Nathalie Farman-Farma's house was one of those houses that stole my heart as soon as I saw it. Her talent for layering, colours and general procurement of beautiful things blew me away. It has been shared on Instagram and Pinterest countless times, but I never bore of seeing it. But to mention only her home would be a travesty; her talent doesn't stop there - she hasn't just created an iconic home and then thought, 'well, that's me done', but rather continued her work by creating a line of fabrics which exude joy.
Her path to fabric design was an unruly one. She began her life on the outskirts of Paris with her three siblings, her French Born father (Jean-Paul) and her American mother (Eleanore). Jean-Paul worked in banking, and when Nathalie was 16 years old, his job required him to move to Manhattan. So the family upped sticks and found themselves a new home in Greenwich, Connecticut. When Nathalie went to university, she chose to study classics at Brown. Afterwards, she managed to get a position as an assistant editor at The New Yorker. Although she liked the job, her dream position would have been to work for The New York Review Of Books. But like many of us when we were starting out, she was too shy to put herself forward for the position. So she remained an Editor, and a few years later she moved to work with the American journalist and TV host Charlie Rose.
In 2000, Nathalie married Amir Farman-Farma, which proved to be both a source of inspiration and turning-point. As she put it: ‘Getting married to Amir, who's Iranian, all of a sudden I was plunged into a culture that I didn't know and I found that very exciting. I started learning Farsi. I was looking at all sorts of Iranian art. I wanted to create a home that would be east and west, reflect the both of us and be a home for my children.' She started looking into fabrics and creating things that she liked with no idea that this would be the start of a career. But like the best companies, Décors Barbares started through passion, and that passion has driven Nathalie to develop and release some sublime fabrics. Fabrics that have been used in houses worldwide and that have gained a fan base of celebrities, socialites and norms (c'est moi). In September 2020, she released her book, ‘Décors Barbares: The Enchanting Interiors of Nathalie Farman-Farma'. It was an instant hit. Reviewers sighted Nathalie's extraordinary ability, highlighting particularly her natural ability to 'layer' and her 'wonderful eye for colour.'
More recently, she collaborated with Cabana Magazine and created a room at Casa Cabana in Milan. It was exquisite and not to echo those reviews, but it was a perfect example of her 'wonderful eye'; she created a bountiful interior that didn't overwhelm and felt like it could have been created a decades ago but also timeless.
I was delighted Nathalie agreed to Tete a Tat, an honour as always.
Favourite Day? (e.g., Mine was my sister's wedding)
Boxing Day, as the family is gathered, Christmas duties are over, and there are leftovers and presents to enjoy.
Le Voltaire in Paris on a rainy night.
Any good advice? Who gave it to you?
I’d like to quote the ending of a poem by my 11-year-old niece: “The heart is something that you choose what it’s for.”
How do you like to spend your free time?
Walking around a new city with a well-researched list of good restaurants, fabric dealers and house museums
Lake Tahoe, California
Are you a morning or a night person?
Great film suggestion?
Cold War by Paweł Pawlikowski.
I don’t have one, but I have to nominate Harry Styles for my daughter's sake.
An old, faded paperback novel.
A song that can always make your foot tap?
Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra.