The word ‘meeting’ is one of those that comes most frequently to Carine Schneider’s lips. And listening to this enthusiastic woman tell us about her journey and the enrichment of her cultural roots, which are intrinsically linked, everything becomes clearer! Having grown up in a world “that Claude Chabrol would not have disowned”, this Breton at heart escaped the inflexibility of a provincial middle-class lifestyle thanks to her father’s taste for a life of adventure, especially at sea. A childhood lulled by the ocean – with which she has a passionate relationship – to which is added the elegant memory of a mother always with a book in her hand, and the need to face up to working life at an early age, finding in each challenge the strength to look forward to tomorrow. “A mixture of genres, habits and customs which undoubtedly and unconsciously developed my attraction for a world that I would describe as neo-bourgeois”, which is illustrated in Nantes in the flat she shares in Canclaux district with her daughter, Léna. Here again, a meeting! Which, according to her, could not have taken place anywhere else. Magnified by another one. Her meeting with the stylist and artistic director Annabel Guéret. A professional and friendly love affair that revealed her love of vintage at a time when she wanted to reach a “turning point” in her life, with the desire to throw herself into “investing in sustainable, high-quality products”. This was an opportunity, she tells us, to focus on “pieces that are close to my heart and that have stories behind them, echoing my love for raw materials and beautiful finishes. The Nantes native’s natural attraction to “the chic, the refinement, the sensual and soft curves of the 1970s” led to her selecting the items she found and then placed in her home. They show us a “preference for everything that is timeless rather than fashionable, for restraint rather than bling, and for simplicity rather than minimalism.” This is one to explore without further delay!
Carine, can you introduce yourself, please?
As a Breton at heart, I naturally spent my youth on the deck of a sailing boat. Even though I am more city-oriented nowadays, I still have a passionate relationship with the power of the ocean and its authentic wild coastline. The strength of these marine elements and their natural beauty impose a humility that I can identify with. As a great lover of them, I crossed landscapes according to my love stories: Rennes during my student life, then, in no particular order, Alexandria, Zurich and Lisbon, which was to firmly instil in me a passion for long-distance travel. And finally, Nantes, the current latest stopover. But beyond these many and varied horizons, I am above all the happy mother of a young lady firmly anchored in her time, my pretty Léna.
Can you tell us about your background?
I had to face working life very early on for family reasons. Considering my personality, diving into the world of work without a lifeline has never frightened me. On the contrary, every challenge you face is an invitation to find the strength to keep looking forward to tomorrow. So, my career path led me quickly to the world of finance where I progressed and climbed the ladder. And now I have brought this world together with the world of events, where I organise parties, meetings and business appointments for professionals.
Tell us about your education. Where did you grow up and how did your taste develop as a result?
The simplest and most immediate answer would be to say that I grew up in a world that Claude Chabrol would not have disowned, that of a provincial middle class where the inflexibility of the conventions shattered in the face of my father’s pronounced taste for a life of adventure, especially at sea! I also have elegant memories of my mother always with a book in her hand, cultivating the graceful gestures involved in smoking a cigarette. This mixture of genres, habits and customs has undoubtedly and unconsciously developed my attraction to a world that I would describe as neo-bourgeois.
How do you, in turn, make your daughter aware of this?
In the simplest and most natural way possible through discussion, sharing… We listen to each other. And Léna is a young girl raised to respect others. I’m giving her the keys. Now it is up to her to open the doors to her world.
I'm naturally attracted and captivated by the chic, the refinement, the sensual and soft curves of the 1970's.
It would be impossible avoid mentioning the undeniable contribution of an architect with whom I have shared my life. A contribution that has enriched me, nourished me with culture, and I mean that here in the broadest possible sense. Decoration, interior design, travel, music, hotels, fine dining… However, this solid cultural foundation was recently further enhanced by my meeting with interior designer Annabel Guéret. This meeting, which initially was not intended to go beyond professional boundaries, very quickly took on the shape of a friendly love affair. During our long, enriching, touching and fascinating discussions, she knew, in the simplest way possible, how to reveal my love of vintage.
