Come Christmastime, two things are for certain in Marie-Charlotte and Romain’s neoclassical home in Bordeaux: Sinatra’s Christmas carols are playing on repeat and festive touches of green and gold extend as far as the eye can see. The couple, who work in digital marketing as content creators, spent a year renovating the roughly 2,100-square-foot, three-level townhouse with the help of Laura Silhol of
Atelier LS Architecture. The Bordeaux architect had been following Marie-Charlotte on her Instagram accounts ( @home_marie_charlotte and @renovation_hmc) so she was familiar with the couple’s style. “Laura took care of the technical issues, the 3D renderings and the design of the tailor-made furniture, while Romain, the mathematician, dealt with the budget and I worked on the decorating,” says Marie-Charlotte. When the project was complete, the family couldn’t wait to spend their first Christmas in the new house.
The goal was to highlight the existing period features of the townhouse, such as the ornate fireplaces and intricate doors, and to put original features including cast-iron radiators, ceiling moldings and herringbone and Hungarian point parquet flooring back where they had been removed. “We added baseboards in the living room and bedrooms, and plaster impressions of the existing moldings were made in order to integrate them into the new sections,” says Romain.
pictured with Romain and their daughters Victoire and Constance) accentuated the high ceilings by adding decorative wallpaper panels and tall cabinets with applied molding. For the former Parisian, holiday decorating influences come from somewhere a little farther from home. “As children, we loved American films and series,” says Marie-Charlotte. “I grew up watching the film Home Alone, and I love heavily decorated North American Christmas trees with lots of garlands all over the place.” Putting inspiration into action, Marie-Charlotte wraps faux greenery up her stair railings, hangs wreaths on doors throughout the house, tucks petite bottlebrush trees on mantels and tablescapes, and always has a selection of candles nearby to create a merry mood.
In the kitchen, hexagon tile in a bold, graphic design breaks up the herringbone floor in the rest of the house.
In the living room, decorating the artificial Christmas tree next to the fireplace is a family affair. “The girls love playing with the dimmer and changing the colors of the lights,” says Marie-Charlotte. “Romain lifts them up to put ornaments on the top of the tree while I take the photos.”
Miniature advent houses on the original 19th-century mantel hold chocolates, small trinkets and vouchers for a trip to the movies or a pizza night for the Constance and Victoire.
It’s not just the townhouse that gets a traditional festive treatment, it’s the holiday menu, too. “We’re very classic for Christmas Eve,” says Marie-Charlotte. “We like to start with foie gras before eating a seafood platter, then cheese and ice cream. And we usually eat turkey for Christmas lunch.”
“When it comes to Christmas, I stay classic: everything is green and gold,” says Marie-Charolotte.
The principal bedroom wallpaper is whimsical and dreamy. “It represents the Dune of Pyla, an emblem of our region,” says Marie-Charlotte.
Space was carved out of the bedroom for an ensuite bathroom, which is on the other side of a mirror-paneled glass wall.
A buffet was transformed into a double vanity in the principal bathroom.
“We wanted to create a magical universe in our youngest daughter Victoire’s room, so we chose this Abracadabra wallpaper,” says Marie-Charlotte.
The living room bay window was enlarged to capitalize on the garden view.
Window decals add festive cheer and are easily removed.
Walks to see the lights, a trip to the local Christmas market and then board games and toy assembly back at home round out their favorite festive activities.
In this household, the holidays really are the happiest time of the year.
Author: Emily Evans & Amandine Berthon
Julien Fernandez, Gap Interiors
Architecture: Atelier LS Architecture