We are first struck by the impressive building. We pass through the enormous front door, to the lift with a fold-up seat that comes from another world. We ascend and floors disappear before our eyes. Then all of a sudden Céline Faraud opens her door, revealing an interior as elegant as she is herself. On the outskirts of Park Monceau, this apartment is absolutely breathtaking. Spacious, simple and suffused with a myriad of objects and furniture. Céline and her husband Fabrice’s passion for hunting down pieces in markets and brocantes dates back twenty years to when they were students. But for them it’s more than a passion, it’s a state of mind, a way of life. A never-ending treasure hunt for pieces with a breadth and depth of value that never ceases to surprise them. Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille, Pierre Chapo, Lalanne: the list is long. Whether they’re tracking down chance finds at the Puces Market, or on travels in Corsica (where Céline’s family lives), the south of France or around the world, this family never stops, there’s always treasure to be found for those in search. Guided by a desire for serenity and a return to life’s simple pleasures, it’s natural materials that draw them in the most. Raw black stone, washed linen, wood, carpets and hides are mixed with other more refined brass or marble. A rich composition, that’s both homey and eclectic, which leaves any visitor lost for words. We present to you a couple who need no introduction.
Céline please could you introduce yourself?
I’m a Parisienne passionate about decoration, Mum of three children and I’ve been making jewellery for 15 years. I adore everything artisanal, and it’s my love of creating things by hand that steered me towards this type of design. I have very ‘empirical’ approach in my jewellery design. I add and add pieces until I find a sense of harmony, I mix materials and transform them into something new. As a result, a day doesn’t go by without me creating something or doing “DIY”! I embroider and sew, weave and knit, I never stop experimenting with new techniques. At the moment I have a passion for Macrame, and perhaps next I’ll try ceramics. My husband always laughs at how many projects I have.
How long have you lived in this apartment? What was it about it that seduced you?
For four years now. We lived in the area next to Parc Monceau ten years ago. It’s full of beautiful spaces and Haussmann architecture, but it’s not too busy and we instantly fell in love with it. The apartment had actually been ‘downsized’ in the 30s, the framework simplified, the stucco taken out, the art deco stain-glass-windows pulled out in the entrance hall. It has everything it needs, there’s a bedroom for each child, spacious living areas, a lot of light and space for my studio/workshop.
How have you decorated your interior? What style did you want to recreate?
It’s been a real group project. My husband and I had already renovated several apartments, houses and boutiques together. So we already had experience working as a team, and have a lot of complimentary skills. Fabrice has great spacial awareness, he can envisage the layout of a space straight away, and he organises everything with the electrician and the plumber! We did all the big work ourselves, reconstructing the kitchen, knocking down the cloisters, fitting all the adult rooms with en-suites. In terms of decoration, it’s our own collection of furniture, the tables, the lights and all the decorations we had already. It’s a pursuit of harmony, a feat of composition. When it was completely finished, I put plants everywhere. I miss my garden!
Which space do you spend most your time in?
Definitely the kitchen. It’s the heart of the apartment, a spacious room with lots of light, people just really enjoy being there. We’ve installed a big wooden table by Charlotte Perriand, the sort of style you’d find in a farmhouse. It makes the place feel welcoming and homey. Naturally, I do the cooking here, but it’s much more than a kitchen, it’s also where the kids do their homework, and it’s mainly where I like to work because my office is always completely overflowing.
Do you have a colour scheme or material you particularly like working with at the moment?
We used a lot of colour in our previous house, so this time we opted for a more sober, timeless palette. Throughout the apartment, you’ll find the lightest shades of grey and beige to the darkest shade of black. Valentine’s room is the exception to the rule. She chose the wallpaper herself, a very soft powder pink paint and flamingo wallpaper. It’s a Haussmannian apartment with an old parquet floor and fireplaces and we wanted elegance without ostentation. Our desire was for it to be warm family home. Our tastes draw us to natural materials and styles that are a little rustic. So for our bedroom and bathroom, we chose black stone with a rough finish, and simple washed-linen curtains for all the windows and a large Berber carpet and a heavy Balinese wooden table for the living room. You’ll also find more refined materials, like brass, 70’s furniture in polished-steel, Italian grey marble in one bathroom and black tile, another in black and gold mosaic tiles. It’s all about balance and quantity.
