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
Gaël, can you introduce yourself?
For more than 20 years I worked for Marie Claire Maison where I was the style director. I was always on the lookout for new ideas and trends (this was before Instagram remember ;)) that I could present in the magazine. Marie Claire Maison is where I developed my taste for warm and welcoming interiors and discovered my love of design which I like to mix with a selection of more poetic, fantastical pieces
But in the end, I was still only creating something to be looked at in a glossy magazine. I wanted to go further, to lend my creativity to projects where I could help people to construct a refined place to live, somewhere comfortable and functional where they could feel happy. So I went back to school and then created my interior design studio.
Your decorating mantra?
Choose beautiful materials, play with contrast, mix different styles, ‘sculpt’ a space to create the atmosphere you want, create something truly personal, add poetry and fantasy, and remain true to the desires of the owner of a property.
What do you think of the concept of good taste?
It’s so subjective! As my daughter says, « To each their own bad taste! » I rather like the little accidents; a touch of bad taste can be quite funny. You really can’t take yourself too seriously. If there is one thing I hate it’s ostentation.
If you were a room in the house?
The living room. It’s where I spend most of my time. It’s called the ‘living’ room for obvious reasons. It’s where the whole family can come together, where we chat, put the world to rights, catch up with friends, laugh, read, watch a film…
top 3 things on your bucket list
Travel: I want to
discover more of Asia and to go skiing in Chile.
- Things that provoke strong sensations: I want to do a parachute jump and go kite surfing in Jericoacoara for example.
- Meet people: Tadao Andō, Renzo Piano and so many others….
If you were an artist?
Johannes Vermeer for his mastery of chiaroscuro.
Your dream project?
To renovate all the flats in the same building, all differently of course, and then sell them ready to move in.
And I’d love a client to ask me to do a gym in a flat. I adore beautifully designed sports accessories and there are also some wonderful vintage ones made from high quality materials such as leather, beautiful woods or brushed metal.
A current obsession?
Blue, blue and more blue! It’s not a new thing, I just never tire of it. My children have even christened one of my favourite shades “Reyre Blue!”
How do you start a project?
With a blank sheet of paper. I think that’s what I like in this job, and what I liked in my old job when I was a stylist. It’s about coming up with a new story, a new backdrop. You can reinvent the wheel as many times as you like. You need to know how to absorb the essence of a place, to listen to your clients, their dreams, their desires, their needs, and then you start to set it all to music so to speak!
Do you believe in going back to the bare bones, stripping back in order to rebuild?
Not necessarily, it really depends on the size of a space and how you can move around it. You need to know how to bend to the character of a space, to preserve its charm and its soul so as to be able to let them shine through. You can do amazing things without pulling down any walls, just by playing with light, colour and contrast for example.
Made-to-measure or family hand-me-downs?
I prefer bespoke cupboards for storage as they don’t break up the space
too much and can be made to fade into the background.
For the rest of the furniture I like to mix different styles. When I was a journalist, I was always looking for new things and new designers and I definitely still have a penchant for that but never 100%. I like to mix design pieces with vintage furniture. One doesn’t exist without the other for me. And I adore hunting for antiques for my clients. I’ve discovered that I’m quite the private detective when it comes to tracking down vintage pieces. I can spend hours searching for something special.
Cosy atmospheres and rich colours
This is my probably my signature look. I love a cosy ambiance where you can feel really comfortable. I like the atmosphere of hotel bars, speakeasies and old libraries. I have a particular predilection for dark, rich colours in narrow rooms. Instead of trying to hide the fact that there is no natural light, I prefer to accentuate the darkness, to give the room a theatrical side. These rooms often take up a lot of space in a flat so it’s great to be able to do something with them. They create a sense of transition and accentuate the relative brightness of other rooms.
For me this is the essence and the raison d’être of our métier. You need
to find the right mix and mustn’t neglect one in favour or the other. The
functional side is essential of course, we are creating places to live in, not
just a photograph for the pages of a magazine.
Our role is also to awaken the senses of our clients and to provoke emotion. We need to find a way to construct an interior which is their own and which corresponds to their sensitivities, whether that be to colour, materials or shapes. Elegant furniture, delicate accessories and intricate details are at the root of refined interior design.
Pattern and colour
Project with Aurélie Fabry
To hide or to reveal?
Well you can hide anything but do you really want to? Today you can find whatever you need, not always well made I grant you, but you really can find beautiful objects for almost every purpose and for every style of room. You mustn’t forget that we are creating places to live, not museums of perfection. Having said that, untidiness is tiring on the eyes and on the mind, so the right storage is vital.
The art of travel
I’m basically inspired by everything. I live, eat and breathe interior design. A film, an exhibition, a shop, a dish in a restaurant, a view, a style of architecture, a bouquet of flowers, a bag, a shoe, a piece of jewellery… Inspiration is everywhere but I must admit that travel is probably the greatest source. I come home with so many ideas and a suitcase filled with treasures. My most inspiring journey? South Korea. So creative and always with a touch of poetry or fantasy. And such kindness. And an extraordinary cultural heritage!
What is your house like?