It was essential that this meeting took place in my favourite Nantes neighbourhood, Canclaux. A district that is both close to and far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, a lively family crossroads of private mansions, middle-class houses, food shops, cafés and restaurants. At first glance, I immediately liked the corridor connecting the rooms of the flat, and also the ceilings, which are as high as the windows are low. This permanent interplay of levels changes throughout the day due to the soft, natural light. And the flat also offered two large spaces to wander around, live, laze, cultivate, and sleep in … The first one is given over to my daughter Léna and is more a super-small studio than a conventional teenager’s room. The second is my cocoon, lulled by the sound of the local birds alone. Finally, the separate kitchen offered the promise of a lively meeting place, from morning coffee to dinner.
It was like a real turning point in my life. I was determined to throw myself into it and invest in something sustainable and of high quality. And then, to set the scene, I wanted to focus on strong, personal pieces with stories behind them, echoing my love for raw materials and beautiful finishes. I also wanted to bring in more light. Annabel’s guidance was crucial in suggesting a glass roof between the corridor and the kitchen, mischievously playing with the relationship between a space that is both partitioned and open. Everyone can participate in the life of this home sweet home, which is ultimately very circular. She also helped me choose the Ressource Peinture colours: strong like the deep green in my bedroom or softer in my daughter’s room. The decision was also taken on her advice to create made-to-measure furniture to optimise storage space, like the dressing room in Léna’s bedroom and the kitchen island – made by Atelier Hudelot, a cabinetmaker in Nantes. Finally, as a complement to the furniture, and still in search of beautiful materials, we added different textures like heavy curtains in the bedrooms and lighter sheers to create an atmosphere from Jérôme Gardais, an upholsterer, also in Nantes.
In the flat, you will of course find antique pieces such as my Willy Rizzo travertine table and coffee table – found at Maison Simone in Rezé -, an Italian sideboard and my Willy Guhl modular bookcase. The bookcase, which is both graphic and aesthetic, and which I found at Barak in Nantes is a real favourite! There’s also this fibreglass pendant by Enrico Botta, found in the Jean-Eudes Coué antique shop in Nantes. And I bought some pieces on the Pamono website, too: Willy Rizzo chairs for Cidue, and a Viscontea pendant light by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castigioni. I also like to combine vintage with more contemporary pieces such as the Quaderna Zanotta console designed by Superstudio in 1970, a Saarinen pedestal table and my Tufty Time sofa designed by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia. My description of my home would not be complete if I didn’t mention some of my personal paintings, including one by the painter Erwan Ballan. His painting represents my daughter Léna and me, in a work that is meant to be autobiographical. This painting is undoubtedly my most precious possession in terms of its massive sentimental value.
I’m naturally attracted and captivated by the chic, the refinement, the sensual and soft curves of the 1970’s, the low seats, the elegant materials like tinted glass, the elegant brass, the softness and luxury of velvet, the wood panels on the walls and the graphic indoor plants. I am in love with this perfectly free state of mind, which leaves room for key pieces to express themselves in the subtlety of an interior. I love pieces from Willy Rizzo, Pierre Cardin, Maison Jansen, Pierre Paulin, Albert Tormos and so many others from that period!
My preference for everything that is timeless rather than fashionable, for restraint rather than bling, and for simplicity rather than minimalism. This apartment also reveals my constant quest for elegance.
Barak and its “20th century antiques”, Maison Simone and Jean-Eudes Coué for their sharp selection of vintage furniture. My friend Hélène Turbé’s jewellery; she’s a fine jeweller and exceptional woman. The Canclaux for the sweet madness of Salomé’s character, her partner’s talented cooking, their natural cellar and the presence on the menu of the Drappier, my favourite bubbly sin. And then Vacarme, Sarah Mainguy’s restaurant, for the freshness and creativity of its dishes.
Definitely a source of inspiration, accessible and a meeting point with people you feature through your portraits.
Here and there, on my beloved’s arm. And, more precisely, between the Basque coast and the Emerald coast. Never far from the ocean.
I am in love with this perfectly free state of mind, which leaves room for key pieces to express themselves in the subtlety of an interior.
Photography: Jeanne Perrotte – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily