This week, we are taking you to Normandy to discover a 19th century mansion. For this first project in the countryside, Flore, decorator, has redesigned the entire space in order to modernize the atmosphere. A sober and uncluttered decor, consisting mainly of period furniture and beautiful ornamental pieces. In this house, with the exception of the sofa and the kitchen, everything has been found. Follow the leader !
Flore, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Flore and I am a decorator in Paris. I support my clients in their renovation, development and decoration projects. My taste for the old has led me to specialize in projects with a retro aesthetic in which I like to combine period furniture, contemporary objects and pieces of art and craftsmanship.
How did you come up with the idea of being an interior designer?
It was after having led a first personal project that I wanted to embrace this profession. Coming from the world of applied arts, it was not a 180 degree compared to my first professional life in which I first explored graphic design rather than spatial design. So it's a small turn that I accomplished after additional initial training. Decorative arts have always been part of my life. My parents ran a gallery of arts and crafts, they opened my eyes to beauty at a very young age and it quickly became an obsession.
Where are we ?
We are in an old brick mansion like there are many in Calvados. The mansions are old buildings that were originally occupied by owners of agricultural land. This dates from the 19th century. A first construction site in the countryside, different from the Haussmann projects that I had carried out so far. When I first saw the place, the house was still occupied by the previous owners and it was overloaded with furniture. The before and after is quite impressive. We started from scratch and we had to completely renovate, furnish and decorate the house. The objective was to respect the authenticity of the place while modernizing it and making it more functional.
We have slightly revised the plan of the ground floor by opening the kitchen onto the dining room so as to facilitate circulation in the space and to create a double north-south exposure which has brought considerable light. On the floor, we opted for a beautiful oak parquet with studded laying, both warm and noble. On the first floor, a new and basic orange pine floor was really not pretty. We painted it white and that brought in a lot of light and revealed its chamfers and especially the beautiful furniture with soft dark curves that we chose next.
As for the atmosphere, we have chosen a very light, sober and uncluttered decor , unlike what existed before, consisting mainly of period furniture and beautiful ornamental pieces. Here, with the exception of the sofa and the kitchen, everything has been mottled.
Where do you find your inspirations? What were those for this house?
My very first inspiration is my grandmother's house in Brittany. It wasn't exceptional in taste or decoration, but there were some very beautiful, timeless old objects. There was also a comforting atmosphere in this old stone farmhouse. My father also had a distant cousin, an unknown but talented painter. She lived in a house incredibly loaded with atypical objects and extraordinary antique furniture. These two places were the starting points for my taste for old things. But today, it is the places themselves that inspire me, give me visions, desires. Whether you are in the countryside or in a Parisian apartment, I take into account the walls, the place, its history.
For this beautiful Norman, I selected almost exclusively period furniture and objects to create a "family home" atmosphere but without overloading. Unlike my old cousin, I like clear, uncluttered spaces. “Less is more” could be my motto . Ludwig mies van der Rohe used the formula about the objects themselves, the design, that of the Bauhaus, extremely bare. I would rather apply it to the quantity of things that one possesses. Nice things, but not too much.
What is your favorite room in this house?
I'll say the living room. Both bright thanks to the many windows overlooking a magnificent garden, warm with its fireplace that we have redesigned, comfortable and cozy, majestic with its chandeliers and beautiful mirrors, it is both spacious and friendly.
But in this project, I have a weakness for the stairwell! The backbone of the house, it is a nod to the former owners who had chosen an Asian-style Toile de Jouy for its walls. The idea appealed to me on the first visit, but I didn't like the designs. I wanted to revisit the concept with a beautiful non-woven fabric with spring motifs and this choice gives a very strong character to this space and to the whole because you can see it from all the rooms where you are.
What place does the second hand take in the decoration of this house? Of your projects?It is fundamental. Whether at home or in my projects. It is my basis. The second hand is a central element of my work firstly because I like the old and indirectly, from an environmental point of view, it is always a satisfaction to reuse.
What is good taste for you?
It's a personal concept, it doesn't really exist or rather it exists for everyone. It's also something that, even in a personal and spontaneous way, inevitably depends on fashion, on trends, without us realizing it. Moreover, even the second hand has become a trend! My passion for antique objects and furniture can fully flourish there and that's very good! Perhaps good taste is furniture that stands the test of time without ever being outdated . The genius of their creators is to have been able to design objects with pure aesthetics, irreproachable durability and functionality, escaping the inconstancy of fashions. These are the things I'm looking for. These are also, I believe, these objects that we find at Debongout.