‘Downton Shabby’ author returns to West Michigan

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Hopwood DePree put off his acting career to restore his family's 600-year-old ancestral home. Courtesy Hopwood DePree

Holland-born actor and writer Hopwood DePree will make an appearance at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids. 

DePree will debut his new book “Downton Shabby: One American’s Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring his Family’s English Castle!” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at Schuler Books, at 2660 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids. 

The event will kick off DePree’s book tour and will include a video presentation, a book reading, signing and Q&A with the author. 

“Downton Shabby” details DePree’s journey restoring his family’s 50,000-square-foot ancestral manor, Hopwood Hall, in Middleton, England. 

Born and raised in Holland, where he eventually started TicTock Studios, DePree pursued a successful film career as an actor and producer. He founded the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck and was appointed by the governor to the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council, where he served for nine years. 

While living in Los Angeles, he discovered a photograph of his family’s historical home, Hopwood Hall, and left his current pursuits to focus entirely on rebuilding the castle.

The 25-room hall had stood unoccupied since the last remaining male heirs to the property died in World War I. Prior to that, the 600-year-old manor was occupied by DePree’s ancestors for five centuries. 

“Downton Shabby” documents DePree’s process renovating and restoring the castle in what Publisher’s Weekly labeled a “marvelous debut.”

“Downton Shabby’ does for Manchester, England, what ‘A Year in Provence’ did for the south of France,” said Alana Haley, marketing coordinator at Schuler Books.

“A delightful, humorous look at local characters, customs and culture through the eyes of Hopwood DePree, who chucks life in L.A. to save his ancestral home, Hopwood Hall, and turn it into an artist and writers retreat.”

The event is free to the public, but registration is required.

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