Property Profile: La Bourdette

A tree-lined drive leads to the magnificent French country manor house that is La Bourdette and once inside guests are treated to a treasure trove of antiques, collectibles and individual interior design.

The owners of La Bourdette have lived in the Far East for almost 30 years, where Ros Lovell channelled all her passion for beautiful things into a profession, by opening an antiques and interiors shop in Singapore. The shop was an eclectic mix of Asian and European ‘objet d’art’ from the classically gorgeous and unique to the down-right quirky but anything Ros couldn’t bear to part with always found itself bound for La Bourdette.

When the Lovells first fell for La Bourdette, it was a complete ruin that had been empty for almost 50 years and even had a tree growing through the entrance hallway! There was no running water or electricity and no kitchen or bathrooms but, for the Lovells, this presented the perfect blank canvas to give La Bourdette a very personal, new lease of life. All their passion for antiques and interiors was lavished on the transformation of La Bourdette, from the thoughtful design of every room to their expert eye for the furnishings and finishing touches. Although the Lovells now welcome others to enjoy what they’ve achieved at La Bourdette, the house is still very much a home, filled with all kinds of personal things that make it so much more interesting than many other holiday villas.

In many ways, the heart of La Bourdette is the professionally equipped French kitchen complete with a big central island, a huge range oven, every conceivable cooking accessory and a stack of cook books to create fine feasts for family and friends.  The kitchen overlooks a sociable dining room with a lovely, original dining table, and also opens onto a sunny patio for breakfasts al fresco and a nightcap under the stars. At the side of the patio, a quirky little antique door leads into the vine-covered dining terrace that runs the full length of the house. In contrast to the homeliness of the kitchen, the Lovells have gone for a truly sophisticated sitting room, with a polished wood floor, elegant original stone fireplace and large sofas to watch the big, flat screen TV.

A curving, polished wood staircase leads to the first floor hallway, (passing a ‘secret WC’ along the way!), where guests have five elegant bedrooms to choose from, featuring brass bedsteads, four posters, antique furnishings and views over the garden and grounds.  Three of the bedrooms are ensuite and another bathroom includes a claw-foot, free-standing bath and a vintage barber’s chair!

As if the transformation of La Bourdette to its former glory wasn’t enough, the Lovells have also spared no expense on the 50 acres of garden and grounds. Guests will naturally gravitate to a sheltered, 18 metre heated pool, overlooked by a large pool house which doubles as a self contained annexe that teenagers would die for! The ground floor of the pool house includes wicker furniture, a changing room, shower and WC, plus a cool games room with table tennis, table football and a kitchenette with a drinks fridge freezer. The first floor comprises a stylish sitting room with bean bags, a large TV and a sound system, a double bedroom and French doors to a balustraded dining terrace overlooking the pool, the grounds and countryside beyond.  The lawns and shrubberies are lovingly tended plus the extensive grounds include a professional tennis court, peaceful pond with nearby petanque area, fruit trees and woodland walks.

Besides the house itself, the location of La Bourdette appealed to the Lovells, being in the very French region of the Ariège Pyrénnées and only an hour from the historic and vibrant city of Toulouse. The local village of Daumazan-Sur-Arize (2 kms) has delicious boulangeries, a small grocery store and tabac, whilst there is a wider choice of shops in the nearby town of Montesquieu-Volvestre (7 kms). The snow capped peaks of the Pyrénnées are within striking distance for winter skiing at charming resorts such as Luchon and St Girons (45 minutes drive) has one of the best markets in the region, for guests whose stay includes a Saturday.