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Resident: Karina and Craig Waters
Location: Midi-Pyrenees, France
Workspace: Chateau De Gudanes
Photos: Carla Coulson
When Perth couple Karina and Craig Waters decided to buy a home in France in 2011, Karina was clear about what she wanted, “shabby chic, rustic, petit chateau style”, she told The Good Life France. Despite ideas and lots of help from several French friends, nothing came even close to her vision of a dream home during their first viewing trip. Then one day, when they were almost ready to give up, an enchanting, mysterious chateau standing proudly at the base of Place de Beille, overlooking the Midi-Pyrenees, cast its magic spell. Steeped in French history, the site is a crumbling ruin weathered by time and the elements; and with beauty both raw and exquisite at the same time, Chateau de Gudanes captured their hearts the day they laid eyes on her.
Karina, the self-appointed CEO of this colossal renovation project, is breathing life into this sleeping beauty. Suffering from years of neglect and falling into disrepair, Chateau de Gudanes is slowly reawakening, revealing hidden secrets, treasures and stories with Karina at the helm.
I had a long chat with Karina about chasing dreams, casting doubts, and diving in.
Karina: There isn’t a lot to tell really, I hadn’t done anything mentionable. I grew up in Perth, mostly sunburnt, reading fairytales and adventure stories, but never believing they could come true.
I married, and spent years working as an accountant, worrying far too much about superannuation and yearly tax returns. My husband is a doctor, and contentedly so. We have two children, now both at university. We built a home together in Perth, but apart from that had no prior experience in restoration or renovation. We tried painting once, our bedroom, but it ended painfully when the paint tin tipping over, spilling onto the newly polished floorboards.