They are Maison Jaune. Julien and Elodie reign on the lights and on the European XXth century furniture. They made their three addresses in Saint-Ouen become references. It is a work of everyday for this couple coming from Reims, which go from a capital city to another to meet suppliers from all walks of life. They obviously needed a place where they could stay; they needed a pied-à-terre that would be familial and friendly, where they could breathe with their children. What could be better than their first love, Reims? It is in a building laden with history that they welcome us today. The floor tiles and the charm from the XVIIIth century – dear to their heart – are well and truly there. Those who love meeting people and being surprised by an emotion have not been disappointed. The timelessness of the place had an effect. As they recently settled in, their home cannot be totally defined, despite an obvious meeting between the past and the present. The interior designers give themselves time to implement their specialty there: the scenography. It is an art they perfectly master.
Elodie, Julien, what is the story of your house?
We were first looking for a place to stay during holidays that would also be a place for our family on the Île de Ré. We feel like home on this island and the style specific to the buildings in the heart of Ars-en-Ré, that were built in the XVIIIth century, seduced us. We love these very distinctive stone thick walls, the floor tiles and the beautiful doors that open up on an abundant and radiant nature. However, we could only stay there for a few weeks in a year because of our Parisian professional life. So we never reached this turning point. But we started looking for something in our hometown, Reims. It was not easy. We were still a bit obsessed by the West charm. Then, one day, friends proposed us this house which belonged to their parents. The charm immediately worked. It was a meeting. We had found the charm of the XVIIIth we were dreaming of, with moreover the closeness to Paris, our childhood friends and a big garden for our family.
How would you describe your style of interior design?
I like thinking that our style is timeless. It is a mix of family heirlooms and brief madness. Like in our job, it is a meeting between the past and the present. Our influences were first diverse, between the artists’ homes and the “studio” atmosphere. Then, it evolved to creations of XXth century architects – even if we never put our first loves aside. However, our home is first of all a living space with Jeanne and Martin, our kids. We want to create a family and friendly space.
What is your typical day?
Fortunately, we do not have a typical day, except for Saturdays and Sundays, when I am in Paris, at the market Paul Bert, to manage our three boutiques. Elodie and I travel a lot in order to find ideas. We like meeting people and being surprised by a feeling. Our quest for unusual objects does not have limits, if not a financial limit.
What is Maison Jaune?
Maison Jaune is, on the one hand, a vintage store concept – we sell lights and European design furniture from the XXth – and, on the other hand, it is a service for our customers around interior design, decoration and scenography.
Where do you buy your furniture?
It is a rather private part of our life. It is really very diverse and evolving. We like travelling in European great cities to build ties and meet suppliers and new concepts. Then, everything is done by phone.
Which designer are you the most fascinated of?
We like so many artists and architects that it is too difficult to make a selection. It is especially difficult since sometimes we are just interested by only one of the pieces of an artist. Our curiosity does not have limits. We are attracted to the design stars but also to any person who succeeded in arousing our interest.
Which period seduces you the most?
The art decorative history in Europe and in the world is very rich. Every century has interesting periods in terms of innovation and aesthetics. In this fields, the French XVIIIth century was particularly curious and demanding. Our personal and collective training created respect for all these trends, modes and styles.
What is your training in terms of furniture?
Élodie is a passionate self-taught woman. Her approach is sensitive and instinctive. According to me, she is different. I come from a family of antique dealers, so my training was intense and early. The training in terms of furniture is a connection between affect and knowledge.
What do you like most in your job?
My greatest pleasure is to gather pieces of furniture and objects coming from different worlds. I believe that, in the job of interior designer, it is the most creative moment between forms and colours.
What would you advise us in decoration?
We like the unique objects that will be the work of an anonymous artist. We are not interested in big productions. Of course, we respect the work of the famous architects and designers, but we will prefer an atypical armchair and a sometimes wobbly lamp. The charm and the sensitiveness of an unusual object is what attract us. Come to see us if you want pieces of advice!
What is missing in your home?
We settled in only recently, and we give ourselves time to define our home. We love the idea of an unfinished place. It will enrich itself with time, our family and our finds.
How do you combine nice deco with family life?
In order to combine deco and family life, you first of all need a practical side. The way the house was decorated has always been adapted to the age of our children, with round coffee tables and soft textiles. Angles appear only when the children are old enough. Regarding the aesthetic aspect, we are demanding on the materials nature. We like the natural ones, on which you can see the years pass. The wear marks on our furniture is the memory of our recollections.
Is there a restaurant you would recommend us in Reims?
Our city’s nickname is “Sleeping Beauty”, and Reims has been waking up since recently. Café du Palais is a culinary institution that we unconditionally love. But a food truck has changed our lives. Two boys, who are very demanding when it comes to the produce, created the Sacré Burger. The kids like it as much as we do. It is a wonderful adventure for the founders, Victor and Constant, which goes on with the opening of their restaurant. They trusted us for the decoration of their first place. We have been lucky to meet them, both on the human and professional levels.
Which music do you currently listen to?
Our life is music. Our speakers work all day long. We are surrounded by musician friends from Reims: Yuksek, The Shoes, Bewitched-Hands, Feu Robertson, Labradore… We follow the whole music activity, both on Soundcloud and thanks to what our children make us discover. If we had to give you just one track we listen most these days, it would be Bach off, by Nicolas Godin. The Italian designer Fornasetti was right when he said: “In order to imagine a life without decoration, you should imagine a life without music”.
What is your next family holidays destination?
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily