Former Parisians, Anne Boghossian and her husband Jean-Pierre, decided to leave the French capital in 2001 to raise their children in the countryside. ‘My husband is a beverage merchant and I come from the southwest, so we naturally sought to settle in the Bordeaux region,’ says the acclaimed designer. ‘This was in the early days of advertising on the internet and we were fortunate to quickly come across this property, viewing it on a beautiful April day. It was hard not to fall under the charm of the castle and its beautiful grounds surrounded by vineyards’
The château, built in the 1830s, reflects the hybrid style in vogue at the time: half-classic, half-Gothic. The bunch of grapes carved above the door alludes to the profession of the original owner. ‘The connection between the history of the building and my husband’s business pleased us,’ says Anne. The property belonged to the same family for 150 years, but the house had been abandoned when the couple acquired it and it was not in great condition. ‘The 1999 storm had torn off a portion of the roof. It would rain inside the house. Many fixtures and fittings such as fireplaces and woodwork had been looted,’ she recalls. ‘On top of that, the work done to the property in the '70s had ruined its character. So we wanted to redo everything.’
Two years of renovations were necessary to make the château habitable. The first job was to make the building waterproof. To rebuild the old-fashioned roof, the owners called on a family roofing business that had managed the roof for a hundred years. ‘They were a great help because they knew the place so well and they were able to guide us in the restoration,’ says Anne. ‘The work was complicated, especially as we lived in the home with our two young children, but when the time came, the final touch was putting in the swimming pool and it was our reward.’
The rooms were preserved, as were many of the original features still in place: the parquet floor, the mouldings on the ceilings, and the beautiful old wooden doors which they stripped. All other decoration has been changed, as well as the woodwork on the ground floor, as this had been destroyed beyond restoration. ‘We chose black metal doors to add a more contemporary touch. And for the floor, I chose checkerboard tiling. I've always loved black and white décor, its chic and timeless,’ Anne confesses. ‘I need to live in a clean environment to create.’
With its sober and elegant lines, the furniture matches the décor. Anne changes it frequently, depending on her mood. ‘I like change. The furniture pieces are the travellers in my home. As I change them regularly, I never buy valuable pieces. On the other hand, I am in love with my objects from Asia, that I've brought back from trips or the presents from my children. I will never part with them. These are my treasures. There are plenty stored in the cellar. I get them out as I feel like it.’ Although two pieces never leave her desk, a stamp brought back from Korea and a black crystal Buddha by Baccarat.
Keen globetrotters, Anne and her husband share a common passion for Asia. Travel is a constant source of inspiration. The banks of the Nile, Borneo, and Shandapur – all wallpapers Anne has created since 2008 – represent landscapes animated with picturesque and poetic scenes, inspired by the Chinese panoramic tradition. Hand-painted, they are now digitally reproduced in a print shop in the region to respond to the brand's great success. ‘This has helped to meet the growing demand. I am very lucky, it is an incredible adventure that has been joined by my daughter Méliné this year, after finishing her studies in visual arts. She is completely involved in our family business and takes care of the new Paris showroom.’
Opposite the vineyards, in her studio located in the old cellar of the estate, Anne escapes to create her designs evoking a nostalgic vision of the Asia of yesteryear. ‘Ananbô is the creative culmination of all these Asian images accumulated in me for years. As a child, I was already dreaming of Asia. I imagined the landscapes there without having seen any pictures. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe I was Chinese in a previous life!’ adds the designer, laughing.
The Owner: Creator of French panoramic print wallpaper studio Ananbô, Anne Boghossian, and her husband Jean-Pierre, live in this countryside château with their son and daughter, Melkom and Meliné.
The Home: This neoclassical castle built in the 19th century in Bordeaux has been restored to preserve much of its original features with some contemporary but timeless décor additions and dramatic wallpaper finishes to create an airy but elegant ambience with a tropical Asian influence.
Photography by Julien Fernandez