A FAMILY ADVENTURE
A LEAP OF FAITH
The Leach-Ibarra family is a family of five from California and New York City who decided to change everything and make a piece of history their home. They pooled their resources, their backgrounds in movie making, star-gazing, data engineering and oil painting, and took a collective leap of faith to move to France.
Making an offer from across the world during Covid, with the help and blessing of the leading lady of the chateau world, Stephanie Jarvis, this family put all their eggs in one basket and prayed to the gods of adventure that they had picked the right place to call home.
Chateau de Puy Vidal was everything they hoped for and more.
Cherished and improved to a beautiful standard for the past 50 years as a family home by the former owners, its vision and mission are now being broadened and expanded.
It is going back to its roots- the Latin word castellum is the origin of the French words “castel”, “chastel”, then “ château"- which actually means "fortified village".
It again seeks to bring people together under its roofs, this time into a creative village of sorts- and unlike times past where it was fortified against invading armies, it is now a fortified refuge from the demands and anxieties of modern life.
This family seeks to welcome travellers, artists, thinkers, history lovers and more within these ancient walls, to offer a place of magic, of inspiration, of sanctuary.
Watch the first episode of our Youtube Channel called "Dreaming of a Chateau" were the origins of this crazy dream are introduced...
The Origins of the Lady
The Lady of the Château logo honors the spirit of women throughout the eras, les Chatelaines, Salonistes, who devoted themselves to making their homes into a welcoming place for communities to gather and grow.
Lady of the Chateau is our brand, our Patron Saint, our guiding light. She came to life gradually.
She is based on a painting of Diane de Poitiers(1500-1566), Chatelaine of Chateau de Chenonceau.
Diane de Poitiers was a paragon of vision, design acumen, and leadership.
We feel she embodies many of the traits that inspire us.
We distilled her portrait into a cameo-shaped silouette. Adorned with Ancient Greek laurels in homage to Diane de Poitier’s love of Classical Greek iconography.
She appears to be flying on mythological wings.
She is a Patron Saint who watches over all those Old Souls who feel they’ve been born in the wrong time.
She reminds us that we weren’t born in the wrong time, we were born in the right time to bring the beauty of times past with us.
A San Diego native but French at heart, Julia has been dreaming of France since she was 14 years old. The visionary of this Château dream and founder of the Lady of the Château is passionate about making Puy Vidal a beautiful retreat for souls seeking reprieve from the hectic pace of modern life. She grew up inspired by all that was old-world: stories of her ancestors told to her by her mother, and BBC period pieces that she would watch with her mother and sister, the modern world felt empty and harsh in contrast. Over the years, as she took a gap year and spent time in France, Ireland, and Italy before college. She studied Anthropology at Barnard College in New York City and the entered the Film and Television world as a Camera Assistant, she sought to incorporate that richness and wisdom of times past into her daily life. She met and fell in love with Caroline on one of her first film industry jobs, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Together they built a beautiful partnership that spanned love, life and work. When COVID hit, she finally let Caroline into the long-coveted yearning she has always held of living in a historic property in France and turning it into a refuge for the artistic and history-loving souls of the world. Caroline took the leap, and they moved to California to Julia's parents home to wait out COVID, as they all began to dream together of a different life. Julia now serves as Co-Founder and President of the Lady of the Chateau.
Born in Queens, New York as the second child of five to Colombian parents, Caroline has spent her life incorporating many identities into her gifts and vision of life. At a young age her family made several moves until finally settling in Florida during her high school years, adapting with every move to a completely different cultural environment. Coming out as queer as she attended the University of Florida, where she studied Business Administration, Caroline finally fully came into her own. Passionate, warm and nurturing, she always seeks to make everyone around her feel seen and included, and is the ultimate team player. Always drawn to filmmaking and storytelling, she felt a strong call to return to New York City and make her way into the movie and television industry. Starting out as a production assistant, she excelled at every level, making her way into the inner circle of the International Cinematographers Guild, and working on films such as In the Heights, John Wick, Tick Tick Boom, and television series such as Sneaky Pete, Y the Last Man and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She and Julia met and fell in love on the set of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. They worked together on various projects until ultimately, they decided to take a leap of faith and launch into this Chateau dream together. Caroline serves as the Co- Founder and Managing Director of the Lady of the Chateau.
