A French apartment filled with second-hand finds
In Laurence Delibie’s city-centre apartment, summer lasts all year. Here she has surrounded herself with flowers, birds and light, as well as bold reminders of her favourite eras – the 1960s and 70s. Feature Amandine Berthon/Inside Features. Photographs Julien Fernandez/Inside Features
‘My terrace is filled with flowers and looks out over the neighbouring church. I hear the bell chime throughout the day. It feels as if I live in a village – it’s really lovely,’ says Laurence Delibie, the owner of this floral sanctuary in the centre of Bordeaux, France.
Laurence used to live in a villa by the sea in Arcachon, and was in need of a green, tranquil space when she moved to the city. She chose the Chartrons neighbourhood of Bordeaux, which is particularly appreciated for its village-like atmosphere and second-hand shops.
When it came to making the move here, Laurence had several strokes of good fortune, particularly in finding this apartment. ‘I didn’t even have to look. A local restaurant owner was moving out and told me about it. I was very lucky – it’s a rare find in the city centre,’ she says.
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As the daughter of an ornithologist, and having grown up in the countryside, Laurence has a love of nature. This passion is reflected in the interior of the apartment, decorated with floral and bird motifs.
‘The whole scheme began with the wallpaper in the living room. I fell in love with it when I saw it in the interiors shop below the apartment, RKR. This design, by Nathalie Lété, represents everything that I love: nature, bright colours, and a light, fresh style. Anne, who runs the shop, is a friend of mine. One evening before I moved in, she asked if I could leave her my keys so that she could have a drink on my terrace. When I came back the following day the wallpaper was up. It was a great surprise’, says Laurence.
On moving to the city, Laurence switched her classic antique furniture for vintage, pop pieces: apple-green hanging lights, late 1950s Tulip chairs upholstered in a psychedelic print and mid-century sunburst mirrors. The look could be in danger of becoming a little pastiche but white walls, rustic floorboards and a good smattering of contemporary items (think a digital-print quilt and a pair of ceramic cockatoos) keep things on the fun side of stylish.
The colours and floral motifs are echoed in the wallpaper. Again, it was the people in the neighbourhood who came to her rescue: ‘It was adorable. The local vintage dealers would call me saying, “I’ve got something you might like”. Thanks to them I was able to find most things second-hand and furnished the apartment really quickly,’ explains Laurence.
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On the sideboard in the living room sits her favourite object, a bust of Brigitte Bardot as Marianne – a symbol of France. ‘It’s the only piece I will never part with. I think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. To me, she represents the 1950s-1960s – a fabulous era marked by great freedom,’ says Laurence.
For someone who loves the outdoors so much, the large terrace – accessed from the open-plan living and dining rooms, kitchen and Laurence’s bedroom – was an important draw. The suntrap has been covered with rustic planters, turning it into a bucolic haven right in the heart of the city.
‘When I moved here, I managed to recreate what I had left behind – a house with a big backyard. The morning is my favourite time here, with the birds singing. And, at night, the church is lit up in blue. The atmosphere is magical,’ she says.
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