The kitchen on the first visit.
When we first met our apartment in France, we had seen so many places. We had nearly given up hope trying to find a place within our budget that met our criteria. We had just finished visiting an apartment not too far away for the second time, but we were still unsatisfied. I finally said to the realitor, "You've got to have something that has has genuine French character with updated electrical and plumbing somewhere?"
He paused - actually hesitated - and then decided to bring us to what was to become our building. As we approached, we knew were in for a treat, the exterior of the building was classic European - balconies, cornices, grand doorways, circular stairways, Ancienne tiles...tick, tick, tick went the checkboxes! We quietly did not say too much to each other, we were playing it so cool. But we both knew this was going to be "the one" It had 4meter high ceilings in two of the three main rooms. Beautiful plaster trim. Gigantic french doors that let in tons of natual light. A handcarved marble fireplace, original "tomette" tiling. One bedroom, and the shower room had huge oak beams traversing the ceiling. Three juliette balconies. We could not believe what we were seeing, we were dumbfounded.
The kitchen today.
The reason our realitor was so hesitant to show us the place was two-fold. The first reason was it was a construction zone. There was dust and junk everywhere. Had a person not done DIY home renovations in the past, they would have turned around and ran. The second reason was more complicated, but suffice to say it made our final purchase very challenging...to the point where on a few occasions, we almost walked away. We are still dealing with those ramifications, and may continue to do so for a while to come.
For us, all of the dust and plaster was great. We have infact done our fair share of renovations, so we were very pleased to see what they were doing, and how they were doing it. We actually got to make changes early that would have taken away much of the apartment's character - and we insisted that the perserve all the original tiles and patch the original plaster work.
After the visit, we went to a local café and decided this was worth the effort to make an offer to purchase. Our friend Paul told us to offer 30% under asking - so we did. In the end, that's what we got, but it was not without a few hurdles. The rest, is another story for later.