Near Bayeux. The owner of Château de la Commanderie talks about his house

Steve Holmes and Timothy Gosling are the owners of the Chateau de la Commander de Buggy in Planquarie, near Bacatte (Kalvados).

Timothy Gosling and Steve Holmes bought Chateau de la Commanderini de Bougie, In Planquerry, near Bayodex (Kalvados), three years ago.

News: could you introduce yourself ?

Steven Holmes at Timothy Gosling: Steven Holmes is 43 years old. I studied management and my favorite passion is to restore old stones. Timothy Gosling (Tim), 58, I started my furniture design company for very rich clients working around the world. I am fortunate to be a designer for very large boats. I am among the top 50 designers in the UK. I am well known in England and America as an interior designer and stylist. This is my passion and I was able to make it my work. I am also a writer. I wrote three books: two on design and one on London. I am also an artist, I do a lot of painting and sketches.

Steve, how did you know about Commander’s Palace?

Sh et tg: My passion is to rebuild old buildings to be restored. I first saw it in England. Everything I found was not in its own juices, there were already adaptations that didn’t suit me. I wanted to bring it back with recognition. Then I looked in Italy, but instead of restoring castles and palaces are in the city. Then I looked in the countryside, in France. It was on the Internet that we discovered with Tim, the chateau de la commander. This is my second restoration of such large buildings.

The grand staircase flight liner resembles RMS Aquitania
The grand staircase flight liner resembles RMS Aquitania (© Renaissance)

Why this palace?

Sh et tg: France had many castles to restore which were beautiful from the outside, but nothing was left inside. It was a very beautiful, but in terrible condition on the outside. Inside, it was very beautiful, its floors, its high rooms. What thrills me is its historical past. We want to bring back this palace as its successor, as it was built in the 1910s. It was a real crush, even love at first sight.

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We find out later, that this palace had a huge role in history. In addition, the grand stair flight is the exact copy of a larger translatonic liner: the RMS Aquitania (almost as large as the Titanic).

Interesting and surprising, when we bought the palace, is that no one told us about its historical past during WWII. No one said that it was Kommandantur during the Nazi occupation. Then a strategic point when the Americans arrived, as it was their headquarters. Several documents and photographs prove that General Eisenhower held the rank of commandary and we found a clip of his arrival at the Castle. I think the whole D-Day strategy (Battle of Morten) took shape here. (This is not a landing, but is clearly an advance in land).

What are your projects?

Sh et tg: We want to keep it back as it was in the 1911s. We are going to renovate it, restore it to its former glory and turn it into a real beautiful house and a beautiful house. There is also a Chapel of the Templars, it is 1000 years old history! We will consider restoring the palace and the park to acquire the chapel. It is an important part of the commandery. I would love to buy it, it is a historical monument and it is a very big restoration that will have to be done there.

Is work already done?

Sh et tg: roof. The exterior facade has been radically re-dyed beautifully. We have 57 pieces. Power installation should be redone everywhere. I am building a library in London and coming here this summer. We have many people on Instagram for the restoration of the palace, it is huge!

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The palace before its restoration.
The palace before its restoration. (© Renaissance)
The palace after its restoration.
The palace after its restoration. (© Renaissance)

What will happen to the park?

Sh et tg: We have found the original plans and are going to restore the park to be identified under the tree. We will create two different gardens: an Italian-style garden with 16 lion head fountains. A mirror basin will be built where the magnificent residence can be mirrored. In front, a Belle-Opaque garden (1910 to 1913) from the ground will emerge with sculptures with French elegance and fantasy. We love it from a very short period.

We also want to have a lake and a pavilion. The roof will be remodeled this summer and original stained glass windows will also be placed on the windows. The bridge will be re-identified.

Will the commander be open to the public?

Sh et tg: When the epidemic allows, if possible this summer, we want to travel a few weekends so that the people of Balleroy rediscover their gem: parks and castles, neglected for a very long time. If the health crisis allows it, the palace will remain open for days of inheritance.

Have you planned archaeological research?

Sh et tg: We didn’t expect to do so much searching, but we have a family of Forbes who will help us. We will undertake archaeological reconstruction by air to find any walls or traces of ancient architecture. The first side of the palace had an arch and a staircase and we would like to rebuild it. Two television channels (American and Canadian) will come in to do a report. It is difficult, because we want to share, but it is also personal. But there you go, there are over 16,000 catering viewers on our Instagram, we don’t want to disappoint them.

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What do you want to say to the local people?

Sh et tg: We should not be considered “cynical” English. We want to keep French culture indoors. Unlike England, where there are so many associations to preserve heritage, we consider it very disappointing that in France, there are not so many. It is a shame not to let this heritage be preserved. The last moment to save the palace was when we bought it.

Later, I would like to build a small museum in the palace to display all the documents, soldiers’ letters and where to keep them. We will crawl the writing on the walls.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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