Escape to the Chateau: How Dick and Angel are celebrating Christmas

We chat to the stars of Escape to the Chateau, Dick and Angel Strawbridge, about festive decorating, renovating triumphs and the challenge of living in a 19th-century chateau over winter...

Dick and Angel Strawbridge, plus their children, dressed for winter on an old-fashioned fairground ride

We fell head-over-heels for Dick and Angel Strawbridge, and their extraordinary antiques-filled chateau, when Escape to the Chateau burst onto our screens in 2016. Now, as series 5 draws to a close, we chat to Angel about her favourite moments from the series and how she plans to decorate the chateau for Christmas this year…

Dick and Angel Strawbridge, plus their children, dressed for winter on an old-fashioned fairground ride

Which project in series 6 of Escape to the Chateau did you find the most challenging? 

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There were different challenges with each room we did up in this series. Mum and Dad’s kitchen – Cafe Grandma – took, without a doubt, the most work. As well as having to put in all the infrastructure, water, waste and electricity, there was a ceiling to take out, lots of installation and a patio area to dig out in the walled garden. And after all that, we had to make it look fantastic for their forever kitchen. It was all worth it in the end – they love it.

Which project from the series are you the most proud of? 

That’s a hard question to answer because I love Mum and Dad’s kitchen, and our new boot room. But the Potagerie Suite (pictured below) is very special. Named by Dick to celebrate the fantastic view of his walled garden, this suite is quite stylish and has oodles of sentiment. I designed the wallpaper myself, which really set the tone for this room. And the wild flower turret, inspired by the cutting garden and the flowers planted by Dick and the kids, is of course very special to me. Not to mention the copper bath…which no one wants to use because it’s so lush!

The Potagerie Suite in Chateau de la Motte Husson - a large room decorated in floral wallpaper with a wooden bed covered in a yellow bedspread
Angel’s Potagerie Suite is inspired by the chateau’s beautiful walled garden.

The Potagerie Suite bathroom at Chateau de la Motte Husson - walls are painted dark green and bold copper bathtub sits in the centre of the room
‘No one wants to use [the copper bathtub] because it’s so lush!’
What have been your favourite antique and vintage finds of the series?

There have been so many!  I absolutely love the wall sconce in the Potagerie Suite, but we also found some great stuff for the boot room – a taxidermy stag head in a local charity shop and some iron balustrades that we repurposed for a radiator cover. We source most of our antiques from French charity shops, brocantes and eBay.

The Boot Room at Chateau de la Motte Husson - painted sage green with a row of vintage cinema seats and an antique chest
The chateau’s Boot Room is filled with antique and vintage curios.
A taxidermy stags head is mounted on the wall in the Boot Room at the Chateau de la Motte Husson
This taxidermy stags head was one of Angel’s favourite finds – spotted in a French charity shop.

Now it’s winter, are there any challenges when it comes to living in a 19th-century chateau?

The winter months do remind us that at some point we’ll have to address the repair of our windows!  It can be very cold here, and it’s a big house, so everyday there is radiator management. The rooms we occupy are warmer than the rest of the Chateau, but we have to keep the whole place warm enough.

How will you be decorating the Christmas dinner table this year, and what will you be serving?

For our Christmas Party – which you will see in the last episode of the series on Sunday 23rd December – our dining table was decorated with lots of logs from the garden, foliage and brass ornamental deers!  Dick rolled two birds, capon and duck, around his very special stuffing with roasties, veg, bread sauce, gravy and not to mention our homemade (by Dick and Arthur) redcurrant jelly! It was delicious. For Christmas Day, we won’t be a million miles from this, but it will be just the four of us – unheard of!

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

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Family time and sleep!

The Christmas dining table at Chateau de la Motte Husson decorated with logs, greenery and decorative animals
This year, Angel is planning to adorn the Christmas dining table with logs, greenery and ornamental brass deer.
A large decorated Christmas tree at the Chateau de la Motte Husson
The chateau’s Christmas tree covered in decorations and lights.