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The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

by habituallychic

10 . 02 . 07

I always check the photography credits in magazines. I think a great photographer is an essential aspect to any magazine spread but especially so for a design feature. A great photographer has the ability to bring life to a home and make you want to move in right away. A bad photograph by a bad photographer makes you turn the page without even a second glance.

One of my favorite photographers is François Halard. He is one of the photographers of choice for Vogue magazine so you know he must be good. But I never really knew anything about him until I was going through some back issues of House and Garden and found a feature on his parents, Michelle and Yves Halard. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this family, or maybe I should say pommier.

Michelle Halard is a designer and decorator, best known for the interiors of the restaurant Pierre Gagnaire and the hotel L’Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence. She is also designing faiance dinnerware for Gien and other projects for silver and fabrics. The home shown here in Provence, a former hunting lodge, is where the couple relocated to after selling their castle in central France. Yes, I said castle. Must be nice! They also have an apartment in Paris where Michelle stays when she is working. Now I know why François has become a fabulous photographer of interior design!

The library above runs the length of the house and holds their vast collection of books and bound magazines, as well as Yves collection of vintage toys and mirrors. The white side chairs are mentioned in the inventory of the Chateau de Versailles and sit on a 19th-century Aubusson carpet next to leather stools from the flea market.

Wouldn’t you just love to sit outside in the esplanade courtyard and have a long leisurely lunch while sitting on vintage garden chairs? I’m not sure how I feel about the cacti but I’m sure I could get over it very quickly!

The dining room is one of the only rooms with it’s original neoclassical moldings, gilt detailing, and Italian marble mantel. And the vivid splashes of color are apparently a Halard signature. Yves chooses and mixes all the paint colors. Why should his wife get to have all the fun right?!

In the bedroom, the canopy and bedspread were designed with vintage fabrics, a passion of Michelle’s who has boxes and baskets of textiles arranged by color that she has collected for nearly 50 years! While in the bathroom below, an 18th-century screen that belonged to her mother was employed to help make the room more warm and elegant.

The Halards apparently have an open door policy at their home in Provence. Michelle says “When visitors come, I want them to feel good, that they’ve been welcomed with open arms – and lots of wine.” Hmmm…I wonder how she’d feel if a random American girl just happened to stop by?

Photos by François Halard mais, bien sur!

Comments Closed

  1. Brilliant Asylum October 2, 2007 | 1:49 pm

    Amen. Good interior photography makes a HUGE difference in a room’s appeal. It is nice to know who lives in this beautiful home.

  2. rjh dl h October 2, 2007 | 2:02 pm

    WOW,they look like a fun couple!

    I love the huge bench they are sitting on and the library is wonderful,great idea to put the collection of mirrors and toys on top of the bookcase.

  3. Habitually Chic October 2, 2007 | 2:07 pm

    BA, I think that’s why I hate Architectural Digest. Their photos are so lifeless. Makes a huge difference!

  4. Habitually Chic October 2, 2007 | 2:09 pm

    RJH dl H, they look like they’d be a lot of fun to hang out with and drink wine! Also, they are sitting on a chapel bench modeled after one in their former home.

  5. Laura October 2, 2007 | 2:24 pm

    You can truly get a sense of their personality from these photographs of their home–they seem to have figured out the “well-lived life.” Not to mention they are an adorable couple!

  6. Habitually Chic October 2, 2007 | 2:29 pm

    Laura, you hit the nail on the head. It seems like they like nice things but they aren’t a slave to them. They really look like they enjoy life! And they really are the cutest couple ever!

  7. girl meets glamour October 2, 2007 | 3:03 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more about photographers and interiors. Great post and pics.


  8. {rnvl} October 2, 2007 | 3:58 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about stopping for a beautiful photograph–it really is what makes a publication. One good image will sell a magazine to me.

    And in answer to your question, I’d most definitely like to “sit outside in the esplanade courtyard and have a long leisurely lunch while sitting on vintage garden chairs!”

  9. CLFan October 2, 2007 | 5:17 pm

    this is such a refreshing change of pace from all the fussy, done-up rooms (modern, “ecclectic” or otherwise) we normally see in shelter books. It just looks like they live there, not like they’re trying to prove something. I’m about to paint my LR in a light blue (in Devine Blue from devine paints) and everytime I see a beautiful room done in blue, I get additional reassurance that I’m about to do the right thing. (Though I’m scared to death!)

    I’ve always hated AD too.

  10. Alice Olive October 2, 2007 | 6:25 pm

    Okay, where do I start? Another fantastic post! Firstly, I agree about a great photographer being essential when showcasing design, fashion, art, architecture in magazines – a magazine is a visual experience before anything else!

    I love that the library spans the length of the Provence house – that is a dream come true. The courtyard is beautiful – I especially like the photo of this one, shot through the tree branches and looking like a canopy. The bathroom is beautiful too. I do think bathrooms are my favourite rooms – total indulgence – and this is lovely for its simplicity. I love the splashes of red and the starkness of this bathroom.

  11. design for mankind. October 2, 2007 | 10:22 pm

    Ooh, great feature. Where DO you come up with this stuff?

    You’re so fabulous!!!

  12. Suzy October 3, 2007 | 5:31 am

    I think I vaguely remember seeing this article, but had no idea who they were – but they are an adorable couple. I agree, the library is spectacular, probably the best bit in the whole place – or maybe that would be the courtyard. Aah, the Europeans certainly know how to live, don’t they…

  13. franki durbin October 3, 2007 | 1:05 pm

    I love that you pay attention to the credits. All of that hard work is only rewarded if the talent is acknowledged. It is amazing how a drab photo of a spectacular room can sully the reputation of all involved!

  14. katiedid October 4, 2007 | 2:45 am

    I remember this article and thinking many of the same thoughts! What a wonderful life and it comes through so well in these photos. House and Garden excells at publishing wonderful spreads such as this. Elle Decor is great at it as well. Nice post! Thanks!

  15. Mark Cutler October 9, 2007 | 8:12 pm

    yes! i remember reading this article because they had just about as many books as i do~