Château de Gudanes – Timeless Love Story

By Rose McClement

Okay – who of you reading this right now can recall the movie Love Story from way back in 1970? (Oh my word, I feel “timeless” just recalling it. Timeless in this case being a kind word for “old”).  It starred Ali McGraw and handsome Ryan O’Neill and was the tearjerker of the decade. At the time, it was meant to be the love story to top all love stories!  Just to give you an indication of how bad-ass sad this move was, I was warned beforehand to take my tissues with me to the movie house.  But the love story I am about to share with you, actually tops the forgotten 70’s tearjerker. It’s real and authentic.

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Ali McGraw spouting that famous line – “love means never having to say you’re sorry” – in Love Story (1970).

It was sometime back that I somehow connected with the Château de Gudanes.  Exactly how that happened I can’t recall.  As I cast my mind back now, I vaguely recall that one of my friends was following their blog and thought it might interest me from an interiors point of view.

Well, it sure did.  I was intrigued by the Château and its owners from the first blog article I read and have followed their progress over the last few years.  The newsletter updates aren’t that frequent, but when they drop into my inbox I can’t wait to catch up.  With each passing newsletter, my intrigue and fascination is deepened, as is my desire to eventually visit this Beauty in French Countryside.

Built in the mid 1700’s, Château de Gudanes, a timeless and forgotten Stately Home in the French Country side, despite being sorely neglected, cast aside, pretty much abandoned and forgotten with the passing of time, still stands proudly in the south of France in the small village of Château-Verdun. It stands on the foothills of lush fertile French country surrounded by mountains and nearby French country villages. In the midst of it neglected state, the Château managed to hold its head up high enough to catch the attention of  Australian couple, who were looking to set themselves up in that neck of the woods.  What more could Craig and Karina Waters with a very big vision want for? If I recall, it was to create a new country home for their family while sharing it with as a guesthouse with all who wished to do so.  The Château it seems called their name. They in their turn hearkened it calls, despite the numerous restoration challenges that they must have known would face them.  Were it me, I might have run for the hills!  It was to be a mammoth task, something that could only be supported within the context of a brave and determined vision.

Want to hear my fantasy around the call of the Château to its new owners? Here goes – in my mind’s eye they saw its outward, regal, stately and romantic appeal at first – standing there wooing them to its heart.  Like any other romantic call, the outward appearance draws one in.  Then once inside – they were faced with the harsh realities of the ravaging effects that neglect and “careless-ness” had on its once beautiful interior features!  Did that put them off?  By all accounts it didn’t.  In fact I assume they admitted to the reality of it forgotten state, but looked beyond that to it hidden beauty, a beauty that they could unearth, unpack and once again restore.  And that is why they committed to this long term relationship with the Château. What an experience of a lifetime, which they took hold of and made it their own.

That’s my take on their initial and early day encounters with the Château (only because I can’t find the account that I read years ago, which means I am left with the little recall I have).  But it works for me. I don’t really want to spoil my own romantic notion of their encounter by spending time trawling their website for the facts.  I mean, this is the month of LUV, not facts!

Because ultimately, that is really what Love is all about. We are drawn to each other, attracted to each other by some magical yet inexplicable force (which we can explain if we want to be spoilsports). Then when we step in closer to each other, we are faced with certain realities of neglect and careless-ness.  But despite that – we stay with each other, work with each other and then reap the rewards. That’s Love for me. It’s not always romantic, but it’s true.

Now, looking at this latest video that has been produced, something so romantic has once again been given back to the Château by those brave, tenacious, creative, determined and love filled owners, who have loved the Château despite the odds often being stacked against them.  Plus they have allowed others to show love to its restoration as well, by including many people into the volunteer work force.  It’s a long story indeed and one that you are more than welcome to dip into by jumping over to their website, to trawl through their amazing recorded stories.

I want to salute the owners Craig and Karina Waters for their big vision, determined courage, steadfastness and for all they have achieved thus far. I am equally determined to visit the Château in the not too distant future as a fulfilment of my dream.  Either to assist in the restoration for a while as a volunteer or as a guest in their home. I dream of waking up in one of those boudoirs that pulsate with that timeless authenticity that has been restored with so much fastidious love and care. To breath in the fresh country air and to explore the depth of the house as well. But mostly to pop my laptop onto the French antique desk that stands in front of the window with a mountain view that is to die for – to write.  TOTAL BLISS!

Misty morning at the Chateâu…..☁️ 📷: @nina_van_ewijk

A post shared by France (@chateaugudanes) on

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Be sure to check the Château de Gudanes‘s Instagram account: here, for more stunning pictures of the Château.

Spoil Your Gal Pals with a Galentine’s Day Celebration

By Marica

Next week on the 14th many of us will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with our significant other. While some revel in the idea of a day filled with heart-shaped everything and love ballads, others might find it more than a little repugnant.

