Valerie's love and understanding of interior design, chic styling and the desire to create a beautiful yet unique home, led her to embrace her life-long passion for home decoration and design, and launch Bastille and Sons, a curated collection of French contemporary designer brands. For Valerie, part of the joy is discovering and introducing Australians to young and upcoming French designers. Her sophisticated collection features her unique style of blending understated elegance with a touch of French je ne sais quoi without the customary clichés.
Now happily settled in Sydney, Valerie often travels to France to seek out new products made in the pure French tradition. She looks for products that have 'the authentic and the beautiful with a cool edge' in areas such as Bastille in Paris, close to where she lived along with her husband Francois and their two beautiful young boys.
Bastille and Sons is an ever changing collection of the most desirable French products, including interior design pieces and accessories that are difficult to find here in Australia. When asked about the brands hand picked for her collection, Valerie says, “Every brand has it’s own story, a designer, a region, an authentic savoir-faire”.
This is it. This is authentic french design! Classy, chic, elegant yet vibrant and exceptionally detailed! I caught up with the beautiful Valerie, a fellow graduate of the International School of Colour & Design (ISCD) for a quick chat on her debut collection - Entre Ciel Et Terre and her inspiration behind the free-spirited bespoke collection.
What has been the inspiration behind Bastille and Sons?
My passion and inspiration behind Bastille and Sons is all about introducing upcoming French designers to Australian interior lovers. These are the brands that I loved when I was living in France and I am really excited to introduce them to Australia. I love sharing a designer's creative journey and talking about the craftsmanship behind every single product. Authenticity inspires me everyday; both the authenticity of the product design and the authenticity and knowledge of the craftsman who create these pieces with utmost care, passion and savoir faire.
French design is often associated with French Provincial, but there are so many exciting young designers to discover, together with skilled artisans and makers from all around France!
Can you share with us your creative journey to where you are now?
Once the big decision was made, I went back to study colour and design at ISCD and since then I have never looked back. I am enjoying every moment of the journey, including the various challenges thrown my way! I am learning new things everyday, meeting new and incredibly talented kind people and finally I can be as creative as I want.
The best part is seeing Bastille and Sons products styled in a new home and talking to a happy owner. It is such an incredible feeling to contribute to making someone’s home beautiful and enjoyable to live in.
How would you define your style and how has it evolved?
Relaxed chic, uncomplicated and easy to live in. My style always includes a simple background, uncluttered airy volumes, full of light with the addition of natural textures and materials such as wood, stone, marble and washed linen.
I am not one to look for symmetry or perfection. I love introducing new things, bringing a bit of the unexpected, mixing masculine /feminine designs through colour, scale and material. For me it is all about being confident in mixing pieces, old with the new and creating your own personal style away from conventional trends.
I believe that a well designed house should reflect a personal story and the personality of the people who live in it. I love products that are useful, that are real with a discrete touch of glamour here and there!
I think our collections reflect this. Our collection showcases an exclusive re-edition of a 60’s chair, beautiful colourful washed linen throws and cushions from Maison de Vacance, a sculptural light from artist/designer Le Deun who produces limited edition designs, carefully crafted in his Paris workshop. Or the timeless Croisette armchair from Honore deco Marseille with its range of colour in chic velvet or relaxed cotton.
What has been your favourite collection to date?
This is Bastille and Sons first Spring/ Summer collection. The website officially launched in December 2015- just a year ago. However, I can say with no hesitation that I love every single piece in our collection and I would definitely find a place for each of them in my house (if I could!).
What is a typical workday like for you?
No two days are the same…and that’s the beauty of it! I could spend some time working on the website, preparing and styling for a photo shoot, preparing the freight of a new container, working at the warehouse, checking the quality of the new arrivals, packing orders to be shipped, talking to my accountant or the bank, answering client questions, working on the new collection with inspiration boards and browsing the internet or traveling to France (the best part of it!) to meet new designers.
I also have two young sons (hence the name - Bastille and Sons) so I tend to concentrate my work time during their school time, but like most working mothers I do go back to my computer after they are asleep. Some days, when I find it difficult to work from home, I go out and catch up with creative friends, share ideas with like-minded people or go for a yoga session which helps me stay open, positive and focused.
Can you describe the curating process?
We like products that are timeless, and our collections are created to last. We think and look for products to mix and match and complement each other. Pieces that can blend from a season to another, becoming richer and more interesting with the addition of new elements. That is why we choose rich colour palettes for every collection. We think thoroughly about our colour palettes and combinations so that each piece can work within the new collection but also complement a collection from previous years.
We look for designers and brands that are unique and new to Australia, developed and created in France and introduce them to the Australian market. Small designer units and individual artisans with unique know-how have real advantages for customers; it allows us to offer genuine and high quality products with particular attention to detail and savoir-faire.
We build our collection with unique products because every home is unique. Every product that we curate communicates a particular lifestyle, but also a story of the extraordinary skills of the artisan who created that piece. The beauty of each object comes from its story and this story is at the centre of our curating process. For us, it is as important as the product itself.
We concentrate on establishing strong relationships with designers. Our principles focus on uncompromising ethics and high quality and aim to support the artisan community by standing firmly against plagiarism, exploitation and unethical production.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on our autumn/winter 2017 collection. We are collaborating with new designers and welcoming fresh new products into our collection. Simultaneously, I'm working hard on promoting our current spring/summer collection!
What according to you is the next big thing in bespoke homewares?
From my recent trips to France and my visit to Maison et Objets design show during design week in Paris, I noticed the following...
- Earthy and rusty tones like terracotta, ochre, prune and marsala, are still very much on trend
- Strong comeback of blue (as if this gorgeous colour ever left us!) with muted navy and denim tones
- Natural is the new white akin to natural materials like wood or stone
- Pink is still going strong with different hues of pink from light to dark and strong fuchsia, partnered with beige and muted bling - gold and brass
- Finally, I have observed a comeback of Art deco designs, especially in new hotels in Paris and through the use of stained glass
What advice can you give those seeking a career in interior design?
Follow your passion, stay focused and open to new experiences
What 3 words describe your brand?
Effortless chic: not afraid to mix and match
Authentic: original and high quality
Open-minded: be curious
Can you share 3 things people don’t know about you?
I am a compulsive declutterer (my kids are very scared of this habit of mine!)
I'm a crazy skier and a French film aficionado!
What is your favourite room in your home and why?
I really love our lounge room. This is the room where we gather as a family and with friends before or after dinner or hang out for our Friday pizza nights. We have a giant white cotton couch and armchairs, the lighting is soft and the music is always on.
Where do you see Bastille and Sons in five years time?
Too early to answer this one…
What's your favourite inspirational quote?
“If you can dream it, you can do it” — Walt Disney
Authenticity is at the forefront for Bastille and Sons, offering home décor products with exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, unique and sensorial rather than mass-produced. Valerie's passion for curating exclusive French artisan homewares, talent for introducing colour into interiors and making chic easy and accessible makes Bastille and Sons an authentic standout in the Australian homewares market.
For those of you who like the sophistication of French decorating by creating a layered palette with unique and complementary curiosities, have a look and be inspired by everything the Spring/Summer collection houses, everything Between the Sky and the Earth!
Till next time...Shop the Entre Ciel Et Terre collection here.