding doors beneath.

He didn’t like the sound of that. We talked through some other options, including a complicated one that involved taking out the arch to create a square space.

“People can then sit in the doorway and feel that they are outside but be in the cool of the building”

He realised that we were running out of possibilities and I could see he wanted to help. In the end – and much to my relief – he smiled and agreed to the plinth idea, with folding doors beneath.

“What colour will the door frames and plinth be?” he asked.

That’s something we hadn’t given any thought to. We haven’t even got a name for the business yet, so we certainly haven’t started contemplating colours.

But the mairie promptly sent me the official town colour palette. This shade or that shade is a rather nice problem to have… and one that helped me sleep very soundly when I got home on Tuesday.

This entry was published on Sat, 23 Mar 2019 at 09:31. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “In the frame: an architect’s compromise

  1. Your village has color shade cards? Our home happens to have violet volets and front door that the neighbors have tut tutted at since before we moved in. We will keep them as is because they are “different”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that the villagers feel able to tut. A friend of mine received a letter from her mairie for taking a relaxed approach to the village’s official colour palette. I quite like the colours on our list, though there is no shade of blue at all.


  2. Nice place to stop by eventually 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well if couleur…is only da problem .. me knows a couple o experts that could help you out …and perhaps you could name the business les beaux fromages …..or from spell check just gave me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes! The official Town colour palette… As our property backs on to the Canal du Midi which is a Unesco World Heritage site, there are all sorts of restrictions on the colour of our house and the shutters. When we tell our local French friends, they just laugh and tell us to do what we like. How very French! Admittedly, we are not in the centre of town and the house is neither visible from the road, nor from the Canal. So…


    • I don’t mind a colour palette for a village. I think it’s quite a sweet idea, especially for ones from the Middle Ages. Mind you, we lived in Brighton before and the houses were painted all colours of the rainbow and it was thoroughly charming. Think we have narrowed down our choices to two.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Our colour palette was between two colours of blue, no problem we loved both. So we picked the gorgeous French blue which got a lot of “brilliant” from the people of the village. Good luck with the stone work.


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