Essential Tips For Updating A European Castle In 2021

Many people may look at a medieval castle and think, “I want to buy and renovate this!” But buying and renovating a castle property is more involved than one may think. 

Firstly, castle owners must have an adventurous spirit that likes to push boundaries and make the impossible happen. Secondly, castle owners must be patient and respect the architectural processes involved; castle-to-home conversions are among the most challenging construction projects to pull off—and pull off well.

14th century chateau southwest france

Located in France’s southwest region, this renovated stone castle retains its thick stone walls and multiple turrets. (Groupe Mercure)

To help you transform an old castle into your fantasy home, we created a list of essential castle conversion tips. Here is what you should know about when updating a castle in 2021: 

Choose a first-class team 

The success of every construction project depends on the team. Choosing a first-class construction company is especially important for renovating a historic build like a French chateau or Tudor home. Toulouse-based luxury brokerage Groupe Mercure has agents who specialize in historic castle properties and can assist you in identifying a property to buy and a first-class construction company to handle the renovation. Reputable architects and art historians are other resources to consider when preserving the castle’s original look. 

france stone castle entry updated with contemporary design

This Gimont chateau, on the market for about US $2.86 million, pairs original character details with tasteful updates. (Groupe Mercure)

Choose companies that are licensed, insured, and most importantly – experienced in castle renovation. So when interviewing the potential team members, ask these types of questions: 

  • What kind of experience do you have with castle conversion and renovation? 
  • What was your last project? Did you face any difficulties and how did you overcome them? 
  • Do you have experience working under strict building and historic restrictions?  
  • Is everybody on your team licensed and insured? Do you offer warranties?
16th century roanne chateau france

This baronial chateau in Roanne, France, on the market for $2.075 million, features updates in keeping with the Old World aesthetic. (Groupe Mercure)

Since castle renovation is a very long-lasting and unpredictable process, you want to hire someone you can rely on and fully trust. You can also ask Groupe Mercure for help and references from artisans and/or fellow castle owners who have recently undergone a castle renovation. 

Consult with local officials 

Europe is filled with hidden architectural gems. From Switzerland to France to Spain, every European country has at least one beautiful medieval castle. Keep in mind that, in every country, there may be different rules and regulations for updating or upgrading a castle property. The rules and regulations will also vary depending on the castle’s historical significance. For these reasons, it is important to consult local officials before purchasing a castle and before construction starts. 

dining room in magnificent french chateau vitre brittany france

The formal dining room in an 1860 Gothic-style chateau. The castle-like property has been restored twice in the last 15 years. (Groupe Mercure)

Set your goals straight 

Everyone has a different reason or vision when it comes to rebuilding a castle. Some castle owners are looking to resell the property; some want to create a luxurious boutique hotel, and others want to live in it and share its beauties with friends and family. Whatever your reason is, try to set your goals before beginning any castle redesign. If you have a clear plan and goals, you will have an easier time instructing the construction workers and architects.

Prepare for the impossible 

Most first-time castle owners don’t have realistic expectations about castle house conversion. The truth is, most older castles have difficulties with electricity, plumbing, and structural stability. Chances are you will face several issues that will increase your budget and the duration of the project. 

A French chateau is reflected in the water of a pond.

This fairytale chateau in the township of Baugy takes inspiration from the castles of the Loire Valley and Sologne region. (Groupe Mercure) 

To get a better perspective on the matter, you can always contact reputable real estate agents, other castle owners or even watch home-repair TV shows like Britain’s Escape to the Chateau. Learning more about castle renovation will help you prepare better and show you that everything is possible, even creating a luxurious spa-resort from a 600-year-old castle. 

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