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Home / Arts / “Escape to the Chateau” TV hosts set to share their forever home with Toronto audience

“Escape to the Chateau” TV hosts set to share their forever home with Toronto audience


Dick & Angel will be at Meridian Hall in Toronto with their kids for a one-night presentation called ‘Dare To Do It

Excited, determined and somewhat scared. These are some of the feelings felt by Lt. Col. Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel Adoree when back in 2014 they stumbled across an abandoned 19th Century Chateau in France and decided to make an offer! To further add to the drama, the couple were moving from England with their two young children into the derelict chateau in the middle of winter with no heat, electricity or working bathroom facilities. On March 5th, Dick & Angel will be in Toronto appearing at the Meridian Hall for a one-night presentation called ‘Dare To Do It talking about filming the hit CBC Gem TV show, Escape to the Chateau, and sharing the highlights and challenges of their massive renovation project.

Their mission on the show and in real life is to completely renovate the 45-room Chateau de la Motte Husson and restore it to its formal glory as a wedding and events venue. After decades of neglect, it is an enormous renovation project, all of which is featured in the hit TV show.

Falling in love with France

Dick and Angel fell in love with France on a romantic holiday and started to explore the idea of living there. “One evening on holiday, after watching the film A Good Year, we started looking on the internet,” says Angel. After four years of searching, and with the help of the agent, the couple discovered Chateau de la Motte Husson.

Fairytale castle

“I think we all gasped when we turned the corner for the first time…it was straight out of a fairytale with turrets, a moat, and a beautiful walled garden,” states Angel. “We knew it would be the most romantic setting for weddings and the Orangery was ideal for hosting events. We knew we wanted to combine our strengths and set up a business offering vintage weddings and private events, and the Chateau was just perfect for this. We also had a vision to live more sustainability, grow our own produce, have pigs and chickens, and the Chateau offered the space to do all this. It had everything on our wish list!”

Chateau de la Motte-Husson is a fairy tale Neo-Renaissance style chateau located in the small market town of in Martigné-sur-Mayenne. The completely renovated chateau features 45 rooms, a moat, orangery, 12 acres and 7 outbuildings.

A 10 year project… and counting

The complete renovation has taken over 10 years and there is still work to be done.

“We bought the Chateau for 345,000 Euros in 2014, plus 50,000 Euros for a piece of land that they nearly sold!” say Dick and Angel. “We do not have a total figure for the renovation, but it has been a big investment which is why we tackled the project in stages over the last 10 years. We often take a guess and think it is the same as what we paid for the Chateau. However, we have one last job to do – the windows – and that will be around the same again!”

Angel talks about some of the challenges of renovating a 45-room run down Chateau.

The challenges

“In the early days, Dick had to go to the U.S. to work to help fund the renovation and I stayed at home at the Chateau,” explains Angel. “It was winter and very cold with no heating and two very small children – those were definitely some of the most challenging times. Fitting the lift in one of the turrets was quite a feat…the measurements had to be so precise there was no room for error. Getting the Chateau ready for our wedding was another crazy time. It was all hands to the pump, and I am sure we didn’t sleep much during that time!”

Did the couple ever wonder, ‘what have we done?’

“We never had a ‘what have you done’ moment!” answers Angel. “The reason is that you must expect challenges and be focused on solutions always. We shared the same vision and could see the huge potential of what the Chateau could be. We threw ourselves into the renovation and had the deadline of getting it livable in time for our wedding in November 2015. There were times when the ‘to do’ list felt monumental, but we were both so determined to make our dream a reality. It was a true labour of love, but it was all so worth it!”

The Chateau today

It’s now a popular venue for romantic weddings and special events. The couple hosts weddings, garden days and a special day event called ‘Fun & Festivity’.

With most of the renovations completed, the Strawbridge family are enjoying the fruits of their labour. Angel talks about their favourite rooms: “It changes all the time but the Strawbridge Suite where we, and the children, have our bedrooms is a special place. We love to all hang out together here and watch movies. Dick loves being in the Walled Garden and my workroom, the Tresorerie, up in the attic, is my little creative sanctuary. However, recently the children’s playroom has been given an update and again changed how they use it…our home is ever evolving! We love it and have no plans to move. We sometimes read that we have sold it or moved away, but this is our forever home, and we would have never invested all the love into it that we have if we ever planned on selling it!”

Final season

Fans of Escape to the Chateau will be disappointed however to learn that Series 9 of the TV show will be their last.

“We made the decision, some years ago now, that series nine would be the final Escape to the Chateau, mainly because we want to protect the children,” state Dick and Angel. “We finished the series with the most magical Christmas party with fireworks for all our friends and family.”

Weekly podcast and speaking tour (coming to Meridian Hall)

You can catch the couple on their weekly podcast called Dick & Angel’s Chat…EAU. The enterprising couple also have a line of Chateau brand personalized gifts and housewares and they have written two books. The Strawbridge family, including their two children, are currently on a speaking tour/book launch for “Dare To Do It” across the U.K. and North America. This tour includes their one-night stop in Toronto on March 5 at Meridian Hall.

“It will be an interactive evening of fun, games (with a chance to win a part of the Chateau!), myth-busting, and an opportunity to experience the Chateau like never before!” exclaims Angel. “We bring the entire family and have a ball. We will be telling key moments of our story and sharing many never-before-heard tales. The tour coincides with the North America launch of our second book Living the Chateau Dream. People can also buy a copy at the theatre on the evening, and we will sign it during our Meet and Greet after the show!”

Family in Canada

Dick and Angel have family in Canada whom they have visited, but this is their first trip to Toronto.

“We are so looking forward to a few days of sightseeing and catching up with everyone before our show at the Meridian Hall. It is such a beautiful country. We feel very blessed to have the chance to visit.”

And blessed to be living in their ‘forever home,’ a 45-room French Chateau. Truly the old saying applies here: A man’s (and woman’s) home is his castle.”

For information on the Toronto tour date, visit Event Ticket Centre, eventticketscenter.com. For information and Chateau history, visit https://thechateau.tv

by Laurie Wallace-Lynch

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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