If Escape to the Château had been on the television 10-15 years ago I am convinced that my husband and I would have become Château owners.  When Channel 4 is airing Château DIY my day revolves around scheduling to be in front of the television with a glass of wine in time to “Escape”! The programme takes me away from the realities of day to day life, and I become personally involved with the renovations, and even more so with the decor!  I’m sure I’m not alone in this!

Say the words “French Château” and your imagination goes into overdrive: glistening chandeliers, elaborate gilded mirrors, beautiful antiques, ornate wallpaper and ciel de lit fabrics, dining tables adorned with elegant fine china, crystal and candelabras . . . I could go on but you already have similar fantasies filling your head . . . What none of us ever consider are the practicalities of modern day living in an ancient building!  

In truth, most of these historic buildings and nearly impossible to heat, they are dusty from years of sitting vacant and unloved, the paint is peeling, windows and floors are in need of replacement, repair or refurbishment, they are musty with damp from lack of ventilation and condensation, and let’s not even mention the long tailed or 8-legged uninvited guests which find their way in through the stone walls and chimneys!  Add to all this the annual cost of overhead on a large building, plus the repairs??? Would I still have been tempted – you bet I would! 

So on to the topic of renovation costs.  According to the level headed experts, the most important consideration is to establish a clearly defined budget which includes careful research on anticipated renovation costs and expenses.  Due to the materials and structure of an historic property, there are special considerations to be taken when costing renovation work, which can be significant. Specialists suggest that an average spend for renovation ranges from €700 (if the property is in need of modernizing and refurbishing e.g. kitchen, bathroom, heating) up to €1,500 per square metre for a total rebuild.

You will see many of these intrepid Château owners on Escape to the Château DIY taking on much of the work themselves to save the costs.  Most seem to have sufficient knowledge and the tools and are willing to wield the sledgehammer, to which I say “bravo”! 

So again I ask, would I still be tempted?  Well to be honest I love the Château chic decorating part, however my husband does not possess the same superman skills as Mr Dick Strawbridge!  So to answer that question, perhaps 15 years ago I would have been tempted, but now I am satisfied with creating a shabby-chic decor in our home in Occitanie – the home of brocantes!   

How about you and your friends?  Let me know!