Our biggest challenges so far has been the Exterior and the Grounds.
With the 4 houses, chefs house, two of which are barn conversions, wedding reception, chapel, greenhouse, summer house, equipment sheds, two garages, horse stables, pigeonry and pump house, and bar with the 7 hectares of land, it’s been keeping us extremely busy and has taken us a couple of years full time to get the grounds even and thriving.
To own and to live amongst a Château renovation is a grand demand. But, For those few moments each day where we can take a breath and immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature and the architecture that surrounds us, makes it all so worthwhile.Bromley Family
When we were handed the keys, on July 30th 2014, the place was a mess, considerably overgrown, it was left to slowly disappear and rot at first sight it reminded us of a fairytale story, “where a prince needed to cut down the enormous amount of overgrowth just to save his princess” that’s how it felt when we were looking at the Château, we needed to cut down the weeds, brambles and dead trees, to save this old lady.
There has been blood, sweat and tears, up’s and down’s, a lot like a (mountainous road) roller coaster, we have had some fabulous surprises and found some shocking unwanted challenges, but deep down it was expected, a big old house like this is going to give us a challenge!
We have roughly 500 tonnes of earth, piles of vegetation that could cover a football field and a half, we have created roads, dug trenches, drains and soakaways, shifted hundreds of tonnes of chippings and hardcore, many huge rocks, tree trunks and loads of firewood, it is indispensable
Did we mention cleaning? We cleared ivy vine after ivy vine which happily climbed over nearly everything in its path, and brambles galore.. we scraped mounds of dirt, rotten wood pieces, rubbish and goodness knows what else from floors in all the outbuildings, pruned undergrowth and whatever we could reach.
Straight away out came the chainsaw and the line trimmers, soo many weed trees were growing in, on, out of and under the walls and roofs we needed to stop them and fast. The brambles were overtaking the place, so, many days/weeks were spent cutting and clearing areas, this made a huge impact as it opened up the property. But still, there was so much earth to move, tree stumps to remove, weeds and roots to unearth, we just didn’t have the manpower…
The driveway was a massive project in itself, the road needed to be straightened, widened, reshaped and hardened. We have had to make a service road around the side of the property, for all the large trucks to deliver building materials without churning up the grounds.
Many of the outhouses, barn to house conversion and sheds roofs have been leaking in multiple places for several years, causing a mass amount of internal damage. Repairs to these buildings were marked as Urgent on our list to do, with the roof timbers rotten and collapsing walls, that made the buildings structures dangerous and unsafe – if not repaired soon we might not be able to save them…
The second floor beams were rotten and only just holding into the walls, floor boards were water damaged and rotten in places, staircases were very unsafe, we even had trees growing in a wall of one cottage, Yes! you heard right trees…
We have completely dismantled cottages and barns, inside and out, down to their stone wall shells, which took some hard work, we hand-chipped all the old internal and external plaster covering the stones, which took many days and many aching arms, our hands were full of blisters and our backs were so sore, we never imagined chipping plaster off would be so exhausting.
The infinity swimming pool – dig out a big hole in the ground and prepare the foundations. This will be a very technical but satisfying project, that we are still doing.
We have had years of harsh storms and high winds, and we lost a lot of trees, during these times they were uprooted and came tumbling down.
These storms in 2017 caused a lot of damage to the roof, one of the highest tower of the Château, and the grand lady lost a big section of slate.
On top of that, we have started on the car park area, including a disabled car space by the Château entrance, for easy access and an area for the water reservoir tank for the “in case” we ever have a fire at the Château, this is only for the fire engine to connect the hose to, which is approximately 120 Cubic meters.
There has been some incredible stonework that has been accomplished on the exterior of the Château, using an old technique and traditional local limestone, from rebuilding, sealing and rounding of wells to rebuilding pillars. We reused stone to widen walkways and rebuilt walls.
We went into deep cleaning and blasted the front gate entrance, stone pathways and walls with a very powerful water jet, to clean off many years of build-up, which took days to do at different times.
One of the jobs we had to do was saving our beautiful Pump House it’s small and cute but has so much damage to the roof and its timbers.
We made new timbers carving them exactly the same as the originals then we sanded and shaped them, it’s going to be worth it and it’s going to be our new Cocktail Bar.
Then there was damage again on the highest tower on the Château that caused some very urgent repairs in 2022.
This is only a fraction of what we’ve done so far, let’s not forget the daily weekly and yearly upkeep of the grounds, and the maintenance that comes with it, on top of the business that we do outside the Château that helps us move forward and then let’s not forget the interior work and daily living.
One response to “Exterior work of the Château”
The work is incredible.
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