1. Chez Inès, Val-de-Grâce district, Paris 5e, by Marin
The first time you visit Inès de la Fressange’s Parisian home it’s like taking a trip to the countryside – her house near the Panthéon has a garden and is “a bit ramshackle but in a charming way.” Inès has a gift for creating an environment that’s completely in her own image: cheerful, upbeat, and unaffected.
Quite simply, she collects objects and gives them a soul. Instead of pursuing a particular style, she creates stories that she applies to the interior.
Formerly a hotel, the house inspired her to imagine the realm of a family boarding house with a wooden reception desk complete with a bell – and she’s pulled it off perfectly. The aroma of hot coffee makes you want to spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen. Oversized sofas accommodate Inès’s countless friends who come to visit. Around the extendable table, guests sit on multicoloured chairs for leisurely Sunday lunches of roast chicken. Her interiors include everything we love about vacation homes – a constant stream of visitors, straw hats, old lamps with silk shades, washed linen, and a riot of colour. Inès loves pink because it casts an attractive glow that is flattering for all complexions.
She is also a fan of pale green antique furniture and cream hemp fabrics. The scent of clean linen floats through the house, evoking the comforting memory of childhood homes. Bouquets of flowers are testament to how much Inès is loved by the friends and family she entertains so wonderfully.
The little details do the rest: the fire is always blazing in winter and dozens of colourful candles light up the room. Whether it’s thanks to a trip to IKEA, frenzied online shopping, or love at first sight in the Saint-Ouen flea market, Inès snaps up furniture and objects with an almost childlike enthusiasm. If I were asked to draw the happiest of homes, I would draw hers.
2. Chez Ariane, Auteuil district, Paris 16e
A broad palette of green tones brings the great outdoors into the interior of this apartment (main photo) belonging to Ariane Dalle, artistic director of prestigious fabric brands Manuel Canovas and Larsen, who was inspired by happy childhood memories of Provençal landscapes.
A sense of nature pervades the artfully displayed items in this 80m2 space, which has been converted into three rooms, with curved windows and an original kitchen. Ariane’s personality shines through in the recurring themes, skilful arrangements, and emotive collections, all infused with a 1920s vibe. An avid collector of random items from her travels in India and elsewhere in Asia or picked up at flea markets and antiques fairs from New York to Paris, Ariane liberates them from their original use, calling their past a “mysterious skein that weaves us together.”
These eclectic tendencies inspired her to create this bohemian space in Paris’s otherwise rather conventional sixteenth arrondissement.
The patina of vintage, utilitarian furniture instils a warm atmosphere and a unique character, while wood, stoneware, and glass exude a classical beauty. Fabrics become a source of inspiration: drapes made from dhoti fabric (lengths of white cotton traditionally worn by South Asian men), cushions covered with jute (as used in the American West to make flour sacks), and a Miao bedspread from the Yunnan region of China weave their own tales.
Ariane escapes from the grey of Paris and dreams of the South of France by planning her next purchase: a table lamp by Roger Capron, the famous ceramicist based in Vallauris on the French Riviera.
3. Chez Sophie, Saint-Germain-L’Auxerrois district, Paris 1er
If you want spectacular views of Paris, check out Leos Carax’s movie The Lovers on the Bridge, or just gaze out of a window in the apartment of Sophie Duruflé, managing director of the Isabel Marant fashion label. From sunrise to sunset, views of the bateaux-mouches tourist boats on the Seine, the towers of the Conciergerie, and the Pont au Change delight this incurable aesthete. One of Marant’s childhood friends, Sophie divides her life between travelling, her daughter Héléna, her two cats, and her beautiful home.
White walls create a soothing atmosphere and, most importantly, lend themselves to all Sophie’s decorative ideas. Throughout 210 m2 filled with mouldings and exposed woodwork, her dreams run wild. Along recessed wall shelving, Sophie exhibits her collections of unglazed earthenware, glasses, apothecary jars, globes, and vases, which she festoons with flowers. In each of the seven rooms, bouquets and plants intermingle everywhere, bringing a splash of colour (white and green are favourites).
The scene pays tribute to nature, symbolized by the presence of birds and butterflies. Whether stuffed, ceramic, or framed, they represent a bucolic world that Sophie loves as a way of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. Although she is a fan of the classic style, Sophie is not afraid to make her mark with inventions of her own, renovating old wooden furniture, stools with flaking paintwork, or ex-army cots.
Displaying her favourite things discovered by chance or foraged at flea markets, Sophie’s quirky tastes shine through, illuminated at night by glimmering candlelight.
Get the look
With crafty French high street and online purchases, you can recreate elements of these Parisian homes chez vous. Prices and availability correct at time of going to press.
A global viewpoint
The world need not cost the earth – this elegant, 41cm high, antique-look globe with wooden base costs just €39.10 from online retailer www.cdiscount.com
Comfort and cool
This beige Dakota armchair from Conforama offers contemporary Scandinavian lines – add a pea green cushion to mimic Ariane’s pale palette. Price €179.90.
Light of your life
Dark standard lamps contrast nicely with the beige and green, adding an industrial edge to the cosiness. This ‘black sphere’ lamp from Maisons du Monde is 195cm tall. Price €109.