Marine Palayer has made her home in an ancient residence at the gates of Lyon. With its Italian architecture, her house has the feel of a Tuscan palazzo and takes us, for a little while, into a different world. Marine fell in love with the place and, in next to no time, had moved in, bringing with her, her furniture, her children and her pack of dogs. Marine, an uncompromising woman, took a gamble by choosing strong pieces and she plays with nuances as much in the materials as in her choice of furniture. She throws herself, heart and soul, into everything she undertakes. Marine is enthusiastic about each new business or challenge, searching unceasingly for the right piece. When she discovered this sublime place, she wanted to keep it intact, just as it is. From the terrazzo floor to the door handles, Marine has composed and preserved the spirit of the place. She plays with contrasts and the light to create a lively and eclectic furnishing style. Because when it comes to interior design, Marine also likes happy accidents, furniture with a life that can stand up to busy family life. That’s also why one feels so at home there.
At 43, I’m the perfect example of our multifaceted generation. I’m passionate about the study of behaviour and psychopathology of adults and children, and I have a master’s degree in psychology, a very personal degree since I have never practised! I had the passion, but neither the vocation nor the resources to protect myself from what I might hear. After that, I became head stylist for the cinema, director, fashion and decoration columnist on France Television and in the press, and, finally, I got behind the lens to take my own photos. Since 2009 I have been a fashion and interior design photographer and an artist-photographer. And as if that wasn’t enough to satisfy my hyperactivity and my need to be really useful, in June 2016 I launched a mobile app, AnimaLost, whose objective is to report stray pets on the public highway.
I visited it eight years ago because I failed to buy the rear part of the farmhouse. The apartment we live in now was, at the time, 600m2 and living in such a space was unthinkable! Life worked out well because in the meantime the apartment was divided up and we were able to buy the ideal area for us.I absolutely adore this house, it nourishes, inspires and stimulates me. I may stay here for the rest of my life because there are endless possibilities and improvements we can make here.
How do you first envisage a space in terms of decor?
I begin by getting a feel for the style and personality of the house. Its “guts”, if you like. It’s as if I’m working with the place and everything I want to keep there. I am not interested in what’s “fashionable” or on-trend, I always respect what’s already there, and try to enhance it by bringing in what will be complementary and pleasant in a timeless and personal way. Then, I create my decor, my stories and, occasionally, my wild ideas. Nothing is set in stone or definitive though. There is summer decor, and winter decor and everything can change in an afternoon if by chance I’ve found a new lamp, a table or a vase!
Where do you get your inspiration, for colours in particular?
It’s the house, above all, that inspires me and guides me in my choices. It was the terrazzo floor that “whispered” that unlikely green in the kitchen to me. I wanted to draw inspiration from it rather than using an existing colour, but to find one that would enhance the existing touches of khaki green, grey, black, pink and white. I considered powdery, pastel colours, but then I opted to open the kitchen up to the living room, to treat the living room all in white, and to make the aquarium-kitchen “pop”, in a striking, punchy colour that really stands out. It’s surprising, cheerful, but in harmony with the freshness, the ceiling heights, the woodwork and the omnipresent light. I often say that the house is “knitting” itself. I must admit I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest refining some of my choices…
Where do you spend the majority of your time?
Unquestionably, in the kitchen! It’s the hub of the house. I cook a lot, but that’s also where I tinker, where I work. I feel good there!
Do your children give their opinions on the decor?
Our son proclaimed “Less is more in decoration” when he was five! They certainly appreciate the ambience I create, and love change as much as I do. I sometimes ask their opinion for the “common areas” and try to reach an agreement with them for their bedroom/office/bathroom so that they are happy in their space without plastering my walls with the Snow Queen or boxer posters (which aren’t very compatible with my tastes…).
Is there anything missing in your home?
There’s not much missing, there may even be a bit too much already!
Is there a bargain piece you’re especially proud of?
Definitely, the kitchen table which is an old sewing workshop table. It’s very practical, friendly and huge, I bought for €200 at the Puces du Canal (Brocante Corinne) ten years ago, and I have no plans to change it!
Your definition of poor taste?
The “everything new from the shop” look leaves me cold. A house that looks like a showroom lacks soul and warmth. I love mixing, moving stuff around, recycling. Anything that’s fixed or too calculated is boring.
What are your go-to addresses for decor in Lyon?
I regularly frequent the Puces du Canal and various other flea markets/car boot sales looking for pieces that provide our home with a sense of soul, I like it to be a reflection of our taste and not a carbon-copy of a shop or a magazine. I tend to stay faithful to my usual haunts. Bisson-Bruneel is a brand that really resonates with me, it coincides with my definition of chic, simplicity and timelessness. I’m a fan of their woollen broadcloth, and highly contemporary linens, and their spirit of craftsmanship is always perfect.I also really like Maison Hand for lights, household linen, carpets and accessories, and their selection of furniture, in general, is flawless and timeless. For very specialised designer pieces, I love going to the Nathalie Rives gallery. She has an incomparable eye and taste in addition to being a true interior designer! Finally, there is also the Scandinavian shop Hyggelig, and the website Les Enfants du Design which offer pretty things.
What about the places where you’d recommend we eat?
Photography & Text: Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily