Angela and Steve
Château Caillac, Life has thrown many challenges at Angela and Steve. But they haven’t stopped this resilient couple from running a successful business from their stunning 19th-century château in the heart of south-west France.
Or from having fun.
They were renovating their château long before it became a thing
Angela and Steve were renovating large properties long before it was happening on TV. Their first big project was in England – a 10-bed house in Chester. They enjoyed the experience so much, especially working on the large garden, that they wanted to find an even bigger challenge.
Château Caillac, Moving to France
That challenge eventually took them and their two sons, Adam and Jamie to France and Château Caillac. It met all their requirements: proximity to a river or lake, within a short walk of a village and big enough to run a B&B.
It helps to be good with your hands
It’s hardly surprising that a lot of the château owners are very practical and good with their hands. These are obviously essential skills if you are renovating a massive property and gardens.
Angela and Steve are no exception to this rule, and, indeed, are so practical they run an engineering company together.
The original idea was to move to the château and have someone else run the company from the UK. But then Angela was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the couple had to change their plans.
There are other attributes that are necessary if you’re going to make buying a château a success too – adaptability and resilience. And the couple has them in abundance. So instead of giving up on their plans, Angela rented to stay near her friends and family in the UK, and they used the château for holidays.
In 2009 there was another setback when Angela was diagnosed with breast cancer. Happily, the disease was diagnosed early and she’s been successfully treated, but it meant that they had to rent out the château to earn an income.
A bicycle built for two
Steve is a big cycling fan, and a member of a village cycling group. However Angela’s MS meant she struggled with balance on her bike. She was going to put away the bike for good but Steve wouldn’t accept that. His surprise solution? A tandem bike!
Peddling cycling holidays
And the success and joy they found together on the tandem bike inspired them to start selling tandem bike holidays, where touring cyclists can hire a single room in the château. It’s a plan that’s beginning to take off.
The pandemic has affected them, just like many other château owners. But instead of cancelling, most guests have moved their bookings, so now they have reservations up to two years in advance.
Most of the château has been renovated, and only the outbuildings need to be worked on now. Although they’d probably disagree with the use of the word “only”. Because the work seems never ending!
Angela and Steve’s skillsets complement one another
Steve, unsurprisingly has an engineering brain, and will normally find practical solutions to even the trickiest problems. Angela is more artistic with eclectic tastes finding inspiration from myriad sources.
They split tasks in the garden too
When they first started to renovate, she took a RHS gardening course to learn how best to look after plants. She’s in charge of flowers while Steve will deal more with heavy work like garden constructions and landscaping.
Not your bog-standard problem
One of the biggest challenges bizarrely, was trying to find out where the toilets flushed. In fact, it was never solved, even after five years living on the property, so Steve had to sort out the plumbing on some of the toilets from scratch.
Like many other château owners, they advise that you should always use the best tools possible for every job. Know your limits. And never be afraid to have a go.
And you won’t find a couple more ready to give running a château all they’ve got than Angela and Steve.
Château Caillac Services
short stays, cycling retreats, exclusive use
Find out more or to book a stay – contact the owners here