‘Leave history behind me’: Rough and Ready resident Veronique Sepulchre seeks new homes for Belgian antiques | TheUnion.com

‘Leave history behind me’: Rough and Ready resident Veronique Sepulchre seeks new homes for Belgian antiques

The face of a lion, carved into an ornate 1880s desk, sits in Veronique Sepulchre’s Rough and Ready home. Sepulchre, who has worked in local schools as a French language instructor for many years, moved to Rough and Ready from Belgium decades ago with a number of special pieces of furniture, many of which have a long history in her family. As she now plans to return to Belgium, she will not be bringing them with her, and is looking for new homes for them.
Photo: Elias Funez

Rough and Ready resident Veronique Sepulchre says she wants to pass on the pieces of history which she brought with her from Belgium over three decades ago.

Sepulchre first moved to the U.S. in 1978, living in Louisiana for several years and moving back to Belgium for several more, before ultimately realizing she wanted to make a more permanent return.

Since arriving in Nevada County, she has taught French language at local schools, including the former John Woolman School, which operated at the Nevada City campus now known as the Sierra Friends Center — her first teaching job locally, and the reason she moved to Rough and Ready — as well as at Bitney Springs Charter School and Sierra College’s Grass Valley campus, and with private clients.

Furniture items including a vintage armoire, dresser, and lamp will all be left behind when Rough and Ready’s Veronique Sepulchre moves back to Belgium.
Photo: Elias Funez

The antique Belgian furniture which currently fills her home, said Sepulchre, has been a facet of her hands-on teaching style. She said that, shortly before his death, her father expressed concern to her about what would happen to the family’s belongings stretching back generations given that she was moving to the U.S.

“And I said, ‘Dad, don’t worry. I will take them with me, and that will be part of my teachings to the students that I’m teaching,’” said Sepulchre.

With the students she taught from her home, she said, she would often broaden the scope of her teaching through dinner parties.

Veronique Sepulchre has fond memories attached to her antique furniture that has traveled the world with her. The Rough and Ready resident of many years meditated one day and realized she didn’t want to take these items back to Belgium with her and is offering them to members of the community who will cherish the pieces of her history.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I was cooking with them, I taught the recipes in class and then hands-on, we were cooking — and then, they were coming into my home,” said Sepulchre, adding that students were often startled to learn that a piece of furniture they were touching was 300 years old.

Now that she plans to move back to Belgium in the upcoming two years, she is seeking new homes for the furniture.

“I cannot move back to Europe in two years with everything, and I want to pass it on to people who have respect,” she said.

Following the decision to move, she opened her home up to her current students — of which she says she has around five per week recently — and friends, offering them first choice. She said they happened to gravitate toward some of the oldest pieces — a wooden screw over 6 feet tall and 200 years old, which was part of a mechanical wine press, and stools which were constructed in 1965, but are made from a 400-year-old salvaged step from a Belgian castle stairway.

A stool, made out of the steps of a 400-year-old castle stairway, shows signs of damage and repair from the explosion of a German V-2 rocket during World War II.
Photo: Elias Funez

Other pieces in her home range between the “youngest,” from the 1950s, and the early 1800s.


Sepulchre grew up hearing stories about the furniture from her parents, who she said would be 110 and 115 years old now. She has a wooden chest, for example, which has a hidden compartment her mother once used to keep gold from being confiscated by Germans during World War II, and her father’s wooden secretary desk which bears a scar across one of its panels from damage caused by a German V-2 rocket which hit Belgium in 1939.

Veronique Sepulchre shows off a secret compartment built into a chest, used to hide gold and precious items from the Nazis during World War II. This chest is also part of her furniture collection she plans on leaving in Nevada County.
Photo: Elias Funez

“It fell one floor, and when my parents came out of the basement, they found that on the second floor instead of the third floor, and there was nothing above them but the sky,” said Sepulchre. “The whole top of the house had collapsed, gone.”

In addition to the antique furniture, much of which is Belgian and was passed down to her by family members, Sepulchre is also selling several paintings as well a lamp and baby cradle made locally.

An ornately carved desk circa the 1880s is currently used as a kitchen table.
Photo: Elias Funez

Sepulchre noted that, on her online listing of the items for sale, she has not specified prices.

“And I do it purposely, because I would like people to offer a price, from where I can discuss with them with respect of the quality of my items, but I’d rather have somebody who really cares for a piece than a big check,” said Sepulchre.

“That’s my point of view. I want to leave history behind me.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

A polished writing desk, used by Veronique Sepulchre’s father for many years, is also part of the furniture collection she plans on leaving in Nevada County.
Photo: Elias Funez
Veronique Sepulchre shows off a bookcase and custom lamp that she will be leaving behind when she moves back to Europe after living in the United States since the 1970s.
Photo: Elias Funez
An ornate lock and key still function as they did before in this more than 100-year-old desk.
Photo: Elias Funez

Contact Veronique Sepulchre:

Call 530-401-7530 or email dekust2003@yahoo.com

View the furniture for sale online at:



Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User