The Pig Shed becomes a posh spa

Written by on May 22, 2013 in My French House

renovating in france

After the external structural work was begun (roof tiles rain down) and the rebuilding was finished (a phoenix arises from the rubble) – it was time to work inside the pig pen.

The OH who is the Gov’nor when it comes to building, instructed me, the apprentice, to do the painting of the horrible black, sticky, smelly anti-damp paint on the breeze block walls before we went any further.

By now I was used to pulling the pallet truck with the hot tub on it which was in the middle of the room. As you may recall we had to put it in the room before we built the last wall as it was way too big to fit in through a door or window.

Painting with anti-damp liquid is a horrible job, it smells vile, clogs up the paint brush and is physically difficult to get off the brush and onto the surface.

After that we got on with stud walls, insulating – and I can’t stress how much we’ve learned how important it is to insulate as much as possible when you’re renovating these old French properties. We boarded the walls and ceiling and then plastered. By now we had split the room into two halves – one for the hot tub, the other for a sparring area for the OH who is a boxer and for another great e-bay bargain I’d found – a sauna!

The end of the first room to be renovated was in sight – it had taken months. The last bit of plastering done we heaved a sigh of relief and tried to pull the hot tub into place – the OH fell backwards and straight into the wall where he promptly made an enormous derrière sized hole.

I can’t tell you we laughed it off – we didn’t.

After we had replastered, our neighbours Aris who is Greek and Katherine who is Australian helped us to manoeuvre the hot tub and this time it went to plan.

We painted, laid the floor and unwrapped the hot tub.

renovating in france

What a moment it was – we were so thrilled. After all the hard work we finally were able to have a bit of luxury we thought…

We’d bought the hot tub to France from the UK on the back of our old trailer, it had been stored for 3 years in a shed and then the best part of a year in the pig pen while we were renovating around it – we had no idea if it would even work, the lights came on when we plugged it in but we could only really know once it was filled with water.

We ran a hose pipe into the tub and after several hours it was full. We turned it on – soft coloured lights came on under water, bubbles came out  of holes – we were ecstatic.

However bubbles weren’t the only thing that came out – water did too, from underneath the hot tub. Not only that – the water didn’t heat up at all.

The chances of getting a hot tub engineer to this remote part of France for a reasonable price was not an option. We had to figure it out for ourselves – the company I’d bought the hot tub from had gone out of business (that’s why I’d got it so cheap in the first place – definitely a lesson for me there).

renovating in franceWhen you take on a big renovation project in France you learn to be pragmatic and determined. We scoured the internet and figured out we had a broken pipe and a broken pump. We managed to track down replacements from other models that looked similar – it took several months.

Finally, we had the bits, the OH went out to the pig pen/spa and told me to stay away until he’d finished.

Several hours later, he returned to the house triumphant, took me by the hand and led me to the prize – a bubbling, warm watered tub, in a dry floored, sparkling clean room.

I can tell you I stayed in that tub until my skin was so wrinkled I looked like an alien!

A bientôt


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  1. Celia says:

    Janine! I just read all your stories about your home that you've been renovating! I hadn't come across them before was so enjoy your writing. It truly has been a labor of love – what else could you call it?! You and the gov-nor are a great team by the sounds of it. I look forward to seeing more stories about your renos!! I hate spiders too!!