Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Chateau dreaming

Call it delusion, but every time I do a very minor renovation or home project, I'm expecting to transform my humble two-bedroom Brisbane unit into a magnificent French chateau.

Certainly the time and money some of these home projects seem to take makes me think I could have easily built a chateau with the same resources.

Chateau de Chambord

Take my current wardrobe project.

A pretty simple task you'd think.   Rip out the old ones from the 1960s and put in some new IKEA ones.   The tradie had allowed in a day and a half, which I thought was overly generous.   I envisaged he'd just be sitting around twiddling with the allen key for half of that time.

Several days later, the saga continues.

Chambord's roofline

At this rate I'm convinced I would have been better off building the Chateau de Chambord from scratch on the banks of the Brisbane River.

I feel there's quite a few similarities between my wardrobe project and Chateau de Chambord, the largest chateau in France's Loire Valley.  (Stick with me here)

Chambord's inner courtyard
Originally built to serve as a hunting lodge for King Francois I, Chambord took 28 years to build.  I'm guessing they too had to deal with the delays caused by wardrobe issues.

Ironically, despite its grand scale, Chambord was only suitable for short stays because its massive rooms were hard to heat.   King Francois I himself only spent about seven weeks here all up.   Back home, I'm hoping to get a bit more use out of my wardrobes, but time will tell.

Unlike my unit, Chambord doesn't have many close neighbours.  (I'm guessing if it had, they wouldn't have been chain smoking bogans who live and die by the State of Origin outcome.)  And because Chambord wasn't surrounded by a village or a large estate, it didn't have a close source of food - another reason why it was only suitable for short visits.

While my unit has seen a few things for sure, it's hard to match Chambord's past.  It acted as a field hospital during the Franco-Prussian War and as a store for Louvre art works, including the Mona Lisa, during World War II.

It's been said that Chambord was the inspiration behind the Beast's castle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.   Some people have speculated that my unit was the inspiration for Elsa's ice palace in Frozen, but I can't see it myself.

Should I come down with extreme home renovation fever, there is one feature of Chambord I would love to install.  

In the centre of Chambord is an open, double helix staircase.  These two interwoven staircases weave their way up three floors, but never meet.  It's an eye-catching folly that would surely be an asset in any home.
The double helix staircase
Sure the owners of the unit under mine might have some objections to this idea as they would have to sacrifice their bedroom, but it could be a real point of difference should I ever decide to sell.

Of course, all of this is just deluded ramblings from someone who is spending the next week literally eating, drinking and living among piles of his clothes waiting for the new wardrobes to be completed and hoping they transform his home into a castle.

On Chambord's roof

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