The Secret Turret

There is a magical place near the sunny south west coast of France called Domaine De La Salle. It’s not a showy, shiny chateau with golden chandeliers and shiny wallpaper, it’s so  much better than that, it is authentic and that is something that is becoming harder and harder to find nowadays.

It has one, perfectly perfect turret with steely blue tiles, I never did pluck up the courage to peek inside. Maybe there are owls in there, maybe doves…maybe a long forgotten forlorn princess. The walls are bleached white from centuries of sun and salty air blowing in from the west. Surrounded by woods and acres of countryside, it is quiet and tranquil, the kind of place where normal life seems one hundred years away and owls really do  land on your bedroom window sill.


It is owned by the most charming and enthusiastic couple, Mariam and Jono who bought the mini-chateau in 2016 and using local craftsmen and artisans, have slowly brought the ‘sleeping beauty’ back to life.

The chateau has recently been featured on the popular TV show ‘Escape to the Chateau DIY’ and you can watch the three episodes that include Domaine de la Salle on Channel 4’s catchup website, look out for Episodes 14, 15 and 16. I even make a sneaky appearance as the very mysterious ‘seamstress’!

These short snapshots of Mariam and Jono’s story only scratch the surface of the hard work that has been put into the building. The authenticity, the eye for detail, the hand painted mural that Mariam has restored in the main entrance and the kitchen tiles that Angel made at Chateau de la Motte Husson from Mariam’s designs.

The details are still being discussed but in late Spring/early Summer Mariam and Jono are once again letting me loose in the attic sewing room. Over three days and two nights the chateau will be filled with stitching and laughter, tea and cake, a trip to purchase antique linen and laces, buttons and petticoats at the nearby brocante, candlelit dinners and fresh local produce based lunches. I am lucky enough to have the wonderful Nicki Franklin of The Stitchery accompanying me, you will see from her website how her use of faded colours is a perfect match with all things chateau.

The weekend’s goal is to sew an heirloom chateau doll, a precious thing to hand down through the generations. We will be using tea stained linen, (time permitting we will do this at the chateau), antique fabrics and laces, old French buttons and all natural wool for the hair and stuffing. We will make a visit to the nearby brocante where you will be able to spend a complimentary voucher on whatever treasures you find for your doll. Nicki will help you embroider a motif or initial onto the doll’s dress all whilst you enjoy the tranquil surroundings, bird song and warm sun as it pours in through the attic sewing room windows, (unless it pours, in which case you can enjoy the gentle patter of summer rain!)

Your accommodation will be in the chateau itself along with a two bedroom gite in the grounds. The rooms are mostly doubles apart from one room that is a twin room. There is also a suite room with living room and also two courtyard rooms.

All meals and drinks will be included so all you have to do is get yourself to the chateau as flights and transfers are not included in the price.

Prices and dates will be released very soon so keep a beady eye on this blog and all my other social media. If you would like to be notified prior to the release or have any questions or queries then please do email me Wilderstitch

The weekend will be limited to eight people, (not including non-stitching partners) to keep the atmosphere magical and intimate.











Published by Erica

Stitcher of beautiful, handmade dolls and children's author and illustrator.

6 thoughts on “The Secret Turret

  1. Hello. I’m really interested in coming along to the chateau to make a lovely cloth doll. Please let me know when this event will take place .
    It’s possible I would would like to do join a workshop with you at the end of the summer if that is possible, as my diary is booked up until then. The earlier the notice the better for me as I get booked up months in advance and would need to block some time off.
    It sounds like a heavenly way to spend some down time. Regards Deborah. @gertiegabble

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Do you have an email address and I will forward the details of the chateau event, they are now available.

      Kindest regards,


  2. Dear Deborah,

    Thank-you so much for your lovely comment and I’m so pleased you are interested in joining us at the chateau for the heirloom doll workshop. We are still sorting out the dates and will be releasing them soon. Do you have an email address and I will send you the details before the main release? Also, you mentioned a workshop at the end of summer. Do you mean you want to co-host a work shop with me or come to one at the end of summer? Thanks again for getting in touch and have a lovely evening. Erica x

  3. Dear Erica,
    The idea of a sewing weekend sounds lovely and something my sister may really love. Can you let me know the upcoming sewing events and the costs.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Vicky, thank-you so much for your comment. If you look at my previous post – ‘The Chateau Roses’, there is detailed information on the upcoming workshop in France, (two weeks away but still room around the stitching table). Any questions at all please feel do email me –
      I will be posting on my Instagram page @wilderstitch and on here with new workshops soon.
      Warm wishes,
      Erica x

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