Couple renovate dilapidated 1850s French mansion into stunning modern home

The building took up a lot of TLC (Image: Jam Press / @ 2boys1house)

A couple shared how they bought a pristine mansion from the 1850s in France for € 200,000 (about £ 172,000) to transform it into a stunning – and livable – home.

Lilian Gougeon and Valentin Richard, both 27 and from France, bought the house in Saint-Omer, Pas-de-Calais in 2018.

The couple began the renovation in December of that year and worked on their home for eight months before taking six months off and completing the remainder of the renovation during the lockdown.

With a budget of around 100,000 euros for the mammoth task, they transformed the room into a colorful and modern version of its former self.

“We were looking for a house with lots of character and we quickly found this magnificent mansion that we fell in love with,” the couple told Jam Press.

“There was still a lot of work to be done to bring it up to date, but we have still started this renovation project.”

There was a lot to do and the couple planned the interior work and some work themselves – but got help with tricky things like electricity, plumbing and window replacement.

One of the stunning bedrooms (Image: Jam Press / @ 2boys1house)

Starting with the stairs, the couple removed the plaster from the walls by hand and then removed the tiles on the floor.

For the kitchen, the couple added wooden furniture purchased from local artisans and painted black to contrast the pieces against the rustic brick wall.

Lilian and Valentine also installed new lighting fixtures, a kitchen island, and several kitchen appliances.

The furniture cost 20,000 euros, and 7,000 euros for building materials and plumbing.

Next came the laundry room, where the two of them replaced the old flooring and tiles on the walls and installed plasterboard.

They painted the walls a green shade and added white furniture to give the space a fresh and natural feel (€ 5,000 total).

The kitchen now looks chic and functional (Image: Jam Press / @ 2boys1house)

In addition, they added a new bathroom to the mansion that was previously an office – which meant they had to install a new plumbing system to bring in local contractors to help.

An existing bathroom has not been touched since the 1950s – but it has also been completely renewed after a thorough gutting.

The couple said, “We broke everything to make everything new; a concrete screed, tiles on the floor and on the walls, the creation of a vanity unit, the installation of a shower and ventilation.

Valentin (left) and Lilian (right) (Image: Jam Press / @ 2boys1house)

“We have chosen a” spa “atmosphere in this room with black, ecru and turquoise tones.”

Lilian and Valentin haven’t done much on their living and dining room so far – but plan to tackle them in the future.

And while some tweaking still needs to be done, the two couldn’t be happier with the outcome of their work.

Lilian said, “The most beautiful part of our renovation was clearly the fact that you can project yourself.

“We love creativity very much and to be able to imagine the decoration of a room raises a lot for us: colors, furniture, decoration, lights.

“The result suits us perfectly, it is exactly the atmosphere that we envisioned at the beginning of our project.

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‘The only downer is the atmosphere in our living room, which does not meet our expectations and which we will certainly look at again in summer.’

They say the best advice they have for someone looking to renovate is to just start.

“We didn’t know about renovation before we started and we trusted ourselves,” said the couple.

‘You have to trust yourself and can only be surprised by yourself!’

List of costs for the renovation

  • Staircase: € 2,000
  • Kitchen: 27,000 € (20,000 € furniture + 5,000 € material + 2,000 € plumbing)
  • Laundry room: € 5,000
  • Green bathroom: € 11,000
  • Blue bathroom: € 13,000
  • Bedroom: € 3,000
  • Living room: 300 €
  • Window: € 32,000
  • Heating: € 6,000

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