The Leech Family
After watching just two seasons of "Escape to the Chateau," the idea of buying and restoring a French chateau bewitched Ben and me. Ben started to send me links to these beautiful castles, but they seemed so far outside of my comfort zone! I knew that I didn't have any DIY skills, crafting skills or any artistic ability, but he sent them anyway. Some of the castles didn't even have a roof and others cost millions. It felt like a silly little hobby, nothing more.
But Ben had other plans. Right before my birthday in March 2017, he organised a road trip where we would see five different properties. Three of them were Chateaux, one Maison de Maitre and the last an ancient Chambre d'hote. I thought of it as a fun camping adventure where we could chateau spot and see these sleeping giants up close.
Our beauty was the first place we saw. It was hidden away in a village in the middle of a French department I had never heard of before. I remember keeping an eye on our son, Max, whilst he bounded from one place to another. Occasionally, I'd see Ben walking around with both hands on his head, in awe. And then I walked into the ballroom.
What I lack in artistic ability, I make up in imagination. As soon as I stepped inside, I transformed into Belle from Beauty and the Beast, captivated by a feeling of awe and wonder ... and from that moment we were hooked. We just knew. All the other properties could not compare. She was ours. We went back to England and put a bid in straight away. And the rest is history.
We're Vanessa and Ben
I'm their son, Max
I'm their black lab, Rosie