Celebrate your Gal Pals!

Whether you are the former or the latter, happily taken or contentedly single, we would like to introduce you to a fresh spin on Valentine’s Day. This year, set aside a day to celebrate the special ladies in your life – your gal pals, BFFs, girlfriends, your squad. Have a Galentine’s Day

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What on earth is Galentine’s Day you might ask? Well, in the words of the unstoppable Leslie Knope (from Parks & Recreation), the woman who created the concept of Galentine’s Day:

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and just kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus, frittatas!”

Galentine’s Day is an opportunity to express just how much your best friends mean to you and to thank them for their loyal support – all the inside jokes, shoulders to cry on, life advice and glasses of wine.

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So how does one celebrate Galentine’s?

Put some genuine thought and effort into the occasion. Do food, do decor, do activities, and definitely do get dolled up! Your gal pals should feel special and pampered!

You can be as corny or as classy as you want. Go full-out with the traditional red hearts and Cupid’s arrows or create an elegant scene with tasteful decorations… or else throw in a little bit of both. Just be sure to glam it up!

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Galentine’s Day Nibbles

What is a party without good eats? Little finger foods or canapés are always a good idea. AND don’t forget the sweets – cake is a must – you are celebrating a special day after all.

Another excellent and interactive idea is to have a DIY food station – i.e. make your own pasta, or pizza, or hamburgers. Furthermore what is a good gal pal bash without cocktails?

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Galentine’s Day Activities

While it is so easy to while away hours with our besties doing nothing but gabbing, Galentine’s Day should feature some rememberable activity. For instance, have a home spa day – pamper your girls with homemade facials and mani-pedis. Mimosa, please!

A rom com movie night is also a great idea. A big “Christmas bed” in front of the TV is a must – there is nothing as inviting and slothful as a room full of pillows and blankets! Then pop some popcorn and binge-watch all those soppy romantic movies that you can never get your man to watch with you. And the dress code – definitely your most comfy PJs!

Why not class it up with High Tea? Lay a table with delectable treats, a collection of teas, and beautiful feminine decorations. Oh, and don’t forget a hat!

Want to take your Galentine’s Day fun to the next level? Try a craftsy DIY activity like making your own jewellery or having a cupcake decorating challenge. The ladies at Glitter Guide had a card making session and a macramé making lady date.

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Galentine’s Day Goodie Bag

Now gift bags, and don’t worry, it does not have to be in league with the Oscars gift bags – no need to break the bank. Just a collection of small, affordable gifts that will make your friends feel loved and appreciated.

Lip gloss, nail polish and a little bit of hand cream is an excellent goodie bag liner. Create a special playlist and burn it to a CD so your gal pals can have their own Galentine’s Day mix to remember the day by. Add a personalised card – it does not necessarily have to be handmade – as long as the message inside comes from the heart. Then, a nice smelling candle or cute coffee mug, and a little something to nibble on – fudge or a delicious chocolate maybe?

It sure looks like a whole lot of fun! How will you be celebrating your Gal Pals this Valentine’s Day? Is a Galentine’s Day bash in your immediate future?

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Galentine's Daysource

Galentine's Daysource

Galentine's Daysource

Pinterest Picks: Beautiful Bedrooms

Have you ever played the “I wish…” game? You know, the game where you page through a magazine or peruse a website and see something that makes you go: “sigh, if only…

I think there is nothing wrong with building a few castles in the sky, especially when it comes to interiors and one’s home. Let rather call it “aspirational thinking” – planning ahead for a time when you will have the means to make your daydreams a reality!

I regularly play that game. As an interior designer I often gaze longingly at the beautiful interiors and homes I have pinned to my Pinterest boards. I would fantasise about what I would do with the space if it were mine.

Not too long ago Rose and I were discussing a bedroom picture we had just pinned to our boards. Rose expressed that she would LOVE a room just like it. “Which bedroom would you like if could choose?” she asked me while scrolling through our Bedrooms board. I wasn’t sure; however I had earmarked a few hot favourites. We knew there and then that it would make for an excellent blog post.

Rose and I decided that we will each select one image from our Bedrooms Board of a sleeping space that we most desired as our own. We would then explain exactly why we coveted that particular space and whether there is something we would change.

We also chose two “runner-up” bedrooms because deciding on one room can be very hard!

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pinterest picks: beautiful bedrooms - the-handmade-homesource

Marica’s Pinterest Bedroom Pick:

I had some difficulty selecting my numero uno, most-desired bedroom from my top picks. However, after asking myself “which one do you see yourself LIVING in”, the answer was clear.

The picture above is a sneak peek from the bedroom makeover of bloggers, Jamin and Ashley, of The Handmade Home.

