We are Mark & Barbara Hunter
Mark is an electrical engineer and self confessed DIY geek with an interest in tech and photography.
Barbara is a retired Osteopath with a previous occupation of commercial floristry, interested in art, crafts and gardening.
We have been together since 2007 living on the North Norfolk coast buying and renovating bungalows in our spare time.
Our journey so far...
Having sold our last property in 8 days we decided a much larger project was needed.
Before the pandemic of 2020 we decided to look for a property in France with a view to renovate whilst keeping our jobs in the UK.
After shortlisting 14 properties we managed to view 8 of them and fell for the 2nd one we visited. It ticked all the boxes including outbuildings for Mark and original features for Barbara, the only flaw being it was derelict and open to the elements.
With Brexit looming we needed to complete on the purchase before the end of the year. With stress levels very high we finally managed to complete on the 23rd December. We then realised we would have to give up our jobs and permanently move to France.
Removal costs sky rocketed after Brexit and the red tape increased exponentially. All our worldly goods had to be re-packaged, listed and costed in English and in French.
We had to be tested for covid and our 2 cats Milly and Molly had to be vaccinated and passported to travel. Removals day fell on the 16th February 2021 during the worst snow and ice we had seen for years making loading the lorries very difficult.
On arriving at the house we discovered our worst nightmare, the backdoors had been broken and the glass smashed, the walls were covered in mould, the whole house was damp, ivy was growing through the walls, there were various dead creatures throughout the house. There was no heating, the electricity was questionable, there was no mains water, the well water pump was erratic and to top it off the removals lorry was stuck up to its axles in our courtyard.
All the furniture that we had seen on our viewing had been removed, the place was bare. We were met by one of the previous owners with a bag of 50 keys not knowing where they belonged. Fortunately friends let us stay in their gîte for a week so that we could clean a room to live in.
The property extends to a 28 room château, 6 groups of out buildings, 5 ponds, 4 acres of woodland and 15 acres of meadows/grassland.
Our aim is to do most of the work ourselves and are progressing through the renovation of the château. So far we have installed mains water and micro stations for the waste, rewired and upgraded the electricity, installed solar panels, underpinned the south wing and installed wifi just to mention a few jobs completed.
We have endeavoured to make a comfortable home highlighted with original features, furnished in a vintage shabby chic style.We are now in a position to open for bed & breakfast and have also set up a glamping field with 6 bell tents, shower rooms, kitchenettes and a communal tent.
In the future we anticipate renovating the many buildings into gîtes and events spaces.
To follow our progress see our videos page with links to YouTube to find our weekly update videos.