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Maison & Travaux

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      28.08.2006 19:11
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      A super magazine for those who want to take the imagination a step further.

      Maison & Travaux is a monthly magazine on home improvements and styles. It's a French magazine, though my reasons for telling the public about it are that there are many English reading people that might not know about it, and that could benefit from buying it.

      It's a super magazine for the most part and gives up to date details of what's new in decoration and furnishings for your home. Going through the pages of the last edition, I was interested to see the colours that are now the style, and strangely enough the pale blues that I am seeing were what I chose for my own house last year. The illustrations in the magazine are good quality and what is interesting here is that they cover so many areas of renovation, that those people that buy houses in France could use the book to find products that will actually make their renovation work much easier.

      Each month, the magazine covers different aspects of building/decorating, and I like this because some of the advice given (again in picture form) is astonishingly accurate as well as being innovative and imaginative. For example, this months' speciality subjects are arranging an office area, and here there are layouts to suit all kinds of people, and price structures to help you plan that ideal office area. I shall use some of the ideas in the arrangement of my office area, and that's where the joy of this magazine comes into play. You can see other people's ideas and whilst they may not conform exactly to what you have planned, little snippets of ideas joined together with your ideas, can create concrete plans for what you want to achieve in your own house.

      I like the magazine's choice and range, because it seems that anything from the rustic to the most stylish of interiors is covered, and there are so many ideas to be gleaned within its' pages that even if you do not even have a smattering of French and cannot read it, the pictures themselves pass on the ideas, and give stockists names, addresses and prices, so that you can find out where to buy the things that you like.

      Modifying a window was covered this month, and whilst I appreciate that the photographs of each stage are in fact staged for the magazine, I think it may have helped them to have thought out some of the photographs. Here, we are shown how to make the hole in the wall, how to support the stonework, how to insert a lintol or a window cill, but little details made me smile. For example, they were inserting plastic windows with the use of a lump hammer, which I felt was a little inappropriate and would in fact damage the finished product, but these are small niggles compared to the accuracy of the information imparted in most areas.

      Ever thought of having a floor that was half wood, half tiling ? The instruction in this area is very good indeed, using up to date products and explaining everything step by step. I didn't like the finish much, but that's a personal like/dislike thing. What the magazine does is instill ideas that can be altered to suit your specific purpose.

      They have a section in the magazine that deals with budget purchases and show you items that can be obtained at a very reasonable price. Not always of interest to me, I can see that this section might be to those on a budget.

      Towards the back of the magazine, there is a monthly section dedicated to different regions of France and the architecture of that area, which is a delight to read, although here again, the illustrations are such that you really don't need a good knowledge of French to appreciate the attention to detail. Pages and pages of lush photographs take you on a journey of style to areas you may never visit, though this area always interests me.

      Comparisons of price and what you get for your money are rather good in this magazine as well, and the example this month was one of woodburners, ranging from the most modern to the most traditional, the price range of the items being suited to all pockets. This particularly interested me, as I wanted to see what styles were available at what price.

      Maison & Travaux (House and Works) is the best magazine available on the shelf for those people that seek ideas. There are many of these magazines in France now, although over the period of the last 10 years, this one consistently produces a good quality magazine with articles that interest even the fussiest of readers, like me, whereby others fail and tend to be more flippant about the idea of improving your home.

      There is usually an area of the magazine that deals with traditional building methods, and this months' covered Whattle & Dore building, i.e. With wooden slats and soil. The pictures were amazing, and the detail of the job good enough for even an enthusiast to follow. The French like their traditions and this magazine helps to keep the traditional building styles alive.

      Available cheaper by subscription, the price in the newsagents is 4 Euros which is about 2.90 GBP. It's darned good value, and they offer a service whereby you can buy back issues with certain themes that you may be interested in, listing them both on their website and in the back of each issue. I always look forward to my issues of the magazine, and buy through a France Loisirs which is a book club that give special deals for subscriptions and saves me a Euro per issue, although the full price is still darned good value.

      Website : http://www.maison-travaux.fr/

      It really is worth a look.

      Rachel

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