Do you use an interior designer to create your home or is the interior a pleasure that you keep all to yourself?
In Provence our story, travels and adventures fashioned our interior. We moved to Europe from Australia with a houseload of memories and those stayed with us. The interiors were never designed, they evolved.
And how they have changed over the years.
The essential ingredients have remained much the same but the overall look, very different.
As much as I respect and admire professional designers, being the creator of our home at that time was important for me. My every waking moment was focussed towards the farmhouse, the gardens and the olive groves. I couldn’t have shared the project with someone, even if I had wanted to. Falling in love with Provence and making it a reality was a dream come true: the interiors were a large part of that dream.
Our interiors have moved with the years, through my “phases” and with our travels. The farmhouse does not look the same as it did when it was featured in My French Life and French Essence. We have found new treasures, travelled wider and our tastes have changed.
Yet, the layout and the infrastructure remains very much the same. At the time ( 15 years ago now) I decided that simple and non complicated would work and stand the test of time. It has.
I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that we love Mas de Berard more now than ever. We may not be in Provence as much as we would like but when we are it is still as magical as ever.
Neutrals are where my mind is right now. I have come to understand the nature of Provence and I value the cool and the calm inside. In Provence the majority of life is lived outdoors, on the terrace. The views from the farmhouse across the gardens are bold and impressive; it is these views that dictate the interiors. The backdrop of neutral linen brings the outside in and allows our pieces to set the scene.
The bathrooms and bedrooms have been furnished with flea market finds over the years; it’s an ongoing journey. When I look around our home, every element tells a story. Weekend and the brocante have become a ritual to us.
The kitchen however is a different story. A much loved painting breaks the neutrals and makes this room a favourite in the winter time. Like the rest of our home there was no real planning with the decor; we loved the vibrancy of Tim Maguire’s berries and felt they were at home in the kitchen.
I have always felt that in a country property the heart can be found in the kitchen, Provence is no exception.
So my question, to use or not to use an interior designer?
I believe there is no right or wrong answer in the same way there is no one perfect style. Style is probably one of the most intimate, most flexible and personal characteristics we pursue and interior design is the same. A good interior must be tailor made to sit well in the local environment and to reflect the owner, whether it is created by a professional or not.
I often think being an interior designer must be one of the best professions of all. Imagine all the homes that could be considered, “yours”. I am sure many designers put their hearts and souls into projects and feel that a little piece of them is left in every job.
Do you use an interior designer or prefer to go it alone? I like the half way approach: To work closely with someone who you know and trust, someone who can deliver your vision in a way that feels completely your own.
More about interior design from fellow bloggers, here.
images of mas de berard taken by carla coulson and styled by vicki archer for living 4 media