The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree
10 . 02 . 07
I always check the photography credits in magazines. I think a great photographer is an essential aspect to any magazine spread but especially so for a design feature. A great photographer has the ability to bring life to a home and make you want to move in right away. A bad photograph by a bad photographer makes you turn the page without even a second glance.
One of my favorite photographers is François Halard. He is one of the photographers of choice for Vogue magazine so you know he must be good. But I never really knew anything about him until I was going through some back issues of House and Garden and found a feature on his parents, Michelle and Yves Halard. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this family, or maybe I should say pommier.
Michelle Halard is a designer and decorator, best known for the interiors of the restaurant Pierre Gagnaire and the hotel L’Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence. She is also designing faiance dinnerware for Gien and other projects for silver and fabrics. The home shown here in Provence, a former hunting lodge, is where the couple relocated to after selling their castle in central France. Yes, I said castle. Must be nice! They also have an apartment in Paris where Michelle stays when she is working. Now I know why François has become a fabulous photographer of interior design!
The library above runs the length of the house and holds their vast collection of books and bound magazines, as well as Yves collection of vintage toys and mirrors. The white side chairs are mentioned in the inventory of the Chateau de Versailles and sit on a 19th-century Aubusson carpet next to leather stools from the flea market.
Wouldn’t you just love to sit outside in the esplanade courtyard and have a long leisurely lunch while sitting on vintage garden chairs? I’m not sure how I feel about the cacti but I’m sure I could get over it very quickly!
The dining room is one of the only rooms with it’s original neoclassical moldings, gilt detailing, and Italian marble mantel. And the vivid splashes of color are apparently a Halard signature. Yves chooses and mixes all the paint colors. Why should his wife get to have all the fun right?!
In the bedroom, the canopy and bedspread were designed with vintage fabrics, a passion of Michelle’s who has boxes and baskets of textiles arranged by color that she has collected for nearly 50 years! While in the bathroom below, an 18th-century screen that belonged to her mother was employed to help make the room more warm and elegant.
The Halards apparently have an open door policy at their home in Provence. Michelle says “When visitors come, I want them to feel good, that they’ve been welcomed with open arms – and lots of wine.” Hmmm…I wonder how she’d feel if a random American girl just happened to stop by?
Photos by François Halard mais, bien sur!