You are a decoration addict,
but once you’ve closed aside your favorite magazine,
how to adapt the precepts of the experts at home?
Here are some of our favourite personalities who have
been kind enough to share this vision of interior design.
With generosity, they indulge you with their choices,
share tips and inspiring advice.
Today we talk to
Estelle, could you introduce yourself?
Having been an interior designer for over ten years now, my approach is based on a simple idea: giving a fresh touch to classic styles. This involves experimention with colour and light, a careful selection of fabrics and wallpapers and made to measure fittings, all whilsttrying not to rob a place of its original charm. I aim to create interiors that are lively, open, sociable and practical. As such, I try to reinterpret family homes, holiday houses and Parisian appartments unconventionally. I am always aware of the emotional aspect of decorating a house and in my case this translates into a slightly British style: that coming together of beautiful old furniture, quality materials, often elegantly worn (velvet, wood…) and floral patterns. I also like to contrast this with a few more refreshingly contemporary pieces, such as structured lighting. My objective is to create a balance between the past and present, a balance which can be tilted slightly either way to correspond to an inidvidual client’s preference. This approach lead me quite naturally to Maison Sauvage, a place full of unusual pairings and discoveries, with truly unconventional products. In their shops I find pieces that match my style perfectly and don’t leave me feeling like I am simply following the latest trend. It's a nice mix of very classic things, such as velvet or silk pieces, and suprising colour combinations or unique takes on classic pieces.
What does good taste mean to you?
Claiming to be the arbiter of good taste feels a bit presumptuous, no? For me it’s all about style. Having your own individual style, that’s good taste! Avoiding copying what everyone else is doing and entering into that endless cycle of tackier and tackier reproductions of the same thing. Find the reason behind your choices: integrity in design is essential, it allows you to defend a project and lets it fall into place naturally. It’s also a question of balance. The job of decorating is not just about showing a client what "good taste" is but rather in finding the right place for things in their lives. The construction of a home is a very intimate process. The question I ask at the handover of a project is never"Do you think it's beautiful?" because that is implied in our contract, but rather "Are you happy with your house?" This is why I always stress what an integral part emotions, such joy, play in interior design.
If you were a room which one would you be?
Although every room in the house holds some sort of emotional resonance, I straight away think of the kitchen. It’s the most joyful and welcoming room, a lively yet intimate space.It’s also typical of the French way of living, somewhere for us to prepare traditional family recipes. I love to cook in full view of my guests, whom we often have quite a few of in our house in Normandy! And it’s not just cooking:it’s a space to gossip, catch up with your children after a day’s work, do homework or share recipes. It’s the sort of place where the world can be put to rights in an evening! In short, it’s the most important room in the house, somewhere I like to think of as an open space. This is why I often using blues or greens to decorate it and bring out its inherent joyfulness.
The top 3 things on your bucket list?
► Escape to Corsica as much as possible, to get that rush I feel every time I go there. It’s a kind of raw emotion from coming into contact with the wildness of the landscape, its dreamy beaches, ruined towers, mountains, forests and rivers.
► Take a family road trip with our three kids inour vintage Land Rover and explore Europe by road in order to get away from theevery day and have an adventure before they start leaving the nest.
If you were an artist, who would you be?
I find it slightly hard to imagine myself as anyone else, especially as an artist I admire. I think I would prefer to be a song. A song that’s almost part of me, that I know by heart, one that brings colour and joy, that makes me feel something every time I hear it, whatever my mood. Maybe an Alain Souchon song, ones I listen to every day like La Beauté d’Ava Gardner, On avance or even Foule sentimentale, which for me is the song of an entire generation.
Your dream project?
I’ve just published a book, it’a been something I’ve been dreaming of for about 10 years and now it’s done it really is a dream come true. In a dreamworld, I would also love to work more in the South of France and Corsica, and adapt my personal approach to colour and classic flowery style to the typical Medditerranean interior… Anything’s possible!
Your current obsession?
Stripes! I am trying to move away slightly from flowers and start using stripes more. They are timeless, they take us straight back to childhood but are also filled with possibilities for reinvention. I fell in love with the Sandhills bedlinen from Le Monde Sauvage, especially the ruffled cushion, a nod to that traditional British style I’m such a fan of. All the shades are so elegant andI was pleased to see you brought back the bolsters which are so comfortable and give the beds an old fashioned clean finish.
