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How to renovate without breaking the bank

E.Sailet / S.Régnier / J.Pesendorfer

Six tracks to change the setting with a small budget, while combining modernity and charm of the old. It's up to you to renovate your house ...

1. Leave an apparent stone wall

The stone has a charm, but it is better to know that the laying bare of a wall can reveal a device not gracious (our ancestors did not have our aesthetic concerns) and that, if the wall is exposed to the north, the lack of insulation will inevitably create a cold wall effect. Side implementation, the technical term (wall "stone view") is very clear: the stone must be visible ... without being too much. The most difficult is therefore to find the right balance: an excessive digging of the joint can cause loosening of the stone and excessive repointing can quickly give the whole appearance of a roughly masonry wall.

If the wall has never been isolated, it is sufficient to dig the joints slightly for 1 to 2 cm (with the chisel and hammer, or only with the chisel). The wall is then moistened generously (with the aid of a coconut fiber brush), as much to dust it as to encourage the setting of the mortar on the support. If purists prefer the lime mortar, we can also move towards a mortar ready to use (Castorama), but being careful about the color (it can vary from white to beige) and its compatibility with that of stone. On the maintenance side, the stone tends to "spit" dust permanently. To save the weekly passage of the vacuum cleaner, you can apply (with a brush) a matte varnish (Syntilor) on the stone, but only when the wall is dry.

2. Prefer authenticity

No need to have the green fiber to focus on local materials. It's primarily a matter of common sense. Because if some materials very popular have few equivalents (such as wenge or the blue stone of Hainaut), the local alternative is often preferable, both for architectural reasons that climatic. This is true for building materials (especially roofing), it is also true for some finishing and decorative materials. Thus, a limestone rock from the soil of Vaucluse has a priori no reason to finish on a terrace Jura, and also likely to withstand the climate shock! To avoid this, we will move towards a reconstituted stone imitating the grain and the color of the desired stone.

In this house on the island of Yeu, we naturally turned to a paving granite. The pose in opus incertum (on mortar bed) gives the kitchen floor a traditional charm, but not rustic, thanks to the kitchen furniture with simple lines and red lacquered chairs Thonet. This choice allowed to opt for the same material on the terrace (which would not necessarily have been possible with a rock coming from another region).

3. Opt for veneer

Far from being synonymous with cache-misère, the veneer makes it possible to animate and dress a wall, to create a visual separation or to replace a material considered too traditional (wall tile, paneling ...). Thus, in a kitchen, a plywood panel can be covered with a painting blackboard ("Gribouille", Decorative House at Leroy Merlin). In the living room, a decorative panel (Oberflex) at the center of which hangs the LCD screen to create a home theater space. In the bathroom, shower screens completely covered with Plexiglas, etc.

In this bathroom, stainless steel plates (combined with a zinc trough and a window-like oculus) create a successful shower area. Glued on a wooden frame, they assume their slightly slightly lopsided pose, but - for a better seal - we can secure the joints between the plates with translucent silicone sealant (Geb, Dip). Of course, the plates should not be drilled unless the holes are sealed with the same sealant.

4. Dare cheap materials

They are not necessarily enemies of the cozy and good taste. Of course, for a warm living room, avoid walls wrapped in corrugated iron or Triply (or OSB) floors. But some materials such as MDF or plywood offer enough decorative possibilities (matt paint, lacquer, stained varnish, etc.) to adapt to your needs and desires. They are also easy to work and cut materials, because they are thin and not subject to deformation. MDF and plywood can create just about anything: cladding, closet doors, shelves ... It is even possible to find a place in the bathroom, but it is advisable to protect them with a marine varnish.

Here, it is the bunk beds of the children who were dressed with MDF panels and paneling first price. While the quality of the coloring has largely contributed to the success of this development, the care taken with the details is also important: drawing of the ladder and the railing, handles in white cordage to create a discreet marine reference, and subtle mixture of blue gray (for the interior) and pale green (for the outside).

5. Reassemble the mismatched

When you embark on a renovation project (even light), sometimes there is not much money left for decoration. And it is often at this moment that one experiences a great feeling of weariness vis-à-vis its furniture. Embezzlement, tinting, customization ... Sometimes just a few things to make them attractive again, while avoiding the pitfall of the "total look".

In the dining room of this loft, the chairs play the stars: three different models, declined in several colors, without any repeats. In parallel (to avoid color saturation), the decor remains sober: polished concrete floor, farmhouse table patinated in shades of gray ... Discreet, the buffet (to be stolen in any flea market) was painted in matte black for the exterior and celadon blue for the interior, very much in keeping with the rest of the decor.

6. Find the charm of raw wood

The offer of paint manufacturers is such that we sometimes forget to return to the simplicity of raw wood. However, when the wood is beautiful (even if it is not a noble essence), it may be more judicious to maintain its natural appearance than to hide its beautiful veining under a layer of paint. This is the case of doors, windows, stairs and other woodwork. The doors and windows can be deposited and entrusted to a stripping company which will subject them to a chemical treatment (baths), thermal (pyrolysis oven) or pneumatic (sandblasting).

For works impossible to dismount (stair type), the wood can unfortunately be varnished, stuck under thick layers of paint or covered with carpet. Pickling (mechanical, chemical or thermal) is a tedious undertaking, but remains within the reach of all. On the other hand, if the wood requires some touch-up to the woodpulp, a minimum of dexterity is required: hanging the dough on the support, drying time, sanding, recovery of a uniform hue between the dough and the wood, etc. . If the rebate business seems too difficult, we can always opt for a new wooden cladding.

On these elegant old doors, we simply applied a matte varnish to stay closer to the original shade and match doors and parquet. To accentuate the pallor of the wood, it can be passed to the laundry, or even to the bleach. To blacken it, on the contrary, one can resort to a tinted wax ("Antique tint", Liberon) or, for the most daring, to the montane technique of blackened wood torch (used especially for barn doors). Guaranteed effect, but experience required!