The youngest of the Leach family, she never fails to bring incisive logic and candor to every situation. An accomplished English horseback rider, Aerialist, she seeks to bring physical prowess into everyday life. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio with dreams of making the world a better place and graduated with a degree in Economics. She then studied Data Science and became a Data Engineer in New York City at start-ups and digital marketing agencies. Penelope saw how much joy there was to be shared by her family's Chateau dream and now works on the Lady of the Chateau team, as the visionary of the Chateau’s digital infrastructure. She and Julia grew up on a steady stream of period movies and fantasy novels, and they both now seek to incorporate magical, historical and immersive elements into the Chateau de Puy Vidal guest experience. Halloween is her absolute favorite holiday. Unique, powerful characters, spooky, atmospheric surroundings, and the magic of Disneyland make her wake up every morning, passionate about sharing these experiences with fellow enthusiasts. She makes a mean Salmon Wellington, and a proprietary cocktail called the "Witches Brew", and has great plans of opening a Chateau Speakeasy.
Born in Mexico City to Honduran father, and Mexican mother, who met in Mexico city while her father was studying medicine. During their 52 year marriage they lived in five different cities and three different countries, including Mexico, Honduras and Chile. Her father served as a Honduran Ambassador in Chile. Maruca grew up on the border of the US and Mexico and studied in the US. This has led to a life devoted to bridging cultures and communities. At the University of Arizona, she obtained her degree of Bachelors of Arts in History, in order to further her understanding of people, cultures, and cycles.
She served for 30 years as a cultural liaison and strategic consultant to the CEO of the Americas’ Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to serving the underprivileged children of Tijuana, Mexico. She also served on the board of the Americas Foundation and the La Jolla YMCA. She is devoted to a yoga and meditation practice that values flexibility of body and mind. Nine years ago, she discovered a passion for Oil Painting, where she found a focus and a methodical training to explore her creativity. She seeks to cultivate a joyful and intentional attitude in all that she does. When Julia and Penelope were young children she dedicated herself to them and to cultivated a kind of mindful magical wellbeing that has inspired them all to share this way of living with many others. She and Robert maintained an open-door policy at their home throughout the many years of marriage, believing that everyone is richer for the exchange. She is inspiring, open-hearted, brave, infinitely generous, she always seeks the best in people and of life itself. This recent life change to the Chateau in France is providing abundant new challenges and opportunities to share her gifts and her family with the world.
Born to Quaker parents in Media, Pennsylvania, Robert grew up in an open-minded liberal household. His family moved to Venezuela when he was two years old, where he attended school first in Spanish and then completely in French. Through this trying and immersive experience, he first was put into contact with the French language and culture, which he has felt very close to ever since. Always excelling in math and science, he went on to study Physics at Princeton, and then get his PhD in Astronomy at Harvard University. He conducted research at several universities, and eventually developed CCD technologies as the image industry transitioned from film to digital imaging. He pivoted from his role at San Diego State University and launched his own business with his colleague. It was called Astronomical Research Cameras and it went on to furnish telescopes and research institutions around the world, from India, England, South America, to the Hubble telescope, to most recently the James Webb telescope with the ARC digital camera systems. Now onto a new chapter, he looks forward to discovering a french countryside lifestyle, consulting for the Lady of the Chateau business, and meeting people from around the world that come through the Chateau gates. Dry sense of humor, keenly logical and the best martini maker in the west, he is one of a kind. He is also a race-winning long distance cyclist and looks forward to discovering the bike rides through the Charente.