Precious details and vintage touches. Style advice from designer Jane Webster, for dressing the home in the style of a French château. A vibrant combination of magnificent wallpapers, furniture and trimmings that mix and match different periods
By Danilo Ascani - Photos Robyn Lea
As regular as the rentrée des classes at the end of the summer holidays, Maison & Objet is the ultimate date with elegance and charme à la française that décor devotees simply can’t afford to miss. The Salon dedicated to interior design will be held in Paris from 7 to 11 September, and this year’s edition promises two exciting innovations. On one hand, a location redesigned to extol the most beautiful domestic backdrops; on the other, a main theme unquestionably in line with our times:
Virtuous design, or rather design with the greatest respect for sustainability, responsible consumption and alternative materials, following an environmentally-friendly dogma without neglecting l’art de vivre and the sophisticated taste trending beyond the Alps. A theme reflected in the images on these pages, taken from French House Chic (Thames & Hudson), a coffee table book in which Jane Webster offers valuable advice on home decoration. A perfectly orchestrated polyphony that begins at the entrance: “Catching the eye from the outset is everything. I therefore recommend trying to create a basic symmetry, perhaps with vases of fresh flowers or a small collection of blue and white porcelain, not to mention scented candles, which have the same effect on the décor of a space as that of a brooch on the perfect outfit”, says the author. According to Ms Webster, in order to ‘dress’ your house with personality, you need to choose striped wallpaper (“a symbol of boldness”), damasked textiles and refined silk tassels to enhance the theatrical effect of heavy drapes. Details that can be mixed and matched with luxurious damier motif parquets and a palette of neutral tones arranged in such a way as to play down the impact of antique armchairs and vintage pieces with an austere feel. Then, daylight − which changes throughout the day − is an essential element of this score, as is the light cast by crystal chandeliers or flamboyant candle holders, waiting in the wings to turn the environments into stars. In these contexts, the role played by boiserie is just as important: both decorative and functional, it appears to re-establish the proportions, plays along in creating unexpected tricks of scale and, when required, can conceal handy cupboards. Finally, to ensure that everything literally displays the ultimate artful panache, add at least one painting, small bust or separé to capture attention. This same care is reserved for the bathroom, which is to be decorated almost as if it were an exclusive Spa: “Without forgoing practicality, an antique tub or sink are two ideal finishing flourishes: good taste and the patina of time are a perfect duo”. Très chic, as they say in France.