Nine chic French-inspired looks for your home
Best in Class: Add some French polish to your home with these furnishings and accessories
Understated elegance by Philllipe Hurel
1. LESS IS MORE
The French excel at low-key luxury. This understated project in Paris neighbourhood Hameau Boileau by Mathilde Grouvel from Mag Design garnered her a shortlisting at this year’s International Design and Architecture awards. The 16th arrondissement property features furniture by Philippe Hurel, which includes its Captain sofa, from €6,510, Tadeus cast bronze benches with concrete seats, from €10,395 each, a sandblasted larch-top Blackwebwood side table with a black Zimbabwe stone base, from €7,245 and several Tobias stools, from €1,680 for the concrete-finish low seat, and from €2,100 for the higher bleached oak-based design with a fabric top. All prices are excluding VAT and delivery, and are available to order through Dublin-based Cavey Interior Design. magdesigns.com; philippe-hurel.com; cavey.ie
2. UP THE WALLS
Steal some of Paris-based polychromist architect India Mahdavi’s style, and channel French colour confidence. The architect cut her teeth as the artistic director for Christian Liaigre, a grandee of luxurious minimalism, whose projects include the Mercer Hotel in New York. Mahdavi’s work on London restaurant Sketch has turned it into the capital’s most Instagrammed eaterie, with many diners dressing in a rose-quartz pink to match the décor. This “Custom Abstract” motif wallpaper from de Gournay was designed by Mahdavi for the Chez Nina private lounge of Milan’s Nilufar Gallery, and is hand painted on to Perfect Green slub silk; it costs €438 per sq metre in a 91.5cm width. Custom widths are also available.
3.ADD A RUG
The French have been directing décor trends for centuries, and their designers, brands and furniture offer a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to adding individuality to a home, starting with an artfully positioned rug, which can do wonders to reimagine a room. Paris-based Toulemonde Brocharte’s new organic range uses wool and cotton, which is certified by the OneCert label, biodegradable, or recyclable, and sourced from eco-responsible farms and plantations. Created in the city of light and hand-tufted in India, the Tartan rug, pictured, flies the red, white and blue of the flag in a fun manner using vegetable dyes as its base shades. Prices start from €1,569, excluding delivery, for the 170cm by 240cm size.
Small can be beautiful when buying decorative artworks, which really help to add a sense of individuality to a room. Pieces can also offer a souvenir of a city break, carried back in hand luggage if not too heavy, as the late, great Irish decorator Peter Johnson liked to do. Maison d’art Amelie is a beautiful little jewel box of a gallery that has a constantly changing roster of artists. Currently, the Paris-based space is collaborating with an Italian collective called The Ladies’ Room. Pictured is the hand-made, glass work of Sara Ricciardi. Her Tazzines cost from €400 per piece, and will look beautiful if up- or down-lit on shelving.
5. LOVELY LINENS
Cloth napkins are as integral a part of any French repast as salt and pepper. In most homes each member of the household uses the same one for a week, and between laundry sessions they are stored in a basket on a dresser. Steal this style tip and add the affordable panache of catalogue company La Redoute’s tableware and linens. The Azila table runners, across the table at intervals, are €28.99 each. It is set with celadon green Gogain earthenware dinner plates, €42.99 for four, matching two-tone Ripple earthenware bowls, €37.99 for four, and dessert plates, the same price for four. Contrast with a whale-grey cup and saucer sets, €39.99 per pair and salad bowls, €42.99 each.
6. LOOK TO HOTELS
Paris’s hip hotels offer really inspiring interiors. The Hoxton is in what was once the garment district of Paris, on Rue du Sentier, in the 2nd. Housed in an 18th-century building, once the residence of Etienne Rivié, adviser to Louis XV, it boasts distinctly French décor, including original spiral staircases and mosaic marble floors. The team behind Soho House designed the public spaces, while Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet of Monégasque architecture firm Humbert & Poyet did the bedrooms; the result is cool graphic linens, industrial Lampe Gras lighting and a stylish 1950s feel.
7. HOME COMFORTS
One of France’s mid-range textile powerhouses is Maison de Vacances. Founded in 1995 by Michèle Fouks, it offers authentic accent pieces such as richly hued linen cushions, throws and sofas in fashionably washed shades which look like they could have been in the family or home for decades. Colours such as tobacco browns and aquamarine greens are teamed with what look like sun-bleached white sofas, all dressed in the brand’s signature skirted loose covers to create a relaxed look that feels just as good. Sofas start at €2,803, the poufs are from €399, cushions from €95, and throws, which can double as table cloths, are from €159; all can be ordered online through Smallable.
8. BETTER BEDDING
Paris concept store Merci is a place of pilgrimage for décor fans, with its bed linen in every colour of the artist’s palette. The greens, pictured, include peacock, celadon and sea foam, and have been mixed here to create a serene slumber space and the ideal wedding present. You can buy its linen range online. Prices for double duvets range from €160 to €270; from €60 to €129 for a fitted sheet; from €90 to €180 for a flat sheet; from €17.50 to €39 for the rather French square pillowcases; and from €10.50 to €39 for the more typical rectangular-shaped forms.
9. OUTDOOR DINING
A bistro set is a really simple way to channel that essentially French outdoor feel. It allows you to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of summer and can cheer up a small balcony or terrace, or create an outdoor room within a larger garden using beautiful greenery and shrubs as “walls”. Add some lavender and you can armchair travel with Neptune’s suitably named Provence two-seat round dining table, which costs €311. The matching chairs are €160 each. neptune.com