Hi Angel! Vintage Life featured an article on your Chateau earlier this year – how is the renovation going?
Thanks for having me back. The renovation is going fabulously – as long as I don’t have to think about the other 30 rooms! Since our wedding last November, we have not stopped, but when we count up how many rooms we’ve actually completed it’s still only about 3! Although that does depend on what you class as a room! We’ve now added (as you will see in series 2), a new suite, a lovely cloakroom and the Tower of Curiosities – a space age lift in the West Tower! Bringing back rooms to their original glory is much harder than ripping it out and putting a new one in, but this is exactly what makes them, and the experience, so special.
One of the areas that you have renovated is a cloakroom – from where did you draw inspiration for the new look?
The cloakroom has been a real game changer in terms of how we use the chateau. Before this, there wasn’t a toilet on the ground floor so we’d have to climb the central staircase to use the bathroom on the first floor, which isn’t ideal when you’re in the basement kitchen! We even put off Arthur’s toilet training until the cloakroom was sorted! The look is inspired by a variety of styles and eras; the circular and fountain-esque sink is rather decadent and inspired by Versailles (even though it was a total bargain at just 80 Euros from a nearby brocante!). There’s also an Art Deco element mixed with a whimsical feel. The room has very high ceilings but we didn’t want guests to feel intimated by the space. To keep costs down I went to the garden for inspiration, using bamboo sticks, ivy and foliage to create a hanging display which breaks up the space. This feeling of the ‘outside’ is accentuated with a variety of Victorian stuffed birds that I’ve collected over the years. Another cost saving detail which I’m really pleased with are the cubicle doors. We choose good quality but relatively inexpensive doors which I covered (decoupage) with pages from vintage magazines found in the attic.
How long did it take to complete the cloakroom?
We had always planned for this room to become a cloakroom, so Dick put the plumbing in early on in the year. To completely finish the room took about two months – bearing in mind we were filming a TV series and tackling other projects in the house as well as hosting our first wedding… nothing happens overnight here!
Did you encounter any problems with this part of the renovation?
There was a continuous debate about how high the cubicles should be. Needless to say that once they were constructed, I felt they were too high, so our amazing handy man, Steve, had to readjust them. It took an extra day but he didn’t seem to mind!
Do you have any suggestions for Vintage Life readers who wish to undertake a similar project?
Yes! Picking up old magazines to decoupage large surfaces is a brilliant way to keep costs down and create a vintage look. Look for magazines that tie in with the overall theme/period of the room. Always water down PVA glue (50/50).
Never overlook what’s on your doorstep – go foraging! Ivy, especially, dries really well. Dried flowers have a lovely smell and a real vintage look (we love Daisyshop.co.uk) that lasts a long time.
Use metro tiles and dye the grout black to get a striking Art Deco monochrome look.
Hit the vintage and second-hand shops, car boots and flea markets for old suitcases which look fantastic stacked on top of each other. Pick up pedestals for plants and fill your space/room with things you love. Your home should be a reflection of you, so any little finds that make you happy every time you look at them should take pride of place in your new room.