It’s been hard to keep you updated on progress at Studio Faire, since we moved in to the property in April, because we have mostly been cracking a few eggs to make an omelette … in other words, taking stuff away and generally making a mess of the place!



We have cleared loads from the garden, including three big jaggy, ugly trees, bucket loads of ivy and one huge branch from one of the two Magnolias that was dangerously close to the house, with the aid of Laurent Le Boedec the tree surgeon and our wonderful gardener and friend Jean-Phi Moulinet.

We have had to ‘treat’ ourselves to loads of new tools, including a leaf blower, chain saw, lawn mower, wheelbarrow, rakes, spades … and guess which is Colin’s favourite? The wheelbarrow!


Magnolia Trimming

Garden After Much Clearing

As well as the gardening there has been an abundance of stripping, plumbing and sparks flying … whit woo!


We stripped the wallpaper in ‘The Usher Hall’ and now this room is working brilliantly as Colin’s temporary photography studio (until we get the workshops done) with the bare plaster walls making a lovely soft grey backdrop for his portraits.

The downstairs loo has had a makeover …



There is now a beautiful en suite attached to the master bedroom, which has also been stripped and painted and we’re now just ticking off the tiniest ‘to do’ list before we can move in. You know what … it’s so close to being 100% finished I’m not going to show you it quite yet … I’ll do you a before and after very soon! Here’s a sneaky peak of in-between!


Absolutely loads has been done to improve the plumbing in the house and our French plumbing vocabulary is really advanced now! It’s had many a plumber scratching their head to work out the best way to arrange this house so that we can minimise on heating water over the winter months when less residents are likely to be here and maximise on it when we are chockablock to ensure everyone can get a good hot shower. It was our lovely plumber, Arnaud Planté, who came up with the best solution. So, we now have THREE new water heaters!

When we bought the house we were told that the house no longer had a septic tank, as the waste went straight to the city sewers, HOWEVER, when they had removed the septic tank they had done, what we can only presume to be the cheapest solution at the time and that was that the waste still went into the box where the now redundant septic tank had once been before then going into the pipe to make its way to the sewers. They told us that, though it was a strange arrangement it worked fine and we could change it or not, as we wished. We thought we would just leave it until we found that it was most definitely NOT working fine and that the garden smelt absolutely terrible … especially on a hot day and especially, it seemed, when guests were about to arrive to enjoy lunch in the garden!

We all understood what ‘boîte de kaka’ meant!!! IT HAD TO BE CHANGED!

The other surprise was this. We saw, when viewing the house, that the dressing room off the master bedroom had a sink in it. Cool, easy to pop a shower in there too we thought. WRONG! Firstly, there was no hot water going to this sink and secondly the water was draining out onto the grass in the garden. We realised this one day when Colin was enjoying his morning coffee in the garden wondering why he could smell toothpaste!

More images of this room coming soon also …




Our Electrician, Robert Jones has removed the electrical sockets from the ground floor and replaced them with a spanking new set of plugs and a new circuit board, which will actually cut the power if something is wrong, rather than just letting the house burn down! That’s better!!!

We’ve got the heating working, swept the chimneys, hmmm what else? Oh yes Kärchering!

High-pressure Cleaning

Our other new toy … I mean tool … is a Kärcher power hose. The back patio has been blitzed to expose the sparkling aggregate and the pavement at the front of the house transformed from soot black to a sandy golden colour … much to our neighbours amusement and confusion as they watched Julia cover herself from head to toe in black splatters for two days. An elderly neighbour came along the road to say that she had NEVER in all her days seen anyone clean the pavement in front of their house. Ha ha ha! Well, it was worth it as, not only is our pavement the cleanest on the street but our neighbours certainly know who we are now.



There goes the neighbourhood!

More soon … plus the promised reveal… and our doors open in March so you’ll be seeing another bathroom and bedroom looking lovely before then too.

Special ‘early bird’ discounted rate for residencies and retreats on offer if you book before the end of 2017. Find out more…

Contact us

58 Avenue Georges Clemenceau
47600 NéracFrance

General enquiries and residencies 

Courses and educational residencies

Call: +33 (0)6 34 56 10 70

All detail & imagery are © 2017 Studio Faire, Colin Usher & Julia Douglas