Escape to the Chateau: Dick finds masses of snail shells under floor
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Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree may have embarked on transforming their Chateau nearly six years ago, but they are far from finished. The estate includes 12 acres of land, hundreds of trees, seven outbuildings and space for farming animals and growing crops. And one of the outbuildings is where Angel’s parents, Jenny and Steve live. Over the past four years, the Chateau’s enormous 13 metres wide, eight-metre high coach house has been slowly but surely converted into a new home for them with a granny flat being built first in the one end which was originally part of the stables. Then last year a large new kitchen, known within the family as ‘Cafe Grandma’ was created inside the 19th Century carriage store which also came with its own mezzanine level den for “Papi Steve”. In a previous episode of Escape to the Chateau, phase three of the coach house conversion took place – turning the tack room into a grand entrance hall and converting its old steep staircase with something a bit more user friendly. But when Dick got going, he was soon surprised with something unusual lurking beneath the raised wooden floor.
“Come on,” Dick urged Angel. “I need you to see what’s going to happen here.”
Despite the Chateau coming with 45 rooms and seven outbuildings, Angel has still managed to fill coach house’s coach with a vast ephemera.
“I’m going to start moving everything out,” Dick revealed and she was shocked to look at how much stuff was being stored: “Oh my God, is this all mine still?”
“Which means make-your-mind-up time with some of this stuff,” her husband said. “Just think about what you want because I don’t even know what’s in these boxes..”
Dick pointed out a little red bike: “See how tiny Arthur was on his little -” And Angel exclaimed: “Oh my God that was his first bike! And then Dorothy loved that bike.”
Viewers saw the pair get to work going through each item and deciding what to keep, get rid of or move to another location.
But it was not only Angel’s stuff that was being cleared out as several of the original features in the coach house were going to have to be removed in order for the conversion to happen.
“We’re going to lose all of these old saddle mounts – they’re going to have to come down,” Dick told Angel.
She suggested: “But if they come off, they could be a nice feature under the stairs or something. I don’t know how but they’re beautiful.”
“Now, I think you’re going to notice a huge difference when that walls come down,” Dick added.
The tack room was divided by a wooden partition and Angel got to work knocking it down with a sledgehammer.
Afterwards, Dick remarked: “This room is big,” and Angel added: “It’s amazing.”
All that was left to be removed was the fan light and the 150-year-old raised wooden floor.
“There’s going to be something horrible underneath this floor,” Dick explained. “We’ve got 150 years of a raised platform, with all sorts of smelly stuff under in here.”
He got to work cutting the boards up before removing them and said: “See what we find underneath here… shells, lots of shells.
“Masses and masses and masses of snails. That surprised me. There you go, you never know what you’re going to find!”
Having cleared out the room, Dick and builder mate Steve got to work designing and making a new staircase – as the original was too steep for Jenny to climb, as well as being in the wrong place.
The first thing they had to do was knock a hole through the 19th-century tack room ceiling before removing the wooden floorboards from above.
They then had to take down the wooden beams which were “terrifyingly easy” for Dick.
“They just wiggle!” He remarked before pulling them out of the walls and dropping them seamlessly onto the floor below.
The next thing to do was to lay a concrete floor and Dick had ordered a load from a nearby company to be delivered.
Dick and Steve were joined by Papi Steve to ensure the job was done quickly before the cement started to set.
With a floor in the entrance hall, Angel then got to work designing the space with her mother, Jenny.
“This could be the wall you could have a colour,” Angel suggested. “You could have your chair beautifully positioned.
“Can I be honest with you, if you want the brightness as well as contemporary and glamorous, we’ve got to be careful with over-cluttering?
“Maybe we have two areas for the chairs?”
“You’re just going to have to do your magic darling!” Jenny said.
As for the end result, it was outstanding and a real family effort as Arthur and Dorothy helped created plant hangers that were hooked onto the old stable saddles.
Escape to the Chateau is available to watch on 4oD now.
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