I renovated my house to go green



Do you dream of leaving the city as close to one out of four citizens? Listen to these four neo-rurals tell you their experience. From the quest for the ideal home to renovation work, be at home, it can not be improvised ...

"I heat myself with electricity and wood"

Michèle, 59, from Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole (Yvelines, 16 000 inhabitants) to Jugeals-Nazareth (Corrèze, 800 inhabitants)

My background: Since a departure negotiated with my employer in 2004, I live in Corrèze where I spent, as a child, my holidays with my grandparents.
The house: An old farmhouse consisting of a house of 110 m2 and a barn on 3 hectares of land.
The purchase: I was looking for an old house to restore. It was uninhabited for two years when I bought it for 150,000 euros.
The installation: Inside, it was necessary to scoop the water with buckets. This is to say the importance of the site. I started emptying the premises, evacuating two or three scrap trucks. I wanted to preserve the rustic side of the house: no cement joints, no PVC windows, etc. The Maisons Paysannes de France association made me aware of this respect. To find contractors, I trusted word of mouth and always made sure to have three quotes for each job.

Well took me, given the variations, the simple to a price 50% more expensive, different quotes for the roof of slate roof of the country. I took care of all the paintings (I chose them organic, going up to six layers) and the insulation of the ceilings: I do not recommend to take care of the manual decompression of cellulose wadding! The total purchase and the cost of the works could reach 300,000 euros.
The "plus" comfort: I heat myself with electricity, at the rate of EDF Tempo, the cheapest. A wood stove serves me auxiliary heating. In the barn, a reversible air conditioning, based on heat recovery, does not allow me in practice to save energy.
The interview: Everything is almost new. I'm about to remake the stains, easy to maintain and refresh every 2 to 4 years.
If we had to redo it ? I am proud of this successful restoration. Today I would build a green house. It would be a shame to install solar panels on country tiles.

"Tearing nettles on the stairs"

Elisabeth, 44, from Lyon to Marat (Puy-de-Dôme, 840 inhabitants)

My career: I left my Lyon communication agency with the idea of ​​setting up a project to welcome the public around nutrition and nutrition.
The house: An old farmhouse with house, barn and agricultural annexes arranged around an open courtyard. 500 m2 of construction on 5 hectares of land.
The purchase: Following fruitful meetings in the region and a financial opportunity: my partner and I bought the farm 200 000 francs (30 500 euros) in 2000.
Installation: Black windows of soot, brambles pointing through the windows, nettles on the stairs. This is the state in which we have recovered the farm, uninhabited for two years. Our first investment was a brush cutter. We first attacked the exteriors. We made a real path to the house and buried the electrical networks. We then cleared, planted 50 fruit trees and created a vegetable garden of 2500 m2.

Inside, we redid the frame and the roof. We cut down a lot of partitions but also kept original oak floors. Non-existent, sanitary and plumbing were created entirely. We have privileged natural materials and call on local craftsmen. The work lasted one year and cost 76 000 euros.
The "plus" comfort: We put double glazed windows and renovated some frames.
Maintenance: In the long term, we will paint the interior walls, remaining white or light gray, lime-washed. We favored this minimalism for the sake of simplicity.
If we had to redo it ? I am in full realization of my project. In two and a half years, accommodations will be set up in the annexes and I will develop the kitchen garden.

"Insulation is the priority"

Anne, 45, from Nantes to Riotord de Randon (Lozère, 400 inhabitants)

My background: With my husband, we had in mind to leave Nantes after the departure of our daughter. Last summer, we did it!
The house: Rustic, with outbuildings, isolated in a hamlet between countryside and mountains. Our land of 1500 m2 welcomes two houses of 80 m2 each and a barn of 220 m2.
Purchase: By internet, after three years of research, in an unknown region but "favorite".
The installation: The works were all the more important that for thirty years, the house was inhabited only for holidays. To fight against drafts, the installation of a double-glazed entrance door was imposed from the outset. Against the cold, insulation seems to me the priority when moving in, even with a minimal budget. We also had the roof insulated with cellulose wadding. Obsolete, the electrical system has been replaced. All was entrusted to local professionals, found through word of mouth. Alone, we put the floor in the attic to accommodate our loved ones. The desire to respect the traditional character of the house guided us throughout the work.
The "plus" comfort: We have installed a pellet stove, a means of natural heating, which avoids radiators and does not require the installation of a technical room.
Maintenance: Our spring site: the drainage and the cleaning of the ground. The total cost of the work could reach one and a half times the price of the house.
If we had to redo it ? It has been years since we came to spend our holidays in the region. Now that we have our bearings, we are perfectly fine.

"200 000 euros of work"

Joël, 49, from Paris to Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise (Puy-de-Dôme, 2000 inhabitants)

My career: After twenty years spent working in Paris, I wanted to return to Auvergne where my roots are, to live and then to open bed and breakfast.
The house: 300 m2, surrounded by a plot of over 300 m2 and a building not yet renovated, in a natural park of volcanoes, fresh air.
The purchase: In 2001, after many visits, I preferred a house with work rather than, for the same budget, a completed which I liked only half.
The installation: Having acquired a quasi ruin, I left a blank page, or almost. The biggest workstation was the roof, half collapsed. For its insulation, I chose a double doilage. Planks placed on the beams keep the apparent frame. Its restoration cost 50 000 euros, 500 euros per beam replaced. In total, the works cost 200,000 euros. For six months I emptied the house, evacuated the rubble, decrepit, and so on. Then local entrepreneurs took over, between 2002 and 2005. Today the house retains floors and fireplaces of origin. It is heated with oil, easier to deliver than gas in snowy weather. I am not sure that the yield is better.
The "plus" comfort: Forgotten, the cliché of the rustic house: I installed an "egg" (armchair sixties) and a white leather sofa to give it a contemporary touch.
Maintenance: Here everything is in good condition. I take care of the routine maintenance with the occasional help of my father. The management of bed and breakfast takes me half the time each day.
If we had to redo it ? I am satisfied with the change. I am well integrated with the region, whose proximity to nature pleases my guests.
>> Visit Joël's guest rooms here