French Property News - - Expert Advice -

Orig­i­nally from Ox­ford­shire, Lorna and David Bick­ers fell in love with a farm­house in Dor­dogne but soon re­alised it was dif­fi­cult to live in dur­ing the win­ter. They de­cided to ren­o­vate a barn on the prop­erty and turn it into an eco home. “Be­fore we moved here we lived in a small vil­lage out­side Hen­ley-on-thames in Ox­ford­shire. When we came to Dor­dogne, we thought it was very sim­i­lar to the Chiltern Hills.

“We orig­i­nally pur­chased a farm and a barn. We loved the Périgour­dine farm­house with its thick stone walls which needed com­plete ren­o­va­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, even af­ter in­stalling a new heating sys­tem it still re­mained very cold in the win­ter even, de­spite us­ing €5,000 of fuel in one sea­son. We com­pleted the ren­o­va­tion and then de­cided to look at an al­ter­na­tive. The barn was the best op­tion.

“The barn is now en­cased in 200mm thick in­su­la­tion around the walls and be­neath the roof, and has geo­ther­mal un­der-floor heating and dou­ble-glazed win­dows and doors. We weren’t think­ing of be­ing eco­log­i­cal, we just wanted to be com­fort­able and warm.

“Although geo­ther­mal heating is ex­pen­sive to in­stall, it pays for it­self in the long run as it is very eco­nom­i­cal to run and the house is ex­tremely warm.

“David did all the work ex­cept for plumb­ing and electrics as he is a brick­layer by trade. It took us about two to three years to com­plete but the ren­o­va­tion was smooth and we still find lit­tle pro­jects to en­hance the house. We would ad­vise any­one want­ing to take on an eco ren­o­va­tion to have geo­ther­mal un­der-floor heating, dou­ble-glaz­ing and good in­su­la­tion.”

Af­ter 14 years in France, the Bick­ers are re­turn­ing to the UK to be closer to fam­ily and are putting their prop­erty on the mar­ket for €599,550 (allez-franç

550 599, €

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