HAPPY GIRL: RACHEL MADDEN

Rachel Madden
Owner of Rachel Madden Interiors, Marin County, California


What a great surprise it was when I scrolled my Instagram few months ago and came across beautiful pictures of Rachel. Of course my eyes where caught by the kids' room which has some of our Cloudy floor pillows. It's a treat for me to see what I create makes it into people's life especially when every single thing around is very well curated. 

Good news is that Rachel moved recently in the Bay Area and you can contact her directly to get interior design advices. See more details directly on her new website right here: www.rachelmaddeninteriors.com


On my side I'm very glad to have Rachel for the second interview of my Happy Girl blog post series. Please see below how she started her business, what defines a good design for her and more!



Could you tell us more about who you are and what you do?
I just moved to Marin County from NYC with my family last September and we are thrilled to be back in California. I am originally from the Los Angeles area, and lived in NYC for about 10 years right out of college. After graduating, I worked for several architecture firms, focusing on both high-end residential and commercial projects. After that I started my own interior design business, which then led to meeting my husband (who was one of my clients!), which then led to my 2 beautiful babies. I have always been very passionate about design and I am excited to be bringing my design business to this new town!

Is there any designer or artist who influenced you in a special way?
I remember reading Kelly Hoppen's design books in college and loved the way she broke down design analytically. I started to look at spaces differently, and would try to understand what elements made the space visually appealing and cohesive. Just that practice of observing a space and breaking it down, gave me a better eye for design.

What defines good design for you? 
Good design is cohesive spaces. Spaces that flow into each other with similar colors and patterns, but shifting those color schemes so each room feels different. Focal points are important. Once the focal point is chosen you need to build around it, and ensure that the supporting elements aren't fighting to take center stage. Texture over color. If you want to create a sophisticated, interesting space, I would rather create the interest through lots of differing textures versus lots of bold colors. I also believe if you are going to use pattern, only use a sophisticated, ultra unique pattern. Dated, overly used patterns can really kill a space for me. Throwing in something unexpected, something that breaks the harmony or cohesion or symmetry, is a great way to make a room feel livable, as opposed to staged. A room that has a good balance of warmth and cool is key. Even if its just one wood element to break up an overly cool space. And last but not least, the best design is eco-friendly design. I admire anyone who makes this a priority and considers things like where are the materials/wood sourced from, what is their toxicity levels, how will this effect indoor air quality, etc.

What are your favorite shops, restaurants or places to go in Marin County?
We love Sushi 69, El Paseo (great steak!), Terrapin Crossroads (great for kids) and Farmshop. We love to go hiking -  there are gorgeous trails everywhere. We take the kids to Muir Beach, Stinson, Discovery Museum, and love taking a date day at the Cavallo Point Spa.


Find more about Rachel's business right here: www.rachelmaddeninteriors.com
Happy French Gang's items featured above: 

RUGS.

Happy French Gang is pleased to extend the rug collection. We are having more colors and more sizes. But the more important info is that we now do custom. Contact me at sandra @ happyfrenchgang.com and let's talk about it.

They are super mellow and squashy and your feet will love that. We also like to see them over a couch or a bed, your choice!

Our rugs are made with heavy cotton fabric that are weaved for Happy French Gang in India. It's about 10 yards of fabric that we dyed for the ones featured below. After the dye with spend a lots of hours to create strips out of it and about the same time to knit it.
Bonus: everything in made in out studio in San Francisco, California.

PRINTED TEA TOWELS.

Happy French Gang has been all about tie dye and pastel colors since I started that brand. I love the magical process of tie-dying. But it's been a while that I wanted to explore more paths and let go my creativity to other horizons.

I had in mind, embroideries, print (event if I already screen printed bags in the past), hand painting... Well I did them all in different ways in just few months!! I was afraid to go to far, to not meet the standard that we had at Happy French Gang, to create something too different from what the brand represent and to loose some clients on the way...

It's all new so I am not so sure of the impact yet but all I can say is that I had A BLAST creating this new collections! And... it's not over, you should see more in the next few months.

Below are the first printed tea towels. 3 more colors are coming there way in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Happy French Gang printed Tea Towels Happy French Gang printed Tea Towels Happy French Gang printed Tea Towels Happy French Gang printed Tea Towels
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HAPPY GIRL: MARION PERNOUX

Marion Pernoux
Owner of ENSOMA, San Francisco


If you do not know Marion Pernoux from ENSOMA, a beauty and art lounge, then you should! She is a single mum with a beautiful energy and has lived in the city for about 17 years. She stumbled on one of Happy French Gang's booth at the West Coast Craft and has been a fan since then.

