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17, rue de Melleran, Sauze Vaussais

17, rue de Melleran, Sauze Vaussais

Built in Circa 1840 perfectly positioned in front of the village Green in a quaint stone village, benefits from 2 large gardens, most of the town is built in white ‘calcareous’ stone with red terracotta tile roofs, fields of sunflowers and vines, old boys in berets sipping wine, Renault 4s and 2CV’s are still for some very much everyday transport !

It is all straight out of a French Postcard but without really knowing it.

The town is predominately French habitants but many British – Belgian – Dutch – Swiss expats have also set up new life’s here and brought their businesses and skills with them which has given the Deux Sevres a new lease of life,

The deux sevres I believe was recently classed as the ‘best value in France’ due to position and life style and accessibility with Poitiers – Limoges- La rochelle airports having daily flights to the UK with Easy jet or Ryanair . It also boasts the second most annual hours of sunlight after the cote d’azur. One can have a very pleasant lifestyle here without earning a fortune.
Plenty of Uk tradesmen run successful businesses here, there are sites such as Anglo info -to help with everything – find a tradesman- re-register your car to French plates- buy a kettle- give away a cat… etc

I should say that the outside walls are all ‘lime mortar rendered’ -which I’m not a fan of and why it looks bland on first appearance, behind the render the walls are built from the regions famous white stone, and the render would be lime based not cement based so its soft and comes off in sheets with gentle persuasion, taking this back to natural stone nicely pointed up or ‘pierre apparente’ will totally change the look of this house- and personally it would be the first thing i would do .

Covering of the naked stone was another fashion probably in the 60s or 70s as naked stone was considered poverty – these buildings have passed through many fashion

With the ‘why part’ explained i will get down to description, this is a full renovation – It was a house that was lived in until until 2006, They were a well to do family who owned a lot of land in the region, it is a fine size of a building circa 3000sq ft total and the gardens are large, photos may not do it justice, but when you come out and stand in front of it you will be impressed,

They were living under very basic conditions – as most of the old people were, open fires – 1970s deco, for the winter months they usually lived in one room with large open fire, there would have been animals in the barn part which helped heat it, as long as they were dry it was all that mattered, you get the idea.

The word renovation has many senses, This building is not a ruin, it is actually classed as ‘habitable’ meaning could be lived in. The roof was re-done in the early 2000s as i met the man that did it, retired now he passed one day on his bicycle when i was cleaning it out, (be prepared for a chat at all hours of the day by a curious passer by !)

The roof is all in Oak cut and pinned with dowels in the old way,

All the walls are straight and are in general 60cm wide so its like being in a proverbial fortress, Solid stone built which always rests cool in the summer months so its by far the nicest and most natural building to live inside, i would now never live in anything else,

Town sewage is connected, Town water is connected , Town EDF electricity is connected – the meter is the modern type so no inspections needed after connection, you ring up and they turn it on – no one comes around afterwards . Phone line/internet connected with France Telecom sockets in place

No costly trenches to dig or join ups all is in place no septic tanks to have approved inspected, red tape etc, The road in front of the property leads to Melleran – and would not be a busy road, has a few cars passing morning and evening for the workers or the school run but little traffic in between bar the odd tractor or velo solex !

The town Green is directly in front, this means the property will never have more neighbours, this green hosts many cute events in the summer months including 3 big firework events and the local council always keep it immaculately groomed about the one thing they do right !

LED street light outside lights up the garden nicely by night, cuts off after a certain hour, the whole town is being converted to LED lighting at present, and electric public service vehicles, its all very green energy at present, government grants are available for natural insulation, double glazing. solar panels etc

The attached shed ‘lean to’ in the garden is 12M long by 4 deep, although it is a bit of an eye sore with its tin roof, it could make a fantastic outside bar, bike shed, log storage etc its an ‘approved’ building so is marked on the town plans, the attractive side of that is you can change it into whatever you want without any further approvals as its just a modification after – even if you went up a story, or you could completely demolish it to leave a bigger garden, it could also be a fine double garage or a sport room, covered jacuzzi /pool

This building is not a ‘classed’ building meaning no restrictions on double glazing anything like that, you do as you please.

The main Garden measures 28 Metres long x 11 Meters wide- the second garden situated at the rear measures 12m long x 6 m wide – enough space for a swimming pool , both get sun all day long.

There are a Couple of old trees and in Autumn/summer the place blooms up nicely with a magnificent wisteria vine in blue, i always wanted to train the Wisteria into an arc high over the main entrance gate , The fruit trees give plums apples and peaches,

Private garden entry of about 3 meters wide with double gates, would look great with a stone arc with electric gates, there is a luscious thick hedge along the road side which i have cut back but will grow huge very quickly if you wanted more privacy, a quiet back entry is accessed by a small dead end back lane that runs between the house and the smaller gardens – see town plan , You feel like your in the countryside yet its almost town centre so a great location. The old owner told me- that the lane is just big enough to reverse the little porsche tractor trailer they had down to the celler with the grapes harvest every year – hence the barrels down in the cellar ,

The double garage door measures 2.5Metres high by 3metres wide, easy get caravan or pop top camper van inside which many people do during renovations, after which personally id put glass bay door in place of the big door, the garage part could be kept as a very large garage /workshop or simply pour a concrete floor and make it living area, or half half. truly a blank canvas.

