11 June 2010

That attic and those taxes

Walt has a really bad cold. It rained hard for several hours yesterday afternoon. And I spent a good part of the day doing my taxes, which are due in France and the U.S. next week.
Ouf !

On the positive side, it turns out that the income tax I have to pay in France is much lower than I thought it would be. I started getting a retirement pension in 2009, and it was the first year since 2002 that I've had any significant income.

On the other hand, it turns out that the income tax I have to pay in the U.S. is much higher than I thought it would be. I always thought taxes were higher in France. I guess it's not true any more, with the Bush tax cuts that benefited the wealthy. People of more modest means have to pay more.

Walt and Callie up in the attic

The two guys doing the final work in the attic worked here on Monday and Thursday. We expect them back this morning. I don't know what they were doing on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I didn't ask.

The fact is, the work is very nearly done. They are focusing on the last few fit-and-finish touches, like putting up moldings and baseboards to hide ugly joints and seams between the floor and the staircase and the walls. I hope Walt can get over this cold so that we can start varnishing the floor and stair next week.

We've decided to paint rather than varnish the closet doors —
there are seven of them around the room.

I'm impressed with the two "kids" doing the work. They are doing better than I thought they would since they no longer have Coco's supervision and advice. Coco is still in the hospital, by the way. He's been there for 10 days now.

Now that we have stairs and access to the upper floor,
we can have flowers in the upper window boxes
as well as the ones out the kitchen window.

The workers are also open to suggestions and criticism, and they respond immediately if we point out something we think could be done better or differently. They clean up every evening before they go home. They smile and chat a little. They've gotten over being nervous when we get involved in the job.

Looking toward the north window — that's
the scaffold on the left, all folded up.

Jacques the Big Boss offered us use of his scaffold — a platform on wheels — for the painting we have to do. That will make the job much easier when it comes to painting up to the top of the vaulted ceiling next month.

Looking down into the stairwell from the attic top floor

At 10:30 this morning, the guys finished their job, packed up all their tools and debris, swept up some dust and grit, and said Au revoir ! They are through. Now it's up to us to start cleaning, sanding, varnishing, and painting.


  1. That sure is a big room! It will look more cozy when it's furnished and lived in.

  2. I look at that space and think "bowling alley"

  3. Fantastic space! I bet you are looking forward moving in there ... once all the work is done. Bon courage! Martine

  4. That attic will be fantastic.
    Nothing better than an open floor plan.

    Can't wait to see the final product!

  5. Simon, it's kind of like your grange, which would be a good space for a basketball court!

    If you come over, we'll rent you a pair of shoes and let you go upstairs.

    H. Peter, it won't be that much longer now. At least from here on out, we are in control. Now we have to start looking for wood-finishing products and paint.

  6. It's such a good feeling when the workmen pack their bags and leave you in peace. Now you can enjoy doing the finishing off in your own way.

  7. Beautiful! You must be so happy it is over.

  8. yay it looks beautiful already...the first round of guests has started arriving here in western NC....and i still have a workman coming to repair ceiling damage due to roof leaks over the bad winter....now that the new roof is on.....but gotta take em when u can get em.....mountain time is sorta like french time when it comes to work schedules i think

  9. The space looks quite large in the photos. It has really transformed, and I'm sure you are glad back to normal life now that the work is done.

  10. Your BULLETIN! sure got my attention;) I'm glad that the work is done- your room is beautiful and grand.

    The workers must like you or they wouldn't have been so kind as to lend you the scaffold which will make you work so much easier.

    I think the closet doors will look best painted since you have plenty of wood showing on the floor. Good luck with the finishing work- you are in for a busy summer.

  11. Evelyn, you are right on both points. I think we will paint all the doors the same color as the walls -- off-white, probably -- so that they will blend in. And yes, we are going to be working on it all summer. The goal was always to have it done and to be moved in my the end of October, when heating season begins.

    Diogenes, it is a very large space. Eventually, we may decide to have a wall built down the middle, to make it into two rooms. But for now, we'll just live in it this way.

    Melinda, I imagine N.C. mountain time is a lot like French time. Even so, our job took just two months from start to finish. So we can't complain.

    Nadège and Jean, yes, oui, c'est certain.

  12. It looks great. I kind of wish you didn't have to do any of the work yourselves, especially during the summer, but it does give you control, and you can fit it in at your convenience.

  13. Congratulations! The outside window with the flowers looks really nice!

  14. Carolyn, it's called "sweat equity." Besides, having painting done here is very expensive. Our friends who are just getting moved into an old house got a quote for 5,000 € to paint two rooms! They got a second quote and it came in at 9,000 €!

    We've already painted 6 rooms in our house, so what's a few more?

    Lynn, thanks. A bientôt.

  15. Yay for moving on to part ll. I hope Walt is well and up to getting started next week.

  16. That's a bunch of €s for paint jobs! It's a good thing that you are both good painters.

    I'm with Lynn- I like seeing the flowers in both window boxes.

  17. Wooo hooo! Looks so great! It will be fun to follow the finishing touches.

    5000€ and 9000€ to paint 2 rooms!?!?!?!? Wow!!

    I also love the window boxes :))


  18. What a beautiful room!!

    Now what do you call it? It's not an attic anymore.

    p.s. I understand that paint is extremely expensive in France but I'm sure you'll be letting us know soon.

  19. I'm amazed that the income tax is higher in the U.S. and shocked at the price for having something painted in France! The space is really beautiful. I got remote vertigo looking down that stairwell.

  20. I forgot the mention that our friends who got the 5K and 9K € bids for painting two rooms (big rooms, btw) were themselves supplying the paint. So the bids were for labor only.

    Hi BettyAnn, remember that trap door to the attic that blew down and nearly injured Walt two years ago when you were here? It is no more. They took it out and plastered over the big rectangular opening where it used to be.

    About the price of paint, I looked at Bricomarché's site on the web. I see 2.5 liter tubs of water-based varnish that range from 106 to 157 € for different levels of quality. We'll need at least four and problably six or eight of those tubs to do the floor and stairs.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?