A space of timeless elegance with a globetrotting touch

Iva Bravic Millereau and her husband Pierre Millereau's Shanghai living space is comfortable, functional and boasts timeless elegance with bursts of color and glamorous features. 
Dong Jun / SHINE

The living room boasts timeless elegance with bursts of color and glamorous features.

Iva Bravic Millereau and her husband Pierre Millereau’s Shanghai living space is comfortable, functional and boasts timeless elegance with bursts of color and glamorous features. 

Croatian Iva and French Pierre had lived in more than seven countries and their new living adventure in Shanghai with their kids Lana and Charles began just half a year ago.

“We are a multi-language family which often perplexes people when they hear us communicate in a few different languages in span of a one-minute conversation,” Iva said.

“All four members of our family were born in different countries and our 5 1/2-year-old daughter Lana speaks five languages, the smartest of us all!”

Before moving to Shanghai, the couple spent many years in France, Canada and Croatia, then they moved to Switzerland for three years, Moscow for two and a half years and a short nine-month period in Miami, Florida, in the United States.

“Moscow was a very deep soulful experience and we all fell in love with Russia and its rich culture,” she said.

“We love to eat Russian cuisine and we still speak Russian at home. Plus our son was born there so we have a special connection to Moscow. After moving to Miami, we were in love with the natural beauty of Florida but our soul was longing for a city with more energy. When we got a call for Shanghai we immediately said yes!”

Dong Jun / SHINE

The couple purchases object by object and never a full look. It somehow comes together in a very pleasing way.

Having been exposed to so many cultures and landscapes, the home is an eclectic mix of influences and styles. The generous living space is an elegant example of comfortable city living, as the apartment provides the perfect showcase for their own collections over the years.

Iva said they looked for an apartment that is clean and contemporary with a high quality finishing, and that was not easy to find. “The first question we always asked ourselves is do we have enough wall space for our art and is there enough storage space?” Iva said.

The apartment in a high-end residential compound in the city center features the amazing view of the city as well as a generous layout. It has a big living room and four very comfortable-sized bedrooms.

“We never tried to create a special atmosphere or style in our homes,” said Iva.

“I believe style should be effortless. I always choose furniture and decor objects I really like and appreciate the aesthetics , and it somehow always fits in. I purchase object by object and never a full look. It somehow comes together in a very pleasing way.”

Some of the highlight pieces include an original 1960s production of a Verner Pantone adjustable peacock chair, a recently required Eames lounge chair by Herman Miller, an original Eames rocking chair from the 1970s, an classic Florence Knoll sofa, a handmade carpet from Turkmenistan sourced on a trip to Askhabat and the vintage 1950s oversized lamp belonging to Pierre’s grandmother.

Dong Jun / SHINE

A painting by American artist Flore adorns the living room wall along with a 1940s oversized lamp from Paris.

Vintage car spare parts are also creatively used as decor items that most people can’t even notice. Pierre is a collector of vintage cars, and this is the way he connects to them daily without being able to actually see them.

The couple opts for a relaxed ambience.

“We approach decorating in a very informal way. I don’t like an interior that looks overly put together, that is picked out of a brand book,” Iva said.

“Decorating starts with a desire to acquire a wonderful conversational piece of furniture, and then the story builds on from there. That is exactly how we created the look in our living room.

“And the art for me is always what makes a home. We started collecting artworks a decade ago and we have a flexible rule that the art should be bought in the country we are living in by an artist from the country.

“We definitely have a preference for graffiti art, maybe something to do with us being teenagers in the 1990s and heavily influenced at the time by the skate boarding culture,” she said.

Two Russian artists Alex Kuzetsnov and MishaMost, German artist Stohead, American artist Flore, two French artists — JC de Castelbajac and Cieu — and her favorite photojournalist and good friend James Hill grace the walls of their living room.

Dong Jun / SHINE

The corner of the master bedroom displays a vintage chair, several modern design objects and contemporary artworks.

“Each of the works tells a story of where we were living at that time, and majority of the cases we know the artists and we visited their art studios,” she said. “That also creates a very special relationship with the art that hangs on our wall. However, we are still looking for our first piece from a Chinese artist.

“For me, those cozy finishing touches are always art and fresh and potted flowers. And at home I spend a lot of time in my living room lounging in my Eames chair overlooking the city lanes. It’s such a serene view in this concrete jungle. Usually my 2 -year-old son sits in my lap and we twist and stare out at this amazing city.”

The master bedroom on the other hand gives off a cozy contemporary feel, hence their choice of a Calligaris bedroom set and organic cotton bedding, clean lines and flowers.

“For the kids’ bedroom I wanted them to have a very fun environment yet with artistic and vintage elements,” Iva said.

“The first acquired piece was the jumbo Miffy lamp, then the vintage rocking horse acquired in a Parisian antique sales, a wooden doll house and then came the Mickey painting to put it all together.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

Iva Bravic Millereau

Ask The Owner

Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?

A: The energy of the city.

Q: Describe your home in three words.

A: Classic, effortless and elegant.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

A: Kiss my kids.

Q: How do you unwind?

A: Yoga and meditation.

Q: What’s your best view outside your window?

A: The view of the city center.

Q: How do you scent your home?

A: Fresh flowers.

Q: What’s your favorite object at home?

A: My small but growing art collection.

Q: What are your favorite spots for furniture shopping in Shanghai?

A: The Danish Hay design store and antique shops. 

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