I have left the toilet and sink plumbed but everything else has been cleared out, don’t underestimate how much time a clear out takes, at least 10 tipper loads went to the local tip – on a renovation your better starting clutter free, the local tip is free to use and is 1 km away in the Sauze industrial park,

It has a strange chimney heated hot water bath upstairs, iv left it there as well as may indeed prove useful, there is also an upstairs bedroom that is also clean enough to be liveable and get you started..

There is potential to make an upstairs open air terrace/balcony at the back, its something i thought about doing, it would be private and nice for long hot summer evenings,

The basement under the house known in french as a ‘cave’ which has a line of old barrel casks in oak still in there, they used to make a lot of wine and were the local producers, The old boys that stop and talk to me when i cut the gardens tell me the ‘cave’ was a good one ‘il est bon’ which means for wine production the levels of humidity and temperature must be right.

All doors are cut stone openings, they point up delightfully , these old French houses are like a fortress, great for keeping an even temperature,

The largest part of the upstairs measures 11metres x 12metres and was never lived in as used for stocking hay and grain for the animals, its open plan with cut stone window openings and old swinging shutters , This is a blank canvass, the neighbours are quiet and mind their own business , you can discreetly tip away at your leisure and learn a bit of french as you go .

The building faces South/South East so gets light morning until sun goes down ,

Its a Renovation- but its dare i say easy enough provided you have a certain level of knowledge and Tools or indeed have the means to get the tradesmen in to Knock over the more complex jobs ,

Any scaffold would be on your land so no permits needed no traffic blocked , walls and roof are good, its fun learning to work the stone, no cement used really , only lime mortar, there is a timber sawmill just outside the town who will slice any type of timber to the size you need and there are great deals to be had with cash

I had a question from someone about how much it would cost to finish .. this is impossible to answer, it can be lived in as it is albeit very basically or you can have a team of tradesmen come in and knock it over in 3 months flat – or do it yourself room by room shopping around and collecting the materials yourself ,

Many reliable tradesmen as a lot of them would be my Customers for mechanical work so i can arrange meetings or give out their business cards.

There are two stairs to go upstairs, two upstairs bedrooms to the right hand side, again its all very basic, there’s an open fire in the upstairs bedroom there are 3 open fires in total, and chimneys to match obviously.

Your only costs to hold this building are called taxe foncier which are similar to council taxes- i pay is about 450 Euros per year to hold the building, this covers town septic – the town bins, the right to use the local tip, the right to parking free etc

If you are a buyer who only plans to come a couple of times a year im happy to run the lawn mower and hedge cutter a couple of times a year and keep an eye on things for you until your move is more permanent.

This is a decent sized quality property, 48 metres of road front total and about 16 metres deep at widest point.

Normally opportunities like this would be in the back end of nowhere with no services and no towns nearby, i might be biased but this would be one of the best deals in France at the price, I just have not hung for sale signs all over it as prefer a discreet sale

Looking at it from an investment point of view-

Holiday ‘Gites’ are something that turn very well in France and they turn a great income and normally in cash , basically involves letting out a room or half the house or whatever you choose really, or a B&B. Tourists in this region pay in general mid season £1000 per week to rent a family size country house in mid summer, it would normally have some sort of small swimming pool but nothing too luxurious. It could be possible to get 7 bedrooms total with an experienced architects input.

On a year round rent you could expect a more modest £50 per day per room on this building once renovated to a basic state, that is 66Eur per day income so it pays for itself rather quickly,even on 80% occupancy.

Sauze Vaussais is central to about 30 ‘sub villages’ as it has shopping centre and hardware merchant, Hotel- camping park – industrial estate – fishing lake- restaurants and cafés, banks, post office etc, but it stays small and keeps the quaint village feel, you are 2 minutes walk from the very centre of town here, enjoy a cool beer on the bar café terrace or an oven cooked pizza, its an old town that like many is finding its feet in the modern world and making a comeback – internet shopping, youth emigrating to cities instead of working locally were all blows to the countryside but like every trend this slowly reverses as the big shopping centres turn into their own worst enemy when they get too big etc.

The plan with this was always to make something very modern Inside the old stone shell : firstly all the old lime render plastered all over the outside would be rattled off with a small electric kangoo, it pulls off in sheets, a quick power hose and your ready for lime pointing, The ground floor needs a floor poured so it would be very easy to hide underfloor heating pipes so the whole slab works as a giant radiator when warmed up, a huge sliding bay window door in the gable to open right out into the garden, cast a small balcony under each upstairs window to walk out onto in the mornings. Add some additional windows in many places and change everything to double glazing.

The professionals can metal track and insulate and plasterboard a whole house in very little time – leaving the oak beams and the odd stone area exposed creating something cosy and clean with minimal cost, they are very used to this type of thing – mixing old with new and getting it right. There are 2 local lads  who are experts in this and are cheap, i used to do it myself ,

Materials are very cheap these days, tidy Kitchens can be had for 500 Euro in ‘Brico Depot’ have a look at their website, bathroom suites similar price, bag of cement 5 euros, full sheet of plasterboard 6 Euros. Double Glazing can be ordered to size direct from Poland for cheap these days too.

In fact raw materials have never been cheaper and more accessible, on the local real estate window a renovated building of this nature with simple small pool would be in the region of 280,000, if your prepared to put in the time and spend the cash gradually there is a bargain to be had here, it is a whole lot of lovely stone building for your money and laughable value compared to Uk prices but that’s how it is until things equalize eventually. The French no longer build in stone, a cubic metre of stone in a builders yard is 150 Euro odd per pallet as it got rare ! everything now is in the red brick about as thick as a chocolate bar so stone is a great investment and will always be.

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