If I had the means to aquire a fully furnished chateau in France, I’d take it! Well, I guess I’d have to think of the logistics first. A 16th century manor home filled with dusty old furnishings would require a lot of TLC, but this British entrepreneur was up to the challenge, as documented in Architectural Digest. Having owned a weekend home for many years in the English countryside, the Brit was ready for a move to the agricultural region of La Beauce in France, 70 miles from Paris. Although the wealthy, art-collecting owner has many homes throughout the world, including Ibiza and Paris, this home became a particularly special project. Chateau de Fontenay was a moated dream castle, and its location in a quiet village provided anonymity and removal from the owner’s social scene.
The owner and friend/principal of prominent design firm Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi, Tino Zervudachi, went to work overhauling the grand home. Notably, the extensive taxidermy throughout the house had to go, as the owner explains that it was inappropriate as his daughter was an avid vegetarian. They set out to redecorate the home, keeping old pieces yet updating the manor with many new pieces. “It was meant to feel like an amalgamation of over generations,” notes the homeowner.
Image captions courtesy of Architectural Digest.
Zervudachi converted the rustic library into a billiard room. On the walls are paintings by, from left, Hurvin Anderson, Anke Weyer, and Alejandra Icaza. The curtains are made of Algiers silk by Robert Kime, and Claremont’s Toile Chevron stripe covers chairs and a bench; the kilim is from Galerie Triff.
Framed herbarium pages bring nature into the entrance hall.
The kitchen’s neo-Gothic millwork was installed by the previous owners.
A corridor is paved with encaustic tiles.
The pool is hidden behind hedges and flower beds.
An inventively rustic veranda stretches across the rear of the house—its columns are made of tree trunks set on stone bases.
A breakfast table on the gravel-covered veranda.
A guest bedroom’s curtains are made of Concini cotton by Georges Le Manach.
A carved-wood chandelier adds an element of fantasy to a guest bath. The chair, upholstered in needlepoint, is Victorian.
An old-fashioned hot-water tank serves a claw-foot tub; the wallpaper, added by the previous owners, depicts neoclassical urns and statues.
Antique Zuber wallpaper hangs in the Chambre aux Oiseaux.
The Chambre Indienne is enlivened by a Madeleine Castaing print by Edmond Petit, available at Clarence House.
A lit à la polonaise is the focal point of one bedroom.
Bergères are pulled up to a fireplace.