This is the story of James Roeves’ ancient stone cottage renovation.
Please enjoy a tour of the cottage, construction photos, and our exclusive interview with the owner! Enjoy.
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Ancient Stone Cottage in France – From Bread Oven Cottage to Luxurious Tiny House Vacation in France…😍
Hi! Please tell us about your tiny house project!
I have just completed renovation of an ancient stone built bread oven building in the garden.
Obviously the constraints of the existing building, but it was more a case of looking for a small space to convert. I have renovated full-sized houses, but love the additional thought required to make small spaces work.
How long did it take you to finish your tiny house?
Almost a year, but my father in law became ill with cancer which put things on hold as my wife had to travel back and forth to the UK and I had to look after the kids. realistically it was probably an eight or nine-month job.
Did you do it yourself? Who helped? How much did it end up costing you to build it? (optional)
All the work was undertaken by my wife and me with the exception of the roof. we employed a roofer who also incorporated space saving insulation into the structure. we did have to bring in water, electricity and connect to the main house’s waste system. Completely replace the upstairs beams and flooring and the same goes for the windows and door.
renovation cost was pretty high, around 35,000€ as we spared no expense and there was in actual fact nothing more than four walls. We have a background in hospitality and the idea was always to rent it out for luxury catered or self-catering stays.
How did you figure out where to put it? Do you keep it in one place or do you move around?
in this case, we were building in an existing structure with a floor area of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) by 4.6 meters (15 feet) although we were lucky enough to have further space for a shower room above the bread oven.
What’s been the most challenging part about your tiny house so far?
installing the floor as it was necessary to dig out the dirt floor to a depth of 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) due to needing to put in drainage under the floor. the rear wall is below ground level and had large water vats which naturally filled by ingress. So not only did we add drainage, but we needed to leave a channel between the wall and concrete flooring slab. then add a layer of insulation, waterproofing, and drywall. we also insulated and dry lined the other walls which were quite challenging when you have such limited dimensions and uneven and bowed walls.
What benefits are you experiencing from it so far?
It is a fantastic space and I keep joking about my wife kicking me out if we have an argument. Unfortunately, she says she is the one who will move out in protest.
What advice would you give to others who are interested in going or building tiny? What mistakes could you help them avoid?
every part of there build, or in our case renovation has to be given careful thought. We sloped walls to give the impression of space, we needed to think about everything from tile size, to use of colour. the same was done with fittings and furnishings; we have a combination oven and dishwasher. we chose a sofa with thin armrests to save 20 centimeters. The coffee table rises up to become the dining room table.
To renovators, in particular, the best part was being able to recycle the old materials. the bed is made from the old beams and reclaimed planking, as were the dining roof table top and most of the surfaces and sills. the bedroom floor is end grain flooring made from roofing rafters.
My advice to avoid mistakes is to research, watch videos, offer to work for free for a few days with craftsmen if you lack certain skills. however, also remember that if something doesn’t work out you generally realize before its too late and you can start again and usually reuse the materials in one way or another.
Do you have a website, blog, or social media pages where we can connect with you and follow along?
From the Airbnb Page (Yes, You Can Book This Tiny House)
The ancient bread oven building has been restored with care and respect, recycling and incorporating reclaimed materials where feasible.
Our big thanks to James Roeves for sharing!🙏
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