The owner of antique boutique Baran de Bordeaux, Chrystelle Baran’s carefully curated home is a tribute to her love of collectable pieces, many with romantic notions of their own.
One of the most prized possessions in Chrystelle Baran’s home is a French trumeau oil painting in heavenly golds and Aegean blues, depicting the love story of Zeus and Europa.
The resplendent 19th-century mirror decoration portrays the moment the Greek god transforms into a bull to carry the princess of Tyre away from the shore where she was picking flowers. According to the myth, the area they travelled together was named Europe in honour of their story.
As purveyors of luxury antiques and furnishings from Europa’s domain, Chrystelle and partner Nick Ferneyhough has turned sourcing homeware for their Baran de Bordeaux boutique into an art form of its own.
With the pair journeying to the continent for four months of the year, often staying at Chrystelle’s family home in Gironde, Bordeaux, they are used to being immersed in beautiful surroundings – from villages with stone walls smoothed by years of appreciative hands running across them, to fortified castles where time stands still between hand-carved walls with tactual gilded details, whole ornate worlds unto themselves.
“Going back on my trips, I’m always learning about something new or visiting some beautiful chateau,” says Chrystelle, sitting on a Louis XVI armchair next to Nick in their spacious family room. “I just really wanted to bring a bit of my culture here.”
True to their travels, the couple’s Auckland property is decorated with a refined collection of antiques, mostly French, with custom de Gournay wallpaper providing a backdrop for these daydream believers.
But just following the path through their classically clipped garden to the arched entrance – passing a golden, 20th-century Danish armillary sphere sundial along the way – is enough for any visitor to know they’ve arrived somewhere special, before even crossing the threshold.