véronique and Jack-eric Piedeleu have taken an artisan and colourful approach to designing both their home and their homeware store Caravane
véronique and jack- eric’s unconventional style fills their parisian abode
When Véronique Piedeleu and her husband Jack-eric make changes they don’t
do things by halves. A few years ago they left behind their old suburban house and careers in the world of commerce and reinvented themselves with a new modernist home and a hip interiors brand to go with it. ‘Our previous home was a classic Parisian townhouse, complete with wrought-iron balconies and marble fireplaces, but we were excited by the idea of moving to a new place in this bohemian area,’ says Véronique.
The modernist, box-shaped Forties home that they now occupy in an area of the city known for its mix of metal workers, artisans and creatives, is a world away from their former house. But it was a move that chimed with the couple’s passions. ‘I’ve discovered that my husband is a rocker,’ laughs Véronique of Jack-eric’s recent foray into guitar playing. She herself has become a dedicated yogi. This cleverly redesigned building, which accommodates a music room and a yoga studio, is evidence that the couple put a sense of fun and informality at the heart of their colourful home.
Now the French homeware store Caravane they bought seven years ago has evolved into a brand with a relaxed, individual feel, with shops throughout France, one in Copenhagen and two in London. That same individual air pervades their home too, with its mix of bamboo and eucalyptus furniture, ethnic textiles and vibrant artwork. But it wasn’t always so – in fact, the couple nearly walked away after their first viewing. ‘Our only prerequisite was that we had to be close to nature,’ says Véronique. ‘This building is perched on the edge of Père Lachaise, Paris’ largest cemetery, and when I saw the headstones from the window, I told our agent, “forget it”. But something persuaded me to revisit, and when I did, I felt a sense of peace. There was potential to create a terrace too, so I realised we could make this a maison vacances – a permanent holiday home.’
Inspired by Le Corbusier’s simple lines, Véronique and Jack-eric spent two years simplifying the layout of this box build, where main living spaces now occupy the first floor, accessed by a contemporary wooden staircase, designed by architect Aida Djahandari. A top storey, housing bedrooms, bathrooms and an additional, smaller roof terrace, was added by the couple. ‘Designing this home was a way to express how much my life had altered,’ reflects Véronique, who gave away all her furniture, retaining only a precious antique chest of drawers gifted to her by her grandmother.
Educated in antiquing and ‘art decorative’ by her grandmother, Véronique is now a treasure hunter of a different sort, scouring the globe for unusual accessories and textiles made by independent artisans. India is a favourite destination and its vibrant colours awaken not only her decorative skills but her culinary senses. ‘I book a cookery lesson in every country I visit,’ she says, ‘so Indian dishes are very much on the menu now.’
If the couple’s previous home told a conventional story, the narrative here is very different. A terrace with fig trees leads off of the open-plan living area, which comprises a sitting room, study nook and kitchen. The colours of nature have been magnified via a palette of vivid blues, yellows and greens, punctuated by a dramatic shot of turquoise in the low-slung sofas, which Véronique chose so as not to obstruct the view. ‘I’m into more daring colour combinations now, such as the chequerboard kitchen units in lime green and grey – decorating should be fun and informal,’ she says.
‘When the renovation was completed, I felt like a cook who had spent hours working up a supper for guests, only to find that I had no desire to join in the feasting,’ says Véronique. Luckily, the entrepreneur has since regained her appetite in every sense – most Sundays are spent round the table sharing lunch with her grown-up children Capucine and Robin, while the house benefits from an ever-rotating display of artefacts, textiles and artworks. ‘A scheme has to evolve organically, so I love switching up the look,’ she says. ‘As you can imagine, the stylist in me can’t get enough of that.’