If you can DREAM it you can do it! Escape to the Château!

If you can DREAM it you can do it! Escape to the Château!

It was love at first sight for Karen Horne and her husband Paul when they saw their château for the first time!

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles episode 65

Guest: Karen Horne

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As an addict of “château porn” as we call it in my house, I feel as if I already know Karen Horne who has been on the Escape to the Château DIY series which is now known as simply Château DIY.

Karen and her husband Paul had for many years spent weekends escaping to France and always loved exploring the little villages when they drove across from the UK. One day Paul brought home a little advertisement of a château for sale, they went across to check it out and it was love at first sight!

So the 17 year adventure began. They took a leap of faith, possibly with rose tinted glasses on but Karen says they have no regrets! Karen says that life is not about getting to the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold, but rather life is about living it, experiencing it and having the most amazing experiences you can recall for life! Wise words I reckon!

The château for them was a place to escape their busy life in the UK even though it was lots of work. It was actually the projects that needed to be done that brought the family close together and gave a focus to help them escape the daily grind.

I must say though that I am so impressed by Karen’s DIY skills which she said she learned completely through the château restoration process. Karen is a commercial designer, but having the vision to create is often not the same as actually executing the improvements you want to see.

After now having sold the château Karen feels quite a sense of loss. She now doesn’t get to dream and imagine the projects to immerse herself in. Now Karen has a website Dream French Properties and on her Insta page she is now showcasing many of the Plus Beaux Villages. Karen is trying to encourage the public to appreciate the villages as well as the significant properties. I love to explore these villages on Google Earth and visit the villages virtually. I also try to guess the region of France just from the architecture before I find out where the property actually is!

Karen wishes that they had got to live there in their château as permanent residents, but one of the most rewarding things from the experience was the ability to dream and make their dreams happen. After listening to Karen, I’m reminded of the saying, if you can dream it you can do it! Life is short! Take that leap!

Karen’s website – Dream French Properties

Karen’s Instagram – @dreamfrenchproperties


Having a number of food restrictions, Karen loves to order fresh fish and local vegetables in France. Cooking fish is not always simple however. See this article about various ways to cook fresh fish French style.


Karen is not so much of a music person but enjoys the quiet when at the château. She enjoys nothing more than hearing the sounds of the birds chirping and the leaves rustling. The sounds of nature are calming and soul-restoring. Given her description of the sounds she loves, it reminded me of wonderful French musician Flo Delavega and a song of his featuring Natalia Doco where we can hear the birds in the background.

Un Beau Jour – Flo Delavega & Natalia Doco

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