Happy New Year, how the time seems to be speeding up, with no way of slowing it down, it doesn’t feel like we are at the end of the year, only half way through, work has been enormous, extensive and strenuous, but this year we’ve achieved a lot, we’ve had to over come a great deal of challenges on our way.
The old lady had her hair rattled during a great big storm, she did sustain some minor damage, which also caused some of our big old trees to fall down, and some flooding in our back fields.
This year we also gained a few more members to the deer family, who reside close to the Château in a near forest.
We had our very first modern fairytale wedding, we attend the “Memorial” that happens twice a year, we truly enjoy catching up with our neighbours and showing our respect around that time of the year, our family grew a little bigger with the birth of a little Boy, we did a twelve kilometres local village walk, with the community, our legs are still feeling that burn, and the children enjoyed the “Village Christmas Party” a big get together for all the children, just before Christmas.
This year has and will be a year to remember, with everything coming together ready for us to open our big beautiful Green Doors in Summer of 2017, we are taking Wedding and Event bookings (email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details) with some big surprises we will be able to reveal in early 2017, so keep a look out for some hints between now and then.
January for us, as a family was an insane and joyful month. We had the function room on our priority list, for the very first wedding (Once Upon An Enchanted Chateau!) here at the Château.
We were up to early hours of the morning working through some cold nights to make sure the function room, kitchen and public toilets were working and ready to go, even though it was a family wedding, our expectations for the day and function room were still very high, with some setback, a few breakdowns and some passionate words that were shared once or twice. (Looking back now, we do laugh about it.)
We pushed the function room. Pushing ourselves past our physical limits. We installed the fire safe great big commercial glass doors and windows, that now give the perfect view of the sun setting nightly over the yonder fields, we constructed steel frames and bulkheads, and then sheeted them with acoustic plasterboards and did all the drylining.
We sandblasting, re-pointed, and hand sanded the stone feature wall located in the function room, taking the whole family team a few very long days to accomplish, but it did give it a wonderful old-time charm, an extremely romantic feel. Now the room feels like it’s part of the Château, but a timely reminder it’s still in a very old barn.
We installed the air conditioning and heating, all the electrics were connected, we placed the big lights to enhance and shine on the stunning stone feature wall and the old original oak beams. We installed the colour lights to enhance the ambience.
We also tackled the rotten floorboards in the Château on our first floor, the hallway and bedrooms. This was done by removing and replacing the entire flooring with lovely new timer.
To finish our January recap a Fire basket, was made by an amazingly talented local, for the wedding, to keep everyone warm, it worked so perfectly. This has now become a major outside feature which can be utilised in the coming future weddings.
February started of with a big storm, with quite a bit of damage sustain around the grounds of the Château, we had a sad loss of some of our great big trees falling to the ground (the rot and high winds got to them), even the roof of the Château got her fair share of damage.
So we have spent the biggest part of that month cleaning and fixing it all up. It did feel like a huge set back, especially because we had just got most of the Château grounds back to a heathy place after the massive and we mean massive clean up that we just finished.
We did manage to find some time to use a traditional method on some of local sand stone, to seal up some of the unused wells. We used the stone saws and stone cutters, to give it a smooth and round look. A lot of hard work went into re-building the wells in the park and to seal them up, a lot of elbow grease and passion, they look fantastic, and a perfect add-on features to the parkland area.
Towards the end of the month, we took the opportunity during the sunnier days to start hand chipping the outer houses, we don’t known if anyone has ever tried hand chipping off cement before, but, your hands by the end of it, are full of blisters and are extremely sore, especially after a round or two on the walls, that wasn’t one of our favorite jobs, it goes on the list next to the flies infestation we had the year before. (Only thinking about the flies makes us shiver)
We are lucky enough to have the sandblaster that helped us out.
In March we again spent a great deal of the month repointing the outer buildings. The stone walls were re-pointed with a lime mortar, a very slow, steady, and messy job, that took a lot of hand, patience and energy (Video on work). It really is all in the details and technique that makes the end result stunning, it was our real goal here to bring back the feel of its past.
We believe that it was accomplished. When your gazing out of the Château windows, admiring the buildings surrounding the teardrop, it should feel like you’ve stepped back in to a piece of time.
Throughout the Château and her much needed makeover we’ve tried very hard to keep in the feel of her age, the look of what her prime would have been back in her glory days and most importantly her tender-hearted side, the side we have the pleasure of seeing each dayA project like this, ends up being a passion of endearment, than just another job.
We do have our favourite place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, it’s by the small chapels, on her sandstone steps where you can see the whole of the Château, something about it really makes you respect her age and the history.
April we were back to tiling and fixing the roof of one our personal properties, a barn to house conversion. It took both the girls and boys working on this project together, a rarity as most of the time we would be at two separate ends of the Château working on very different projects.
You’d be surprised how many tiles it actually took to cover the whole area, and how heavy they became after a few trips up the scaffolding, but a big “Thank You” to the JCB for making our life a little easier.
We also hand chipped, yes!! again with the chipping, the outside of the house and re-pointed it with the lime mortar, all at once, to get that house ready for its windows and door to be installed later in the year.
While the last several months have been happening, we have, or really we should be saying, one of us has Sheryl, on top of her exceedingly busy schedule, she has been working on the paperwork side of the project.
To get the Château opened as a hotel, because as it stands it’s a private residential property, and it’s taking a lot of paperwork and even more approvals for it to get to a hotel status. Which she has been work on endlessly, and with pride we can say, we are very close to completing the requirements.
