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( shah-toh duh Broo yohn )

Château de Brouillon is our family project. My husband, our children (15 and 11 year old boys) and I are working hard to make our dream a reality.

When I met my husband, we bonded over the fact that we’ve both dreamt of running a bed and breakfast since we were young. We’ve been together for eight years now and though we’d talk about our dream from time to time, it remained far in the future.

One day, a few weeks ago, I was wasting time online when I ran across a real estate listing for an honest-to-god castle for sale for “only” 400 thousand euro. My imagination started running wild.

When Philippe and the boys got home, I called them in to show them how awesome that castle was. We stated over and over that we were just doing imaginary shopping until the children appeared to understand and then we explored the rest of the real estate website together.


We had so much fun daydreaming together and eventually we all agreed that the best property by far was one for sale for 990 thousand euro. My husband and I laughed it off, fed the boys, put them to bed, and thought nothing more of it.

In the morning, the little one woke up early to go use the computer. By the time I had awoken, he had found the real estate listing for the 990 thousand euro property and googled “How to win the euromillions”. To humor him, we bought a lottery ticket. He began celebrating instantly and asked us to set up an appointment with the realtor for later that week.

It took four attempts and two games of dice for us to explain to him that the lottery is a game of chance and that “maybe we’ll win, maybe we won’t” truly means “there’s but a sliver of a chance we could possibly win, but that money is almost certainly gone.” Playing the lottery is far from the same thing as winning the lottery.

Suddenly, all the joy and excitement drained right out of his little body. His face crumpled up and the tears began to flow. He cried, “And what about my future then?!”

We explained to him that you can’t spend your life planning what you’ll do with your lottery winnings, you have to focus on what you can do with what you have. You have to make your own future, you cannot leave it to chance.

But then, in the back of our minds, we began to wonder…what had we been doing with our dream? What real steps had we made towards making it happen? We’ve spent our lives waiting for that lottery win which will let us buy a bed and breakfast. Way to lead by example, us!

We calmed the child down and redirected his efforts towards working towards his own future. He is one serious 11-year-old.

Over the next few weeks, we kept coming back to this family discussion. Finally, I asked my husband why we didn’t try to lead by example? We have a dream, why don’t we work towards it? True, a bed and breakfast may always be out of our reach, at least financially, but there is no reason for us to sit back and wait for our dream to happen by itself. We can develop the qualities we would need to successfully run a Belgian B&B. We can create our business plan. We can do the market research. We can look into alternative methods of financing. Most importantly, we can show the children how to work towards a goal and not sit around daydreaming.

After a few days of working on the project, I realized that we needed to choose a working title for it. Of course, we can’t know what we will call our future bed and breakfast. That will most likely depend on the property we find. However, we need something to put on the business plan, some title which our friends and family can begin to associate with our goal.

The word “brouillon” is French for a rough draft. It means something which is unfinished; a sketch; unpolished but in progress.

There is a very famous castle here in Belgium called le Château de Bouillon.

One day my mind mixed those two things together and I couldn’t let go of it. Our project IS nothing but a first draft at this point in time. Come to think of it, so are most of my creative projects! Actually, with all the work left to do in our house and our goal of having another child someday, even our household and family are rough drafts. After all, you only get one shot at this life. There are no do-overs. The bright side of looking at life as a rough draft is this…you’re still writing. You can change the direction of the story at any time.

We’ve not made huge changes to our story. After all, it’s a really good story and we liked where it was heading regardless. We’ve just chosen which direction we want it to follow.

I have had a blog for the past year but I had already begun to lose my motivation for it. Yes, I have a lot of great ideas and creative projects but I wasn’t working towards anything beyond the end of one project at a time. When my blog was as aimless as that, taking the time to translate even one post per month from English to French took a lot out of me.

I decided, why not be proactive? I hadn’t yet purchased the domain name for my blog because I hadn’t yet decided whether to keep the English name, the French name, or both.

Eventually I would like to create and sell some digital patterns for bobbin lace or machine knitting. I would like to write a book or two. I would like to earn a bit of passive income from my creative endeavors. All of those things will help us get a bit closer to our dream.

So for once, we are putting all of our projects and rough drafts under the same title. Château de Brouillon is one family’s attempt to realize their dreams.

This is our journey and you are warmly invited to follow along.


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