Escape to the Chateau: Dick and Angel ‘nearly missed out’ on extra treasures ‘Close shave’

Escape to the Chateau: Angel makes her own tiles in series one

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Escape to the Chateau’s Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree took the plunge to move from Britain to France five years ago and transform an 18th-century Chateau. They made it their mission to not only convert the castle into somewhere they and their family could live, but to create a thriving business. Understandably, the journey so far has not been plain sailing for the couple; fans will remember them having just £20,000 left in their pockets after they bought Chateau de La Motte Husson of which £18,000 vanished on plumbing and heating. Nevertheless, with Angel’s eye for design and Dick’s handy carpentry skills, they kept many original pieces that they found stuffed into attic rooms and outbuildings. However, an excerpt from their book A Year At The Chateau explains the “close shave” they had with the former owners and the items within The Chateau. 

Dick and Angel swapped their two-bedroom flat in East London for a run-down castle and 12 acres of land. 

They shook hands with the estate agent on €390,000 – the top end of the budget but “what [they] got for [their] money, was lots”. 

The couple detailed exactly what they had bought: “A mixed pasture, woods, moat and a walled garden.

“In addition to the Chateau, which was huge, lovely and in need of attention, we had a collection of other buildings,” they added. 

“An orangery and seven outbuildings, including two barns, each with planning permission to become three-bedroom houses, a coach house and table that we subsequently got permission to convert into a seven-bedroom home, four other agricultural buildings, plus several ruins – a piggery, a building down below the moat and a tower in the walled garden. 

“And last but not least, we had all the contents the family left behind,” they said. 

“We had a close shave with that and nearly missed out on lots of treasures The Chateau had to offer.” 

The book revealed how the Baglioni family “had started to clear out all the old ‘rubbish’” inside the property before the couple had taken possession. 

Luckily for Dick and Angel, they had “arranged a visit” to take measurements of rooms and windows and found members of the Baglioni family “throwing out lots of early twentieth-century clothes, magazines and papers”. 

Apparently, all these items were going to be burnt but “being good buyers” the husband and wife asked the family to leave everything how it was and they would organise when they moved in. 

“That one bit of fortunate timing meant we had a treasure trove of goodies for crafts and decorating the Chateau,” the excerpt read. 

Since Dick and Angel saved a lot of the items from the building, they have put them to good use and sensitively restored those that needed them. 

And as a result, a spin-off show was created – Dick and Angel’s Make Do & Mend. 

The first series – which aired last year – was comprised of four parts and it saw the couple help people navigate through DIY and home craft challenging. 

Dick and Angel offered tips and tricks for families looking for imaginative ways to solve their DIY dilemmas using what they have to hand. 

Speaking about the new venture, Dick said: “It’s humbling that our audience wants to see more of us and our adventures.

“Between the pair of us, we have nearly a century’s worth of ‘make do and mend’ experience and so we are really excited to be making this brand-new series.” 

And fans of the spin-off can rejoice because it is returning for a second series this month! 

The show has been retitled Escape to the Chateau: Make Do and Mend and begins next Thursday at 9pm on Channel 4. 

The synopsis read: “Dick and Angel Strawbridge help Kate and Erik restore their 150-year-old sash window and turn their small landing into a beautiful space for all the family that not only looks amazing and brings the past back to life, but saves thousands of pounds. 

“Angel reveals the art of creating repeat patterns on fabric as a unique solution to Jo and family’s desire to display their precious vintage family photos in something other than a frame. 

“Dick solves Suzanna and Luke’s conundrum of how to turn a treasured wardrobe into a showcase for shoes, by designing ingenious shelving inspired by a visit to the kitchen.” 

Escape to the Chateau: Make Do and Mend returns next Thursday at 9pm on Channel 4 and A Year At The Chateau is available to buy from all good bookstores. 

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