The project concentrated primarily on thermal insulation and the use of eco-building processes and products. We followed this main guideline right from the beginning, with a spirit based on authenticity, comfort, respect of the old building and its natural environment.

The eco-construction of this old cowshed and hay loft has been made by local craftsmen. They maximized the use of environmentally-sourced materials such as hemp, soil, cork, wood and lime, offering then a large thermal inertia.

The plans have been drawn by local architect named Laurence Brown and the materials – stonework and insulation – by Végétal Habitat, a local company managed by Xavier Jeanne who is a bricklayer  expert in  eco-renovation works using environmentally-sourced materials.

I would particularly like to thank both of them very much.

Floors and walls

  • Framing built by Norman Saffrey Père & Fils company     
  • Roof covered with slate made by  Norman Letellier Père & Fils company
  • The soil plaster as well as the lime and sand plaster have been made by  eco-bricklayer Xavier Jeanne at Végétal Habitat’s, mainly with  soil recycled from the old cowshed
  • The indoor partitions are made of Fermacell (plasterstone mixed with cellulose fibers coming from paper recycling),  covered with  paint and lacquer wich are volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) free, and organic paper walls in  bamboo and natural pigments
  • The lime and sand concrete screed has been casted on a gravel-filled capillary barrier over a cork and lime ground floor slab
  • Tiles and terra cotta floor tiles have been handmade by the FAUVEL craft company in Normandy whose know-how is classified in the Patrimoine Vivant ranking                                                                   
  • Ceramic tiles in the kitchen have been designed by the British ceramics designer Karen Smith. She finds her innermost inspiration in the most natural elements like earth, water and plants                                     

Insulation and mechanical ventilation

  • The inside insulation of the stone walls  has been  made with bricked hemp and a mortar of hemp and lime, between 30 and 40 cms thick
  • High performance glazing. Windows are designed to minimize heat loss, with double glazing and inert gas filled cavity (argon)
  • The mechanical ventilation is provided through a drain pipe layed in S under the ground floor slab


  • Organic household cleaning products
  • A++ household and lightning devices, low energy appliances
  • Separate collection dustbins
  • Composter


  • Hardwood oak  doors and windows, made by two local cabinet makers from the Manche and Calvados      districts                  

Renewable energy

  • A wood stove in the living room
  • Two solar thermal panels and a  solar water heater

Furniture and miscellaneous items

  • Hardwood oak table and benches designed by Jean-François Marcheguet and 100% made in Normandy. The wood material comes from the eco-managed forest of Lyons in Normandy.
    If you want to know all about the group of craftsmen who design this eco-friendly manufacture brand, go to    
  • Dishes coming from the Guy Degrenne manufacturing plant in Vire

Video report produced by  EcoFab about La Charrette Bleue eco-house