Camille Klarfeld: Creating a World of Sensible Objects
A Visit to a Romantic Nest in the Heart of Normandy
© Camille Klarfeld: Camille in her home studio in Rouen, northern France
"A room should never allow the eye to settle in one place. It should smile at you and create fantasy."
– Juan Montoya
It was in the Boutique Machicadou, a designer's shop located in the 10th district of Paris that I got introduced to Camille's unique world of, as she defines them, sensible objects. By mixing vintage pieces such as picture frames, vintage bottles of perfume, old keys, soft fabrics, such as lace, matchboxes, broken ceramics, or dried flowers with her embroidered messages, Camille creates pieces of an added value, where the dearness of past times meets the authenticity of her technique aiming to create beauty. This is resulting in objects that comfort us by their softness and a reminiscence of a lost past, somehow in a way of Proust's madeleines.
© Ana Malnar. Camille Klarfeld: Smile on My Lips (Sourire sur mes lèvres), mixed technique
© Ana Malnar. View on the living area from the wooden staircase
© Ana Malnar. The living room. The canapé has been upholstered with the pink vintage fabric by Camille herself. Camille also made the flower embroidery on the emerald green pillow. Vintage pillows come from the flea market in Rouen, Saint-Marc. The old case found at the thrift website www.lebeoncoin.fr was repainted by Camille.
Needless to say that I was beyond thrilled when Camille accepted my proposition to feature her interiors in my July issue. The moment I crossed the entrance door, I felt instantly captured in a romantic fairytale, where each object has its own story to tell.
© Ana Malnar. The living room. Pictures on the wall come from the flea market Saint-Marc in Rouen
Camille has perfectly integrated the entrance area with the living room by painting the wall in the same powder rose shade "Fruit Fool", from Farrow and Ball, that also enhances the beauty of the white elements: the stone wall, ceiling and staircase. To make the door look almost as a piece of furniture standing on its own, a horizontal wooden shelf has been added where Camille disposes her singular findings. The soft color palette of the rich green, powder pink and white is commonly found in the romantic and rustic French country interiors. As one may imagine, Camille is a passionate thrifter, so the house is entirely furnished and decorated with vintage pieces, found online at leboncoin, or the flea market Saint-Marc in Rouen, and often times repainted or embellished by Camille with added fabrics or dried flowers.
© Ana Malnar. Green cabinet found on leboncoin. Curtains come from the flea market Saint-Marc in Rouen. On the wall Camille Klarfeld's instalation Les Moments Precieux (Precious moments), mixed technique. Chair found on the streets of Paris and sanded by Camille to remove the varnish.
© Ana Malnar.: details from the living room primarily found at the flea market Saint-Marc in Rouen
The symbolism of flowers, as a reminder of an everlasting love is omnipresent in the house, either through paintings, dried flowers or flowers pressed on furniture, like in the case of the small green cabinet. As Helen Keller would say: “Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” They also provide a sense of safety, serenity, enhancing the soft and comforting ambiance. And Camille's home is truly a garden of love, where the fragrance of the past embellishes daily life.
© Ana Malnar: wooden white cupboard made from the doors of an ancient elevator, found on leboncoin
The most extraordinary piece of furniture in my opinion is the white cupboard made of the doors of an ancient elevator. Camille explained that the initial idea was to have the main entrance at the place of the window facing the stairs. The current staircase designed by Camille's father, the architect Michel Klarfeld, remplaces the old straight one, making the whole space more functional and breathable.
© Ana Malnar: wooden table found on leboncoin. Blue wooden chairs come from a community second-hand store Neptune, in Montreuil, Paris. Paintings come from Saint-Marc flea market in Rouen. Customized metal lamp by Camille Klarfeld
© Ana Malnar. Kitchen cabinets and knobs, found on leboncoin.fr
From the living room we step into the kitchen, which has a lot of rustical elements. The robust wooden table has been found on leboncoin, as well as the wooden blue chairs. The absolute star is the old metal green lamp surrounded by cotton embroidered fabrics. Camille added that this type of creation was something her mother would have imagined. As a painter who also used embroidery in her creations that were, as Camille explained, always surprising, her mother played an important role in his creative expression. The kitchen elements have also been found online, on leboincoin and repainted in a sort of a grayish white tone. A kitchen equipped for only 50 euros, explained Camille with a smile. The refrigerator has been repainted in the same tone to match the kitchen elements and the cabinet handles have also been found online and added separately.
