“Apartment for sale”: this sign opposite Anne Eeckeman and Kévin Baës’s house seven years ago was an instant call to action. At last, the opportunity to acquire the long-dreamed-of home in the Saint-Maurice Pellevoisin district, which these two young people from Lille had enjoyed observing from their student accommodation opposite. They knew the generous space, surrounded by the treetops, could be perfect for them. They had imagined themselves living there… and now, happily, they do, one visit and one signature later. It was a stroke of luck that the couple embraced with enthusiasm, eager to reinvent everything as if on a blank canvas, using the shades favoured by the content creator throughout, and reflecting a desire for radical simplicity. The same simplicity led the new owners to totally transform this apartment with its purple carpet, which they rapidly replaced with polished concrete, combined with natural materials – wood, rattan and cane. Thoughtful aesthetic choices, enhanced by the stunning ceiling height in this light, bright home. There is no place here for the unnecessary or the excessive. The Lille native has an eye for detail and weighs up the pros and cons of incorporating each piece of furniture into living spaces where conviviality and sharing are the order of the day. They particularly enjoy spending time in their open kitchen. A welcoming place with airy suspended light fittings and touches of pale woodwork form a background for the artwork that the young mother of three-year-old Ninon likes to show off. Individual pieces are dotted around their sizeable home, creating a setting that reflects them perfectly: mischievous, optimistic and cheerful.
Anne, Kévin: would you introduce yourselves, please?
Welcome to our home! We are a couple from Lille with a passion for photography. Our daughter Ninon will soon be blowing out the candles on her third birthday cake and her future little sister is on the way. And finally, our faithful, spotty dog Maggie lives with us here too.
What is your background?
After studying visual communication at the ESAAT in Roubaix, I started working in an agency as a print designer. After a few years in the business, the Instagram craze came into my life and changed it dramatically! It was through Instagram that I discovered my passion for photography. I was able to make plenty of fruitful connections – some of which have become enduring friendships – and above all, I changed jobs! Nowadays, I’m not really a graphic designer anymore, but I’m evolving and having a lot of fun. I juggle three hats: photographer, content creator on Instagram – as well as on my blog – and interior designer – an activity I started recently.
Like Anne, I studied graphic design – plus web access – before setting up my company Appiway in partnership with a friend. We support start-ups in bringing their digital projects to life. I’m passionate about photography too, and have recently become so about film. I’ve just set up a small development “lab” space here at home. My new playground!
Tell us about your upbringing. How and where did you grow up – and consequently develop your taste?
I’m fortunate to have grown up in a close-knit family environment where music has always been part of my daily life. My mother, a professional pianist, passed on her passion to us, and my three older sisters and I spent a good part of our childhood at music school. Today they are all professional musicians. I still play the violin for fun, but I have gradually turned to other art forms: graphic design, photography and decoration.
Thinking about designers and artists: whose work has had a particular influence on you and your work?
Each artistic movement inspires me in its own way, but I think I’m generally more sensitive to modern art and design. Raw, minimalist, graphic things. Nowadays, I’m more attracted to the work of the small designers that I keep discovering on Instagram. Furniture, ceramics, paintings, weaving, jewellery: there’s inspiration to be found everywhere! If I had to name just a few, they would be Babel Brune, Aude Bray-Deperne, Inès Longevial, Deleine Paris, Solenne Belloir, Jeannette Atelier, Laura Philippon, and Lisa Allegra.
Tell us the story of how you came across this apartment.
We’ve been living in this family-friendly area of Lille for a very long time. When we were students, we used to gaze longingly from our small apartment at this large property – where we now live – perched on the top floor of a building. One day Kévin saw a “for sale” sign and called directly to arrange a viewing. The apartment itself had nothing going for it in terms of decoration or choice of materials. But we instantly fell in love with the light-filled living room, its stunningly high ceilings, its two terraces – which we still haven’t had time to arrange properly – and the fact that we are largely surrounded by the treetops. And bingo, now we own it!
How have you designed it?
