Vanessa, can you introduce yourself, please?
I have been an interior decorator in Paris for 10 years, but my career has not been very linear. That’ss probably linked, in fact, to who I am! I work lots, I’m always running about, and I have an extremely full family life, with three children (who run about a lot too!). I’ve been married to Marc for three years, and I also rely a lot on a group of friends who are very precious to me and who are around me a lot. After studying business in Paris, I worked in London for five years as a marketing manager. At the same time, I organised mini-exhibitions to sell my watercolours and assist photographers. I needed an artistic activity! I was searching for my vocation. Finally, in 2001, in Australia, I took the plunge and seized an opportunity to work alongside a decorator. Two years later, I was recruited by the well-known agency Tempo Interiors in Sydney. That was a revelation. I was able to decorate some magnificent villas in the city’s bay area. I gained in confidence: being French abroad helps a lot! After many years spent in places other than France, I returned to Paris with a desire to establish my own business. Although I had been looking for a long time for what I wanted to do, I always knew that I wanted to have my own business. So, in 2009, A&D Vanessa Faivre was born. Nowadays, I mainly work on renovation and decoration projects for individuals in Paris.
When did you move into this apartment?
As a specialist in interior design and decoration, what changes/improvements to the space did you make first?
With three children, opening up the spaces to create good circulation between rooms seemed essential to me. By redistributing them, we gained in light throughout too! The entrance hall, which was very spacious, was resized to house the kitchen, which is now in the centre of the apartment. The 12-metre long corridor is now only 8 metres long. In spite of these transformations, Marc and I wanted to retain the charm and characteristics of the old property. I’m happy to have managed to preserve the cornices and all the fireplaces!
What style did you want to give to your interior?
A blend of classic and contemporary. For the living rooms, I wanted softness. In the living room, I fell in love with the alcove window, surrounded by stained glass, straight away. I chose a muted colour – Farrow & Ball‘s Pigeon Green – to create the focal point of this room. Whenever we can, Marc and I love to go to the flea market in Saint-Ouen. Recently, we’ve been picking up rattan armchairs there. Our lamps too, which, if they don’t come from there, must have been bought from antique dealers like Nicolas Debauge or Antiquités Frédéric Sportis, who have C19-century items. We found the Niels Otto Møller’s chairs on Pamono. As for the dining room table, I designed it and had it made by the craftsman who created all the made-to-measure carpentry in the apartment.
You practised first in England and then in Australia. What impact has this had on the way you work? Your tastes?
In Australia, my bosses gave me a taste for colourful, warm interiors where fabric (one of my passions today) is king. I learned to see the beauty in every style while I was managing their showrooms, renewed continuously by numerous textile collections. For example, they adored Nina Campbell, Designers Guild, William Yeoward and Jim Thompson, Kravet and so on. I still have a taste for eclectic interiors, I think! These days, I am a fan of Maison Pierre Frey.
What is your material, your colour, your favourite decorative style at the moment?
I’ve always loved green! I use it in all its shades, even though, lately, I’ve been won over by the terracotta trend. My current craze is for everything that is curved. Curved walls allow me to make circulation in apartments more fluid, and even improve the light. Even the painted cupboards and shelves are rounded!
What’s your trademark as an interior decorator?
The combination of classic and contemporary. I often use muted colours to create a warm atmosphere. My choice of materials is quite masculine. I pay a great deal of attention to the light and circulation in and between the rooms, but I believe my hallmark is to create made-to-measure layouts by using the full height of the walls to free up as much living space as possible. I like the idea that the shelves I create reveal the character of my clients: Comics, photos, books, favourite objects or even plants say a lot…
As a professional, what does The Socialite Family mean to you?
Which room do you like to be in with your family? And which when you’re alone?
As a family, in the living room around the coffee table to play a board game or to snuggle up in front of a good movie! And on your own? In our bedroom. The floral design and the colours of the Dedar fabric used for the curtains, which I love. The vintage feel of the Pierre Frey straw wallpaper on the headboard. The warmth of Farrow & Ball’s Hay yellow. The bohemian look of the Les Petits Bohèmes throw. It makes me feel really good.
What’s your dream project?
I love renovating Haussmann-style apartments, and I love working for my clients, most of whom have young children. It’s a real reward to know they’re happy at home! My 2020 project is to buy, renovate and decorate a turnkey apartment for sale. But my ultimate dream would be to be able to find time to paint watercolours and exhibit. Maybe I’ll get there in 2030!
Can you share your ideal neighbourhood guide with us?
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily