On the verdant plot, Louis built an iron-framed workshop in the spirit of architects Victor Baltard and Gustave Eiffel, plus a simple white-stucco house with gingerbread trim, moving between the two as he steered his company to international success. Following Louis’s death in 1892, his son Georges inherited the company and the house. He later added an airy Art Nouveau addition, with curved arches, ornate Corinthian columns, swirling plasterwork, and stained-glass windows of irises, poppies, and clematis. As the Vuitton children played in the garden amid climbing roses and stoic trees, they could hear artisans in the atelier next door, hammering and sawing poplar planks for the company’s famous canvas-covered malles.
The last Vuitton to reside at Asnières was Joséphine, who died in 1964, having lived past 100. The home’s contents were dispersed among family members, and the rooms were used for storage. In the 1980s, with old family photographs as a guide, the company restored the house to its original splendor, installing a replica of the teal ceramic mantelpiece, and furnishing it with fin-de-siècle pieces purchased at galleries and auctions. Today, the company, owned by the LVMH luxury group, receives Vuitton clients and VIP guests in the lush celadon and jade salons for private receptions and visits. At every turn, there are nods to brand iconography lore, be it the portable monogram bar on the Art Nouveau sideboard or the glass-topped trunk enrobed with well-worn striped canvas that, sitting before a Chesterfield sofa, serves as a cocktail table.