Her lounge is a very relaxing place in the middle of the busy SOMA and I love getting there and receive all the super positive vibes coming from that space and from Marion's hands. I'm so grateful to be able to visit her and ask her few questions.


Tell us more about who you are and what you do.

My name is Marion, I created Ensoma beauty & art lounge, a harem of peace in the bustling 'big village' of San Francisco, to welcome people to take a breather, be lavishly pampered, in a space indulging all their senses. This life is temporary and therefore so precious! I treat my guests to decadent beauty rituals, head-to-toes, mind & body. At the core, it involves letting go of your everyday 'hats', undressing, peeling off layers of tension, nods, holds, through breathing, mindfulness, stretching, opening, quality of presence. Then a feast of fresh aromatherapy ingredients and delicious botanical blends unfolds, with a curated playlist, eye candy visuals, in a nesty, warm, enveloping treatment bed.

What do you love most about your career?
  • Crafting new beauty rituals. Caring for someone, is comparable to holding the whole universe in my hands! To lift the spirit, welcome the empirical adventure of 'sensing', and calm the cerebral activity, I mindfully select a variety of fresh skin care potions with diverse textures, scents, and active ingredients. Strategic massage pauses in between facial treatments, reiki {energy healing} all throughout, it is a wholesome journey. 
  • The forgotten art of touch and the human connection: the raw, tangible bond that expands through the touch is so subtle and powerful! It is a sacred conversation of heart beats, breathe, and energy flow. The peace and tranquility that takes place during those sacred sessions are mutually beneficial! It grounds me, as it is centering for the mind and body. You can not deliver an authentic touch unless you are truly present and have a genuine intention to service someone. It fulfills my purpose. 
  • The deep sighs and sense of 'plénitude' at the end of the session that reads on people's face is so rewarding! 
  • Put simply: my work is an act of Love.

Could you give us your favorite beauty tip?

Beauty starts from within: your diet, your state of mind, where you are in your life, your daily routine will reveal through your body and your skin. Listen within, your body is intuitive!

Some simple self-care I practice every day: a freshly squeezed lemon juice first thing in the morning on an empty belly {to rinse off your system and detox}, lots of mineral water throughout the day, wash my face immediately after exercising {to prevent breakouts}, juicing one day a week {versus one week a year}, air out my body: walk, bicycle, run, and then restore: yoga, cat naps and mindfulness. Lessons from my daughter: get lost in my thoughts, contemplate, draw, paint, dance, be more in the moment. Let go, and love myself.

What's your philosophie when it comes to decorating and how would you describe the style of your loft?

Every detail when you enter a space should be inspiring and created intentionally as a treat for the senses: from the luminosity of the space to the scent in the air, the music, the warmth, the colors, the textiles touching the skin, and so on. Ensoma features camaïeus of soft colors to evoke a dreamy, enveloping retreat:
  • the space is dressed up in the Happy French Gang Cloudy Blanket collection: dreamy baby blue large zip-pillows on the sofa, heavenly breathy white curtains, sweet rosy throw on the treatment bed, 
  • organic punctuations with epic art: paper installations, tribal hanging sculpture {all artwork by Charles Papillo}, 
  • natural accents: plants, gemstones, burning palo santo, fresh flowers 
  • inspirational literature 
  • curated music

Describe SF in 3 words.

// in constant metamorphosis // move with it // make it yours // up to you // piss and love // ever changing village //


Find more about Marion's business right here: ENSOMA
Happy French Gang's items featured above: 
Lany Cloudy rug
Zipillow

NOEMA.





Noëma modeling with our cushions.  
Find them right HERE.


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HAND PAINTED LAVENDER BAGS.

Hey!
Here we go! Hand painted fabric. What do you think?
We hand painted them in our studio in San Francisco with our dyes. We made a mix of natural and synthetic. And voila! The result is pretty nice.
We started to do some lavender bags in 3 different style and another product should arrive soon. For now get your lavender bags to sleep relax!!


http://www.happyfrenchgang.com/collections/lavender-bag/products/3-hand-painted-lavender-bags-pink-and-vino


More details directly on the webshop HERE!
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PURPLE!

Happy French Gang has a new addition to the Cloudy collection: PURPLE!!

Three items are available right now in that color:
*Cloudy blanket 80x60"
*Mini Cloudy blanket 50x40"
*Pillow 18x18" with feather and down insert.

Purple: combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red.

I hope you like it as I do!
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MELANIE ABRANTES.

Melanie Abrantes 
Woodworker, Studio, Oakland
Please, can you give us an introduction on who you are and where do you come from? 
I grew up in Houston, Texas and moved to California to study Product Design at Otis College of Art and Design in LA. I gradually ended up moving up north to start my business Melanie Abrantes Designs where I design and make my line of cork and wood products for the home.

