In 1732 a team of skilled craftspeople built this structure using 3 locally-sourced, natural products: oak, clay and stone. As a testament to the integrity of these materials and the techniques of their trades, the building has more or less survived 4 centuries, witnessing the French occupation; the creation of America; and the invention of concrete, power tools and plywood. But the march of time is rarely kind, and various repairs over the years have resisted – but not repelled – building’s oldest enemy… water.
A full and proper renovation was long overdue and thanks to this platform, my Dad and I were able to take on this challenge in the Summer of 2020, filming every step of the journey. However this is not a restoration in the truest sense of the word. Triangular rafters would have been laughed at in 1732, but the accuracy and versatility of modern sawmills and bandsaws meant we could try something that addresses some of the inherent weaknesses in a roof designed before the advent of electricity, and – dare I say – improve it.
A huge thankyou to Festool UK for envisioning and supporting the project from the start (using some of their gear definitely shaved a couple of weeks off), and to the incredibly generous patrons.