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This small building Gers has experienced many vicissitudes, and its walls bear the marks. Gilles Chauvet understood this at the first glance, a beautiful day in 1992. By adding his own brand, he only took over a tradition, with spirit.

Renovate a Gers house

See the plan of this realization (in pdf): Rehabilitation of a small house

Recently annexed to a cafe, this house was, in a previous life, inhabited. But it has also, obviously, been used for many other purposes, according to the needs of its successive occupants. Its gable flanked by a simple door showed the scars of a lower entrance and a floor window.

■ The other walls, too, had lived well. Just like the roof: the curve of the chevron shore, to say the least original, testified. These old stones tell their story of their own. Gilles Chauvet, by discovering them, decided to write the following episode, while keeping coherent the whole of the work. It took him forty weeks spread over eight years to achieve this successfully.

A small volume well exploited

The house occupies 50 m2 on the ground for a height under ridge of 4 m. It is flanked by a shed, whose function has varied according to the times (souillarde, garage or henhouse).

■ Today, the ground floor consists of a large living room with kitchenette, separate toilet, a bedroom and a bathroom (shower and sink). Consolidation of sanitary facilities simplifies connections.
■ The numerous openings on all the walls, the small surface of the house, guarantee abundant natural light, at any time and in any season.
■ The available height has created a mezzanine floor, which occupies two-thirds of the floor space. One of the two trusses marks the boundary before the development, the other falls in the middle, leaving only a passage of 1.20 m under the entrance. The floor is divided into two parts, on either side of the second farm, and separated by storage.
■ The front part is occupied by the mezzanine, converted bedroom. A double saloon door allows access to the back room, designed as a storage attic.

Rebuild without destroying

This new layout makes the most of the existing, reorganizing the previous developments without major recovery masonry. The old door, turned into a window, illuminates the room. The condemned door of the same gear is released at the top to illuminate and ventilate the bathroom. The main entrance of the opposite gear, closed by a wall of briquettes, is restored. The frames and shutters of the other openings are replaced.

■ The walls are the subject of particular attention to preserve the testimony of the evolution of the building. Their upper part is redone together with the restoration of the roof. on the outside, a new lime plaster revives the surface, without masking the traces of the past. Inside, the electrical networks are embedded. The walls, scraped and sanded, are joined to stone seen on the most beautiful sections, coated for the rest.
■ The mezzanine is installed on three large beams embedded in the walls on which the joist is laid. The pine floor of the moors
22 mm thick is nailed. The bedroom and the attic are separated by a plasterboard partition on metal frame, fitted sliding closet side room and closet with three doors on the attic side. The miller's staircase is custom made from salvaged oak steps.
■ All modern comforts are provided. The electrical network meets the standards, integrating convector heating. The walls, thick, offer good inertia all year, complemented in this role by the insulating windows and a double layer of glass wool under the roof.
■ Hot water is dispensed by a 150-liter balloon installed in the attic above the shower. Only regret: the lack of a flue, which would have heated the house from a stove or fireplace.

A long-term rehabilitation

Five weeks a year is not enough to lead a project of this magnitude. However, they do not take into account the time spent organizing the project and the progress of the work, ie the control of the work. This is based on a careful preparation and begins, after the purchase, by the evaluation of the potentials, then the drawing of the plans.
■ In practice, it is necessary first to clear the brush, remove the existing interior layout, stitch the coating of the walls and redo the roof, an urgent operation. Then comes the turn of the openings, the electricity, the floor of the mezzanine and the insulation of the roof. One more year and follow the plumbing, the stairs, the plaster inside the walls and the sanitary facilities. These are connected to the grid a year later, when the heater is installed. The construction ends with the interior layout (partitions, kitchen, bathroom, decoration) and, crowning all, the exterior renovation, the last year. Phew!

Surroundings and access

The absence of independent access and the movement of the entrance door required the opening of a gate on the street and the realization of a vehicular access. The latter was an excellent opportunity to exploit the construction waste as it was embossed with the demolition products.

