Stephanie Sallette’s apartment in the busy downtown area of Shanghai is an urban oasis with East-meets-West touches.
The 120-square-meter apartment the French woman shares with her Portuguese husband Goncalo Vilarinho is on the 20th floor of a residential building at the crossroads of Anfu Road and Wulumuqi Road M.
Vilarinho had lived in Shanghai for three years before the couple met in France.
“He always said we had to live in this part of the city if we moved to Shanghai. I was so happy to see the platane trees in the neighborhood. I lived in Aix-en-Provence for seven years, and platanes are the symbol of the city,” she said.
Featuring an open layout, the living and dining area is constructed with “continuous movement” in mind. Each functional area is afforded a glimpse of the city skyline as a result of the ample open space. It is the first time Sallette has lived in a tower surrounded by other buildings.
“From the very beginning, I was charmed by the view from my kitchen, which had a New York feel to it.”
The couple sought to capture the warmth of the sun in this home.
“We love the natural light coming from the living and dining rooms. The bedroom is also illuminated with beautiful morning light. When the sun comes up, you’re hopeful – it’s a new day. It feels great to start the day full of positive energy,” she said.
Sallette has a knack for blending old and contemporary elements in a manner that oozes instant charm. To create a peaceful yet playful space, the generously sized two-bedroom home is clad in natural textures; these include the prominent use of linen, cotton and wood.
In a space where daily life often revolves around fun-filled gatherings with friends, Sallette started decorating the dining area and kitchen first.
“The open kitchen is part of the dining room, which means when we have friends over for dinner, we are in the center of the ‘kitchen.’ In France, the kitchen is the room where everyone gathers. You usually enjoy wine and conversations with friends and family while cooking. It’s a convivial space,” she said.
Sallette loves to dress up her home with high-quality linen fabrics for a relaxed feeling. She and her Dutch friend Kim Duker founded the responsible interior decoration brand Studio NooSH (WeChat account: Studio NooSH) in Shanghai. “We met on Anfu Road and immediately clicked, thanks to our common passion for beautiful homes,” she said.
They set up their showroom on Anfu Road, offering soft linen collections made from the best European Oeko-Tex linen for beds and tables in 30 different colors that are embodied with designs. “European elegance with a Chinese touch … it’s a brand born in the city we love,” Sallette said.
Understandably, linens in elegant shades from Studio NooSH are styled throughout the space at her home, celebrating the natural beauty of the fabric and demanding the attention it deserves. The interiors are calm and serene, with the linen fabrics in different shades layered across bedding, tablecloths, napkins and placemats.
“In the master bedroom, I love a softer atmosphere that gives me space to relax and unwind. The linen bedding in this soft clay color matches the painting sourced from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. I also love to play with cushions and colors in different shapes and sizes. The family mirror that stands on my side of the bed follows me everywhere I live,” she said.
Her home interiors continue to evolve as she comes across designs that inspire her, while sourcing vintage and contemporary works during her travels.
“For the living area, I play with colorful cushions that I get while traveling. I have a passion for cushions, and it’s an object that can easily spice up a sofa or a bed,” she said.
In Shanghai, Sallette has acquired a few pieces, such as the local armchairs reupholstered with her own flashy velvet, some corduroy poufs from Studio NooSH, a pomegranate carpet from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and a chair with African wax by lifestyle brand Chinoises. “All these elements are in my cozy living area, where we have long aperitifs with friends.”
A portrait painting by Basmat is the highlight of the living area. “Looking at it makes me happy. It combines all the elements I love: bright pink, the naive touch of the flowers and a portrait. It has a strong happy touch in our living space.”
There’s also the “Shanghai Street” picture taken by her photographer friend Fabiola Liacy De Felip, which captures well the messy side and daily life of modern Shanghai that tend to disappear.
“I love mixing colors and patterns. I’m more into warm colors like pink, fuschia and rust, and my husband is a blue person, so we found a good way to compromise,” she said. “My home is my safe space where I can recharge my energies, always feel at peace, and welcome friends into my personal world.”