We designed the whole apartment around the notion of light and space. As the living room is the main feature of our home, we wanted to give it as much character as possible. This is a recent building with no pretty mouldings, and we opted for a loft style, which suits us very well. We very quickly had a light grey polished concrete floor laid – choosing a matt varnish finish for a more modern look. To this, we added a steel canopy to define the spaces a little. Everything was also painted white to bring in as much light as possible, and we opted for a large open-plan kitchen. Then it was just a matter of putting the furniture in place!
It was when I moved into this apartment that my passion for decorating was born. I loved this space so much that I wanted to make it inviting and give it a designer look. A place of our own where we would feel good. We have been here for seven years now, and our interior design is still evolving. I work mostly on a whim. Nothing is really thought out far in advance. I like clean lines, noble materials, the softness of light and natural colours. However, I also like to add a graphic or colourful touch to liven things up a bit. Finally, I’m a big fan of knick-knacks and beautiful items from small designers; you’ll find them all around the place! I need lively, dynamic surroundings. Although everything here changes regularly, these decorative elements still give the impression of constantly renewing our environment without breaking the bank!
Your interior is notable for its purity and attention to detail. How do you integrate screens – which we mostly try to make invisible – into your decor?
Indeed, not easy to reconcile screens with decoration! In fact, we lived without a TV for several years – preferring the discretion of an overhead projector. And then, two years ago, we finally found a model that suits us with the Samsung The Serif TV. It reconciles good design & minimalism – which I really appreciate – and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m “being subjected” to a screen. We like the fact that it can be placed on legs or directly on a piece of furniture, which gives us more flexibility when we want to change the layout of the room. What is the best thing about it? When we’re not watching TV, we can display the image of our choice in constant standby, like a painting. That’s much nicer than having a big black screen.
Everything was also painted white to bring in as much light as possible, and we opted for a large open-plan kitchen.
What is your favourite piece here?
It’s too hard to choose; I love them all! If I had to go on record, I’d say the String Furniture bookcase in the living room because it was the first beautiful piece I bought for myself when we moved here. The starting point of our adventure with this apartment!
You’re a happy mum with a little girl, Ninon. What advice could you offer us about how to accommodate our little ones and their stuff in our homes?
There are so many great brands of furniture and toys now for children that it’s easy to find what you’re looking for when it comes to reconciling the world of the little ones with decorating! It’s a passion that leads me to spend hours and hours seeking out the gems on websites dedicated to kids. But yes, we do try to be minimalist in the living room, and we have a few tricks for “hiding” the clutter at the end of the day: our bookcase drawers are used to store Ninon’s games. We can also use lovely woven baskets or chests to hide everything easily.
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
I find it’s an absolute gold mine for decorating ideas and beautiful insights into families’ lives, each more inspiring than the last!
You live in Lille. Can you tell us your favourite addresses?
My favourite addresses in Lille? It’s hard to choose; we’re lucky to have so many! For a quick trip, I would say a coffee break at Juste un Petit Bout, Coffee Makers or Elizabeth’s. You can go to Mouflette, Atelier Mama Oh !, Little & Tall, Homy and Summer Camp for a decorating shopping marathon, and don’t forget Atelier Kumo. Fancy a pizza? See you at Papa Rafaelle’s. For a vegetarian lunch, I recommend La Clairière, and for a snack: Oxalys & Bergamotte. Finally, we have our aperitifs with friends at the Brique House or in one of the many nice places in the Rue de Gand!
I like clean lines, noble materials, the softness of light and natural colours.
Designed to fit as naturally as possible into your home, Samsung’s The Serif TV combines aesthetics with innovative technology. The brainchild of the talented French designers Erwan and Ronan Bourroullec, its streamlined appearance is unmistakable. With a customisable screen and removable feet, you can adapt it to suit your own personal preferences, and it fits in anywhere.
A genuine alternative to the black screen – which we prefer to hide, while this merits being on show – that has won over The Socialite Family. We, and Samsung, are delighted to show it to you in situ in some of the inspiring settings explored by our media.
Photography : Valerio Geraci – Text : Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily
In collaboration with Samsung