Royal Roulotte’s creators have chosen to set their family cocoon in a great house from the 1900’s. Alexandra and Nicolas Valla invite us in their happy, eclectic and bohemian world, which was made from a subtle blend of modern design and old objects. She likes craft, salvaging, objects laden with history while he brings the more modern and graphic touch to the house, since he really likes design. This house has a soft and warm atmosphere, and has been the perfect example of their creative complementarity and of their four-handed work. Every salvaged piece is transformed and reinterpreted until it founds its new function, with a refreshing playfulness. If we had to sum up Royal Roulotte, it would maybe be with this sentence Nicolas likes: “Something blue, something borrowed, something old, something new”.
Who are the creators of Royal Roulotte?
It is Nicolas and I, duet in life and at work. We met in a design school, and each of us had a field of expertise. He was in architecture and I was studying interior design. After this training, I worked for several boutiques before starting my own interior design business. After a few years, we wanted to go back to our first loves and to what we really liked to do. So we started it all over again, and the starting point was the buying of this old Mansart style house we had to rehabilitate.
What seduced you in this house?
It was the whole, but I also had a crush on the cement tiles. When we bought it four years ago, the house was divided into six studio flats, and we rehabilitated it as it was in the 1900’s. A lot of things were period pieces, so it was a perfect playground to give free rein to our desires.
How did you imagine your decoration?
We wanted to preserve the spaces. We just opened the kitchen on the dining room, and wanted to go to a rather masculine atmosphere. The idea was to articulate the house around rather dark corridors (in liquorice grey) that would open on white and colourful rooms. Then, we mixed old and new. The small reading light in the living room comes from a friend’s boutique of antiques, Made in Paulette. In the glass room, the toads directly come from my grandmother’s place and the birdcage was made by Mathieu Challières. We mix a lot with things coming from AMP, such as the small desk in the living room. The bookcases come from Hollande, and the table from Belgium. It is made-to-measure, with a metal top and wooden feet.
What is the Royal Roulotte style?
I would say bohemian chic. Nicolas is a fan of design while I am more “roots”, salvaging and old objects.Royal Roulotte is really a mix between both of our worlds, and associate design, graphic design and fine materials with objects bought in second-hand shops.
How do you combine nice decoration and family life?
It is quite easy because we love when there is life in a house, when things do not move: we like it when it is like a big mess – which is still a bit organized. It goes well with children.
Which is your favourite room?
We are a lot in the living room and in the kitchen, but also in the studio, with the glass roof facing south. The girls settle there and revise and play. We put a blackboard for the homework.
How did you choose the decoration of the girls’ rooms?
We did it with a lot of salvaging. For Thelma’s room, I salvaged my child bed and I repainted it with a Farrow and Ball colour. Nina sleeps in my brother’s former bed. Then, we salvaged things from here and there: old iron trunk, Numéro 8 pennants… Everything is mixed with furniture from Laurette. Little by little, they start to accessorize themselves.
What is the object you most like?
The travel object I prefer is the tree of life that comes from Mexico. We made a special order because we only wanted skulls.
And you also sculpt, don’t you?
Yes, I do, and it has been several years now. They are sculptures in white faience, which I enamel or leave untreated: it depends. I mainly make plants or animals. I also draw. We released a series of screen-printed posters of my drawings in pen and ink and in Chinese ink. It’s funny: I draw a lot in black and white but I love colours in my house.
Is there a creator that made a lasting impression on you lately?
Tom Dixon. I love his lights.
Do you have decoration addresses to advise us?
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily