Names: Julie Marabelle and Simon Summerscales
What: Famille Summerbelle
Call Home: Paris, France and London, England
About Famille Summerbelle:
Family-run business, Famille Summerbelle, was launched by Simon and Julie five years ago. While looking for fun, well-designed items for their home, they decided to take the plunge and start the studio. They share a love of graphics and interior design. Today, the couple creates a range of items including whimsical and colorful homewares, wallpapers, prints, and bags.
All the products are designed by Julie, who has an extensive background in fine art and theater set design. Simon runs the business side of Famille Summerbelle with his experience in account management at several global ad agencies.
Famille Summerbelle products have appeared in Elle Decoration, The Guardian, Marie Claire Maison, Le Figaro, and other publications.
1. Julie, where do you get your design inspiration?
It could be anything, from a photograph in a magazine to a color on a wall. I keep an inspiration board on the wall in my studio. Every time I see something interesting I pin it there. I also like to use Pinterest for some instant inspiration. But, what I love most is being inspired by the city. Any city! I love to observe people, study a lovely architectural detail on a building, walk into shops, and discover new areas. That’s why I created city maps, there are so many interesting and quirky details in a city.
2. Tell us about splitting your time and business between Paris and London. How did that arrangement come about?
We live on the outskirts of Paris and I have my studio at the top of the house where I create all the designs for Famille Summerbelle. We go to London about two to three times a month to visit the studio where, Priscilla, our studio manager works. The commute is very easy with the Eurostar (a 2.5 hour train journey). We usually leave early in the morning, grab a coffee on the train, and do some work or relax. We work with Priscilla at the studio for a couple of days and then return home. We have a lot of friends and family in London so it’s always an excuse to stay with them. When we launched our business we were living and working full time in London. We decided to move to Paris four years ago. Since we weren’t sure we’d stay there we never moved the business to France. For us, it works really well to split our time between the two cities.
3. Your three favorite things to do in Paris…
1. We love to take the children into the city during the weekend and visit museums such as les Arts Décoratifs. Last month we saw the exhibition of the Bouroullec brothers called Momentané. The children loved interacting with the large floor installation they created for the exhibition.
2. When we are without the children in Paris, we always move around on the Vélib—a bike sharing scheme where you rent a bike for a few minutes or the whole day to cycle around the city. If we plan a dinner out in town, we usually cycle to the restaurant. It’s particularly amazing to cycle in the evening during the summer.
3. We enjoy the area around the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement. There are lots of lovely small boutiques and restaurants.
4. Paris is known for shopping. Do you have one or two favorite shops or markets?
* Merci (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris) for the exquisite selection of home products.
* L’Illustre Boutique (1 Passage du Grand Cerf , 75002 Paris) for limited edition prints.
* The Collection (33, rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris) for unique interior objects and a beautiful selection of wallpapers—www.thecollection.fr
5. Learn more at the following sites:
*Shop EuropeanMarket for Famille Summerbelle products and other French items