Develop plans

Develop plans

The roof of the house has suffered but it remains waterproof. The masonry is in good condition. The absence of significant interior fittings facilitates the development of plans.

Composing the frame

Composing the frame

After cleaning, the first big project concerns the roof. The traditional frame has two triangular trusses parallel to the gables, five purlins and rafters supporting the battens.

Set up the beams

Set up the beams

The structural work continues with the installation of beams to support the floor of the mezzanine. These are recessed abuts in the walls, drilled with hammer and chisel.

Take the wall back to the country stone

Take the wall back to the country stone

The repair of the roof requires taking up the walls, which have already been modified in the past. The same material, the country stone grouted with mortar, is used.

Transform the annex building

Transform the annex building

The annex building undergoes a larger transformation. The existing roof is extended into lean-to, offering a large shed area. The slope is at least allowed by the Roman tiles.

Install the gutters

Install the gutters

A network of gutters is installed on the main building. A strip of zinc covers the banks. The door, formerly walled by briquettes, is cleared and equipped with a new joinery.

Renovate the openings

Renovate the openings

The existing openings are also equipped with new frames, sealed in table, and shutters. The old door is masonry at its base, becoming a window. An extra dormer is open.

Nail the floor of the mezzanine

Nail the floor of the mezzanine

The floor of the mezzanine floor, made of solid pine floorboards, is nailed to 10 x 10 cm joists spaced 40 cm apart. A hopper is provided, allowing the installation of the miller's ladder.

Insert and skewer the layers of glass wool

Insert and skewer the layers of glass wool

The roof insulation has two layers of glass wool. One is inserted between the rafters in the direction of the slope; the other, perpendicular to the preceding one, is hooked on the lines.

Dress up the creepers

Dress up the creepers

The crawlers are dressed with BA13 plasterboard screwed and adjusted between the purlins. Previously the joints between the glass wool rolls were bridged and aluminum profiles were installed.

Upgrade the entry

Upgrade the entry

Outside, the main entrance now opens onto a concrete terrace, which ensures its leveling in relation to the ground. It is surmounted by an awning of the same surface, covered in Roman tiles.

Drain and seal foundations

Drain and seal foundations

On the street side, the foot of the walls is removed to set up effective drainage and seal the foundations. A necessary precaution, the ground being slightly sloping on this side of the house.

Swallow the facade

Swallow the facade

The facelift has several stages. It is necessary to stitch the existing plaster, to check (if necessary redo) the sealing of the stones, then to butter the joints with the nude stones, with lime mortar.

Install the connections

Install the connections

The house was not originally connected to public networks. It is necessary to break down the ground to install the connections, in particular that of the sewer, sparing the best vegetation.

Plumbing work: flow slope...

Plumbing work: flow slope...

The proximity of plumbing fixtures simplifies plumbing work. The exhaust pipe is installed first, in trench. Optimization of the flow slope is easy.

... evacuation and supply lines

... evacuation and supply lines

Sink, toilet, sink, shower and - on the floor - the hot water tank are aligned against the same wall. The supply lines, like the evacuation pipe, are very easy to set up.

Cover the masonry

Cover the masonry

When the quality of the equipment justifies it, the coating is "stone view". The joints are trimmed with bare stones, before brushing and cleaning. For the rest, the masonry is completely covered.

Realize the internal distribution

Realize the internal distribution

The kitchen area occupies the corner of the partition wall between the living room and the toilet. The internal distribution is made of gypsum plasterboard, lined with rockwool.

Make a street entry

Make a street entry

In the garden, a new entrance is opened on the street. The pillars are masonry blocks and scraped, but the walls of fence made on both sides are mounted in dry stones.

Strengthen the aisle

Strengthen the aisle

The driveway is reinforced by a conglomerate groomed with stones and crushed tiles. It is covered with a layer of sand and gravel, but could be left as it is, paved or tarred.


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