I think what appealed to me most was that the room looks relaxed, yet luxurious.  I am automatically drawn to jewel tones, which is why I adore the colour combination of this bedroom. I also enjoy the addition of the antique brass elements.

My favourite item in this room would have to be the gorgeous deep-buttoned velvet headboard. I had a “YES please” moment when I saw that beauty!

Another element I like is the upcycled chest of drawers with the purple agate handles. FYI – these are actually “faux” agate – they look like the real deal but are just clever replicas Ashley made using clay and craft paint (see DIY here).

If this was my room, I would probably add a slightly more Bohemian feel to it. I would swap out the scatter cushions and throw for something more tactile and Boho without losing the beautiful magenta purple colour that pairs so lovely with the jewel-toned emerald.

While the framed abstract art piece is not completely my taste, I would keep it because it ties all the colours together beautifully. I might just add another smaller framed print or painting in front of it to add some depth.

I would also LOVE to include a vintage velvet chair like this one into the room. Can you say reading chair?!

runners-up

1st Runner Up…

I was immediately drawn to the Mid-century Modern meet Scandinavian bedroom of Jaclyn Johnson, founder of Create & Cultivate. In true Scandi form, the room’s white backdrop makes the room feel open and less cluttered while pattern and interest is added in shades greys.

The show-shopper piece in this bedroom is the gorgeous (and pricey) Modern bed from Design Within Reach. While not my favourite colour, the punchy green of the headboard livens up the otherwise monochromatic colour scheme.

Oh, and don’t you just love that copper blanket ladder and pom-pom duvet cover?!

2nd Runner Up…

My third choice is a bit of a wildcard. What I like most about this space, other than the lovely sunny yellows, is not limited to the the decor and furnishings. The appeal lies in structure of the room itself – the white-painted floors and lofty attic ceiling with its beams.

The house belongs to Souraya Hassan of Binti Home. Souraya used various items, most with a slight Moroccan feel, from her online shop to decorate this guest bedroom. I love how she used the two small Moroccan tables as a staggered bedside pedestal.

Similar to my 1st runner up choice, I like how the happy yellow accent of the bedspread breaks the otherwise white on white space.

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Rose’s Pinterest Bedroom Pick:

This particular exercise really stirred up a subconscious desire to redo my bedroom. And working through the stack of images that I have pinned on two bedroom boards, eventually brought me to a place where I realised exactly how I would decorate my bedroom.

Another awareness was how my taste / style has changed over the past few years. I’ve gravitated towards “less is more” not entirely Scandi, but leaning in that direction, with a tad more colour thrown in.

If you told me 6 years ago, that I would have a craving for a white bedroom, I would have laughed. I am so longing for the feeling of uncluttered space where there are fewer decor elements, but no lack of depth and texture. That is why this is bedroom is my first choice.

I am totally nuts about the industrial styled metal / glass pane room divider, the texture of the velvety throw on the bed, the colour and nature of the wooden items, the asymmetrical placement of the floor rugs and the patterns to be found in the rugs and wall art. I could take my books and move into this room.

I dream of living in a Manhattan style Industrial loft apartment such as this.

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1st Runner Up…

What appeals to me most about my second choice above is the metallic bed. I am so in love with copper and the rose gold colour that blends into it so perfectly. The other appeal is the street scene wallpaper at the back of the bed, as well as the overhead ceiling fixed industrial light.

Oh, and another appealing feature in this room that I forgot to mention is the ceiling. Those pressed ceiling panels just do it for me. Imagine waking up to see that delightful sight each morning.

2nd Runner Up…

And now… my third choice is something completely different. Just showing one image of this room might come across a bit on the odd side because actually one needs to hold this bedroom within the greater and deeper context of its setting, namely the Château de Gudanes.  This forgotten French Country Stately Home has slowly been brought back to life.

If I woke up in this room it would mean that one of my dreams had actually come true. I would have to pinch myself to check that it was all real. This is the real deal unrestored French Chateau boudoir. No paint effects, no wallpaper – all the genuine article. Love the deep royal blue french bed and everything about this room.

It needs a stand alone blog feature post of its own, one in which we can wax lyrical and drool over its unique beauty. So, watch this space with bated breath. Until then.

This was huge fun. Thanks Marica for coming up with this blog series.


What do you think of our Pinterest bedroom picks? See anything you like too?

Stay tuned for the next addition in our Pinterest Picks series – maybe we will do our favourite living rooms or kitchens.

Decorating Dictionary: Distressing

Distressing: is the process of intentionally blemishing or damaging a piece of furniture in order to give it an aged, weathered, or rustic appearance. During this refinishing technique items are often sanded, scraped, dimpled, bleached and stained, or treated with crackling paints and coats. Distressed furniture is popular element of the Shabby Chic interior style.   

[Image Sources: 1, 2]

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