The house is old, probably 1700s. There is still an unrenovated section that was once where animals were kept. There is also a cellar which I'm turning into wine storage (duh). The house was already habitable when I bought it (in fact it was used every weekend), but it needed a lot of cleaning out. Some upgrades made it more comfortable: a new hot water heater, the addition of wifi and a laundry machine, and the installation of my dream stove (locally built) made it more comfortable.
First I knocked a hole in the stone wall to join a finished but separate room to the rest of the house. This expanded the inside living space significantly. Next, I added a deck with an outdoor fireplace off the main living room, facing southwest to take advantage of views and sunsets. Finally (for now), I added a small amount of custom kitchen cabinetry. The work was all done by local tradesman and designed by my brother's architecture firm:
I wasn't inclined to name the house, but it named itself. In the process of removing a large hive of bees from the eaves right above the deck for safety reasons, we discovered that the bees had built far down inside the walls over the years. Workmen removed much of it, but some old hive remains in the wall. La Ruche means The Hive in French and is appropriate figuratively, but also quite literally as it turns out.
Happily there are still plenty of bees (because there are plenty of flowers), and I did get a bit of honey from the hive that was removed. A workman also got stung just below the eye, but he was fine...