Friday Fun: How to Furnish a Manor House

Now that we’ve acquired the perfect manor house, how do we furnish it? The preference seems to be for traditional 16-19th century furnishings (matching the exterior of the building), but occasionally you get the more adventurous owner (or designer).

Empire style at the Vezelay chateau, from Belles Demeures.
Baroque fresco at this rather un-English country house in Cambridge, available as a filming location, from locationhq.co.uk
A mix of faux old and new at this hotel in the Cotswolds, from The Manor House.
More traditional decor for this Spanish mansion, from Quinta Casa da Branca.
The rather surprising interior of the chateau in Lisieux from last week, from Belles Demeures.
If in doubt, books always form the best decor! From Belles Demeures.

Friday Fun: Manor Houses for Sale

They are officially listed under ‘chateaux’ on the exclusive property site Belles Demeures, but they range from medieval castles to 19th century extravaganzas for the lord of the manor, and the prices are far more reasonable than in England (the scenery often far more beautiful too). My conclusion after closely examining every single property on the site is that not enough people make use of all the space they have to create wonderful libraries…

[Apologies for the watermarks on the pictures, since Belles Demeures is an aggregate site for a collective of estate agents in France].

How I love the symmetry of this French chateau near Nantes.
Turrets and a massive park make even the plainest of houses more interesting, as in this example from Pontchateau.
This 19th century building in Nouan is being used as a hotel.
I just love this peaceful terrace at this manor house in Vannes.
Italian influence in this courtyard in Provence.
This castle in Chambery has the perfect demonstration of what a turret staircase might look like.
The more recent manor houses have wider staircases in wood, of course, like this example in Lisieux.

Friday Fun: Back to France

Who am I kidding? English country mansions are all very nice, but my heart beats faster when I see a French chateau – or even a ‘humble’ maison de maitre. And, who knows, maybe in the region Bourgogne -Franche-Comte, it might even be affordable? My ‘retirement’ plans are to acquire one of these and organise writing, reading and thinking retreats. Any takers?

Gracious stone pile in Besancon, from immobilierfranche-comte.fr
Modest little house from Mitula Immobilier.
This one is slightly more expensive, but has extensive grounds and outhouses. From clairefontaineimmobilier.fr
My kind of farmhouse building in the Jura, from regions-of-france.com
House in Bourgogne, close to the vineyards, from my-french-house.com
The real dream, this 13th century renovated chateau in Oyonnax, only 9 minutes from Geneva by helicopter! From Cortebil.fr

Friday Fun: Homes to Tempt You in Britain

I’ve been doing so much property search abroad in the past few months that it’s high time I reminded myself that I am still here in the UK for the time being. And there are many fine (if rather unaffordable) properties on this island…

Suffolk retreat, what I imagine a vicarage should look like. From Prime Location.
Clathwaite Hall in Cumbria. From H.H. King website.
© Brian Young Architectural Photography for Bradley Hall in County Durham
Another picture-book Suffolk property, from David Burr.
Georgian manor house for sale in Lancashire, from rightmove.co.uk
Of course, you can’t mention Lancaster without mentioning York… This is Thorpe Hall in Yorkshire, likewise for sale, from countrylife.co.uk

Friday Fun: Return to the Small Chateaux

This week, a group of women writers whom I am honoured to call friends, L’Atelier Writers, are having their annual retreat in a French chateau. I joined them one year and it was magical. You bet that I am extremely envious. So I’ve found some additional chateaux to make them envious too!

Yes, a majority of them are French, but I am including a few from other countries as well. This time round, small and compact are the keywords. Well, for chateau standards at least.

Alone in Copenhagen, from Pinterest.
The comforting standard French shutters, from Architectural Digest.
The House on the Lake, in Brussels, photo credit Quentin de Briey.
Less of a chateau, more of a manor house in Gascogne (land of D’Artagnan), from Architectural Digest.
Hidden amongst flowering trees, French chateau from Thingsthatinspire.net
Solar de Alvega in Portugal, from manorhouses.com
In England we call them manor houses, but they are still chateaux to me, like this one for sale in Woodstock, from Country Life.

Friday Fun: Chateau Location Scouting

Some grand old manor houses look good by day or night, and here are some which would make a great backdrop for a film or a book. Any additional suggestions of appropriate films or books would be much appreciated.

Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin.
Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin. Suitable for Netherfield Park in French version of Pride and Prejudice?

Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section.
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section. Cyrano de Bergerac might be hiding in one of those bushes.

Chateau near Rouen, from
Chateau near Rouen, from Selectimmovexin.com. I could see the Three Musketeers hiding here and bewitching the lady of the house on their way to new adventures.

Chateau d'Artigny. Wouldn't this be a great location for Gatsby's famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau d’Artigny. Wouldn’t this be a great location for Gatsby’s famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com

Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr

If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock's chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock’s chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.

Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistable. From Wikimedia.com
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistible. From Wikimedia.com