Monday, March 31, 2014

Renovating a French Chateau

Awe-inspiring wanderlust blog Messy Nessy Chic featured a great piece today about a couple who bought an abandoned 18th-century neoclassical French chateau and are, little by little, renovating it.

You guys! It looks like Downton Abbey!

Looks like Australian couple Karina and Craig Waters snatched up this treasure in the French Midi-Pyrénées after it sat on the market for four years. They've been documenting the process of renovating it on their blog.

For someone like me, who daydreams about making it big one day, renovating a chateau in the French or Italian countryside, and inviting my friends to summer with us ("summer" becomes a verb when you're fancy and rich), this is an amazing peek into a dream world. Of course, the fantasy is probably much more fun when it's not your own money that you're spending on tearing down walls and excavating old staircases, and you're not wading through governmental red tape and waiting for months on end to get building permits from the French authorities.

The reno has also yielded some cool archeological discoveries... construction workers recently found a 3-meter wide space below the floorboards, which - surprise! - has a vaulted ceiling. A vaulted ceiling, you guys.

Could this be the ancient remains of a former emperor's palace? Or just some old wine cellar? We'll see...apparently the builders are excavating to see where it leads.

I can't wait to see the finished product, although it'll be a few years. Good thing Karina and Craig rescued it from the former owners, foreign investors who were planning to convert the chateau into seventeen luxury apartments. Can you imagine if this place was renovated to have a gym and a Starbucks on the ground floor? No thanks. In the meantime, I'm following the renovations on their Facebook page and on their blog, and I'm working on getting my own European chateau or villa. If you want to come summer with me in the future, you better be nice to me now. Thanks to Messy Nessy Chic for spreading the word about this amazing project.