Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bruno! (Avec Accentuation)

Our house was built by a Frenchman.


In the last month that we have owned our home, we have discovered things about Bruno, whom we have never met, which has occasionally resulted in us shaking our fists in the air in the French manner and shouting "Bruno!"

With emphasis (avec accentuation). In a French accent.

As we all know, every house has its own oddities. We, certainly, are no strangers to this fact. Bruno, who lived in this house for ten years after construction was finished, certainly built and finished the home to his taste, which run to the European fashion.

In case you are wondering what the European fashion means, by way of example I will tell you that while there was no door to the entrance of the bathroom from the master bedroom, the bathroom does include a bidet. On a sculpted pedestal. With gold faucet handles. For further explanation, I should say that the bathroom is divided into two parts: when you go through the entrance way, there is a large (blue) jetted tub to your left, and straight on is a counter top with two sinks (blue/grey/beige tile top, two pottery-style dark blue sinks.) To the right is a pocket door, and through the door way is a standing shower in the corner, and on the opposite wall, the toilet, and next to it, the bidet. Note: we now have a door for the bathroom. That was our very first project and Eric did one stand up job assembling and installing a sliding barn door to effectively cover the entrance, and look super cool. We also took the opportunity to paint the bedroom before we put up the door, getting rid of the turquoise walls. Turquoise being Anita's choice, as I found out whilst painting... Bruno was apparently a fan of rosy-pink for the walls, and Anita's painters didn't see it as necessary to do things like remove outlet covers before painting. However, the bathroom itself is still turquoise for the moment, with the exception of the pink you can see peeking out from under the towel bars, which also weren't removed before painting. For those of you counting at home, we are now up to four shades of blue in the bathroom.

The basement also sports vestiges of Europe. In particular, we have a home-fashioned wine cellar. Yes! Well... kind of. Don't go googling "wine cellars" because the photos that will be returned are much fancier than the closet at the bottom of the basement stair. That being said, any type of closet specifically designed for wine est tres bien pour moi! When you look inside, its nothing more than several two by fours drilled into the foundation of the house vertically, with pegs made out cut board sticking out of them. But it counts! And I am certain that it counted for Bruno, who I imagine filled those pegs with Bordeaux and Beaujolais Nouveau. Anita had the closet filled as well, with a wider variety but enough red that I felt comfortable taking a risk and getting her and Liz a bottle of Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon at closing, since we knew how frustrated they were with what they had to do to get the house done. (That particular peace offering worked, I do think!)

There is also a random vent in the basement, about three inches in diameter, on a switch that starts an exhaust fan. It was running when we entered the house after purchase. We have no idea what it is "officially" for. We believe Bruno had it imported from France, as the brand name written on it is "La Ventilatique." However, given that there is newer carpet in the basement than anywhere else in the house, combined with the strange vent in the ceiling near the wet bar, Eric has a guess.

Bruno used the basement as a wine and cigar bar.

Could be? I don't know that Frenchmen are necessarily cigar smokers, but given the number of smokers in general in France (at least when I was living there) and the fact that he was now in the US, I think it's possible!

Eric has found other quirks of Bruno's that have not been so quirky or endearing... specifically, when we went to replace the brass sconces on the stairway to the second floor, he realized that the wiring was... unusual. Specifically, the sconce at the bottom of the stairs above the light switches always had power to it, no matter if the switch was on or off! Thinking that perhaps is was on another outlet, we started flicking switches. We ended up turning on and off every switch in the house AND the garage with no success. The reason the bulb was burned out in the original sconce was because it was always on. Bruno!

We no longer have a sconce there. Eric took it down, capped off the electric, and patched the drywall.

Same with the random transformer hanging outside the house in a plastic bag. Bruno!

There may be more fist shaking, name calling in the future as we update this place. Not that Bruno cares. I'm sure he's where ever he lives now, sipping his Merlot and smoking his cigar, perhaps chuckling at that crazy time when he built a maison sur le flanc d'une montagne.

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