MDS- How would you define your style?
CI- Always the same really, I am drawn to anything that is evocative of other eras, other cultures, my passion for traveling. I like to surround myself with objects that induce that sense of romance and wanderlust. I like things simple and not done for effect; I like the combination of humble and high.
MDS- Where did you grow up and how do you think that influences your work?
CI- I grew up in Paris, which definitely gave me the taste for historical interiors, but as far as style is concerned, England really was an eye opener. I discovered the highly effective art of “layering” things of all periods and cultures, which the English do so well.
MDS- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
CI- I would be an archaeologist.
MDS- Who or what is inspiring you right now?
CI- I have discovered these enchanting fishermen’s huts in Portugal with their thatched roofs and whitewashed walls; in general, all Portuguese houses and furniture. I have also become obsessed with Japanese lacquered furniture and screens. I, of course, always love the disposition of Turkish rooms with their low divans running all along the walls of a room that to me are the best layout for a sitting room. And, all of Umberto Pasti’s houses in Tangier that have been published in World of Interiors.
MDS- What is the favorite room in your home?
CI- The sitting room. After all, it is where you gather with your friends and talk for hours, so it should really be the reflection of who you are. It should be like a magic carpet!
MDS- Is there anything you obsessively collect?
CI- I love rustic ceramics, whether they are from the Mediterranean, Middle East or northern countries.
MDS- Fill in the blank: “I could never own too many ____________ .”
CI- I could never own too many plates and table linens, my other obsession!
MDS- If you could decorate anyone’s house – who’s would it be and why?
CI- Not being a decorator I would be really intimidated, but my dream client would be Christian Louboutin and his house in Portugal as he has a strongly developed sense of the poetic.
MDS- What do you want to be known for?
CI- Creating the things that I love and hopefully conveying that sense of romance and wanderlust that I try and put into them.
MDS- What do you think is chic, stylish and glamorous?
CI- Anything that is authentic and appropriate to its environment, monk’s cells, old-fashioned hotels like the Villa Igiea in Palermo, archaeological ruins, English country houses, Lutyen’s bungalows in Delhi, Viennese secession interiors, Art Deco architecture, the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York, Louis Benech’s gardens, Jamie Creel’s shop Creel and Gow in New York, furniture slipcovered in white linen or in any of Jean Monro’s chintzes, rush matting on floors, the description by Bruce Chatwin of my absolutely ideal house in a short story called “The Estate of Maximilian Todd”.