Can you explain to our reader which path brought you to work with cork?
I am half portuguese and I grew up visiting portugal during my summers to see my grandfather. That is where I saw the amazing things you could do with cork and all of the potential of a material that is very untapped in the US.

Is there any designer or artists who has influenced you in a special way? 
I believe that my professor and mentor in school, Tanya Aguiniga, was a huge influence. She was a really inspirational teacher that helped me grow as a designer and she also was the first woman I saw who owned a successful small business that was based on art and design.

For how long are you in this studio and is there a story you can share about this place?
I have been in this studio for 1.5 years now. It was an old tomato factory before it was converted to office spaces, I just love all of the charming brick walls and quirks about old buildings like these!

When do your best ideas come to you?
Right before I sleep.

Can you describe your job in 3 words?
Labor of Love.

San Francisco in 3 words?
Quirky, Fun and Original.

What is your favorite place to eat in SF?
Plow in Potrero Hill....sooo good!

Do you have a secret boutique or space that you love in SF and you'd like to share with us?
One of my favorite places to go to is Flora Grubbs in the Dogpatch, it is literally plant heaven and always makes me want to build a jungle in my home.

What are your favorite spots in town when you want to relax?
I love to hike at the Bernal heights hill. It is a hidden gem of SF, you can have a 360 degree view of the city and is always way less crowed compared to Twin Peaks.

Thank you so much Melanie for your time and your good energy!  More details on Melanie's work directly here: www.melanieabrantes.com

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MAKER'S GANG.

First time organizing such a big even!
If you live in San Francisco with kiddos this is the place to hang out this coming Saturday!
Meet local makers, shop, sip champagne and let your kids play in the indoor playground!

See you there!

NATHALIE LÉTÉ.

Nathalie Lété 
Artist, Studio, Paris
 

Hi, Could you tell us who you are and where do you come from? 
I'm a woman artist of 51 years old, and I am born in Paris, from a German mother and a Chinese father. I live in Paris, I'm married with a French painter and I'm a mother of two kids of 17 and 20 years old. 

Your work is really poetic with a total freedom. Where do you find your inspiration? 
I do similar things as I did when I was a kid. I mix different technics, colors, mediums, style of art... I like a patch of my favorite themes (animals, pattern of textiles, Flowers, vintage toys, folk art...) to build a personal world which gives me happiness and self confidence. I like to paint, to do ceramics, to embroid. I love textile, vibrations of colors, and try to have emotions and if possible to give the others some emotions through my work. 

Are you formally trained or self-taught? And what defines good design for you?
I studied at L'école des arts appliqués Duperé and then L'école des beaux arts in Paris. But I am also very interested in rough work, and I specially like when art stay naive. So I like to try to keep freshness and the naivety of the childhood. That is one of the definition for me of a good work. Also the most important thing to me: a good work should gives me emotions, it should surprise me and gives me the feeling of harmony. 

Can you describe your job in 3 words? 
My job in three words: organisation, creation, open my eyes.. 

For how long are you working in this studio and is there a story you can share about this place?
We bought this place 15 years ago, at the same time as our house which is just next to it. It was a solution to have the kids in the garden playing with other kids at same time as working... This is an old factory of metal, where they did some part of the eiffel tower. I like to live here because it is next to Paris, and I have the space, light, garden to eat outside by nice weather, and it is quite. 

What do you love about living here?
I love Paris, because as a nostalgic person, I really feel the past, and I enjoy to imagine myself at the 19 century. I particulary like it in the morning very early, when the streets are empty and just the first people begin to work and open their cafés... 

How do you start your day and what does your daily routine looks like?
A regular day is waking up at 7am, taking my breakfast while reading emails and Instagram. Going to work at 8:30 am after the home occupations of a mother, work until 1 pm in my studio which is 5 minutes from my house. Have a break with my husband for the lunch at home, eating all the rests of our last dinner, and then go back to work until 6 pm. Prepare dinner, watch tv with my husband and do foot massage at same time to each others and go to bed around 10.30. I have a very very regular life. I don't need really to go out and see friends. I do not have a big social life, even if i would like sometimes to go out more. I don't have the energy to do it really... 

Week ends, we go for a walk in the forest with our dachshund, and visit an exhibition, go to work 3 hours in the studio, come back to see a movie and have sometimes dinners with friends. My husband is going often to vernissages and have many artist friends. I like to stay at home and read books, keep all my energy for my work in fact. I must say that my job is the most important thing in my life, it feeds me really.

Thank you Nathalie for your time! You have the most colorful and dreaming studio. Please check her website at www.nathalie-lete.com
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