Tag Archives: house hunting

And Walk This Way…

Upstairs is a landing and a small lounge that overlook the main rooms downstairs. One side of the upstairs is tucked under the eaves, so you’ll notice the petite size of the door to the bathroom. Luckily we are a somewhat petite-sized family.

This will probably house bookshelves, a desk, and maybe some soft seating.

If you turn right at the landing, you enter the room at the front of the house, which will be Theo’s. The door leads to the little balcony.

The balcony overlooks the front patio and the planter boxes.

This is the bedroom you get when you turn left, toward the back of the house. It will house art, some school, and eventually Myriah, but it is the least light in the house, so I strongly suspect my work will migrate out into other areas. I’ll need to plan to contain that before it gets out of hand.

The upstairs bathroom…

…with shower. As long as Theo doesn’t grow a ton, he’ll still fit in this room nicely, even though it is tucked under the eaves. We might need to find a way to bump-proof the door frame, though, for sleepy mornings. I think it is about 5’6″.

Going back downstairs…

…check out the side patio. It wraps all three sides. There is also a garage, but it is a shared unit of garages for the street, a little ways down. But you can also park on the street across from the house.

And that’s our house. Next, I’ll show you a little around Tournefeuille.


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Drumroll, please…and the winner is

…the light-filled house. This house is right on the edge of the city centre of the busy ville of Tournefeuille. Theo will be an easy bike ride or long walk to city shops, our daily bread at any number of patisseries, the park with bike trails, an archery range and that French lawn-bowling sport, a large library that seems to double as a community center, a public pool, and a stadium where competitive soccer and rugby are played. The end of our street has a bus stop, connecting us to other villes (about 15 minutes from our church at most) and to the metro, which takes you into the city centre of Toulouse and its many museums and attractions. We will be connected.

The house itself is a duplex, and our side is situated facing mostly east, so the house was viewed with the late morning sun pouring in. You really can’t get a true feel for the sunniness of the rooms from these photos, though, because they were taken by another couple on a day it was pouring rain.

Our side is on the right. Note the planter boxes up front of the patio.

Isn’t the door beautiful?

I do believe this fireplace works. In the space you see between the entry and the little living room is a tiny WC…


The kitchen is separate, lying off the larger living space here. Both areas had sliding glass doors that opened onto the wraparound stone patio. This whole area was white tile and white walls with a vaulted ceiling in the main space.

The kitchen has warm, peachy walls and gray counters. It also has room for a tiny dinette. Or I could put in a little island with a bar edge for a couple of stools.

A utility room lies beyond the kitchen, with hook-ups for washer and dryer, and another door to the patio.

The master bedroom is also on the ground floor. Beautiful floor!

The walk-in closet here is the only one I saw in the nine houses, and there is called a “dressing room.”

The master bath has no toilet that I remember, but a bidet. But check out my favorite part…

the wallpaper is inspired by Van Gogh’s Irises! His painting is actually my laptop wallpaper, and it was like God saying, “Here. I picked you a house.”

Tomorrow we can explore upstairs!

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The Old World House

This, the first home showed to us, is right in the center of a village. It is quite old, although I don’t know whether it is 1920s old or 1820s old. It is what I would consider a townhome, with walls adjoining other homes on either side.

The walk up to the Old World house from the street.

The realtor opening the front door for us. Isn’t it just singing with character already?

Look at those floors!

The kitchen had been recently updated, and the stovetop included both electric AND gas burners.

A beautiful staircase…but also creaky and uneven.

A bedroom. Notice the fireplaces are all closed off, as the city doesn’t permit them to be used. Their beautiful facades remain, however.

An interior bedroom uses a celestory window to capture light from the bedrrom we had just seen.

The third bedroom. This is another home without closets.

This is the upstairs bathroom. The bathrooms were really the greatest drawback in the house. When they are updated, like the kitchen, it will be a very sweet spot.

Across the street from the townhome.

A little restaurant is the adjoining residence on one side.

And this church is in the next block.

Now, I very seriously considered this charming home. This large village is beautiful and an active community. It is home, further out, to the area mall and giant supermarket. It is a busy place, but that is a bit of a drawback to this home, too. Right on a central street, even at the early French hour of 10 in the morning, it was kind of noisy. I would rather have something a little quieter. It isn’t as much family living, either, keeping Theo in mind. Additionally, although it had a fair amount of sunlight at that hour of the morning, it would obviously be a fleeting thing, and I was really looking for a light-flooded home for painting. But it was my backup choice (though Stoney was less sure). We were in perfect agreement on our first choice, though!

