At Home With… Pierre Sauvage
Coinciding with the release of his new book, Be My Guest: At Home with the Tastemakers, the owner and creative director of the Parisian design firm Casa Lopez, Pierre Sauvage, gives us a tour of his apartment on the left bank of Paris. Marvel at the 18th-century architecture, and find out what’s on his bookshelf.
At Home With Pierre Sauvage
What’s the story behind your home?
I’ve lived in my apartment, which is on the first floor of an 18th-century townhouse on the left bank of Paris for six years. Before moving here, I lived on the same street but wanted to change neighbourhood; just two doors away I found this apartment and fell head over heels. I was seduced by the magnificence of the rooms, the light that flooded them, the extraordinary quietness and the unique feeling of being in a château in the centre of Paris.
What was your inspiration for the design?
With 18ft-high ceilings and rooms that, while small in number, were vast in size, I retained the original layout and counterbalanced with bold floor coverings. The panelling is listed and the architecture is classic, so interest comes from the rugs and mixing and matching textures and fabric. The rugs are by David Hicks, and there’s a mixture of furniture and objects from a variety of provenances and eras which brings a sense of modernity and comfort. For the walls I chose a palette of blue and green, and for the curtains plain colours to lift to the overall feel. The notion of comfort is very important to me – being able to feel comfortable in your own home is absolutely fundamental.
Do you have any interior brands that you love and always go back to?
What’s your favourite room in your house and why?
I love my living room and its 18th-century wood panelling. Each time I go in, it’s like setting foot in another era – a bit like travelling through time (but without the ageing). The wood absorbs the noise and gives the space an atmospheric quality.
What’s your best view?
From my window I can see a private mansion and a garden. It’s a particularly quiet and peaceful setting, especially when it snows.
What’s your signature dish – can you share the recipe with us?
Reblochon cheese pie (or Délice du Jura cheese pie). I cook it for parties and it’s very easy to make – I always get compliments for it.
1 whole Reblochon or Délice du Jura cheese
3 circles ready-rolled puff pastry
2 egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 420°F (190°C/Gas Mark 6 ½). Scrape all the white patches off the cheese rind with a sharp knife and remove the wax disc. Place the cheese on one of the pastry circles. For a special festive touch, you can grate a truffle over the cheese. Cover with the second pastry circle and seal the edges with beaten egg yolk. Cut leaf decorations out of the third pastry circle, moisten the underside with water, and arrange on the pie top. Brush the top with the rest of the beaten egg yolk to ensure the pie turns golden during cooking. Bake for around 20 minutes, until the top turns a deep golden colour.
Share your top five books with us if you were to start a book club:
- Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez – this book reminds me to live in the moment and to the full, and to not waste time
- Le Père Goriot, by Honoré de Balzac – I absolutely love Balzac’s descriptions of 19th-century homes. They’re always so warm and reassuring
- Thérèse Desqueyroux, by François Mauriac
- Living with Design, by David Hicks – my favourite decorator. I like his way of mixing modernity, comfort and elegance
- Douze Jardins en France, by Louis Benech
Share your must-see TV and movie list:
The Handmaid’s Tale, Engrenages (a French series), The Killing, Game of Thrones, Prime Suspect. I like dark TV series’, police investigations and Nordic dramas. For films, my must-sees are Tout feu tout Flamme, Fanny et Alexandre, La Vérité. The first two films remind me of my childhood, I used to watch them a lot. And the last film made me laugh so much. I love the on-screen mother-daughter relationship between Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.
Describe your office space?
I work at my living room table, where I can easily spread my papers and objects. In the morning I always have a cold coffee on my desk, and in the afternoon a Diet Coke. Lockdown has given me perspective on my working hours and more freedom for a work-life balance – I’ve enjoyed working late at night instead.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I wake up, think about coffee and say hello to my dogs. In the morning I need a lot of silence, I don’t like too much noise or conversation – I need time to wake up.
And how do you love to spend your evenings?
With TV and room service! I like to be either alone or with my family. Being at home gives me the chance to reconnect and recharge.
If you were to throw a party at home, what are the key ingredients to make it go with a swing?
A good guest list is the most important thing, followed by a simple, delicious dinner, and flowers. All are key ingredients to avoid pretension in all its forms.
What could you not live without?
A Thermos flask, I love it. I brought one on a trip to Japan and take it everywhere with me – filled with coffee in the winter and iced tea in the summer.
How do you keep fit at home?
Three hours of gym a week – that’s the maximum I can do!
What are you doing with your garden at the moment?
I’ve been cleaning everything with a Kärcher pressure washer – in Provence, where I have a home, lockdown gave me time to wash almost everything. It was very satisfying – it’s been a long time since it was last done.
Whose home would you like to be a fly on the wall in?
The Hôtel Lambert in Paris – the most mythical and beautiful private mansion in the city, on the eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis. I’ve walked past it incalculable times and always take the time to look at it.
What could you really do with now you’re spending more time at home?
Spending time with my dogs. Living at my own my pace and cutting myself off a bit from the outside world to reconnect, and some time alone to give myself some new perspective on my life.
What makes a house a home?
A dog and a fireplace. For me, those things are the quintessence of a home, warmth and life. Also great company, and a beautiful view.
Pierre Sauvage’s new book Be My Guest: At Home with the Tastemakers is out now (Flammarion, 2020). amazon.co.uk
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