Behind an imposing ochre-coloured façade in the cramped Rue Emile Zola in the middle of the old heart of Perpignan hides a surprising and versatile house. Built around 1700 and thoroughly renovated in the 19th century it is one of the most distinctive buildings in the city. The original owners were the Bardou family, inventors of JOB cigarette papers who went on to build a worldwide emporium. The JOB logo can be seen throughout the house, as can the famous JOB posters (designed by Alphonse Mucha) and the initials of the brand are worked into mirrors, banisters and the woodwork. “Actually it was a kind of museum when we bought it” said Henri Quinta, current owner together with his wife Francoise, proudly. “Each of the thirty rooms have their own style and nothing had been changed when we moved into the house.
The house stands testament to a very rich past and in particular to the taste of the Bardou family. For example the roof boasts a skylight designed by Gustav Eiffel, while one of the bathrooms is lined with hand-painted peacock motif tiles by the famous ceramic artist Joseph-Theodore Deck. When Francoise and Henri, who were both born in Perpignan, were looking for a larger family home they stumbled across the property by accident. It only just one night for them to decide…we have to buy this. The best part was that the JOB logo which can be found throughout the house corresponds to all the names of their children; Jerome, Olympe, Bernice and Bertrand. It was “meant to be”.
Both are very creative; Henri is a furniture designer, decorator and antique dealer, Francoise is owner of a well known wedding gift store in the centre of Perpignan. For twelve years they have been the owners of the Toiles du Soleil fabric mill in the Pyrenees Mountains which makes many well known striped fabrics for espadrilles, beach chairs and interior uses. Henri is best known for his Campagne Premiere collection, a rustic solid wood range with a modern twist which Netherlands from Sissy Boy Home Store and other outlets.
Clearly the restyling of the house was in good hands. Francoise in particular was able to let loose her passion for collecting in the many rooms. As far as possible the original themes in each room where retained. Downstairs in the four storey house the rooms still largely fulfil their original functions but unlike the original residents, the family mostly lives on the second floor. Here the cosy kitchen plays an important social role. The hired help prepares wonderful meals and the aroma of apple or lemon tart constantly wafts from the kitchen. Children and friends, family and business associates, everybody sits down to have a chat with Henri and Francoise in the kitchen.