Monday, 21 April 2008

Great new shop in our street!

Not sure what was there before it (old butcher's?) but a new clothes shop has opened just at the end of rue Montmorency, and they sell a couple of brands that we rather like, such as Fred Perry and Ben Sherman.

Prices seem reasonable, and I'll think we'll be checking them out for the sales late June (bit short on cash for the moment!)...

By the way, it's called Zine Fashion Store, whatever Zine is...
Check out the Zine Fashion Store site here.

Latest news about our floor. Thrilling stuff.

Getting down to the specifics now. The parquet is coming along nicely in the main room (even if I now have crusty witch hands from hacking away at it), although some parts are really solidly stuck...


And now we have to think about the floor in the kitchen and bathroom. We really wanted Spanish cement tiles, but a little brighter than what we had seen in the catalogues if possible. Eventually I came across the site of Mosaicos Artesanos, a company which allows you to customise any of their tiles with the colours of your choice...

The idea is to have the same design going through from the kitchen (mostly black elements) to the bathroom (mostly white), and as we like purple we started off with a few designs that have quite a lot of purple in them. These are the first two we did...


A bit girly? I dunno... Anyway, I've contacted the manufacturer to ask how much they would cost (we'll be needing between 180 and 200 tiles). Should be hearing from them soon...

Friday, 11 April 2008

The sale's back on!

cropped Motherwell photo by Jase Mueller

After meeting with the owner of the flat, her agency and our lawyers, the sale of the apartment is back on for the 28th April. So what happened?

Well, all buildings have what's called a copropriété that handles the running of the place, including all the legal stuff. Each copropriété is covered by a set of rules that set out what is and what isn't allowed by law, but this has changed a few times over the last few decades. Despite the fact that all copropriétés are supposed to update to the new rules, the building in which we are buying our apartment still uses an old set of rules dating from 1952, and these state they no-one owning property in the building has the right to split it up and sell it separately.

As our seller is doing exactly that (splitting the apartment and the cellar), our lawyer stopped the sale.

However (still with me?), the new rules override this, and allow anyone to sell all or part of their property as they see fit. So the problem is that the new rules allow it, but that they haven't yet been adopted by the building, even if they have voted to so do at the end of the year.

In order to make sure that there is absolutely no problem for us, our seller will now have to:

- guarantee that she will pay all fees arising from the split of the apartment and cellar, and
- pledge that if for some perverse reason the new set of rules re not voted in, she will reinsert the cellar into our lot, meaning that there is no problem for us to buy.

In return - and if the later arises - we pledge to give her free and exclusive access to the cellar for ten or twenty years. Problem solved!

The lawyers are drawing up the papers now, and I can get back to the flat and hack away at the lino some more. Lovely.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The sale's off (for the moment)

So our lawyers cancelled the sale. I called the bank to cancel the cheque for a trillion euros. We're pissed off, the agency is pissed off, the owner is pissed off. Bugger!

I also realised that it might not look good to have a bomb site in the middle of the main room of the flat (where i've been hacking away to get to the floorboards), so I went over there in a panic and cleaned up a bit...

It least it looks like a tidy bomb site now.

However, things got more complicated. Our architect called to say that the surveyor (who got his measurements wrong) wanted to come over straight away, and could I let him in? 30 minutes later, there he was... with the owner of the flat. She said nothing about the floor thank God, and it turns out that there is a small but significant difference in the size of the kitchen, as they had under-measured one wall by 30 centimetres. Instead of 18.1m², the flat is actually 17.6m². As the difference is less than 5% this will not change the price, but it does bugger up our plans for the kitchen...

And we have a meeting with the owner, her agency and all the lawyers tomorrow morning to see what we can sort out. We're still hoping to buy the flat, as we like it a lot. More news very soon...

Suddenly things look bleak

Bastard bastard bastard estate agents!

We were supposed to sign off on the flat tomorrow (10th April), but we just got a call from our lawyer, and it looks like the whole thing is off. Un-fuggin'-believable.

We knew that the flat originally had a cellar, and that the owner had decided to split the two and sell us just the apartment. However, we didn't know that any lot splitting has to be OK-ed by the building management at their annual general meeting... and this hasn't been done. If we go through with the sale, it could be cancelled by them afterwards.

Of course, the agency selling the apartment neglected to mention this.

Also, despite the fact that the flat has been measured by a qualified surveyor, our architect called and said that she had made her own measurements, and there's over 1m² missing! I went over, and she's right; in the kitchen he has marked one wall as being 1m70 whereas in reality it is 1m40. Not only does this mean that the planned kitchen won't fit in there, it also means we are paying 8,000 euros (£6,300 / $12,500) too much for the apartment.

Add to that the fact that I have been merrily chipping away at the lino to reveal the parquet (leaving a giant messy hole) and it looks like we are in serious trouble. Bastards!

We should know during the course of the day if our lawyer wants to go through with it or not. Our lovely little apartment near the Pompidou Centre may be slipping through our fingers... More news shortly.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

First priority: wallpaper

And so it begins. Now that the signing off on the apartment is confirmed for 10th April, we can finally get down to the nitty gritty. The plans have been more or less decided with our lovely architect (more about that soon), and we have to start worrying about exactly how we are going to decorate the place.

First idea: really posh wallpaper. Anne Gelbard founded her own studio just over ten years ago, and her small team of ten use her secret technique of oxidised metal on fabrics and wallpaper, all made by hand. We think they would make a striking addition to the new apartment, although we haven't properly looked at the prices yet (gulp).

If you have some basic French, here's a link to a news report (on nasty right-wing channel TF1, sorry) that show her and her helpers hard at work.