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…I decided to do what any normal middle-aged man would do: I painted the inside of one of my dependances and turned it into a ‘chill-out’ area for adults. It’s a literal chill-out zone too – I mean, as in it’s not very warm in there.

For people who don’t know what a dependance is, it’s the French term for outbuildings, so running alongside our house, but not connected to it, we have a garage. Attached to that garage is a separate room that houses the boiler, and this room then connects with the aforementioned dependance that I’ve decorated.

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There’s also another dependance at the very end – again, also connected to the others – but that one’s a bit damp and so I didn’t bother with that. Plus the door is set painfully low, and if I bang my head on it one more time I think I might dust off my sledgehammer and set about it in a rather unpleasant manner.

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As you can see they had a sale on in one of my local paint stores on white Dulux paint. Having a sale on paint in France occurs with roughly the same frequency as winning the lottery. Or finding a French baker open at 12.45pm.

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I spent a fair bit of time on the prep, cleaning it up and getting it ready, but unfortunately neglected to take any ‘before’ pictures, so you will have to use your imagination and picture a grim, grubby, grey box of a room.

My main aim doing this – apart from the previously mentioned relaxation area for adults – was to highlight some of the features that the prior owners had neglected: the wooden beams. I cleaned each beam and then painted between them to really make them ‘pop’ – if beams can do that? I’ve never written anything like this so I don’t know if they can.

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Apart from the paint I used only existing materials with the exception of a few bits and bobs I bought from Aldi, in the reduced section. It seems nobody wanted to buy their ‘nautical-themed’ items, so they had reduced them to clear and shoved them in their ‘shit aisle’ (you know what I’m talking about). I also picked up a couple of coloured bottles and a rather garish pinky-orangy candle-holder/big glass jar thingy (hanging from the ceiling at the end next to the bottles). This was also from Aldi, and I bought it to give a bit of colour to the room and – even though you can’t see it – there is a flamingo on the reverse.

Total expenditure on ‘objets d’art’ (ooh I will pay for using that term) : 22 Euros.

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I also added a bit of blue paint here and there – the door, window frame etc – as I realised that if I painted everything white it would stop looking like a chill-out area for adults, and start looking like a holding-facility for adults with mental-health issues.

I’ve curtained off the other part of this dependance, where the boiler is, as it’s not quite as neat and tidy as this one is – yet. This will be the next part of the ‘project’. For the time being the family refers to this as ‘Monica’s Closet’, which should be familiar to fans of the TV show ‘Friends’, but if you aren’t familiar with that term, it basically means it’s where I’ve shoved all the crap for the time being.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the presence of toys in the room. These appeared approximately 25 seconds after I revealed my secret project to my family and explained what it was I had wanted to achieve with it. This is an unfortunate side-effect when you try to create a space to get away from children: they follow you. They have now commandeered our all-new dependance with cries of ‘Thank you daddy’ and ‘Thank you for building us a play-house daddy, can you close the door on you way out, please?’.

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Still I’m not begrudging them stealing our new area, because if they are in there, we can have the actual house all to ourselves.

Win-win, eh?

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