French manicure: an impeccable apartment on the banks of the Seine | Interiors
When Célia Bernard and her husband Jean-Marie Castille found this Parisian T3 directly on the right bank of the Seine, they were sure of one thing: they did not want to paint it white. Instead, they opted for a khaki in the lobby and dark chocolate brown doors. They also painted the living room in a deep yellow which she calls “curry”.
Color is at the heart of the latest professional adventure of the fiery Bernard. After 22 years working as a financial broker, she created a fashion brand, Love and Let Dye, with her friend Marine Vignes, who is best known in France as a weather presenter on television. The idea came to them during a trip to Bali in 2020, where they decided to have clothes made. “We rented a scooter and walked through small alleys in search of a tailor and women who worked with the tie-and-dye technique,” Bernard recalls. “For me, it’s like Proust’s madeleine. Tie-and-dye takes me back to my youth when I was selling jeans on Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
The official launch took place at the height of the pandemic in May 2020 and their collection of leggings, kaftans, loose shirts and dresses was an instant hit. They were sold in two weeks and the brand now has a network of nearly 60 points of sale, from Paris to Lisbon and from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam.
Between finance and fashion, Bernard embarked on real estate for several years, looking for houses and apartments for friends and acquaintances. She first went to visit it in this capacity, but fell so in love with it that she and Castille, at the head of a medical start-up, decided to buy it.
Located in a 1930s building, the apartment offers spectacular views of some of Paris’ most famous monuments. The Eiffel Tower is just across the river, slightly to the left, and if Bernard comes out onto the balcony, she can see all the way to Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur. “We really fell in love with the fact that it’s directly on the Seine,” she says. “It’s so relaxing to have the water flowing below you.”
It took eight months to transform the interior, which was once made up of a multitude of small rooms. “I wanted everything to be open so that you could move around,” says Bernard. “It’s more or less like a circle.” The heart of the new layout is the large open kitchen with its granite island, which can accommodate up to 12 people for dinner.
Ask Bernard about her decorating aesthetic and she tries to identify a specific style. She is drawn to Art Deco, but more than anything, she has tried to create “a cozy and more or less coherent interior”. In the task, she was helped not only by her husband but also by her mother-in-law, Geneviève Jabouille, owner of the famous restaurant Rive Gauche La Méditerranée, opposite the Théâtre de l’Odéon.
On the kitchen shelves are the first objects the couple bought together: two drawings of soldiers from the First World War, which they found in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in 1993. There are also vases from the Paris flea market, as well as a pair of wooden wall sconces designed by the Long Island-based firm, Allied Maker. A recent purchase is a pair of candle holders from the interior design store Compagnie de l’Orient et de la Chine.
The apartment was an opportunity for Bernard to indulge his love of wallpapers. “I spent hours looking for the right ones,” she says. “I love the way they give walls a little depth and find they brighten up a space.” Other fun items include a Mathieu Challières birdcage ceiling light in the bedroom, a colorful toaster reminiscent of Russian matryoshka dolls, and a foosball table in the lobby.
The latter was something that Bernard absolutely wanted to integrate. “My husband gave it to my son when he was 12 and we didn’t have room for it in our old apartment. So it was stored in a garage, ”she says. “I intended to find a place for him here. Given the success of her new fashion label, she is currently so busy that she doesn’t have much time to play. “Yet,” she adds, “when we organize dinners, it immediately creates a fun atmosphere. ”