(CNN) — After spending several years renovating a nearly finished California home with his husband, the last thing graphic designer Mark Goff was thinking about was taking on another big project.
But curiosity got the better of him when a blog about renovating a ruined chateau in France popped up on his computer screen, and he began reading it intently.
Before he knew it, he was looking up how much a chateau costs and working out how quickly they could sell up and move to Europe.
While some might need a little time to mull over the prospect of buying a huge neglected property and emigrating to a foreign country, Goff’s husband, data engineer Phillip Engel, didn’t take much convincing.
“He was on a conference call,” Goff tells CNN Travel. “I turned my screen around, and just mouthed the words, ‘Would you like to buy a chateau in the south of France, restore it and create a boutique hotel or an entertainment venue?'”
A few seconds after clicking through the photos on Goff’s screen,…