Margaux Sacaze and Xavier Jovelin have a soft spot for Toulouse, the city where they live. Lifestyle, the art of good living, is an art they practice every day. Originally from Perpignan, these lovers of “simple things and small pleasures” have returned to their native South after spending a few years “on the move”, discovering Normandy. What drives them? The light. “Exactly what we were looking for when we moved back here.” The light. The light that floods into this apartment with its three huge windows and caresses with its warmth the contours of an interior with a clever configuration designed by the tenants to accommodate its unusual proportions. Instead of a mezzanine with railings, there is a bedroom – designed like a treehouse – and an office. A must for this jack-of-all-trades whose insatiable curiosity led her to become an entrepreneur at the age of 25. First through the Instagram account @margochato, and more recently with the creation of her online shop, Diverse, where she offers a selection of “small treasures found in antique markets, handmade objects, ceramics, wood, textiles and a little bit of art.” A carefully curated selection of the things that motivate her, and which we can, happily, find in her own world, suspended halfway between timelessness and modernity. Here, there is always something to catch the eye. First, there are plants everywhere, and colours and materials invoking nature. It’s an obsession that the couple brings into their home in every way they can to “fulfil their need for green horizons”. Then, the harmony that emerges from this decorative style, where the details are as important as the lines of the rooms that frame it. Whether they are perfect or imperfect, used for their original purpose or misused. According to this passionate woman who never does anything by halves, the most important thing is “to be satisfied with a little but not to skimp on quality”. A philosophy of “living well”, which, as you will see, is at the heart of all her undertakings.
Margaux, Xavier: can you introduce yourselves?
We’re two young people who are passionate about lifestyle and the simple things and pleasures in life. We’re both from Perpignan in the south and have been together for eleven years. After a few years in Normandy (AKA Le Grand Ecart), we’re currently in Toulouse where we can enjoy the slower pace that we prefer and be closer to our loved ones. Xavier thrives in his work as a computer consultant. As for me, I’m slowly developing activities that I enjoy, which are a mix of all the things that I love to do and learn daily.
Can you tell us about your background?
After 5 years of studying English literature and developing a growing interest in decorating and DIY, I decided to focus on what I enjoy doing. Shortly afterwards, I decided to share and discuss my passion, which led me to launch @margochato and my first creative workshops. My presence on Instagram and exchanges on this platform have been a real springboard for my work. It gave me the opportunity to multiply small projects, learn a lot and feed my insatiable curiosity. All of these experiences fuelled my desire to focus on what suits me. In 2019, I trained in entrepreneurial project management before developing my online store, Diverse, which stocks items I’ve collected, as well as crafts, ceramics, wooden pieces, textiles and clothing, plus a little art too. I strive to offer practical objects without compromising on beauty for a sustainable, timeless and ethical selection.
Tell us about your upbringing. What sort of environment did you grow up in and which consequently developed your taste?
I grew up in a country house largely designed by my parents. A country house, designed to sit in a large garden, filled with ash trees and hydrangeas. With a mum passionate about decoration and a craftsman dad, my sister Lisa and I quickly learned about the beauty and value of handmade items. Each family meal was an opportunity to lay a lovely table, to arrange a pretty bouquet. To layer small dishes over big ones, every day. My childhood taught me that beauty is more so when it’s shared and forms part of daily life. I grew up in a stimulating environment, filled with escapades and the chance to touch things.
I believe that inspiration can come from anything, as long as you’re open to it. For me, finding inspiration means putting myself in a particular place, paying attention to details, to everything around me. It’s about nurturing every exchange and going on small or big adventures, be it a drive or a stroll around town. It can also be reading, listening to a song … However, when I take a step back from my work, I would say that my creative process is largely inspired by nature, be it colours, materials or shapes. I seek harmony, balance, and simplicity too. I like it when an object, or its staging, seems to have required little effort to achieve. As if every element is exactly where it should be.
Halfway between timelessness and modernity. Between imperfections and perfect curves. I love it when these opposites meet and complement each other. I adore old items – vintage finds marked by time – as well as contemporary designer objects. You can see this duality in our decor, but it also serves me in my work. My universe is also characterised by the way I present utilitarian objects. I like to show them off differently, for example by arranging a jug like a work of art, alone on a shelf, to magnify it, to give it a little precious touch.
The first thing that attracted us to this apartment was its three huge windows which make it bathed in light. And that’s exactly what we were looking for when we moved back south. For us, this light is like an engine. Nothing’s better than soft morning light to get you going. We love the hustle and bustle of the city centre, but our home is designed to be a refuge for our quiet moments. This is also why nature is present, as shown by our small collection of plants! This apartment is our urban garden, our oasis. Our windows are wide open from May to September, we sunbathe on the sofa, we add plants in any way we can, we fill our vases with flowers: we fill our need for greenery.
Love at first sight! We’re reasonable when it comes to decorative purchases and try to only buy what we need. But my love of crockery means I often make exceptions! I adore table settings, especially when they’re handmade. I particularly love clay objects, perhaps because I’m well aware of the mastery and humility it requires. Ceramics allow endless possibilities, everyone can find a way to express their style. I have eclectic tastes – the work of ceramists like Olivia Cognet, Lisa Allegra or Charline Robache fascinates me, but also more utilitarian pieces by Camille Esnée, Edith Molina or Marine Feuillerat. I also like woodwork. The material attracts me, its sturdiness reassures me. Baptiste Lanne, Kethevane Cellard or Lorien Cau are among those who transform it into treasures.
Your interior is characterised by its atypical spaces. How did you organise them?
By spending a lot of time looking at the spaces and imagining different layouts. There’s also a great deal of logic: the layout had to correspond to our daily activities in this apartment. After that, we took advantage of this atypical aspect to make it an asset, without changing its structure, since we are tenants. The mezzanine has become a sleeping area designed as a perched cabin, the railing forms a desk, the low-ceilinged living room is a cocoon with large windows that air the place. It was a challenge that I loved taking on!
My childhood taught me that beauty is more so when it's shared and forms part of daily life.
Absolutely. It’s at the heart of everything I do. It’s about living well, about generosity and simplicity at the same time. Make do with little but don’t skimp on quality! These values are at the heart of all my projects, of everything I share. And I find them all the more interesting from an ecological perspective. Take the time to prepare delicious dishes using quality produce, and adopt a rhythm that respects our bodies and the environment.
Firstly, there are the places to eat. Le Chat Noir or Nomades for market-fresh cuisine that highlights the simplest produce, Canopée Coffee House, the best canteen with good speciality coffee, the Pumpkin d’Or, a vintage-style grocery store that stocks carefully-selected local produce. Decoration-wise, all the antique dealers in the Saint-Etienne district, particularly Chez Romain situated on the prettiest street in Toulouse. Toulouse is also home to Egle Simkute, a visual artist and talented photographer and Guillaume Neves, a rug designer who loves colours and curves.
In our native south, in Perpignan. Probably in a lifestyle boutique, which would be an extension of my Diverse online store. A place to create, meet, discover local crafts and my favourite brands.
The Socialite Family is a medium that understands the multitude of ways we can live in a home and promotes this idea. The Socialite Family is also a range of furniture and striking objects that adapt to this diversity of styles, universes, lives. It is a joyful blend of beauty, art and the avant-garde.
Photography: Eve Campestrini – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily