the restoration of the Château de Gudanes, in progress
i don't quite know how i stumbled upon this story, but it's too intriguing and awe-inspiring not to share.
once upon a time, an Australian couple house-hunting for a charming French country house fell in love with and bought a dilapidated-yet-still-magnificent ancient château in the valley of the Pyrenees. (more on their full story here.) part castle and part cultural-archaeological site, amazing doesn't even begin to describe the history and sprawling grounds. the surrounding landscape is nothing short of magical.
in an interview, Karina Waters, the owner of the Château de Gudanes describes her approach to the restoration project thus:
“It is what it is now. Buddhists used the term Wabi-Sabi and we want to apply that to the Château de Gudanes. Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.”
the magnitude and myriad challenges that come with this restoration would justifiably scare off most people. i find Karina's attitude refreshing and applicable to so many aspects of life:
“I am no longer half asleep but have opened my eyes to a different perspective on life. Over the past three years I have experienced the fear, doubt, hesitation in making the decision to buy a home in France. But we have signed the contract, picked up the key and now stopped worrying. We are committed to our decision and have no doubt it is the right thing for us to do."
not to sugarcoat what she has chosen to take on, but it's truly inspiring to see someone embark on something like this in an age of teardowns, cookie-cutter new construction, and megaplex developers. so lovely to see a painstakingly thoughtful approach to preservation, restoration, and revival. at the very least, something to think about and motivate you the next time you feel daunted by that wishlist kitchen renovation!