Couple Buy an Abandoned French Chateau, Start a Blog to share their Journey

By

28th Mar, 2014

chateau

There are many reasons why you might start a blog, but documenting the revival of an 18th century neoclassical ruin seems like a pretty damn good reason if you ask me. In 2013, Australian husband & wife team Karina and Craig Waters purchased the Chateau de Gudanes, a decaying fairytale mansion in the Midi-Pyrénées that had been sitting on the market for four years.

Karina and Craig had just about given up on their arduous hunt for the perfect home in France when the couple’s son spotted the neglected property on the internet. Without hesitation, they drove nearly 500 miles in a single day to reach the unloved chateau that would change their lives forever.

chateau7

Once the house had been signed for, the long and silent wait began for the restoration permits. Months went by while Karina anxiously awaited a response, but nothing. And then some more nothing, until the couple began desperately contemplating selling the house.

The previous owners, a foreign investment company that bought the chateau in the 1990s had planned to convert it into 17 luxury apartments– we’re talking a class 1 historic monument here. Naturally, the developers were denied the building permission and simply left the neoclassical mansion to decay. However unlike the previous owners, Karina and Craig weren’t interested in turning a profit on the Chateau de Gudanes and simply wanted to restore the 94 room home to its former glory.

It wasn’t until Karina wrote to the French authorities explaining that they would have to sell the house because she wasn’t “feeling any love”, did  officials finally grant the Australians their permits.

chateauren

These dusty stairways and crumbling walls once belonged to the Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales, who commissioned Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, (famous for his Petit Trianon in Versailles) to build him a grand abode that could host lavish parties for the likes of Voltaire and the crème de la crème of French nobility. When the French Revolution came around, the chateau was spared and later bought by a local family.

chateau2

chateaudoors

chateaudoors1

staircase1

chateauren2

Today, it’s once again in the hands of a family who just so happen to be taking us on their journey with the Chateau de Gudanes, through its historic past, its chaotic present and its bright future.

chateauowners

Since work began, everything started to get a little bit more interesting. Karina regularly updates the chateau’s official blog and social networking pages with snapshots of the progress, thanks to a building team of six, who are working around the clock to bring this sleeping beauty back to life.

While her husband Craig has returned to Australia to look after the children and continue working (they’re going to need plenty more of those Aussie dollars), Karina has been left in charge. Her fears and triumphs as an ex-pat in a rural French village trying to manage this monumental project are all delightfully unfolding on the blog too.

instachateau

march15

Chateau de Gudanes’ hidden treasures are constantly being discovered during the renovation process, with original details and century-old paintwork being uncovered at every turn. Karina constantly finds herself going through the discarded piles of rubble being accumulated on the front lawn, looking for anything to recycle as the house undergoes repairs and reinforcements.

chateauren3

hole1

Recently, the builders discovered a three metre deep hole found under floor boards…

hole2

The “hole” has vaulted ceiling.

Builders will now excavate to see where it all leads…

It’s all very exciting stuff, you know, if you happen to like the idea of restoring an abandoned French chateau.

chateauren4

chateau9

chateauren6

chateaureno

chateauren7

chateau3

chateau8

 chateauview

gates1

chateausnow

chateau-gudanes-7

These are the kind of stories and updates you want popping up on your Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds!

Follow the Chateau de Gudanes Facebook page for updates, ogle the Instagram feed and discover the blog to join this incredible journey.

Further read on The Good Life France

All Images (c) Chateau de Gudanes

 

 

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in Don't Be A TouristEditor's PicksMy Secret ParisParis Like a Local

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

bookart

The Forgotten Book Painter

Have you ever found yourself doodling on the cover of a book, even just tracing over the lines of the artwork with your fingertips, or be it drawing moustaches with a permanent marker on magazine ...

Trending 7,802
Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

My Paris Clubhouse: 5 Hideaway Hangouts

We all had some kind of clubhouse as kids, didn't we? Whether it was a treehouse, a backyard den, a bedroom duvet fort, a secret meeting place in an old shack by the railway tracks; we all needed a...

Trending 13,189
courtyard

The Romeo & Juliet Villages of Santa Barbara

Now this is my idea of a Romeo and Juliet scene– that is if they had fallen in love in a fantasy Andalusian village rather than Verona. We're ogling at the mediterranean residence of Cota Street S...

Trending 4,686
deepnorth7

The Ice Age came early for this Winter Cabin

This is probably a tad out of season, but nonetheless pretty fun to ogle at; an abandoned home hijacked and frozen in time by ice and snow; a homely floral tablecloth stiff as a board, reading glass...

Trending 9,669