May, who doesn’t love may – spring. With the fresh cut grass smell, new wildlife running around, and beautiful flowers starting to bloom.
May, was, well, interestingly scary with a wall collapsing moments after one of us moved from the spot, lucky timing that’s all we can really say.
The wall itself was more brittle than first thought, so after the initial shock and the laughter that comes after a close call, we spent a good amount of time working on it, reusing the old stone from around the property and the ones that fell down, to make it stronger than ever.
We also spent the time working on the interior of the Château. Mostly, working on the ground floor hallway, we applied this “One coat” plaster to the walls, this is known as a finishing product, that takes about 5 stages to get the finished results right, along with very good timing, a great team and some clever skills! (Working video)
June is the half way mark and it didn’t slow us down. After the big storm we had a few months back we had some damage to the Château tower and roof.
So we called in the Experts. The biggest damage that was sustained was to the guttering and zinc at the very top of the tower, about 26m up, with some of the slates on the roof needing replacing too.
They worked hard and did a fantastic job on the Château roof, the repairs look great. But, what did surprise us, was that they soldered the guttering and the zinc back , and this was all done from the boom lift, 26m up in the air, to this day we are still blown away by the work.
While the experts were working up high we were working on the new 24m2 stone terrace we’d built onto the ground floor suite, to sit and enjoy the parkland and it’s ample of wildlife.
It took a week to dig out, level and lay the stones, the stones are reused stone from the Château grounds, then after all that we cemented all the joints and pointed them (Video of the terrace)
July started off on a twelve kilometre “Le Mung” history walk! We, as a family, joined a big group of our neighbors and did this big tour around Le Mung, with check points that had food and drink.
We had an absolute laugh, we got side tracked with the beautiful view, had a face to face with a cow or two, we learned all about the history of the area we are living in, we walked through corn fields in the middle of the darkness and spooked ourselves out and we felt the burn of the walk the very next morning. It was a delightful experience that we highly recommend to anyone, and that we can’t wait to join in again.
We had our first harvest from our garden, deliciously sweet and earthy flavoured beetroot, first of the many vegetables and fruit we harvested throughout the year.
We also had our third gas tank installed, yes, three massive gas tanks now heat the whole of the Château.
We worked on the rooms in August, we ran all the wires and pipes in the ceilings, insulated, framed with the fire rating metal and double plastered with fire rating boards, which got them ready for the decorative cornice.
The hallway on the ground floor was another big job that we did. We put up the first plaster architrave around the door, and then added the plaster wall panels all the way down the hallway.
Then we added the Architraves/Mouldings down the hallway as well, this was one of the most beautiful touches, that the Château finally deserves, this was a fun and a very detailed job to-do.
We spent some time cleaning up, sandblasting and repointing the sandstone in the entrance way where the reception will be, next to the main staircase, seeing it cleaned up, has given the entrance way a new .prospective.
As we were having a dry patch during the month of August, our little river on the property dried up, giving us a good time to remove all the dead trees, weeds, and also took the time to dig it out to its original size.
We started September off by making the reception desk from scratch and then plastered it ready for the decorative panels. We were tossing around ideas for the counter top, we are still hoping to do sandstone.
We also finished off the decorative cornice on the second floor hallway, another satisfying job, seeing the Château slowly piece by piece coming back to life.
We spent most of the Autumn days fixing up the broken fences, and working on more of the landscaping around the side of the Château.
November we showed our respects and attended the Memorial service. We placed some flowers at the monument showing our respect for those who have served.
We also finished the function room with some stunningly beautiful specialy choosen cornice and then we drylined it, with the finishing touches that we will get done during January 2017, ready for the romantic Château wedding that we have started coming through for Summer 2017.
The greatest part that November brought for us was the birth of the Newest family member at the Château, a little boy called Earnest.
December is the season that’s joyful, full of holiday cheer and counting down until New Years and with saying that, we had a very busy month.
We called in the Experts to fix the lighting rod that was still broken from the storm which hit us earlier in the year. Their technique was quite scary and very interesting, they used a sling shot that shot the rope over the top of the roof then they fixed it to the tree on the other side and abseiled over.
In-between all the work, we’ve been power washing, bleaching, sanding and fixing the gated. The gate is the second one you pass, after you drive down the main drive, this one is the original and has needed repairs and a much needed clean, since the start, it has been on the list to-do.
We also spent time outside in the freezing cold, finishing the tiling of the outside toilets, we then grouted it, we have some beautiful cornice, flooring, then a splash of colour with some painting, the toilets and then the sink can go in.
But, unfortunately when we filled up the watering system, we noticed a leak, that happened while we were fixing up the plasterboards, we pierced one of the pipes. So firstly we needed to try and work out exactly where the leak was, by cutting out a section of the tiles and plasterboard, it was an easy mistake to make and a little disheartening to have to re-do the wall again. Third time lucky they say, lets hope that’s true.
Christmas day for us, had a fun and fascinating debate, we come to some conclusions, colours and fabrics, which we will share very soon. We are still working on bathroom sink taps, so that will be a near future dinner debate, we had a very festive day off.
This year has been a full and busy year, we are very excited to see what 2017 brings us, we would like to thank everyone for joining us on this journey so far, giving us the opportunity to share this project and having so many people around the world, having the same passion in seeing this Château being brought back to her glory.
Bonne Annèe 2017!