From fashion design in Italy to interior renovation in the south of France, Mathilde de Marchi shares her style tips with Samantha Mureau
Mathilde de Marchi has just completed her largest and most challenging project to date and it really is quite incredible. She has spent the last three years renovating an abandoned and neglected 19th-century maison de maître in the heart of a charming Provençal village at the foot of the southern Luberon. Her project involved converting the building into four modern apartments offering all the comforts of 21st-century living, yet in keeping with the look and feel of its time.
Before taking on this large project, Italian-born Mathilde de Marchi was a fashion designer for one of my all-time favourite labels, Miu Miu. At the time, when I was going through my Miu Miu obsession, I was in heaven chatting to Mathilde and very flattered that she chose many of the products from my online homewares store to style her latest project.
How to: style a period Provençal home
1. Enhance the main period features in an old property and bring them to life again.
2. Revive fireplaces and give them a new lease of life as they are often the heart of a room, offering beauty as well as comfort and warmth.
3. Flooring sets the style and tone of a room. Restore old tiles as they add so much charm to a home, especially old Provençal ones with their colours and patterns.
4. Think about the walls, their surface, the detailing and how you are going to paint them. What sort of colours will you use?
5. The devil is in the detail, so focus on the door handles, the window latches and the shutter openers. These are the things that you will handle and touch every day, so they are very important.
6. Lighting has changed significantly since these period properties were constructed so you have to be imaginative if you want to retain a feeling of a bygone era. Replicas of vintage styles can be effective, but if you decide to buy secondhand make sure you factor in the fact they may have to be rewired.
7. Windows often need restoring in period properties and one of the biggest mistakes is replacing them with modern materials. You can either send the original windows off to be repaired, or buy new windows set in a frame that is respectful of the period.
8. The kitchen is always a wonderful warm room in a period property in terms of styling. Focus on the taps, the sink and the tiles. Think about adding in a traditional sink, which would become a feature rather than simply being functional.
9. Bathrooms can have a period look but also have all of the functionalities of being modern. Place underfloor heating beneath restored tiles and make the old taps and old shower heads a major feature. Again these can be purchased new but at the same time look like they have always been in the property.
10. Take your time to restore a beautiful old property and enjoy sourcing original pieces in brocantes, vintage fairs, dépôts-ventes or Le Bon Coin website.
Read Mathilde’s full interview in our December issue
Samantha Mureau is the director and founder of interiors website www.dovetail-living.comTel: 0208 133 7588
Mathilde’s apartments are for sale through www.appartementsdestyle.com