Julia Rouzaud, founder of Goodmoods trendspotting studio and website, has created a joyful contemporary home in an historic hunting lodge. Emma J Page paid a visit
A rural idyll just twelve kilometres from the Arc de Triomphe? It sounds improbable, but Julia Rouzaud’s house, complete with vegetable garden, chickens, a rabbit and a dog – not to mention a pool – proves that city chic and country cool go side by side. Her family home, a stone’s throw from central Paris, is located in the peaceful western suburbs of the city and it couldn’t be more different from the classic, compact Haussmann apartment that she previously occupied in the middle of town.
Along with Julien, her lawyer husband, Julia, founder of goodmoods.com, an online interiors resource featuring shopable moodboards, moved here after the birth of her third child. “We both grew up in Champagne and we wanted to recreate that serene upbringing for our own children,” says the mother of Manon, twelve, Léon, five and Jacques, two. “We started our search in Montmartre, but after two years of viewing dark, narrow townhouses, we cast our net wider.”
Not even Julia, with her eye for jaw-dropping interiors, could imagine that they would come across a three-storey Napoleonic hunting lodge, complete with 1950s modernist front extension. The result is an intriguing blend of classic period detail, including turrets, alcoves, ornate windows and corniced ceilings, combined with a striking mid-century steel-framed bay room overlooking lush gardens. The marriage of the two styles seems an unlikely union, yet Julia knew that they could be united to form a harmonious whole. “The house had a strong personality and a good energy,” she says. “But it also needed to be tamed. For us, that was about creating bold colour combinations in modern way. I wanted to simplify the house while enhancing its identity.”
The couple spent six months repairing dilapidated window frames, doors and flooring, leaving the layout unchanged before turning their attention to the interior schemes. Now, a unifying palette of warm tan, terracotta and pink prevails, with bolder splashes of purple and green adding oomph. And while it may look effortless, nothing was left to chance. “Colour combining is a real passion of mine,” Julia explains. “Inspiration comes from paintings, scenography and street looks. I created a very detailed moodboard for each room.”
Strong contours and graphic silhouettes have proved more than a match for the expressive architecture of this home. It’s a distinctive look with a mid-century feel (“my favourite eras are post-war and modernist”). A recurring motif is the use of colour blocking on the walls, such as the four-tone overlay in daughter Manon’s room, complemented by playful touches such as the wide colour blocks running up the wall and lapping just over the ceiling in Léon’s bedroom. Bold geometrics, including the floor tiles by India Mahdavi in the en suite, ramp up the wow factor.
Here, fabric and texture is king. Every surface is deeply tactile, from the generously fluted Patricia Urquiola sofa in the living room to the richly upholstered banquette in the kitchen. A bold move was to clad the original period fireplace in the living room with a walnut flue, straight out of Mad Men, for drama and depth. “That was our way of extending the 1950s lines of the glazed bay into the rest of the house,” says Julia. Another nod to the era comes in the form of sculptural mid-century lighting, including a pair of Ingo Maurer wall lights that Julia spotted in Milan nearly a decade ago and the Atelier Areti lamps that grace either side of the 19th-century fireplace in the family’s sitting room.
Above all, despite its generous volume, this is a home for family time. “The five of us love hanging out together,” says Julia. “We’ve created spaces that enable us to share precious moments. We eat at the kitchen table every evening. It’s relatively compact compared to the size of the house, but being in close proximity brings us together.” Weekends are now spent gardening, barbecuing with friends, playing tennis and enjoying the pool in warmer weather. “We love this place more than anywhere else and would happily spend our holidays here,” says Julia. “What’s crazy is that I didn’t initially want to buy the house as its design felt too complex. That rather proves Voltaire’s theory that perhaps the best rewards come from learning to tend your own garden.”
www.goodmoods.com.Photography by Mandine & Jules + Julien Fernandez.