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.
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!