The East London home of blogger, photographer and stylist Carole Poirot is a masterclass in understated style, says Jessica Jonzen. All images by Carole Poirot
It has taken a while, but there has been a gradual shift away from the perfectly precise and (whisper it) bland way in which we decorated in the noughties.
Now, rather than ordering the cult chair or the perfect shade of grey designer paint you’d find in every other home, we’re seeking out vintage gems and reclamation furniture. We’re going to the garden centre to stock up on house plants. We’re proudly displaying our trinkets and travel finds. The houses we admire and are inspired by now feel natural and lived-in. They are homes.
At the vanguard of this movement away from one-size-fits-all neutrality is the fantastically named Paris-born, London-based blogger, stylist, cook and photographer Carole Poirot.
Her blog, Mademoiselle Poirot, and Instagram account of the same name has attracted a loyal following and led to brand collaborations with the likes of Samsung, John Lewis and Le Creuset. She also runs extremely popular photography and styling workshops across the country and in Europe.
With her natural, idiosyncratically French style that juxtaposes the rustic and industrial with the natural and pretty, Carole has quietly established herself as an authentic tastemaker in the interiors world. In fact, if you’ve found yourself stocking up on spider plants, it’s likely you’ve been influenced by Carole’s aesthetic.
Unsurprisingly, the East London home she shares with her partner and 19-year-old son, Dylan, is a masterclass in artfully undone style. ‘I would describe my home style as natural and neutral,’ she says. ‘It’s ordered chaos and a bit of a cabinet of curiosities. It’s inviting and very personal to me.’
Carole moved from Paris to Germany as a child and grew up in what she describes as a ‘truly Bohemian’ home. ‘My parents’ house had a huge influence on my style,’ she says. ‘My mum especially has an eclectic collection of random items that she’s found over the years and brought back from her travels. Strangely, it took me a long time to figure out that my taste had been so heavily influenced by my childhood home.’
Carole and her partner moved to London 20 years ago. Having always had a passion for interiors, cooking and photography, she first began writing an interiors blog in 2011. Working in sales and marketing for a book publisher wasn’t satisfying her creativity and the blog became the perfect outlet for her passion for photography, interiors and food. In 2014, she was able to make a decision to quit her day job and make a career out of her passions.
Carole and her family moved into the Victorian terrace at the end of 2015, the main attraction being the price (by London standards) and the fact it had already been extended. ‘Unfortunately, despite a full survey, we discovered some major problems over time, which we are trying to slowly fix,’ she says. ‘That means that any funds are going on essential maintenance work instead of pretty things like a new kitchen.’
That said, Carole has used her natural sense of style to imbue the house with personality. ‘One thing I did the week before we moved in was to install a wood burner in the living room. It was just before Christmas and it made it cosy and homely – even though we were still surrounded by boxes,’ she says.
Carole then painted every room in the house Pure Brilliant White. ‘I don’t want the canvas to be the talking point, but to be as unremarkable as possible to let everything else stand out,’ she says.
The living room is her favourite room in the house. ‘It’s where I keep many of my favourite decorative items and it’s the first room that was finished. It’s where I tend to relax the most,’ she adds.
The kitchen comes a close second. She says: ‘I love to experiment with food and it’s where I keep all my food-related props.’ It also houses the free-standing discontinued Ikea kitchen units that Carole scoured eBay for. ‘They were exactly what I wanted and I picked them up one by one with the help of a friendly white van man,’ she laughs.
To achieve the quirky vintage-inspired look she wanted, Carole used reclaimed scaffold boards for the shelving. ‘I like to have as much as possible on display, especially since I use so many of the items as props. The props are part of my look,’ she says.
The house may have thrown the family some curve balls, but it is filled with charm. ‘I like interiors with personality and a mix of old and new. Textures and natural materials have a welcoming warmth to them,’ she says. ‘My personal rules are that a home needs to be personal, not too precious, slightly quirky, welcoming and not too on-trend.’ Words to live and decorate by.