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December 23, 2018

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Home » Sunday » Home and Design

Habitat reflecting authenticity, travel, character

PARISIAN Carine Boyer envisioned an authentic, lived-in Shanghai home before she set up a new lifestyle brand with her partner that pays homage to China cultural diversity.

Having moved to the city three years ago, after many years of living in London and then Boston in the United States, she and her husband Fabrice wanted to live in a local Shanghai environment but finally settled on living in a compound in Hongqiao area to make life easier for their 7-year-old twin daughters.

Though it’s a newly built two-floor, 250-square-meter house without the charm of by-gone era of the city, the couple still love living here.

“It’s like we have an open house. We always have someone stopping by; children coming to play with the girls; friends having a cup of tea during the daytime or a drink later in the evening. We love the spontaneity it provides,” the 43-year-old said.

“The house didn’t reach our design criteria from outside but we really liked the layout of the interior. It has a very large living space and an open dining room, as we love to invite many friends and want this space to be a family living area.”

She also liked the fact that this is a modern house that also mixes in some Art Deco patterns along the stairs.

The basic condition was pretty good so Boyer simply added some colors to the wall as she wanted to customize it according to her taste and for each room to have its own identity.

“I like the fact that our house is one-of-a-kind,” Boyer said.

“It reflects our personality and it tells about our travels, decoration influences from the places we used to live.

“My interior has been progressively influenced by the Chinese cultural diversity.

“This could be either for a big furniture piece like the opium bed or simply through objects like the blanket from Yunnan Province, the bamboo trays from Anhui Province and the vintage wooden benches found in antique shops in Shanghai.”

With her passion for Chinese motifs and craftsmanship, Boyer recently launched a lifestyle and fashion brand “Chinoises” (“Chinese female” in French) with her partner Felicie Le Blan. Inspired by their wanderlust and mutual desire to promote and give pride to Chinese cultural diversity, the brand has a product line that includes furniture pieces, fashion accessories handcrafted in China yet personalized by the two blending contemporary touches.

“After our travels in China from Guizhou Province to Yunnan Province, I found myself over stuffing my home with beautifully crafted home goods discovered during my travels. From Miao embroidery, Guizhou’s batiks, Yunnan’s textiles, an indefinite richness of handmade crafts, shapes and materials inspired us to revamp these pieces with soul, yet modern and trendy to look at home,” Boyer said.

The home reflects a mix of contemporary styles composed of designer pieces, highlighted by antique furniture, ethnic objects and bold artworks.

The living and dining room exudes a warm, welcoming vibe: Comfortable sofas from French brand Ligne Roset, a wooden dining table, Scandinavian-style cabinets and coffee tables from the 1950s set the elegant foundation while the vibrant paintings and artsy photos add a note of color and energy to the space.

Two of her favorite pieces include vintage cinema chairs originally from Belgium found in an antique market in London and a typical Art Deco lamp she found in an antique shop in Shanghai.

There is also a small TV room for the family that is set up as “boudoir” with burgundy colored walls and a Chinese opium bed.

The master bedroom on the second floor is, on the contrary, relatively minimal. This room is mostly white for a cocooning atmosphere, highlighted with two tartan armchairs sourced from an English flea market in the countryside. The overall color scheme at home is classical and timeless from navy blue to earthy tones.

“The colors mostly come from our art collection, or some furniture pieces such as the 1940s Chinese armchair covered with bright colored African wax fabric,” Boyer said.

The couple’s art collection includes a portrait of young woman wearing a wool cap by Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf, a photograph of typical tricycle in Shanghai street by Alain Delorme, and a street-art-inspired painting by Troy Henriksen.

“For me, a welcoming house needs to have an interior style you will not see everywhere. It can be contemporary but it has to be authentic and personal,” she said.

“It must be nice to look and also comfortable to use. I like when people ask me the origin of an object as most of them tell stories so to make the whole space warm and characteristic.”

Ask The Owner

Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?

A: I like the diversity of the city. Like New York City, Shanghai is a city that goes fast. It’s vibrant and electric.


Q: Describe your home in three words.

A: Welcoming, eclectic and design.


Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

A: Cuddle my kids Romy and Ninon and my new puppy Marlow.


Q: How do you unwind?

A: Having a glass of French wine, listening to music and chilling with my family.


Q: Where do you spend most of the time at home?

A: In the living room, sharing time with my family or friends.


Q: What’s the view outside your window?

A: My garden.


Q: What’s your favorite object at home?

A: A picture by Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf.


Q: Where do you source furniture?

A: Contemporary shops and flea markets from the places I lived from France, the United Kingdom, the United States and China.


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