I’ve always been so fond of my Mimi’s, owner Mary Cordill, ability to create a space so cozy, yet so refined. There is no flashiness and everything has its place. I like to call her style “organized chaos” because every piece she owns is so beautiful and individual, yet everything comes together in perfect harmony. She can pair a striped sofa with a boldly patterned chair on top of a vintage Persian rug and you don’t question it for a second-- it just makes sense.
I recently came across the home of Hubert de Givenchy, more specifically Le Jonchet, his captivating chateau in northern France. I saw so much of my Mimi in his space and it immediately became one of my new favorites. Everything from the floors to the furniture proved exactly what my Mimi has told me for years-- the French do it best.
Exterior of Manoir du Jonchet - Image courtesy Architectural Digest.
Everything was made “trés soigné”, according to Givenchy’s longtime partner Philippe Venet. He recalls redoing everything, including every bit of flooring. Venet and Givenchy replaced painted hardwood with pierre de Bourgogne. The limestone tiles were laid out in the lawn in the shape of the rooms, waxed by hand, installed, and waxed again.
Deeda Blair, friend of Givenchy and Venet, recalls the furniture “always being moved around and tried in different places.” She says “Hubert was very tactile about objects and things.” This is the beauty of good furniture and something my family has done forever. Why confine a piece to one space? Your home is yours, so freshen it up every now and then to showcase your different findings. Create new dimensions by moving sofas, rearranging different rooms, trying new fabrics, etc. Emulate the design style you love and stay true to the things you like. That’s the only way to make yourself feel cozy in your design.
Like I said before, I like to describe my Mimi’s design style as “organized chaos” because there’s really no rhyme or reason in the placement of her collection, but it all fits together in unison and everything makes sense. She lays out her books and stacks magazines, she outfits bookshelves with nic nacs from her travels, she has a collection of miscellaneous glassware she’s acquired over her years, she’s sure to get matches from every hotel she stays in-- everything, even if it’s just a matchbox, has meaning to her. Her homes have always been full of what she loves and have captured her spirit perfectly. Her spaces are ones you never want to leave, and there’s always something to talk about. Just like Mimi, Philippe Venet says “we never thought about decorating. We just bought things we liked and found a place for them.”