Thursday, April 3, 2014

La Maison - Upon Closer Inspection (13-Mars-2014)

Note before reading: The tone of this post may sound negative. That is not my intent. I am very happy with the house and glad we were able to rent it for our stay. I'm just trying to provide some honest insight to our initial reactions during the move. This post reflects my reaction on day two, we've been here over two weeks now and most of the items are already taken care of or being addressed. I'm very happy with our choice of homes!

So the first night is behind us and we are waking up to our first full day in our new home. Time to take a closer look.

Like I said - the house is very large - but a lot of it is the open foyer that you enter when you come in the front door. (photo to left).

I'll try to explain some of the rooms in a later post but first let me talk about the age of the house and some of the items in it.

We think the house is around 50 years old. I believe it was built by our landlord and he and his wife lived her for 35 years. Unfortunately his wife passed away and he decided to move to the city. The house has been rented ever since. The house was and still is obviously very grand. But it is also showing its age.

As I walked through the house and looked at (and smelled) things I started to have some misgivings. Lots of mildew smells. The hallway carpet to the bedrooms in very old and stained and the carpet in our bedroom is also very old. The drapes I'm sure are original and in bad need of cleaning. The kitchen smelled greasy and the cupboards were literally piled with pots and pans, many of which were very worn and in need of being replaced. (I've since emptied the cupboards, washed everything and sorted out the unusable items)

There are two beautiful fireplaces that we aren't allowed to use because they are old and the landlord doesn't want to risk a fire. (nor do we!) The couch in the living room area is an off-white and is visibly stained (I've already removed the cushion covers and washed those)

The beds in two of the bedrooms, including ours, are old. They were very nice in their time but the mattresses are stained and musty. Worse - there are signs of mold in the bedroom we plan to use for our daughter and in the adjoining closet in our bedroom.

Part of my misgivings I put down to simply being American and expecting everything to be new. I truly believe it's a "cultural thing". This is a big adjustment for me. Paul and I have never been 'fixer-upper' people. We are much more the type to remodel. Our home in the States is very modern and although I'm not a good housekeeper (really!) - we don't have the same types of aging signs that are evident in our new home.

Another part I put down to having multiple families living in the home for the last 6-10 years (not sure how long it has been rented). Renters don't have the luxury of making big changes and when you know your stay is temporary you are less inclined to put a lot of time or money into fixing up or changing things in a house you don't own.

Fortunately our landlord is very understanding. He has a caretaker (Georges) who lives on our property and he has already been here to address the important things like the mold (which is from an old water event and was handled by a professional cleaning company a couple of years ago) and to give us permission to throw some things out if they are broken or can't be used. More on that later.

So - I have a lot of cleaning to do. Over the last couple of weeks I've wondered if we should have looked at more options such as a newer apartment in the city. But that is a moot point now. I know that once I've unpacked completely and become more comfortable I will be happy in our new home. I know I will also be very glad to have the extra space when company starts to arrive.

It's not bad it's just different, as is everything else we do here. A little elbow grease and attitude adjustment on my part and we'll be set for a very happy stay in our new house. After all - it isn't the house that makes a home.

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