Do you steer clear of trends?
To absolutely follow the trends of the moment. Like in fashion though I think it’s always better to take a step back and make choices that represent us. I’d also say that I’m uncomfortable with the reworked furniture. Today it seems to me that almost everything needs to be reworked re-edited. This leaves little space for current designers. Ever since I can remember, we’ve only bought pieces of only buy original pieces, from their own time “dans leur jus”.
Your guilty pleasure?
I adore the walleye fish (with a professional twist!) And the Martini Tables in our living room. They’re small gold tables that we found on Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. My husband wasn’t very convinced, he found them too kitsch. But I stand by my choice! Especially since Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint-Laurent had the same in their interiors. You couldn’t really dream of a better reference.
Is there one artist, designer or creative that you particularly admire?
It’s difficult to choose, there are so many! I know it lacks originality but I cannot deny the ingenuity of the trio of Prouvé – Perriand – Le Corbusier, they inspired us to start our collection when we were much younger, more than twenty years ago now. We have acquired many of their creations over the years and hope to be able to buy more in the future. In a totally different style, the universe of Jean Royère has always seduced us. His lamps are particularly amazing, the spectacular Liane wall lamp is one of the pieces that we dream of owning. To finish with a contemporary artist, I have to mention the magnificent work o the ceramist Kristin Mac Kirdy, who’s supported by the gallery owner Philippe Jousse.
Do you take your reference from a certain era?
French design from the 20th century. We have centred our collection on the French style of the period between the 50s, 60s, 70s. This style is dominant but not exclusive. Fabrice has a real taste for Art Deco, the very modern creations of Jean-Michel Frank and Eileen Gray, and the brasswork of Jean Dunand. A few years ago, we also bought furniture from the 80s, graphic black pieces like this chair by Martin Székely. We are also interested in contemporary art, for example, Mathieu Mercier’s work we really appreciate.
What inspired you in your quest for furniture?
It’s very like a treasure hunt. This has alway been our philosophy. We rarely bought the furniture we actually needed. It’s our common passion, a succession of encounters (we’ve formed really rich relationships with some of our art-dealers). It’s become a lifestyle, wherever we are, in Paris, in Provence, abroad we always look for places to explore, to the dismay of our children who are sometimes tired and doubtful!
Otherwise where else do you go in search for furniture?
We’ve spent countless weekends at the Puces de Saint-Ouen! Same for auctions and galleries, which are perfect places for exceptional pieces. Ebay and Le Bon Coin can also find you nice surprises for not very much if you devote a little time. That’s where I found very nice rattan furniture for Valentine’s room for example. Fabrice some time ago unearthed a hanging wall light of Prouvé. In Provence, we scour the warehouses and brocantes, for the ones in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Saturday morning is the best time to go.
The piece from your wildest dreams that you’ve never found?
We love the creations of Lalanne, very difficult to find today and particularly overpriced. In my dreams, I can imagine one of her sheep sculptures above which I’d hang a picture of Jean-Michel Basquiat (why not go all out!).
A restaurant you’d recommend in Paris or somewhere else?
The neighbourhood of Batignolles, very close to home, has an abundance of small restaurants and nice shops, so it’s difficult to choose just one! I really like Ma Cocotte at the Paul Bert market in Saint-Ouen, both for the very well thought out vintage decoration of Philippe Starck, and for the delicious roast chicken. Otherwise, outside of Paris, I’d pick Eygalières, an aperitif at the Café de la Place, dinner at the Mas de la Rose for the charm of the place, the refined cuisine and the happiness of the children who can play in the garden.
Your next holiday destination?
We’ve just returned from Lisbon which has enchanted us and we are already dreaming of the next trip to Andalusia to discover the gardens of the Alhambra. And then we’re going south this summer obviously, Corsica first, which I am very attached to and where my family lives, and then Provence in the Alpilles. We renovated an old farmhouse and receive friends and family there during the summer, where life is to be taken easily and fresh rosé is very much appreciated by all.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily