In Nancy, a riverfront city in north-eastern France, Coralie lives with her husband, Nicolas, and their three children, Felicie (10), Calixte (7), and Rose (3) and their cat, Moon. Their home’s architecturally-rich outer façade has all the hallmarks of a Flemish Renaissance revival style with its stone base, cornices, brick mouldings and rounded windows with colourful stained glass.
Even more impressively, the colour scheme inside is tinted pink in a nod to the building’s Art Nouveau origins from when it was built in 1903. Terracotta tones are present throughout their entire home, from terrazzo tiling and wooden panelling to lampshades, wall prints and sofa fabrics.
“We have chosen pink as the common thread of our interior to create consistency throughout,” says Coralie. “It is soft, bright and changes depending on the time of day when the light ranges from pink to beige. Each piece is worked in to be harmonious and to participate, develop and improve the atmosphere.”
The subtle art of forming atmosphere is no easy feat. But the trick of the balance is in the consistent base colour on the walls – a shade called Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball – complemented by various shades of warmed peach pink. From there, every room in Coralie’s home is perfectly curated, with wooden flooring and white woodwork warmed by the blush rose accents. A lesson, she says, begins with the patient art of alchemising fixtures, features and furniture.
“I start with an object, then I make a selection of everything that I like, such as paintings, tapestry or furniture. I try all possible combinations, which sometimes has the effect of driving my husband crazy,” laughs Coralie. “Then I pair objects and colours until I find the perfect harmony in a room so that each object finds its place. I don’t hesitate to question the functions of each part and to change them and experiment.”
Coralie is no stranger to taking time to get things right. When she and Nicolas moved in during the summer of 2020, they set about renovating from top to bottom. Hitting the covid-19 lockdowns right at the inception meant living in a building site for most of the summer without proper cooking facilities or heating.
“We wanted to give the house back its original charm while adapting it to our way of life, so we have renovated everything,” she says. “On the ground floor, the renovations covered the living room, kitchen, dining room, four bedrooms, one bathroom and an office.”
“We opened the living room onto the entrance to enlarge the space by breaking down a load-bearing wall. We then transformed the old dining room into a kitchen to gain space and light and to open the kitchen to the living room. We turned the old kitchen into a dining room and created a master suite in the attic. We have just demolished the old bathroom and the toilet on the first floor to create a piano area and a children’s bathroom. We had to redo all the electricity, which was very old, and quite a job to do.”
The couple has refreshed the decorative elements of the interiors, including the mouldings, rosettes and picture rails, bringing contemporary elements to an otherwise heritage-laden space with the heart of their home being the open-plan kitchen and living room centred with an island.
The brunt of the work took over their first year of living there, but there is still more to come. “We now have to build the children’s bathroom and develop the garden with a pond,” she says. “My dream would be to install a stove in the house and create a glass roof with a winter garden. We have a very wooded garden, with some trees that have been there since construction. It has a lot of charm but deserves to be fitted out to make the most of it. We’re planning what we’re going to create little by little.”
As they pace themselves for the next leg of the restoration work that they’re finishing for themselves, Coralie’s design style is evolving as the process unfolds. “My heart swings between a soft and warm, harmonious interior and a more committed, distinct and colourful interior that’s full of life,” she says.
The items Coralie decorates with toe the line between vivacious and demure, while being equally as palatable in a home built in shades of the same soothing tone as they are enduring in style. Her favourite items include opulent armchairs, a palm lamp from Ferm Living, Gervasoni lamps and plenty of pink tapestries, spanning small designers to original vintage pieces.
Despite the changing tides of a home in flux, Coralie’s vision says true. “We tried to create a house that looks like us by respecting its heritage and adding a few touches of modernity. Taking photographs helps me in arranging objects and composing spaces. A beautiful object or a beautiful illustration can be the starting point for creating my very own interior artwork.”
Follow Coralie on Instagram: @coraliefelicie