A sun-filled space of peace among trees in Shanghai
Inside a spacious apartment in the tree-lined downtown, fashion designer Juliette Capillaire's art-filled space offers her peace and comfort.
Originally from Paris, Capillaire met her Swiss/Egyptian husband in Geneva, and moved to Dubai, Singapore and now Shanghai. She has strategically built up her fashion label Capsule by Juliette since 2016, with a store in Singapore and a showroom in Shanghai.
This spacious apartment is the first home she lived in since she moved to the city in August 2020 with her husband and two sons.
"We came for a city visit in January 2020 right before the COVID-19 outbreak," she said.
"We visited several flats and really liked the atmosphere/layout at Gao An Court but at the time only the second floor was available which was a bit too dark."
As the family couldn't come back before moving, they had to choose a place remotely before their arrival and by chance the fourth floor was free.
"We agreed on it after the several videos showed by the agency and moved in directly after quarantine," she said.
The apartment fulfills their criteria: It is sun-filled with nice and big space and it features three bedrooms and an office.
"We loved the open kitchen and especially the views of the platane leaves outside the windows, so typical of this neighborhood. And for our first-time experience in China, we also found it quite convenient to be in a residence with a helpful management," Capillaire said.
"As expats, it's always important for us to bring our own collection of furniture to recreate everywhere with a cozy atmosphere that we feel at home."
Capillaire doesn't impose a particular style but likes a place to relax and hang out with family and friends. "We collect the things we love and then try to figure out how to combine them, but the vibe is definitely French chic."
The basic color scheme in the apartment is neutral. She opts for earthy colors – things from nature and being able to add bits of color and texture with art and decorative items.
"Regarding the furniture, it's a mixture between French antique furniture that I inherited from my family and classic items from the 1950s and 1960s that we purchased over the years," she said.
Highlight pieces are the iconic chairs placed in the living area. "My favorite is the original Eames lounge and ottoman as I got it from my grandmother. I used to spend so much time chatting with her sitting in this chair in her beautiful Parisian apartment. My graceful grandmother has always been my muse and this chair means a lot to me emotionally," Capillaire said.
Family heirlooms are treasured items placed discreetly around the space. It can be an Empire-style cabinet from the early 19th century or paintings done by Capillaire's great grandfather who was a painter, or one of his friends who was an Impressionist painter.
"I cherish them very much. The old furniture and paintings inherited from my family give off a cozy vibe and remind me of my childhood," she said.
Capillaire also loves to collect glasswork. On top of the corner table in the living room, exquisite vintage crystal glasswork from Baccarat and Lalique showcase ultimate elegance across the various patterns and styles, giving a fine touch to the interior.
"It's essential to have a comfortable sofa with colorful cushions to create a nice contrast to the rest of the designer or vintage furniture," she said.
"I love having a scented candle especially in the winter to give a warm atmosphere and a lot of indirect lights instead of ceiling lights. I collect objects that I like because of their aesthetic or their sentimental value, creating nice decorative details."
Besides, there are artworks purchased over the years.
"The diamond skull picture by well-known British artist Damien Hirst we purchased at the Abu Dhabi art fair is a strong piece on the wall," she said.
"It might be shocking in a rather classic apartment, but I enjoy the bold contrast it gives to the space."
Next to the "shocking" art piece is photography of the ocean by French photographer Christophe Jacrot who captures atmospheric moments of nature and life.
The living and dining space is the heart of the home where family and friends can feel comfortable and inspired.
As for the master bedroom, it surprisingly features a cottage house kind of vibe with big windows looking out to the trees. The highlight is the window behind the bedhead which brings in abundant sunlight during daytime. The family pictures and drawings are displayed here with extra intimate touch.
Ask The Owner
Q: What's the best thing about living in Shanghai?
A: The possibility to ride my bicycle everyday and the kind of village life in my neighborhood.
Q: Describe your home in three words.
A: Cosy, French, welcoming.
Q: How do you unwind?
A: I put on music, drink a glass of wine and chat with my husband on the sofa.
Q: Where do you spend most of your time at home?
A: In my office.
Q: What's the view outside your window?
A: Platane trees.
Q: What's your favorite object at home?
A: The original Eames lounge and ottoman.
Q: Where do you buy furniture?
A: When I find the items I love.