We are an originally Dutch family of 4, living in Brittany since 2011, in Plouhinec (South Morbihan), 5 km from the sea, "entre terre et mer"....
We are hardworking and try to be as self sufficient as possible. In 2012 we have renovated an old barn to turn it into a sustainable holiday cottage and a few years ago we have summed up the courage to attack the old farmhouse ("a.k.a. the ruin") next to it in to another sustainable holiday cottage, which we finished in 2018. Currently we rent out the 2 cottages, a classic caravan and a VW T3 Joker camper van from April to October and we have a vegetable garden and chickens. My husband and kids (13 and 16) are surfers and skaters, we like to do outdoor activities and stroll around at flea markets. We are very well integrated here and have a nice circle of French friends. The kids are completely bilingual and their English is improving every day.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
We love the exchange with people from other cultures, languages & life styles, so I am sure we will do a lot of talking with you whilst enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of nice wine (or a beer:-). And as said, we already renovated our cottages the sustainable way, and along the way we acquired quite some knowledge on sustainable and solution-based building, in addition to our sustainable lifestyle that is always under construction and can always be improved. You could learn a lot from us and I am sure we can learn a lot from you. We love listening to and talking about music, unfortunately we do not play any instruments, and we love playing games.
As were are Dutchies living in France, we cannot offer you a French cultural and native speaking household, but you can practice your French here if you want (with the children, their accent is way better than ours) and we will do our utmost to make you feel welcome in this part of Brittany and explain as much as we know about this magical region.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
What's the project?
As you can see on the photos the old farmhouse was a complete ruine, and we managed (with the help of our lovely workawayers) to bring it back into shape to create another cosy holiday cottage, but in a responsable and sustainable way with straw, chalk and wood and re-using the old beautiful granit stones for the front. Now the 'house' side of the ruin is done, we are finishing the 'barn' part, which is become a workshop / shaping room / garage / etc.
What have we done so far since our first Workawyer in 2015?
As you can imagine we have needed help with the whole process of renovation. For the 'house side' we started in 2015 with the foundation and the ground floor construction, in 2016 we did most of the roof, insulating it with straw and we mounted the straw walls. In the beginning of 2017 we were working on the stone wall, followed by all the roof work and just before Christmas 2017 we finished the roof and we celebrated that the building is wind & waterproof, hurray! During spring 2018 we're attacking all the interior work, insulating the walls, making the rooms, electricity, plumping, painting, etc to have everything ready in July when the first guests arrived. In October 2018, we started the 'barn' side of the building. Winter 2019/20 we were working on the wooden structure of the walls and the roof and repairing the walls with the granite stones. And now, spring 2021, we are working on the interior, insulation, plaster work, painting, plumbing, electricity, etc
What would you do here?
So whether you have some carpenting skills, building skills in general, electricity, plumbing, etc etc, and even if you do not have particular skills at all, but you like working and learning and if you have a pro active approach, we can always use your help! If it is not with the building, there is always something to do in the (vegetable) garden. It is be a hands-on job, and whether you are alone or a couple, there are plenty things to do here... never a dull moment!
Projects in the pipeline (automn and winter 2021/22?):
Building an extension to the house for our solar panels
Building a pizza oven with clay
Painting our own house
Brewing our own beer
My husband works when there are no waves to surf and adapts his time table accordingly, and in the weekends we would like to spend some time with the kids as well, so working days would be Mon-Fri, weather and waves permitting! As the weather here in Brittany can be an issue, especially in winter, we try to adapt our selves to the work that needs to be done, but always within reason and we are open to any ideas or remarks you might have.
We have already built 2 cottages now with straw and other sustainable materials, so we have learnt a lot by doing it (we even make our own paint), so if you like to learn about this way of building, we are happy to tell you all about it.
What can we offer you?
You would be sleeping our Cosy Caravan (an old but very comfortable classic lady) with private sanitary facilities (shower and compost toilet).
On working days (Mon - Fri | 9h-15h approx), I prepare lunch and dinner which we eat together (we love to cook, using only local ingredients and things from the garden), as well as coffee and tea breaks, but we ask you to take care of your own breakfast (as we have a funny routine in the morning with the kids going to school, etc). As the caravan is well equipped you can cook yourselves on off-days. Shops and markets to get nice ingredients are close by.
What can the region offer you?
We love living here, close by the sea with great waves for all kinds of surfing and fishing and we have the woods in our backyard. We live 2 km from the Ria d'Etel, a beautiful inner sea. The area around the house is great for hiking, cycling, etc. The nearest city is Lorient, but we are not far away from Auray and Vannes either. Nearest trainstation is Auray or Lorient.
You can come here by train or bus, however it might be useful to have a car to get around. We are only 2 km away from the village (bakery, butcher, supermarket, bars, etc) and we have bikes at your disposal. If you like we can show you the beautiful spots around here or you can discover them yourselves.
If you are a surfer, we can show you the waves and if you cannot bring your board with you, do not worry, we can lend you one of ours!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Our accommodations are equipped with a wifi connection but as all cables are still above the ground here in this part of Brittany the quality of the connection is subject to the weather conditions.
You can stay on our parking which is level and the surface is dry. We can provide you with electricity and you can use the sanitary facilities of the caravan (compost toilet and shower).
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week