For this Parisian interior designer, design is in the genes. Her mother, interior decorator Sabine Marchal and her father, a former director of Vogue Paris, imparted a classic sense of style at an early age. “The influence of my mother is with me every day; she gives me the sense of decoration and aestheticism,” says Sarah Lavoine. “The most important thing my mother taught me was ‘be yourself, follow your instinct and your heart,’ and I apply that to my design. I learned my love for fashion and a sense of elegance from my father.”
Her design career did not begin until she got the acting bug out of her system (she studied at the famed Lee Strasberg Institute in New York) and returned to Paris to work with her mother at the age of 23. Today, she is one of France’s most successful interior designers with 50 employees, two houseware stores and the go-to lifestyle store, Maison Sarah Lavoine. “Each store is thought of as a house with a sitting area, living room and a restaurant,” the mother of three explains, “and a dressing room of clothing and accessories. The stores have everything for everyone and or every room in the house!” The multi-talented designer (who specializes in interior architecture) also added author to her resume with the publication of her book “Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne” (Abrams). Taking a page from Martha Stewart, the book offers wisdom on everything from favorite recipes and design tips to how to raise your children.
Lavoine’s work ranges from the Elle Café in Tokyo to the five-star Le Roch Hotel and Victoria 1836 restaurant in Paris. Her most recent project, a private hotel turned residence in Lille, France, embodies the designer’s aesthetic. Given carte blanche by the clients, she looked to the “property itself and the strength of its history” for initial design direction for the five-bedroom mansion that features a spa, swimming pool and guest house. “The design scheme combines modern style and vintage with color. Our choices of furnishings were influenced by the balance between timeless, elegant and classical touches from the property,” she adds.
The study showcases her signature blue paint color known as “Bleu Sarah Lavoine” where a favorite mirror, “L’Instant Suspendu” (available at Maison Sarah Lavoine) hangs on the wall. “Delicate and graceful (it is designed with grains of rice), the mirror is a piece of art that dresses a room with its uniqueness and panache,” she exclaims. The designer sourced furnishings from a variety of merchants, including: Galerie Kreo, Bananas House, Nilufar Gallery and Riviera Gallery as well as vintage pieces bought online.
Photography by Francis Amiand.
Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Magazine.