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The Olive Tree House

This house was really appealing. It was in a town not too far from Stoney’s work or the International Church, but the town itself is not really one of my favorites. The house was situated far enough from it, too, that it would pretty much need a second car to get around; it’s not really walking distance to anything. It lies on a street behind a gate, in a nice-looking neighborhood. But what really drew us in was the extraordinary design sense of the builder, who was still finishing the house.

The landscape and fencing is all still to come.

The olive tree in the patio that is central to this house.

It is hard to describe or show in a photo what makes this house so brilliant. Just about every room opens onto this patio, with the home designed on a sort of C-shape, the inner part of the C facing, I think, northwest. This house had a heat exchanger, but if you open all the sliding glass doors and there is any breeze at all, the air would circulate in the entire home and you would rarely ever need that AC.

This shows the materials that will be used to finish the house.

a bathroom

The kitchen will have gray counters, with a bar to the right, and white cabinets.

An example bedroom: it will have closets, and …

of course has the sliding door that opens onto the olive tree patio.

But we really were looking for a neighborhood Theo could be an active part of, and a more traditional village. Our next house was definitely traditional! Watch for it in the next tour.

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The Lavender House

Also known as the impeccable house, because this sweetie was pristine. But the location just could not be ignored. As much as we would love to (literally) live over the river and through the woods, up into the foothills, it would just sacrifice too much. But choosing to surround ourselves with the lovely French people does mean we gave up:

a driveway lined with lavender…

and the controversial pool.

The kitchen was compact but incredibly efficient and pretty much perfect.

From kitchen to dining area, with fireplace.

This living area actually had French doors on either side, so they could be thrown open and catch the prevailing breeze, or incorporate the pool space outside this door.

From this living room, head upstairs…

to the little loft lounge associated with what would have been Theo’s bedroom…

which overlooked the pool. There was a small bathroom up here, too.

The downstairs bathroom. It had a separate WC.

A downstairs bedroom. None of the bedrooms had built-in closets, or cupboards as they called them.

Yes, this is a true testament to our commitment to be a part of the new culture and people. Good-bye, Lavender House!


Filed under France, personal

True Confessions…I have never seen International House Hunters

I have to say this because, almost without fail, anyone who hears we were going or went house-hunting in France likened it to this show. Everyone wants to see our episode as their own personal version, only I really have no idea what they are expecting. This is what I now DO know, though:

People in the States usually get a realtor who serves somewhat as THEIR realtor, a sort of home broker or somesuch. This one person represents them and sorts through all the available real estate in their area, filtering it through their criteria, and touring them through the most likely candidates. This one realtor can usually access most of the homes on the market. It is probably a multi-day process.

In France, it seems the homes are represented by the realtors. If you want to visit a home, you have to work it out with that home’s realtor. If you have six houses you want to see, you might need to coordinate with 4 or 5 realtors. Because ours is a corporate move, and the company is actually renting the house, we were given a move facilitator who did that part of the footwork for us. It also means that a French-speaking person who had relationships with these realtors (very important in France) was coordinating for us; but it was still a complicated process. We toured 9 or 10 homes in the greater Toulouse area in one day. I was exhausted by the end of it.

Two of these homes were deemed too boring to consider. I mean, if you are going to live in France for a time, and you could live in a charming, French area or a boring, could-be-a-tract-home-anywhere area, which would you choose? So really, out of all the homes we saw, we initially narrowed our options to five. Two of those had to overcome a seriously long commute in a land of costly fuel, and a more remote location that would lend itself overmuch to isolation, not integration in a foreign community. Otherwise, these homes would have been AMAZING!

Let’s look first at the Apple Tree House:

This older home is seen behind its pool, which unfortunately would be an obstacle to overcome with the company.

It had an enormous, updated kitchen, and I could easily tone down the yellow on the walls. The house smelled a tad smokey, but all the wallpaper was being stripped and “refreshed,” which would certainly help.

The kitchen was open to the great room, which was sunny and large.

A two-vanity bathroom, especially one this large, is a rare find.

The four bedrooms were large and sunny and had closets.

And at the end of the yard were little apple trees.

These benefits could not outweigh the distance and isolation, though. However, my husband could ALMOST ignore them for the next house in this area, which we’ll tour in the next post.


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