Move in, Move on

1970s, cosmopolitan, Dominique Depalle, interior design, interiors, Michael Boys
Dominique’s bath can be replumbed when she moves; a wall-hanging can be more easily removed than tiles.

You may hate to be tied down by your possessions, but naturally you get attached to them. For a more flexible life-style, learn from Dominique Depalle and choose furnishing that moves where she does.

If you’ve spent longer in France than a weekend, you’ve probably noticed that most French girls have a greater sense of style by the time they are twenty than the rest of us will ever acquire. Instead of always trying to beat those clever ladies in the style stakes—and not quite succeeding — we should swallow our English pride and learn from them. Take Parisian Dominique Depalle, for instance, who has cunningly transformed a drab studio flat—the equivalent of a big-city bedsit or rented flat in a dingy Victorian house—into a warm, feminine home that looks as though it might have cost a fortune, but didn’t, thanks to Dominique’s experience as an antique dealer. She has a sharp eye for spotting bargains in junk. Dominique recently gave up her job in advertising to turn her hobby—collecting antiques—into a full-time occupation. Like Dominique, most girls in their late teens and twenties expect to swop flats, jobs, even cities, several times. Dominique decorates on the sensible principle that if she’s going to move on, she should be able to take all her favourite possessions with her when she goes. There’s not a fitted carpet, built-in cupboard or roll of wallpaper in the place. Dominique chooses every item with infinite care because she knows that each object will last a lifetime… like the Victorian bath, which could easily be transported with the help of a friendly lorry driver, and replumbed in another flat ; the huge tiger wall-hanging, not as practical as tiles, maybe, but then you can’t start taking down the tiles every time you have an altercation with your landlord. A bundle of small objects—baskets, ornaments and framed photographs—will pack easily into a suitcase. And by keeping walls plain wherever she goes, Dominique can be certain that her intricate wall-hangings, pictures and flowery bed-coverings will blend with every setting. Dominique dreams of eventually having a proper house—with a staircase, a loft and a cellar for apples and wine. Meanwhile she longs for adventure in her life and is thinking of going to live in Africa for a few years. If you, like Dominique, get itchy feet after more than a few months in the same place—but still want somewhere pretty to come home to —remember that your possessions should be as mobile as you are.

Photographed by Michael Boys.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, July 1977.

Favourite objects show off Dominique’s individual style.
With plain walls, flowery fabrics blend in any room.
Dominique sells antiques at work and buys them for a hobby. Evenings at home are spent restoring her miniature replicas of old furniture