Alice Bizien, a decoration aficionado and expert in contemporary art, has transformed an old, abandoned factory into a family home....
Samantha is an interior architect who designs her projects with the same care as her own home. She is always very attentive to her clients’ wishes and constantly seeks both the functional and the beautiful. Her own interior is a perfect example of her approach. Samantha has totally redesigned it using a palette of materials to achieve the style she had in mind. Wood, concrete and glass have been used to perfect her apartment, add value and create a cosy, modern living space for a family of three. She has used light to cleverly highlight the furniture and optimised the smaller spaces to create an all-round sense of wellbeing. The objective is simple, to arrange the apartment so that everyone has their own space and bit of comfort. The rooms have been meticulously designed down to the last detail: from the floors to the brushed metal light switches, not forgetting the huge terrace arranged to make the most of long summer evenings. Samantha loves hunting for vintage objects and mixing the styles of different eras to give authenticity to her interior. Only on TSF : she’s getting ready to sell the apartment to those who would be attracted by this little jewel perched on the sixth floor. Interested?
Samantha, can you introduce yourself?
I am an architect and interior designer; I met my partner Lucas on the benches of the Camondo School in Paris. We started our agency Hauvette & Madani after our graduation, it’s 6 years now and we are more than ever fulfilled and complemented! I am also the happy mother of Achille, the cutest boy in the world… but this must be something you hear very often!
How have you designed and styled your apartment?
It’s not so much any particular style that has guided me in the design of the apartment but rather constraints. When I design a place, I tend to adapt to it rather than imposing a predefined style of taste. Our apartment is located in a Parisian building from the 70s, our luck was that we had no bearing walls and a large terrace on the ground floor but often the centre of the apartment was very dark. My first impulse was therefore to find a way to get natural light in all rooms. Glass walls were the most obvious solution! Then it’s our way of life and our habits that have guided the rest of the plan, just as they do with my clients. For furniture and decoration, I function rather in love at first sight and things that spark interest, I buy the pieces I like by freeing myself from any logic, I put them together and I see what happens. In summary I love working a plan with rigour and precision but decoration is more instinctive, it comes by a feeling.
What are your predilections in relation to materials?
Natural oak, Carrara marble, stainless steel and Strong White paint from Farrow & Ball … Simple materials that can enhance the furniture and decoration, like a casket.
Where do you like to spend time in your home ?
In my room! In general I think it’s a space that people tend to rush because it is private, visitors are not supposed to see it. But a room is a refuge, a place to find oneself again, to tell our days, to read a book with children… With Swan we have always spent a lot of time there, and it’s really become the centre of family life since the arrival of Achille!
Can you tell us 2-3 addresses online or in Paris for deco?
In Paris for each of my projects I will make a trip to the MCDE gallery for their reissued light fixtures such as Alabaster by Pierre Chareau. (I’m crazy for lights!). For small furniture and objects that are not too expensive and very pretty I go to L’autre Maison by Fabrice Diomard. I also love Caravane, hardware for handles and doorknobs are good at the BHV ! And of course I go regularly to flea markets. but I’m mostly a buyer of great vintage furniture especially online I discover many beautiful things, it’s sometimes hard to explain to my clients who want to “see for real” pieces before buying them… but this is there we find the best deals, and you can buy fashion forward pieces! When we have a new project we are creating an inspiration board on our Pinterest account our customers can go look, it is a way of interacting online between them and us. So it allows us to identify their tastes, their inspirations and better reflect the overall style of the project. This is a fabulous tool to convince even embarking on pieces from the other parts of the world! If I had to select the best vintage furniture sites I would say : Retrostart, a kind of vintage furniture portal on which are represented numerous galleries. http://mooiestukken.nl is a top selection! Right now they have a great Artifort sofa, I would see it upholstered in a rust velvet! Same thing at the Danke Galerie, I want to buy everything ! Fortunately, my job allows me to do this for my clients it helps me channel my frenzy! The Spanish are super talented for vintage furniture, the selections are always bold and forward-thinking : Modernario, Renospain… Or Design Market and Brocantelab ! In short, I can spend hours and hours to hunting treasures online!
What is your favourite colour?
What I like in architecture are the several shades of white, I like that depending on the use of whichever white the result can be bright, warm, cold and so on. Colour I use sparingly (kitchen, hallway, entrance, washrooms) but still not a total look. I admit to having a lot of trouble with the idea of painting a single wall, when you dare, go to the end! However, I love the furniture that is absolutely daring. Right now I feel like a combination of Klein Blue velvet sofas and rust…
A great restaurant you have just discovered and that you would recommend?
The last discovery was thanks to my friends Antonin and Elisa. It’s this place called ITO rue Pierre Fontaine in the 9th. It is a small restaurant that serves really delicious Japanese-inspired cuisine. The decor is in a pure neighbourhood style, no frills, without too much concept and the bill is light which is a rarity these days!
Your last destination as a family?
Megève! I just returned! The first ride in a luge for Achilles, such a great moment! It really is a great place for children between the tommies, the carriage rides, toboggan rides and all the restaurants that offer high chairs, it works out well for everyone, even for the little ones like Achille !
How did you choose the name of your son?
He was a few hours old when we finally addressed the issue of names, we didn’t apply pressure on ourselves when I was pregnant (we used to call him Marius back then), we wanted to wait to see what he looked like before we made the final choice! Achilles came very naturally, referring to Greece we both love and then I have a whim, I love “A”s !
Your next upcoming projects for the year?
Odeon, Palais Bourbon, Notre Dame, Charcot, Martyrs … and many other beautiful areas of Paris where we have projects under construction. Our dream for 2016: a hotel!
How do you reconcile family life and a nice decor?
Achille is not even crawling yet so for now no problems! I think the only thing we may quickly move is the mini bar that is placed on the floor in our living room. A priority we want Achille adapts to his environment and not vice versa … We’ll see! I often worked for families with young children and if I have to give some deco tips when you have kids it would be:
NB : If you are interested by this 100 square meters apartment in the 16th arrondissement in Auteuil, you just have to send an email to email@example.com. Of course, the presentation in the interview is not contractual and has only informative purposes. If you are a potential buyer, you will have to do all usual and necessary steps to collect informations on this flat.
Photos credits : Constance Gennari@thesocialitefamily.com