French countryside? A crumbling castle? It sounds like something out of a fairytale, but this is a renovation project currently being undertaken by Perth couple Karina and Craig Waters.
Chateau de Gudanes was originally built in the mid 1700s in the south of France.
A historic monument, the vast chateau seemed destined to fall into disrepair. It was on the market for four years until, in 2013, the Waters purchased it for just $475,000.
According to a Daily Mail article, the Waters had seen just four of the 94 rooms before signing the contract.
“Most were inaccessible because there were no ceilings or floors,” Karina says. “Trees were growing inside and on the roof!”
Inexperienced in renovation and restoration, the Western Australia couple say they were “hooked” on the idea.
On July 12, 2013, they posted their first picture of the chateau to Instagram. As their renovations flourished, so did the social media account: four years and 635 posts later, the Chateau Gudanes account has attracted nearly 250,000 followers.
People are enamoured with the old-world charm of the property, and the painstaking effort that the Waters are going to.
The restoration will likely be a “lifelong commitment” for the couple, but some of it has already paid off: later this month, guests will flock to Chateau de Gudanes, and they’ll be paying to help restore it.
“You choose how you fill your days,” the website reads. “To jump in head first – joining in and working side by side with the restorers. Leaving your mark on this extraordinary property.”
An eight-day stay will cost nearly $6000, and a four-day stay will cost around $2300.
Those who aren’t suited to the restoration work are able to help out in the kitchens. All proceeds from the 2017 on offer will go towards further restoration of the chateau.
You can see a video of the restorations below.