Entreprenurship: a new adventure or sheer madness?
Perseverance, dedication and autonomy… Entrepreneurship is somewhere inbetween adventure and uttermadness! In short, it’s one big adventure that often means managing all aspectsof a business on your own and simultaneously: the process of seeing an ideathrough to fruition is often a long and tricky one. It requires tenacity, apassion that is almost all-consuming and a certain amount of persuasivenessbecause you have to bring your family, your partners and customers with you onthis journey and make them believe in your idea as well!
An emotional journey
My jobis definitely enviable, it relies on instinct, feelings, human relationships,seemingly irrational ideas and above all emotions. It requires very fewacademic competences, it’s more about experience, aquired over the course of differentprojects that give me this strange ability to "know" what decor will work best in each of the places I amentrusted with.
Joy is an obvious and integral a source of inspirationfor me and I have devoted a whole chapter of my book* to it. Joy is linked tothe fulfillement of a desire, to the success of a project; it sums up the statein which one finds oneself after having fitted out and decorated one's home. Itis my duty to satisfy my clients' need for beauty, as well as the needs of myInstagram feed! The desire to make life more beautiful is ingrained in me. AndI do this using very little: using only what is already there and often simplifyingrather than adding in order to reinvent places. I find all this joy and needfor comfort, serenity and well-being in the objects, patterns and materials ofLe Monde Sauvage.
Flowers in the home
A simple way to create joy in the home is tobring the outside inside, using the language of flowers to make spring last allyear round. My favourite market? My garden or the wild flowers picked fromfields and hedgerows. Picking flowers is often first thing I do when I arriveat a house to make myself feel at home.There are lots of other ways to put flowers inthe house: add a flowery touch to the sofas with throws, have flowers climbing the walls using floral wallpaper, or have them springing up from chairs usingflowery fabrics.
The British countryside
I like places that are full of nostalgia, that have witnessed time go by, old-fashioned tones and faded paintings. British style is the quintessence of all this: muted colours, woodwork and flowers. It is the famous cottage style, inspired by traditional country houses, which I have translated, in my own way, into my little house situated right opposite England, on the Cotentin peninsula.
Made to measure or family pieces?
It’s all about maintaining harmony whilst incorporating that emotional heritage! I have inherited a taste for the old, I love unique objects that have a history, nothing mass-produced.I do a lot of antique-hunting, both for myself and for my clients; it's whatI’m known for. I also leave room for new items, especially in the choice of lighting, which I often choose from Original BTC (another English brand!), or for central pieces in the house that add a certain wow factor. I use a lot of custom-made furniture and painted woodwork to make a space practical, to take advantage of even the smallest corners of Parisian flats and to find space for larger families. I'm very proud of a china cabinet I created from scratch for a dining room corner of a Haussmannian flat: showing off one's most beautiful dishes along with art books, candles and objects is a nice blend of modern and traditional I find.
Colouris at the centre of my work and I always dedicate the most time to it when planning a new project. In the same way that an architect makes a plan of the house before hand, I like to plan the colour architecture which will then lay the foundations for the furnishings and decor. It really is the starting point for arranging, furnishing, decorating and illuminating. To choose a colour, you have to know how to project yourself and understand its language. My secret? Don't follow tips and trends (don't paint a dark colour in a room with no windows, or that white makes everything bigger etc..). There are two main principles to respect: orientation and harmony. Following the orientation and the light is essential: rooms with more light always seem lighter, so don't hesitate to "go up in colour". On the other hand, colours facing north turn slightly green. A dark grey can become khaki in a dark room. Harmony is about finding the right balance of colours; it is quite instinctive. To create a soft and serene universe, I would recommend the pretty palette of grey-blues and grey-greens, slightly old-fashioned shades that create a soft atmosphere, a dreamy and poetic decor.
I love cushions, they are both practical and decorative : they add colour and spark to a room, as well as an undeniable element of comfort, especially when entertaining. I enjoy experimenting with size and pattern, they give a touch of personality to a plain room or white sofa. To make a sofa comfortable you have to consider the sizes carefully; I usually opt for two large rectangles, two large squares for the corners and smaller ones to 'settle' on, like the elegant Sweet cushions. For the bed, on the other hand, I prefer a more structured design: two square and two rectangular pillows. The covers can be different in pattern but in the same colour range.