After having got about from Paris to Cameroon, Lisa and Julien chose to establish their nest in this 1940s beautiful building in Pau. They needed that space to let their imagination and the boundless energy of their five children go free. He is the son of an antique dealer and she is the daughter of a fan of bits and pieces ; that’s why their passion for decoration has been built since their childhood. There, the eye is constantly disturbed, first looking at old gravings, then at all kinds of curios and then at wallpapers. English, overloaded and even with coloured flat tints : Lisa and Julien plays with these kitsch wallpapers and mix it with contemporary design, which gives a warm and atypical coloured world. The mix of styles is so daring than it could seem contradictory. But it is all under control! How long ago it is since they left their city flat two years ago because they did not have enough space! There, space is not a problem. Neither is the proximity to the city. The children are independent and the parents are glad. Even if, at the beginning, there was a long way to go. Julien was into it right away, but Lisa had trouble imagining their future there. The house was fusty and stifling, but it had pleasant surprises for her in store. Flooring, moulding, foundation, stained-glass windows: these original elements were intact and its charm keeps showing its true colours.
Julien, Lisa, what is the story of this house?
It is part of a plot of two adjoining and twin houses, both built in 1902 by a rich seller who made his fortune in Honduras in the sugar cane business. Back in France, he built a house for each of his two daughters. This one is named Atlantida, which is the name of a region in Honduras.
We have bought our Villa Atlantida two years ago. Julien was taken for it. I personally thought it was a bit frightening and above all very dark. It had not changed for years, and it had lace, thick curtains, old wallpapers and hangings everywhere. But it is really a calm oasis for a house in a city centre. And the garden is so pleasant! Every element is original. The cooker, the house furniture and also the cement tiles: we wanted to keep most of it, especially since it was in very good condition.
How would you define your style in terms of decoration?
I’d say it is a “curly-haired granny” style, with a lot of frills and furbelows and colours. We go round the second-hand shops a lot, and often without having a clear idea of what we want. We buy what we fall for and tend to pile up. We also like a lot what is Italian, and Julien loves the wooden horses and the old toys. I like to put fresh and seasonal flowers in the house, flowers that come from our garden or from a flower shop called Atelier Floral, in Pau. Of course, we have more contemporary pieces such as the Pipistrello lamp in the pink living room. But, generally speaking, we like old things that have had a life before. Sidonie’s and Rose’s beds, for example, first belonged to my mother and to my aunt. We repainted them.
Every element is original. The cooker, the house furniture and also the cement tiles: we wanted to keep most of it.
What are the objects you prefer?
I love Roger Vivier,’s collages, that we had in antique shop in Toulouse, and the small Maillo Design lace baskets. I also love the Forêt Noire wallpaper by Nathalie Lété which is in my office/dressing.
How do you organise your life in the house?
We really use every room, with some preferences depending on the season. We love the terrace during the summer, and during the winter the blue living room, where we gather around the chimney. I really like it when there are small spaces to live in, where we can take refuge to read and to daydream.
Who are the designers who inspire you?
Without any hesitation: India Mahdavi and Patricia Urquiola.
What is the piece of your dreams?
I really love the work of the duo of sculptors François Xavier and Claude Lalanne. I’d love to have a piece from their plant world.
Would you have addresses or good deals for decoration to recommend us?
In Toulouse, I would recommend you the antique dealer Laure Baudet. In Pau, the home decorating store Cozyn and, of course, the Emmaüs stock, which is the biggest in France. Online, when I look for wallpapers, I find some good ones on Au Fil des Couleurs andPapillon Décoration.
Photography & Text: Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily.com