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Maison Célières : Outbuildings
New Caledonian houses all comprise a main building and outbuildings. The outbuildings were all designed to accommodate activities involving the use of fire or duties carried out by the servants.
First come the laundry room and the water tank. This domestic laundry room is one of the few, if not the only one, in Noumea to possess several basins. Traditionally, a laundry room was used to rinse laundry but, thanks to the multiple basins here, laundry could be both washed and rinsed in the same place. The original tiling was preserved when the house was restored.
Adjoining the laundry room, Mr. Célières planned for outbuildings housing a servant’s room and the kitchen. All rooms where fire was used were distanced from the house to avoid any spread of fire to the timber-built main dwelling. The kitchen was tiled but the servant’s room had a wooden floor. This was later turned into a bathroom containing a wooden water heater, a great luxury in itself because most New Caledonians bathed in cold water, sometimes heated by the sun in summer. The bathroom was tiled in 1932. When the restoration work was carried out, both these rooms were replaced by toilets.
The outbuildings are ornamented by a decorative metal valance in the same style as that embellishing the main dwelling.
A stable and a coach-house are also located at the rear.
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Texts and illustrations: Association Témoignage d’un Passé © 2016