Taking it easy
Inès de la Fressange has not only a gift for spicing up everything she wears, but an eye for finding just the right objects to bring the rooms of her home in Tarascon, France, to vivid life. In this picturesque corner of Provence, the French model and perennial style icon trades her busy Parisian schedule for relaxing with family and friends. “I rented a house in the area for many years, and my attachment to the countryside was so strong that I got married there,” de la Fressange explains. But when that property was sold, she began the search for a house of her own. “As in the Buddhist saying, I found it on the other side of the same hill,” she says.
The building itself, at the end of a stone path, was nothing special. So de la Fressange called in Marcelo Joulia, an Argentina-born, Paris-based architect known for creating spare, industrial-chic spaces. Joulia knocked down some walls, simplified the traffic flow, and whitewashed everything.
During the hottest hours of the day, guests can repair to any of the many sofas and daybeds throughout the house. The living room even has a big bed. “It was meant for the bedroom,” de la Fressange says, “but we couldn’t get it up the stairs, so we left it there.”
One of her favorite rooms is the eat-in kitchen, which has plenty of counter space, a wall-length wood rack designed to let fruits and vegetables ripen, and barstools around the kitchen island so friends can gather while meals are being prepared.
De la Fressange took her time furnishing the place, mixing antiques and vintage pieces, many acquired from eBay and flea markets, with divans and armchairs from the Paris shop Caravane and classic striped fabrics. “For me,” she says, “decor has a great deal in common with fashion. You have to have several basics, just as in a wardrobe—furniture that resists passing trends. Then you add accessories—a vase, a rug—that play the role of a belt around a dress or a sweater.”
The result? An easygoing house that’s packed with charm, where there’s a comfortable spot for everyone to unwind. “This is where we get our bearings,” she says. “It’s our little corner, where we read, sleep, dream.”
Originally published in ELLE Decoration France.