This week, The Socialite Family visited Lyon to introduce the decorator Anne-Claire Ruel to you. Surrounded by her young children and her husband Nicolas, Anne-Claire invites us into her Art Deco-style house. Away from the urban hustle and bustle, time seems to have stopped here. For every room of the house, Anne-Claire has chosen her materials carefully: linen in the bedrooms, off-white Zelig in the kitchen and candles for lighting effects. Anne-Claire likes to play with pale colours and unprocessed materials, so her house is like a nest, which she has furnished as she finds items that take her fancy. She likes telling stories. What inspires her? From her insatiable curiosity, she tells me. We just love this!
Anne-Claire, what do you do for a living?
I am an interior decorator. I studied interior decoration at the Jean Cottin school in Lyon.
What sort of upbringing did you have in terms of interior decoration?
My parents were interested in decoration, in art and, most of all, in painting, a passion they inherited from my father’s parents. They taught me harmony, they gave me an eye for detail and my childhood home had a personal touch; they chose everything carefully. They loved designer furniture and I’ve got one two of their pieces.
How do you teach a child to appreciate beauty and beautiful materials?
I’d say from day to day, just by example and by what we show them through our own tastes. The children see me looking at the pretty little objects of daily life and becoming excited about them, taking pictures of objects whose beauty speaks to me, and it all adds up. Anton plays a small role in some decoration and he likes it. He is already very sensitive to the things around him and decorates his sandwich filling with almonds. This is an obvious sign that he is catching the decoration bug because he loves to feel things, to observe, and is very curious, and so it is a joy to share my taste in décor objects with him at his age. Scarlett is still too young to show any interest other than a wish to destroy anything she can get her hands on.
Can you maintain a beautiful décor when you have a family?
I’d say yes; we adapt to them and in a way they adapt to us, even though we try to keep delicate objects away from their clumsy little hands so that we don’t all live in a state of stress. And to be honest, I do spend a lot of my time tidying up!
What sort of decorative objects, furniture or works of art do you like having in your home?
I love them all. I choose everything carefully. I’d rather leave a naked wire until I can find what I’m really looking for, what will fit perfectly. All the objects have a story. I either inherited them or I trawled the markets for them – I like them, but I’m not afraid to sell something and replace it with something else. I don’t become attached to objects even though I like them very much when they are in my home.
What is your greatest fantasy?
Where do you feel most comfortable?
Everywhere, really, but I love the living room. It is welcoming and comfortable in a way I like.
What does your home lack?
A meditation room.
Could you give us a decoration tip?
I like unique and personal décors which reveal the personality of the people living in the house. It’s a pity that many people are afraid to take risks; grey and white have replaced the very traditional beige. And yet there are so many other colours in really beautiful shades. So take a risk!
What is the absolute no-no in terms of taste?
Lack of personality.
Which latest restaurant would you recommend in Lyon or elsewhere?
Nothing original. I’d say the Beef Club in Paris for excellent beef and the décor: it always enchants me.
Could you give us two decoration go-to places online or in Lyon?
Le Petit Florilège and the Puces du Canal in Villeurbanne.
Where did you last go on holiday with your family?
We went to the Maldives.
What are your plans?
I’m planning to establish a décor brand like what you can see on my blog. There’s still a lot to be done!
Photography & Text: Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily