Saturday, 27 June 2020

Staggy Snap

There seems to be a dearth of detailed castle restoration information on the Internet. However, relatively recently I discovered two high quality vlogs: "The Château Diaries" by Stephanie Jarvis about Château de la Lande; and "Doing It Ourselves" by Michael Petherick about Château de la Basmaigne.

It would appear that the two Channel 4 programs about French château restorations, "Escape to the Château"and "Escape to the Château DIY", have set off a mini renaissance or chain reaction of Internet media about restorations.

I am left wondering if there are any more to discover. Even just dipping into these two very enjoyable vlogs above takes more spare time than I have. :-) 

While I lack the glamour and personable star qualities of Stephanie and Michael there is at least one commonality.  Here is a screenshot of Michael at  Château de la Basmaigne.

Château de la Basmaigne interior

Here is the scullery at Balintore Castle:

Balintore Castle interior

These show identical picture of stags being used to fill in the space either side of a  window. However, Michael has them the wrong way round.


  1. Very nice! BTW, it looks pretty tropical out there! :-)

  2. Intrigued by the symmetrical nature of the stag pictures. Both the same size, both looking towards the window. Speaks of a lot of searching in auctions, antique charity shops. Plus I suspect you cut up larger prints. And needless to say a lot of thought.

  3. I found my pair lying in the entrance hall of my local auction house. I couldn't believe my luck. No searching involved. They jumped into my lap.

    They are continental, and fairly easy to find. The artist Emilie Vouga (1840-1909) is known for her flowers and animals.

    I have not yet cut anything up myself :-), but I have started to frame old magazine adverts. No doubt the eBay seller broke up the magazine to obtain them.

    What you don't get from the photos is quite how large they are. The chromo-lithographs are not great art but definitely good decorator pieces.

  4. Maybe the stags are not talking ? I follow these two vlogs, Michael has a huge number of subscribers in a short time as Stephanie has given him a lot of publicity. She has had an amazing Patreon result also and Michael received enough Gofundme cash to restore his cottage ! Yes we LOVE all your restoration stories, please keep them coming David xoxox ps so glad you liked the postcards xxx

    1. My view is that leaning inwards, the stags join to the main "design" element which is the window, and so are part of the same composition. The triangle composition is well known to the old masters.

      Don't think I didn't notice Michael collected £15k+ for his garden cottage. :-)

      I have noticed that it's actually when Michael and Stephanie get together as a "double act" that the vlogs really take off.

      The postcards are fab - many thanks. I have current snipes on suitable frames.

  5. I somehow found "Escape to the Chateau" a few years ago and discovered Stephanie and Michael recently. I have been binge watching "The Chateau Diaries" and loving every episode. Maybe you could go visit Chateau Lalande and get some tips.

    1. Delighted you enjoy the same programs and vlogs as me! :-) It's always useful to visit other restorations for hints and tips - I have been to quite a few in the UK but not in France. I suspect that Chateau Lalande is not as underfunded as claimed, but as their restoration journey is 15 years and counting (mine is 13 years and counting), we clearly have much common ground.

  6. Hello David, I discovered your project the other day through the blog of Ross at the Cross House in the USA. I too recently discovered the blogs of Michael and Stephanie in France and have enjoyed binge watching both...Ross I have been following for a number of years now. Delighted to discover your blog for a new marathon binge! Keep up the amazing work! Cheers, Brendan in New Jersey.