THE DINING TABLE AT INES DE LA FRESSANGE’S PARIS HOME. IMAGE: CLAIRE COCANO
As a Chanel model and muse, Ines de la Fressange is an authority on French style. In her new book, Maison: Parisian Chic at Home, co-written with Marin Montagut, she opens the doors to her own home and those of 11 other tastemakers. It proves that when it comes to decorating, French style is anything but reserved. Whether it’s the apartment of Morgane Sézalory, the creator of fashion label Sézane; the founders of designer children’s brand Bonpoint Marie-France and Bernard Cohen’s house in the seventh arrondissement, or the apartment belonging to Ariane Dalle, artistic director of prestigious fabric brands Manuel Canovas and Larsen, each house tells the story of its owner – and often the owners that came before them. In this extract from their book, Marin Montagut shares how Ines transformed a former hotel in the fifth arrondissement into a cheerful family home.
THE PROXIMITY OF THE GARDEN INSPIRED INES TO EXHIBIT A COLLECTION OF SUMMER HATS IN VINTAGE STORE DISPLAY CABINETS, WHILE THE HIGH CEILINGS ALLOWED HER TO PLAY WITH PROPORTIONS. HERE, SHE HAS HUNG A HUGE PORTRAIT OF KARL MARX ABOVE A SMALL BERGERE ARMCHAIR. IMAGES: CLAIRE COCANO
The first time you visit Ines 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.” Ines 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 multicolored 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 color. Ines loves pink because it casts an attractive glow that is flattering for all complexions.
THE MANTLEPIECE ADORNED WITH TRUDON CANDLES AND GARDEN BLOOMS. IMAGE: CLAIRE COCANO
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 Ines 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, Ines snaps up furniture and objects with an almost childlike enthusiasm. If I were asked to draw the happiest of homes, I would draw hers.
INES SCOURS THE FLEA MARKETS FOR ANTIQUE TREASURES. THE DISTRESSED PAINT ON FURNITURE CONTRASTS WITH THE FRESHLY PAINTED PINK WALLS. THE FIREPLACE OVERMANTLE IS FLANKED BY TWO TWENTIETH-CENTURY FLORAL SCONCES IN GILDED BRASS. IMAGES: CLAIRE COCANO
Flirting with fashion
For Ines, interior decoration is like dressing a woman: it depends on structure and mood. Thanks to the house’s high ceiling, she plays with proportions by hanging a huge portrait of Karl Marx above a small bergère armchair. The proximity of the garden inspired her to exhibit a collection of summer hats in vintage store display cabinets, which have been left in their original condition. Boaters, panamas, and wide-brimmed straw hats evoke that vacation feeling.
Break with convention!
Shun the showroom look at all costs. Light pinkish-beige paint gives the impression that the walls have been tinted by the smoke of the wood fire. To avoid the conventional and embrace the unexpected, a “ramshackle” style has been created using mismatched chairs, picked up here and there and repainted in different colours. The bookcase is long and low—the perfect spot for a procession of candlesticks and bud vases.
Light up your life
If table lamps, sconces, and standard lamps are not quite enough to create a dramatic evening ambience, candles can provide extra softness. Set in candelabras or individual candlesticks, they can be white, black, or many different colors. Trudon’s original approach to making candles, with a golden inset cameo and their palette of vintage colors, provides an eighteenth-century charm. As each scented candle melts, it leaves behind traces of a beautiful image on marble and glass.
Follow Ines’s example: don’t banish your Sunday-best tableware to the cupboard while you use only old basics every day. Handmade artisan ceramics and pottery are skillfully made and feel so much nicer—they should be enjoyed time and again. Enameled dishes and casseroles also have an old-fashioned appeal that works well in kitchens. White, gold, and pastel items bring a magical touch to the table, starting at breakfast, especially when they coordinate with the color of the tablecloth.
Sneak a peek at some of the other homes featured in Ines and Marin’s book…
IMAGES: CLAIRE COCANO
Maison: Parisian Chic at Home by Inès de la Fressange and Marin Montagut, Flammarion, RRP £30
Feeling inspired? Discover more beautiful homes here and share with friends, family and followers using the social buttons at the top of the page.