© Ana Malnar. details from the kitchen/dining space
Listening to the stories behind Camille's precious findings explains a lot about her limitless creativity. For example, she initially purchased the small painting on the wall of a village woman because of its backside frame, and then decided that she prefers the frontside because and decided to use it for its initial purpose.
© Ana Malnar. Dining space viewed from the studio
© Ana Malnar. Ancient square floor-tiles in the toilet found on leboncoin
© Ana Malnar
The beautiful wooden door with a customized door knob leads to the toilet in a typically rustical style, where the jute cloth, wooden mirror and the hanged dried flowers play beautifully into the aesthetics of the rough white painted walls. The vintage perfume bottles add a feminine touch to this small space, showing again Camille's passion for beautiful, soft objects. Opposite to the toilet door, we enter the probably most incredible space of the house, a real laboratory of creativity.
© Ana Malnar. Cabinet with 54 drawers customized by Camille Klarfeld. Mirror found at the garage sale in Paris
© Ana Malnar. View on the terrace from the studio
© Ana Malnar.
The central piece here is the beautiful burgundy red cabinet with 54 drawers, that Camille repainted and decorated with pressed dried flowers. This semi-veranda space receives a lot of natural light during the day, and has a gorgeous view to the wooden terrace that has been recently added to the property. Everything in this space, from the knitting threads, up to fabrics, small storages and vases, invites creation and playfulness.
© Ana Malnar. Objects from the studio
The green door has a special touch with its white crocheted curtain, adding a rustical vibe to the style of the studio. It is also an invitation to a dreamy fairytale, and probably one of the most romantic terraces I have seen so far.
© Ana Malnar. The terrace, mostly decorated with objects from the Saint-Marc flea market in Rouen
"I like the idea of decorating the terrace with paintings", said Camille when introducing me to this outdoor heaven. If I were to recall any interior or outdoor space I visited that somehow reminds me of this place it would be the great impressionist Claude Monet's home in Giverny. The aim of impressionism was to impress and surprise, with its arranged compositions and bright colors, it appeals to those aspiring to a free environment, without conventions or rules. By furnishing this outdoor space with typical salon pieces, and decorating the wooden wall with paintings, Camille shows again her absolute freedom in decorating, while staying faithful to her romantic side, expressed by her choice of furniture and fabrics.
© Ana Malnar. Details from the terrace
Before ending my visit with the first floor and the mezzanine, I asked Camille what her definition of a perfect home would be in terms of design. Her natural response confirmed the idea of the secrecy of home, a place where we heal and ressource. "A well-made home has a soul, it is cheerful and harmonious. It is a resourceful place where we feel good, with beautiful objects surrounding us that makes us feel good while looking at them". Camille also expressed her fascination by the Maison Picassiette, a house of the artist Raymond Isidore located in the city of Chartres made up of earthenware and glass mosaics cast in cement. "Can you imagine, Raymond Isidore put his entire life into decorating his home with tiny broken ceramic pieces", she added with admiration.
© Ana Malnar. Drawing comes from Papillonnage, https//www.papillonnage.com
Moving back to the house and up the steps, we enter a bright spacious open bathroom that Camille turned into an ultimate relaxation zone.
© Ana Malnar Bathroom viewed from the staircase
Although combining various materials - white painted wood, the stone wall, ancient square floor-tiles, ceramic tiling, wood flooring and a burgundy red painted wall, "Deep Reddish Brown" from Farrow and Ball, everything comes together harmoniously with a dominance of a white tone. The wooden ancient door on the wall used as a mirror gives a sense of fantasy to this place. On a deeper level, the mirror-door is a symbolism of stepping inside ourselves. The Napoleon III style floral armchair opposite to the window invites us to take a rest and enjoy the peaceful greenery surrounding the property.
© Ana Malnar. The bathroom view
The ancient square floor-tiles, the same as in the toilet, have been found on leboncoin and carved by Camille to fit the space. The antique early 20th century bathtub has also been purchased on leboncoin and decorated with pressed dried flowers, which is something that we rarely see in bathroom design.
