How many of us dream of owning and renovating a French chateau? A palace that was lived in by French aristocrats, where every room reveals a story from the past?
Karina Waters is from Perth, Western Australia where she worked in corporate and tax accounting and lived with her husband Craig, a surgeon and their two children. In 2011 Karina and Craig decided to buy a house in France. They had lots of French friends who did their best to come up with ideas for “what would fit an Australian family” on their first viewing trip in the region of the Dordogne. Karina and Craig spent a week looking at the houses their friends had chosen for them. But Karina were so disappointed about those choices as they are all “renovated, clean and neat” while her ideal home would be more “shabby chic, rustic, petit chateau style” The sad thing is that she hadn’t seen anything even close to her description.
A year after the first trip, Karina and Craig returned to France. They were nearly giving up on the search but their 16-year-old son Ben had seen a property on the internet that caused them to accelerate their heartbeats. It was a renovated chateau in the Midi-Pyrénées area that looked like something out of a fairy tale. The couple drove 700km in one day to view it. And according to karina, “it’s love at first sight.”
The Chateau is located at the base of Plateau de Beille. The property had been on the market for four years and was owned by a foreign company. They had purchased it in the early 1990’s and planned to convert the chateau into 17 apartments, but the French Historic Monuments organization intervened with the project. As time flies, the house became worn-out and got plenty of damages. That’s when the couple decided to buy it and make a restoration to it.
It was not an easy task. The first step is to clean out all the rooms which are filled with debris for decades. In the future they are planning to get possible commercial and cultural activities. Conference facilities, accommodation, weddings and a pop up café are being considered. Karina promises “It won’t be a typical hotel style setup but a unique experience”.
Will this couple restore the Chaetau to its glory? Just wait and see.