Interview with.....Famille Summerbelle

Last week, we added two gorgeous maps of Paris and London by Famille Summerbelle to the site but what was most amazing and took us by surprise is how quickly they sold out on pre-orders alone....In just 2 days, we received heaps of orders (see update) from New-York, San Francisco, LA, Canada, Australia, London and the rest of the UK so we can safely assume that London and Paris are still a big hit around the world :-)
The prints are due to arrive in the new few days and we had to email Julie, the French Designer behind Famille Summerbelle, twice to top up our stock order. Given the huge success of these prints, you'll be pleased to know that Julie is also planning to work on a New-York map for a potential September launch so stay tuned...
In the meantime, enjoy this lovely interview with Julie, who kindly took the time to answer our usual B&F interview about inspiration, family/life balance, dreams with beautiful photos of her studio and family home just outside Paris....

This is a paper cut Julie did for Xmas and New year greetings in San Francisco, the last place, she, her husband Simon and their daughter Ophelia visited during their World Tour last year.

bodie and fou: When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?

Julie: Very early on. I went to a Steiner School when I was little and it was very creative. I think from the age of 6-7 I wanted to draw and make things all the time. After my A Levels I went straight to study in Art school in Paris (Ecole d'Art Appliques, Plasticen de l'Environnement) and then in London at the Saint Martin School of Art. I've never looked back!

bodie and fou: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Julie: Everywhere: blogs, magazines, everyday life. My daughter inspires me a lot as well.

Julie's studio (with a little desk for Ophelia to join in and starts being as creative as her mum) is located at the top of the house under the roof. It's a very light room and she gets the sun all day long...mmm doesn't this sound like the perfect place to work from

bodie and fou: Describe your studio/workplace?

Julie: I work from home. My studio is located at the top of the house. It's very light and spacious. I have on one side my desk with my computer/scanner/printer and on the other side a long desk where I do all my paper cuts and drawings.

bodie and fou: Which aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?

Julie: I love the research and design aspect. When I'm making things. I also love when I see that my products makes other people happy. Blogging is great for that, you get direct feedback from people all over the World.

bodie and fou: Launching your design studio/company was.....?

Julie: Pretty straight forward. It was a slow process. We're been learning along the way and we're still learning...

bodie and fou: Best piece of advice you were given?

Julie: Do what you like in your life and enjoy yourself. The rest will follow.

bodie and fou: When did you get your 'lucky break' ?

Julie: I've been quite fortunate. I had lots of 'lucky breaks' along the way

bodie and fou:
How often do you end up with a finished product that you don’t want your name attached to?

Julie: Never. If I am not happy with a product, an illustration then I work harder to make it good. Or I bin it, and try again. I can't do a job half done, I am a bit of a perfectionist in that sense.

bodie and fou: Who is your favourite designer?

Julie: I admire a lot of designers/artists/architects. Just to name a few: Georges Rousse, Mies Van Der Rohe, Robert Wilson, Charles and Ray Eames, Hella Jongerius, Tord Boontje, Thomas Heatherwick, Saul Bass, Marcel Breuer, Alexander McQueen...

bodie and fou: What is your favourite piece of design?

Julie: Difficult to name just one. I like simple and practical designs. It could be an Eames classic rocking chair or the Imac.

bodie and fou: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?

Julie: Believe in yourselves, work hard and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

bodie and fou: What would your dream project be?

Julie: Design and build our own house.

bodie and fou: How do you achieve a good work/life balance?

Julie: Working from home is great as I can spend more time with my daughter and I don't have to commute every day. The downside, it's hard to switch off from work! Running a small business and having a toddler around means working evenings and sometimes weekends. Working also freelance means there are time when it's a bit hectic and then more quiet. Family life is also very important for me so I make sure that I'm not working when i am not supposed to.

The pink Family Tree (available to buy here) was inspired by Ophelia's enthusiasm for family pictures. As Julie had too many pictures to hang into Ophelia's bedroom (in addition to Ophelia's little masterpieces), the Family Tree was a fun way to resolve that problem....I think it's such a cool and original gift idea for a new mother or for a baptism.

bodie and fou: Your most precious belongings at home?

Julie: My photo albums, or I guess my computer that stores all of my photos...I haven't really had the time to do photo albums yet!

bodie and fou: How would you describe your style at home?

Julie: A mix of modern and vintage furniture and lots of personal things.

Julie loves displaying her collection of glass candle holders on the mantelpiece (get the look here). She bought the table cloth from an antique market in Paris and the chairs from Ebay (they were from a church). The big green jar (top photo) was purchased in the south of France and the black & white photo is one of Julie & Simon's wedding day.

bodie and fou: If your studio wasn't, describe your ultimate dream workspace?

Julie: A ground floor space with white walls, lots of storage behind doors, a big desk and a massive window with direct access to a lush garden. A view of the mountain would be great too.
bodie and fou: Can you cook and what's your signature dish?

Julie: I can cook but my husband cooks really nice things so I let him do it. I like baking cakes. Rhubarb cake with meringue on top.
bodie and fou: Name something you can't resist...

Julie: My bed.
bodie and fou: What is next on your design journey?

Julie: I have lots of things I'd like to do, so I am going to explore a bit.
bodie and fou: And the mantra that keeps you going.......?

Julie: Keep on making things and have fun. Everyday.
Photos credits: Famille Summerbelle


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