We ditched our high flying city life to buy a crumbing French castle – we couldn’t even use the loo when we moved in | The SunJuly 26, 2023
DO you ever dream of leaving behind your busy life and moving into a beautiful castle?
Philipp Mayrhofer and his wife Anna did just that, and bought a crumbling 18th-century chateau in Normandy in May 2019.
They’ve spent the past three years transforming it into their dream family home for them and their two children – but it hasn’t all been plain-sailing.
English fashion textile designer Anna said in a YouTube video: “Two and a half years ago we quit our jobs in Paris, left the city and our friends behind and took the biggest gamble of our lives.
“We decided to spend all our savings on a crumbling chateau hoping to be able to renovate it into our dream home in the countryside.”
They paid around €1million (£850,000) for the castle, and got a loan for about half of that cost.
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This chateau has 16 rooms, plus a cellar and attic space, but there were only two dodgy toilets when they arrived.
They’ve since done most of the renovation work themselves, from repainting the walls, retiling the floors and installing bathrooms.
French filmmaker Philipp said: “One of the biggest tasks for us when we started renovating was to install more bathrooms, a heating system, and get electricity to all the floors.
“I never wanted to become a builder, that wasn’t the plan was it?
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“When we budgeted the renovation work, we had the loan in mind, but it turned out the loan would be much less.
“Then we had two options, not to buy it, or find a way to renovate it with much less.
“We decided we were so much in love with this place and crazy enough, so that’s how we became full time builders.”
Philipp told Insider: “I wanted to buy a chateau for many, many years because at one point when we were moving from one house to another in Paris, I realised that I could buy for the same price of a small apartment in Paris, a chateau somewhere in the French countryside.”
They now own Chateau Gonneville sur Honfleur, near Normandy, France, and live on the second floor.
They also run part of the house as a guesthouse to bring in an income.
Ann and Philipp also document their chateau renovation journey on YouTube, and have racked up 255,000 subscribers.
Not only that, they have also featured on the TV show Escape to the Chateau: DIY.
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