The house was built in 1953-1954, and by a stroke of luck most of the period features have been preserved, particularly on the ground floor.
Marie, Emmanuel, who are you?? Can you introduce yourselves, please?
I am Marie Vypior-Bergé, Emmanuel is my husband. We’ve been married for 25 years. I was a stylist (I studied with Studio Berçot), and Emmanuel is a company director. We have three children. Rose, who is 23, who was unfortunately not present at the photo session, Joseph who is 20 and Prudence who is 14. My nephew four-year-old nephew, Robert, was also there, a little Parisian on holiday at home. My main interest will always be fashion. As an extension of that, I have long been interested in architecture and decoration. Two closely related interests. We’ve lived in this house for six years; it’s our second acquisition.
What is the story of this fabulous 1950s house? How much have you kept of its structure, and its original features?
We acquired the house in a very traditional way, through an agency. As soon as I saw the details, I knew it was for me! It was obvious it was love at first sight from the very first moment of the viewing. I couldn’t imagine that such architecture existed in Reims. For me, it summarised the work of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright with a blatant reference to the “Mon Oncle” house. It was built between 1953 and 1954 and by chance, all the original elements of this period have been preserved in the main, especially on the ground floor (the stone, mosaics, glass blocks, cupboards and doors, some tiles, some windows, fireplaces and so on). Of course, a lot of work had to be done, especially for the bathrooms and a part of the kitchen that had been badly damaged. Fortunately, we have done several similar renovations and found the same tiling. We also redid the wallpaper, paint and carpet in all the rooms.
How did you adjust them to suit your tastes, to your family life?
While the architecture of this house imposed a certain style, above all, we wanted our home to feel friendly. For my decoration, I created a colour-coded mood board, as you do in preparation for a fashion collection. In these two areas, I like to dramatise the place by drawing inspiration from films and travel.
All your furniture is vintage, where did you find it?
My main furniture, such as the tulip chairs, the trombone coffee table and the Scandinavian sideboard, were purchased from Nomibis more than 10 years ago. For me, these are cult pieces that I love owning and that we already had in our first house. I added some iconic signature pieces – vintage and reissued – such as the Charles Eames Lounge Chair, the Le Corbusier twisted chair and the Pierre Paulin Mushroom armchairs. I search around a lot at Emmaus and in the warehouses or on eBay and leboncoin. Not to mention all the objects salvaged from my parents, from that blessed 70s era.
Do you have a favourite time in the world of design?
I’ve always loved the art and design of the glorious French Thirties, especially modernism. I like the hippie side of the 70s too (my favourite sofa is the Togo design), and I’m very much influenced by my travels. I really appreciate the local craftsmanship you find in Morocco, Portugal and Italy. Especially the latter, over the past few years. Which brings us back to your next question about ceramics and I think back to several purchases we didn’t make, due to lack of space, a dish in Agadir and a pumpkin in Tuscany.
With all this space, do you let yourself go with a few collections? We noticed a lot of ceramics…
I do have a passion for ceramics and, although it may seem outdated, for the art of the table, especially plates. I’m capable of buying them anywhere!
Have your children developed a sensitivity to design by living in this particular setting? Do they often ask you questions, do they go with you when you’re treasure hunting?
My husband and I are happy that, above all, we’ve passed on our curiosity. We express our taste for fashion and decoration especially during our family trips in the different places where we stay: hotels, rented houses, visits… We’re particularly proud to see how our children are attracted to museums and art in general. My eldest daughter, who currently lives in Paris, oversaw the decoration of the apartment with me. It’s very different from our house, our tastes are eclectic, and can change depending on the place and the architecture.
Which piece from The Socialite Family collection would fit in with your interior design?
The Gioia lamp in almond green would be perfect in my dining room or, ideally, in black in my bedroom!
And finally, which are your go-to places in Reims?
First, I’d like to mention Fabienne Nominé (Nomibis), even though she doesn’t actually have a shop in Reims. Intemporel, a boutique with a cutting-edge selection of fashion, including my favourite designer Dries Van Noten. Les Aubaines, with an inexhaustible stock of La Redoute where I still find a few nuggets. And the Glue Pot, that was the cool place when we were youngsters!
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily