A lesson in interior style: learn from the pros from the comfort of your own home
Style advice, design tips and decorating wisdom.
Marie, can you introduce yourself?
I have been an interior designer for five years now. I had a complete career change after ten years in digital communication and decided that I wanted to turn my passion for interior design - something passed down to me by my other - into my job. And also I really wanted to do something more creative. So I went to the Ecole Boulle to study interior design and then created my own business, Studio Mariekke.
Your decoration mantra?
« Don't be afraid to mix things up! »
At the start of a project, there is always this intention to breath new life into a space. As the renovation works progress, I realise that I actually love to keep some of the original elements of a building and play up their importance. Most of these houses and buildings have been here a lot longer than us and will long outlive us, which makes you feel quite humble. I like to give them a new look without messing too much with the bare bones of a place.
What does 'good taste' mean to you?
I don't really like the idea.
Who gets to say whether something is beautiful or not?
A few decades ago we still said that 'blue and green should never be seen' and would never have dreamed of mixing black and navy for example.
Do you think our taste looks bad through yesterday's eyes?
Even if my job is to make things look beautiful, my main role is to help my clients create homes that are a reflection of their taste. I would never use navy blue in the house of someone who doesn't like cold colours just because it was fashionable for example.
If you were a room?
A reading room. Above all because it's a quiet place and because I love reading but also because I love to fill rooms with books and decorative objects.
It's the best place for someone who loves to change things around all the time!
What's at the top of your bucket list?
Since I moved to Paris, the call of nature has become more and more important.
- My absolute dream: a trek on horseback across Latin America or Mongolia, wherever really as long as it's on horseback.
- To trace my parent's roots in Belgium and Algeria and learn more about my own family history.
If you were an art form?
Photography, without hesitation. It's the art form that touches me the most.
It doesn't matter whether it's abstract photography or photojournalism, as long as it tells a story.The fact that today anyone can take a photo with absolute ease reinforces the fact that not all photographs are equal.
Your dream project?
To buy an old building and restore it completely, using wallpaper to create a lively, colourful, holiday house atmosphere where friends and family can come together. Not forgetting all the animals we have...
Starting a project
It's first and foremost about the people who are going to live in a house! I listen to everyone, right down to the smallest member of the family, to make sure that everyone will feel at home. Out of the mouths of babes... Children often reveal a lot about a family's lifestyle and are free of preconceived ideas.
The temperament of the future inhabitants of a house gives you a lot of clues as to the different areas and atmospheres you might want to create.
You can propose things they might not have thought of and come up with ideas that might really surprise them.
Give life to a space
I particularly like daring choices, like the same paint colour all over or wallpaper on the walls and on the ceiling. I am less of a fan of one painted wall as I feel it can reduce the size and impact of a room.
You can also use them in a less structured or unexpected way, such as
using wallpaper on furniture.
In my house it's on the dining room table!
I am a forever fan of indirect lighting. I use lamps and wall lights everywhere.
They are the best way to create a warm and cosy atmosphere.
Although I love ceiling lights from a decorative perpective and always include at least one in my projects, I am not so keen on the light they reflect into a room.I don't tend to centre my lighting schemes around them.
Rugs & Sofas
There is no need to centre a rug in front of a sofa. I find that it can make a room look very formal. It looks much better off-centre. I actually prefer it when the rug is a lot bigger than the sofa.