For many years, Sonia Sieff has been living several lives. She is the daughter of iconic photographer Jeanloup Sieff and firstly...
They live in the heart of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a popular and lively quarter at all hours of the day. But when you cross the threshold of Louise and Gregory’s home, you are immediately struck by the calm that prevails there. While Gregory prepared a cup of tea, Louise showed me around their harmonious abode, where the decor is soothing. I suddenly feel like I’d been teleported to another country, almost to another era. I like the decor and my eyes dart about everywhere. Ancient ceramics and natural wood colours mingle with kilims and the result is amazing. I’m charmed by these passionate people who have made decoration their profession. Their shop is a unique place in Paris where vintage Danish furniture is given pride of place. La Maison Nordik has just celebrated two years of success.
Louise, how long have you been living in this apartment ?
It will be 8 years in October that we have been in this apartment.
What attracted you right away ?
When I met Gregory, we both lived in 35m2 studios. After a year long relationship we decided to move in together. We visited about thirty apartments before falling on this one. What attracted us immediately was the size and brightness. We also love the old wooden floors and doors with mirrors. We live in the 18th district of Paris, where it is still affordable to rent large spaces. The apartment has four large rooms overlooking a courtyard and a garden (with an unobstructed view) on one side and on the street with a square and nice trees on the other side.
How did you plan the apartment in terms of decoration ?
Initially we furnished it with what we each had on our own and then gradually decided on a cozy and functional interior with a large dining table as we love making dinners at home with friends. In our office we wanted a sofa, where guests could sleep (mostly because we did not want a foldout bed). There are lots of cabinets for storage because we love fashion as much as decor and a cozy lounge because Gregory is very much a homebody.
Which artist in influences you the most ?
It’s very hard to pick one. As we have a shop for furniture and decor specialising in Scandinavian design. Then I would say Hans J.Wegner, Finn Juhl, Ib Kofod Larsen and also Nanna Ditzel. I prefer wooden furniture and pretty fabrics such as Kvadrat.
The cheapest piece of which you are the most proud ?
I’m a big fan of 50s and 60s ceramics. I change objects in the apartment quite often (in the store we have a large collection of ceramics of Danish and Swedish designers: Palshus, Gunnar Nylund, Jørgen Mogensen etc). The ones I prefer at the moment are my small black and white series by Frank Keramik (vase, pitcher and candlestick) that I put on our teak cabinet. It is a set I got for cheap in a flea market in Denmark.
Was your childhood linked to your taste for decor ?
I grew up with Scandinavian design like anyone else in Denmark. It is something rather mundane and without really thinking about it, you develop a taste for it. It’s cultural. Winters can be very cold so people prefer to stay at home and receive their guests, which is why they want to have a warm and cozy interior. My parents are very addicted to design and especially art so that necessarily had an impact. In Denmark our environment is surrounded by signed design. We had Alvar Aalto’s furniture in the nursery and at school. Poul Henningsen’s large “artichoke” lamps could be seen in banks and there was lots of furniture by the publisher Fritz Hansen in public spaces. The last time I went to Denmark I stopped at a small station to change trains. I was blown away to see six enormous Poul Henningsen lamps worth €6,000 each in the lobby of the station! I notice these things now because I work in design and haven’t lived there for 17 years, but for a Danish person, it’s quite normal.
Did you compromise in decor ? Or do you have the same taste ?
We pretty much agree on the furniture and decoration but it was hard to choose what we wanted to hang on the walls. It took us quite some time to find works that suited both of us. Our latest purchase is a large screen print in the dining room that we found at the flea market. The artist is unknown, but we love it. To me it does not matter to have things signed by a painter or a known designer. The most important thing is the feeling it gives you at first glance.
What decor advice would you give ?
For those who love vintage decor I recommend mixing it with contemporary design or otherwise doing it in a minimalist fashion. Too much vintage can get a little heavy. I also like having pretty cushions, ceramics and rugs in bright colours like our Kurdish Kilim under the dining room table. You can paint the wall of a room with colours to create a warm atmosphere or to cheer it up.
Where do you spend the most time at home ?
In our bedroom. We are rarely home because we work all the time. Of course the evening we spend more time in the lounge or in the office but at least 8 hours per night in our bed. We have furnished the room with Ikea but the decor (objects and fixtures) is 100% La Maison Nordik.
The most recent restaurant you would recommend in Paris or elsewhere ?
My favourite restaurant is in Copenhagen, Llama. In South Africa, in the vineyards, “Babylonstoren.” In their restaurant Babel, everything you eat comes from their farm. And in Paris it’s Coretta in 17th.
Credits Photos : Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily.com