An interior designer needs to know a lot about you. But what about the other way around ?? Who am I? Have you ever wonder who is Emilie Lagrange exactly?
To create your perfect home, my fellow interior designers and I need to know everything about your story. We want to know what your everyday life is like, who is your family, your relationship situation, your job, where you live. We want to know if you like cooking, if you are a tidy or messy person, if you are a book person or a video games nerd.
It’s not because we are curious but just because we need this to understand what you need. Still, I think it would be fair, for one time, that YOU know everything about your interior designer ! You can start by reading my About me page of course but here, in this very blogpost, I’ll tell you everything ! (well, maybe not everything, but let’s say a lot)
Set the scene
My story starts in a very small village in a part of France called « Jura ». A « 1500 inhabitants, 2000 cows and 500 chickens » village as we liked to call it. I was the last of 3 children, had curly hair Jackson Five’s style, and was developing a soon (and still lasting) phobia against Spielberg’s E.T. (white in the river - berk !)
My favorite game as a kid ? A game in which you had to put in chronological order all the steps of the building of a house. That was the first sign.
A second one ? As far as I can remember, I drew. Everything. Copying Disney characters to imagining landscapes. One of my drawings got noticed because I drew a house in perspective with the tiniest details when all the other kids drew theirs « flat » and really basic.
When it all starts with interior design
There will be no need to write too long about my years in school as they became completely uninteresting as soon as I reached 14. Why uninteresting ? Just because I’d already discovered my vocation and it became my only purpose and drive.
My discovery of interior design (should I say « fusion with ») appeared in the most unexpected class : Technology. Just because the school had not enough rooms for every classes, we had to move to another part of the building, in a messy place where they had barely put tables and chairs for us. The first project of the year was to take all measurements of the space and furniture and create a more adapted layout.
I liked this exercise SO much, I had to borrow my sister’s magazine about career ideas to discover if there was a job doing this full time. Interior design. Ok, done.
At 15, I begged my parents to change my hobby from music academy to art school.
At 16, I took Art as extra-class in high school.
At 17, I had already chosen which interior design school I wanted to join after I graduated.
At 18, Freedom at last ! I graduated and could finally start what I was meant to do : interior design.
I went to Lyon. Coming from my small village it was quite a change. Maybe I should tell you that I considered studying in Paris at first but backed off the idea when I saw a map of the subway. It was just….too much !
My small village in Jura, France
Studying interior design or being in the eye of a storm
The 5 years at the interior design school of Lyon, called ESAIL, were like riding a roller coaster. Getting crazier and crazier until the end. Developing full creativity at first, then learning how to make it realistic enough to be build, learn about colors, techniques but also about listening, understanding the needs, creating around requirements. Analyze, get the main point out of the confusion, drawing a decor to a story.
And well, it was also learning about myself … and my limits both psychologically and physically. Big scoop, 7 hours of sleep in a week are not enough, one portion of soft cheese eaten only with the tip of your finger is not a meal, being a perfectionist is bad for the health, being able to take a step back and start again from scratch because the idea is not solving the client’s need is good (risky and frightening but good). Oh, and when there’s a feeling of pressure, it seems my taste in music gets closer and closer to heavy metal.
I was then ready for Paris.
I moved with all my drawings stuff, my beloved books of Harry Potter, my faithful computer and mechanical pencil ...to a 20 m² apartment and a stressful life.
Violin Maker Workshop, Diploma project, 2008
If I had written this text back in 2013, I would have convinced you to move to Paris. The beauty of the Haussmannian architecture, the cultural treasures, the richness of lifestyle and social life. Everything. I was sure at this time that I would spend my life in Paris.
But now, 9 years later, I’m living in Stockholm, enjoying the beauties of Nature and a quiet and healthy lifestyle.
Maybe due to the desire of living abroad
Probably in reaction to a crazy and stressful lifestyle and work in TV and Broadcast field.
Surely because the lack of space and nature in Paris was stifling my inspiration and creativity.
But all experience is good. I arrived in Paris as a lonely 23 year-old unexperienced interior designer freshly graduated. I left as a 30 year-old choir singer and skillful knitter, surrounded by friends, an interior designer with international experience and owner of my brand new business.
One of my drawings, Paris, 2013
Making it my own way
Building my own business was a challenge. More than expected. It took me some time to regain confidence in my own creativity after spending several years drawing someone else’s ideas. Time to learn my own way in the self-employment world, through learning new skills and making mistakes. Understanding that my passion for interior design doesn’t mean selling it for nearly free if it deprives me from putting food in my plate.
But learning, always learning. I have an endless curiosity for anything that can make me better at helping people with their home.
And using my own, specific skills.
For some time, I had been stretched between what I was able to do and what was expected from me as an interior designer.
Are you guessing what I’m talking about ? Yes, exactly, the « online interior design » stuff ! « Don’t you need to see the space to create the design ?? » I get this question a lot.
I stopped myself from going in that direction at first, just because that’s not the usual/traditional way to do interior design. But the thing is, I don’t need to see a space to solve the problem and make it beautiful at the same time. Actually, it has always been easier for me to imagine the transformation of a space without visiting it before. Maybe that has something to do with one of my eyes not working. It means that I don’t perceive 3D anyway and being in the space or not doesn’t change anything. My brain is super-trained to recreate the 3D effect in my mind!
A true vocation
I’m never tired of interior design, as I’m never tired of watching my favorite movies over and over again (still crying at the end of « Billy Elliot » after probably 10 viewings)
In some way, I’m doing interior design like I’m writing right now : I take the time, I go in details, and I do my best so the person it is intended for will enjoy it :)
And, as you can see, even when I want to speak about me on a more personal way, interior design is all around.
Want even more details on my life in Sweden?
Well, I’m living just outside Stockholm for nearly 2 years. I like to have a walk near the lake 5 min from home where I meet squirrels or deer from time to time. I have to restrain myself from buying a lot of design object or furniture from Swedish or Danish brands. I’ve learned to speak Swedish, I love to take pictures of details in nature and I grow my own vegetables during summer. I’m a Game of thrones fan and wait patiently for the next episode of season 7. Sometimes I realize I’m a bit over-connected when I see I’m surrounded by 3 phones, a computer and an ipad. I remember the strange feeling the first time I walked on a frozen lake and the best for me during winter is to work with a candle next to my computer. My first summer here was a bit difficult as I used to wake up everyday at 4 am with the daylight. But I love listening to the birds singing at 2 am when the surroundings are asleep.
Sunset on Årsjön Lake, Sweden, July 2017
Here you go! Well done if you have reached this point! I hope you enjoyed it and you feel you know me better.
Do you have some questions or want more details on a specific point? Ask me in the comments, I’d be glad to have a chat with you :)
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See you soon / A bientôt / Vi ses !