When we think of DIY projects, we oftentimes think of a little spice rack to spruce up the kitchen. Or a custom DIY headboard to impress the wife. How about that cool DIY air-conditioned dog bed we posted about recently? All of these things are pretty simple to accomplish with a little dedication. Dedication doesn’t even begin to describe the DIY project that one Australian couple just decided to take on. Karina and Craig Waters are right in the middle of a complete restoration of their 300 year old, 94 room, neoclassical French chateau. This fairytale, 18th century, mansion was built to entertain French celebrities and nobility. It is said to have housed Voltaire for a few parties. The goal is to completely renovate the Chateau de Gudanes to its former glory while incorporating some modern amenities and luxuries.
The couple was searching for a home to renovate and had all but given up looking, when their son found this property on the internet. They were out of options and decided to make a 500 mile journey to take a look at this historic, abandoned French mansion.
The couple fell in love at the first sight of the property and decided that no matter what it took, they would restore this 94 room mansion to its former glory.
The Chateau once belonged to Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales and was originally designed by famed architect Parisian Ange-Jacque Gabriel who is known for the Petit Prianon in Versailles. It was purchased by a local family after the French Revolution and eventually sold to a foreign investment company who had plans to turn the estate into luxury apartments.
The investment company was not able to obtain the proper permits and the building just sat and decayed. After purchasing the home, the Waters family had to wait for what seemed like ages to obtain the proper renovation permits. With permits in hand, they can now assess the château and decide which direction to take with this daunting project.
They have the perfect canvas to create a dream home that would belong right in a fairytale. The project is incredibly overwhelming with every single square foot needing a lot of attention.
This will ensure that every detail is perfect and the way they want it. They want to keep the original character and design, but upgrade the amenities into modern conveniences.
Every turn in this house holds a new surprise waiting to be discovered. Can you imagine this home and the stories it would have shortly after its original completion? It almost doesn’t even seem real.
The chateau is absolutely timeless. The detail, design, and decoration will stand the test of time. They don’t need to change much but every single square inch needs restoration.
In every room is a pile of debris that has been ripped up or has fallen down. The piles reveal the history of the home hiding many pieces of art and handcrafted decoration.
In one room, builders found what appears to be the beginnings of a secret tunnel. The opening of the tunnel is roughly 3’x4′ and it goes about 9 feet underneath the chateau.
You can see that the beginnings of this secret tunnel took a lot of work.
The chateau is going to take years of work and a sickening amount of money but the end result will be well worth it. I can only imagine this property when all is said and done.
While taking off layers of hundred year old finishes and wall coverings, beautiful carvings and art have been discovered.
Some of the pieces dating back 300 years and completely hand crafted.
The couple plans to keep as many of the original qualities of the home and to do their best at recreating the sections that are too far damaged to restore.
Just look at this spiral staircase. The entire house is a piece of art.
If the estate alone isn’t enough, take a look at these views. I wouldn’t mind seeing this on my veranda after waking up every single morning in my 94 room French mansion.
Here is a picture of the Chateau de Gudanes today under current restoration.
And the chateau from some time long ago.
Here is Karina Waters in front of the incredible task at hand next to an image of the previous owner who was not able to bring life back to this magical estate.
I cannot wait to see what comes of this incredible place. The chateau would be straight out of a fantasy if it was restored to its original state. The Waters’ have a huge task ahead of them but they are taking it one step at a time, determined to rebuild this incredible home.