Kelsey HayneComment

Château Monterolle

Kelsey HayneComment

Sorry, no professional photographs here.

From July 15 - 29th, I stayed in Évaux-les-Bains, about 30 minutes away from Montluçon. The main focus was to learn new skills by helping with the restoration of the chateau. 

After a few days, two Taiwanese guys joined me. Since our host, David, was British, they had a hard time understanding his accent, so I found myself translating basic English. The cultural mix was certainly interesting. Pretty much every meal was eaten outside in the backyard, so I got quite the tan!  On my first day, David took me to a local cafe and showed me the village. The rest of the time was spent at the house, or a few times, I joined him for grocery runs. Halfway through our visit, David had two friends show up for holiday, and they went "searching for cigarettes" aka secret outings every day. His personality and attitude towards us changed when they arrived. It was a contrast to being warmly included and integrated in Jennie/Ron's life. 

The majority of my time revolved around stripping 'Crepe' paint off doors, and taking paint off window handles and key locks. One thing that I didn't expect, was the length of time required for the smallest project! The job required gloves. Lots of them. The paint stripping solution was acidic, and would 'burn' the skin upon contact, once it ate far enough into the gloves, I would feel a warm tingly sensation in my hands, and have to get a new pair. It was very unpleasant. A cold water bucket was always nearby for a quick dip of relief. Though, I did get major satisfaction seeing the dramatic transition from start to finish. Overall, it was worth it :)

Not everything is shown, but the key holes and window fixture pieces were soaked in a ceramic pot with the paint stripper solution. After soaking for 15-30 minutes, a brush is used to remove the paint. I found that steel wool did a better job, so I had one steel wool for the initial removal, a second cleaner one for the hard to reach spots, and a third after a piece had been rinsed in water to remove any additional left over spots.  After the initial paint removal, each piece is soaked and rubbed with white spirit. Then, the final step is using a metal varnish to seal the piece (otherwise, it will rust).

For the doors, I had to remove the 'crepe' before we could paint them. That was a big job. There were several layers of paint involved, which required administering several globby coats of the remover with a brush. For the actual doors, we removed them and took them outside on saw horses. It was easier to do them, because I didn't have to endure pieces falling onto my skin from above. I scraped everything into the center, removed in the masses, and disposed of it on a cardboard piece into the woods. After the paint remover, I got to use. . . a power sander! Watch out ;) Next was the two coats of base paint!

Before

Before

After

After

In addition, I helped David replace and cut new flooring for his classic Rolls Royce's trunk, and create a window covering for the cinema room. At this point, I can do anything. . . or so it feels ;)