The internet has its fair share of DIY and home improvement blogs out there, but one couple, Karina and Craig Waters, have possibly created the mother of all home improvement blogs as they document their process of restoring an 18th century neoclassical French chateau. That's right, the Australian husband and wife team purchased Chateau de Gudanes, a fairytale mansion in the Midi-Pyrénées that's been in need of a good renovation for quite awhile.
As luck would have it, the couple was about ready to give up on their search for the perfect French home when their son spotted the home online. They drove over 500 miles to see it and fell in love with it right away.
First, there was the purchasing and signing. Then, there were restoration permits and so, so much waiting. The previous owners, a foreign investment company, had purchased it in the 90s with the idea of converting it to luxury apartments. But they were denied the permits and just left the property to decay. Now it's up to the couple to restore the enormous 94 room estate.
Eventually getting the restoration permits from French authorities, they set to work. The building once belonged to Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales for entertaining French celebrities and nobility. (Voltaire was rumored to be a party guest here.) The building was spared during the French Revolution and later bought by a local family.
The original architect was Parisian Ange-Jacque Gabriel who was made famous for his deign of the Petit Prianon in Versailles. Karina and Craig have their hands full in preserving the original character while still bringing he amenities up to the modern era.
Karina updates the chateau’s official blog regularly with snapshots of their progress, as well as her observations living as an Aussie ex-pat in a small French village.
The Chateau de Gudanes is a source of constant hidden treasures and surprises during the renovation. Century old paintwork, original details and discarded piles of rubble greet Karina at every turn.
Recently, the builders discovered a three metre deep hole found under floor boards…
Things like this "hole" with a vaulted ceiling. They all need to be followed by builders to see where they lead and if it is something that they are able to preserve.
It’s full of surprises and incredible finds, all lovingly documented.
Credit: The Good Life France