Making handmade tiles from scratch for the entire château

It’s no secret that building supplies are expensive in France, and tiles are no exception. Back at the start of our restoration journey I did some calculations on how much it would cost to buy the sort of beautiful tiles that would fit well in our medieval chateau and not be jarringly modern. For the estimated 14 bathrooms and four kitchens we’re going to be building and decorating here, the cost was eye-watering. So I decided to invest in a pottery kiln and teach myself to make our own tiles. That way we could (theoretically) make exactly what we wanted, and for a fraction of the cost. All of this relied on the fact that I could overcome a complete lack of knowledge and experience in ceramics.

Those of you who watched us on the British TV show Château: DIY will have seen the outcome of my first attempts (although sadly they cut the moment that I declared myself ‘an actual genuis’ when one set came out surprisingly well). The TV show was rather succinct in their coverage and a grand total of about 5 minutes was shown for weeks of work. Thankfully I filmed the process in great detail at the time. I was obliged to keep this on Patreon (videos still available if you want to sign up for €2 a month) because they hadn’t yet been shown on TV, but for my latest, and most ambitious, tile project I’ve been posting weekly videos on YouTube.

The Start of our tile-making journey

Above is the first of our most recent YouTube videos on the tiles (and other projects). At the beginning of this video I do an introduction to the tiles that were shown on TV, and then I start getting serious about designing and making the tiles for the bathrooms of our coach house. As those of you who follow the channel already will know, we are rather pressed to get the Coach House ready before winter, and the bathrooms are our major obstacle.

If you enjoy what you see and want to follow our journey regularly, then don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. We have recently relaunched it with a new title ‘The Great Chateau Restoration Project’ because apparently ‘The Chronicles of Rosieres’ wasn’t attractive enough to chateau-lovers! But we’re trying to resist the other changes that we’ve been advised to make to go viral as YouTubers. You won’t get any misleading titles or garish, neon thumbnails, and the content will have substance and follow our work thoroughly and authentically, through ups and downs. We like to smile and laugh and generally enjoy our life and our project, but we are also genuinely passionate about our approach to restoring this historic treasure and moving towards self-sufficiency and we want so share this journey in a way that shows the careful thought, research and process that goes into our work.

So far, although the channel is not exactly taking off, we have been rewarded by a following of intelligent, kind and very involved followers, who provide much-valued moral support and encouragement. We believe that there is a wider audience who could be interested in following this journey and we hope at some point that the mythical YouTube algorithms will pick us up and spread our reach. Not only would the advertising revenue from a thriving YouTube channel help support our restoration project, but we also hope that sharing what we learn about sensitive historical restoration techniques and environmental self-sufficiency may be of use or inspiration to others.

If you’re interested in supporting our YouTube journey then it’s very helpful if you subscribe to the channel, comment on the videos and/or share them on social media. All of these things help to notify YouTube that there is interest in our channel and encourages them to suggest our videos to new viewers. Marc and I are much better at driving diggers, growing food, making tiles, nurturing our environment and raising our children than we are at understanding the mysteries of online self-promotion, so we can do with all the help we can get!

For those of you who signed up to our newsletters to find out about upcoming retreats and opportunities to stay here, we hope that occasional insights into the creation of our retreat centre will make it even more special when you finally come to stay. I promise not to bombard you with too many emails but I would like to give some more regular updates on our progress!

13 thoughts on “Making handmade tiles from scratch for the entire château

    1. I really love it Warren – you’re right. I’m not terribly patient with many things, but with the ceramics I can do it for hours without getting bored! Currently trying to upload tonight’s episode with frustrating slowness!

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    1. Hi Julia, I’m so sorry I didn’t see your message. Either it went into our spam folder or I could have missed it during one of my particularly distracted periods. These are fairly frequent, since the birth of our little ones in quick succession. I’m managing all of our business’s communication across multiple platforms and juggling YouTube, social media posts, full time mothering and renovations so I do miss things on occasion! Have a look at our website and hopefully it will give you up to date information but in short we will not be open to guests for at least another year, due in part to the above reasons! Thanks for showing an interest in staying with us and we hope to welcome you in future. Apologies again for missing your email. We really do try to reply to everybody!

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  1. I watch your blog on my TV , using a wee “thing that plugs into the power and into a USB port on the side of the TV.
    It’s great for connecting to UTube and Netflicks, but I can’t comment.
    I love your save the planet sustainability projects, your growing and preserving food sustainability projects and I love the restoration projects.
    I’d like to see more follow ups…for example is the the waste water ponds down the hill working well, and spring water “thing” up the hill, that Mark cleaned all the trees and dirt off,is it full and does it work.
    It would be fantastic To see a follow up on how these projects are working, what did the orchard produce ? How are the grapes…and what projects you did, that just turned to custard, caused a disaster and won’t be repeated .
    I’m in NZ, female and old….In my house disaster is always on my horizon, because if you don’t try you never succeed.
    Keep your posts to a regular day, one hour duration, simple interesting content, with a future.
    I want to know how I can save my planet, survive in a climate change world and help my community, by watching what you guys do.

    I stopped watching one Chataeu blog, because they have become an influencer selling products and not a a restorer, and a saver .

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    1. Thank you Karen! It’s always lovely to have your support. Updates on lots of projects coming soon! I hope you won’t mind that we do a product promotion in our latest video – we only support products we have tried out and like, and the payment we get really helps a little YouTube channel like ours to survive!

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  2. Dear Marc and Amy, I love watching your YouTube Channel and am very disappointed to know you don’t have a wider audience. Your enthusiasm and determination are amazing ! Your children are so sweet ! I used to live in Southern Ardèche. I now live in Isère (about 40 minutes from Annonay) and would love to pay you a visit one day! With no VPN I cannot watch Escape to the château DIY… I loved watching you make tiles from scratch! Bravo, Amy! I am planning to become a patron and hope my modest contribution can help a little. Are you planning to have volunteers to help in the future? With sincere wishes from Odile

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  3. Well good morning and how lovely to hear from you. I will always follow you, just adore your wee family and follow with great interest what you are doing to bring your lovely home back to life. I’m so sorry that your original name didn’t prove to be a hit with folk, because it certainly did with me. Please don’t be downhearted you have a loyal following and the numbers will surely grow. Take care, God bless all, Isobel xx

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  4. Well done you two. We love your program. As someone said earlier. Keep it regular and not too long. But you are doing a fantastic job. X

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