© Ana Malnar. Bathtub customized by Camille Klarfled
© Ana Malnar. Floral painting on wood found at a yard sale in Paris
The copper curtain rod has been left as a decorative element. "Finding a nice bathtub curtain is challenging and I would not have any plastic material in my home", explains Camille. The flower wood painting is one of Camille's precious findings from the flea market Saint-Marc in Rouen. Opposite to the bathtub and the stone wall, the majestic composition of the white vanity, old fashioned white sink, vintage mirror and vintage wall sconces with shades designed by Camille, stands out as the most refined place in the home.
© Ana Malnar
© Ana Malnar. Miror and wall scones found online, leboncoin
The richness of the burgundy red brings out the brightness of the white ceramics and the beautiful cotton plain curtains. It is evident that the design of this home is absolutely not a case of accident. Each detail and placement have been thoughtfully studied. On the left side of the mirror Camille placed the Marie-Anne Briskmann's creation "No worries" (Pas de souci). "I can get anxious sometimes so seeing these types of comforting messages helps me through the day".
© Ana Malnar. Wall scone customized by Camille Klarfeld
The wall sconces in a baroque style are decorative pieces to be admired individually. They were found on the thrift website leboncoin and they were embellished by Camille's interventions: cotton shades and the crochet around the candle.
© Ana Malnar. Staircase as a storage unit painted in "Deep Reddish brown" tone, from Farrow and Ball
© Ana Malnar. View on the staircase from the mezzanine
A simple staircase that is also a storage cabinet leading us to the mezzanine is an excellent solution for utilizing spare spaces. By integrating shelves to the staircase, Camille has maximized the dead space beneath a staircase whilst adding storage and functionality to the room. By adding decorative elements, a beautiful cotton white curtain and keeping the same color tone of burgundy red, a simple wooden staircase has become an aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture!
© Ana Malnar. Gallery of paintings mostly found at the Saint-Marc flea market in Rouen
© Ana Malnar View from the mezzanine
The wooden mezzanine construction is something that we often see in french interior architecture, especially when there is a need for space optimization. Far from being an additional hidden room, this mezzanine gallery has a beautiful light coming from the bathroom space windows, and is aesthetically pleasing with the natural toned wood and the white painted railing. The Napoleon III style canape gives a chic pop of color to this simple color scheme. The staircase wall used as a gallery is a beautiful decorative solution, adding a feminine, poetic charm to the whole space by the subdued tones and typical floral patterns. The paintings come from the Saint-Marc flea market in Rouen.
© Ana Malnar. The bedroom space
© Ana Malnar. vintage folding screen found at a yard sale in Paris
The charm of the plan and romantic bedroom space is enhanced by the stone wall and the beautiful lightweight floral curtain that gives a kind of magical touch to the space. A folding screen used as a headboard is a common interior design idea. Camille made a brilling choice here by adding an interesting and supporting decorative element that doesn't overpower the neutral overall aesthetics. We both agreed that if we were to take the bare minimum from this house, an inseparable "must have", the curtains would definitely be on our list! And as the light became more dusty, I was captivated by the beautiful ambiance of the bedroom window.
© Ana Malnar. Floral curtains found at Saint-Marc flea market, Rouen
Contemplating the photo of a small round window, I remember the poem of the japanese writer Banana Yoshimo, a poem called The Lake, that will serve as a conclusion of this inspiring review.
"You have the nicest window, you know?
None of the others can even compete.
It's not flashy like the others, or bleary –
your window gives of this nice, quiet light."
- Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake
Many thanks to Camille Klarfeld for the friendly welcome.
More information about Camille Klarfeld's work:
165 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris
A real hidden gem! What a great article.
Excellent article! La décoration intérieure est tout simplement superbe et l'atmosphère qui règne au sein de cette maison aux couleurs pastels est douce et apaisante.
Great interview ! For all those who appreciate interior design this read is filled with charm and emotion of Camille’s lovely house. What captured my eye is the wooden cabinet with drawers -simply exquisite !
What a beautiful, extraordinary interior design! Reminds me of Frida Kahlo in today’s modern time. Just wow!
Je trouve tres ouvert cette maison de charme es certainement feminin tres beau Merci de cette decouverte en couleur et en nature beau Madame ....