Interior designer Laura Gonzalez: “What I like is not always what I need”

My personal style signifier is bohemian, mix of patterns, jewels, kimonos and long The DoubleJ Dresses. I wear necklaces, bracelets and a ring on each finger. Often I bring back jewelry from my travels, but I also go to look for pieces of Gas Bijoux, Begüm Khan and Cartier. I like to have an accumulation of different styles.

And on my wishlist is a painting by the American artist Wayne Pate – in particular Etruscan Urn In Polychromy And Partial Coating For Restoration N ° II. I like everything about his job. It’s delicate, graphic and subtly surreal.

The place I can’t wait to return is Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino. I spent an amazing weekend here with my husband two years ago. You can explore the area on a small Vespa or have lunch on a private boat near San Fruttuoso Bay. La Terrazza, the hotel’s restaurant, serves the perfect tomato pasta, which they named after Elizabeth Taylor. You feel like you’re back in the 70s when you are there. It is timeless.

Gordiola Glass in Palma de Mallorca © Alex Cretey Systermans

And the best memory I took home is a collection of glassware from the Gordiola glass shop in Palma de Mallorca. When I travel I buy jewelry, of course, but I also collect a lot of dishes – plates, glasses and cutlery. I bought this colorful collection two summers ago.

The best book I read last year is Villa Kerylos by Adrien Goetz. It takes place in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, near my home, in the south of France. Reading it at a time when travel was strictly limited reminded me of how beautiful it is there. It is a very special place.

A pair of ceramic candlesticks, edited by Atelier John Roger Paris

Pair of ceramic candlesticks, edited by Atelier John Roger Paris © Alex Cretey Systermans

A recent “find” is Nicolette johnson, a ceramist based in Brisbane. She makes large vases with beautiful little carved ripples and nails on them. It’s amazing work.

My style icon is Iris Apfel. She helped redesign the White House for nine different presidents. I love that she’s just herself – and so funny, even at 99. I’m not much of a fan type – different things look good on different people – so Iris is an accidental icon for me.

If I didn’t live in Paris, the city where I would live is Paris. Before the pandemic, I might have said London or New York, but now I want to be close to my friends and family. One of the most exciting projects I have undertaken was to renovate the Hotel Saint James Paris in the 16th arrondissement, using French artisans such as sculptor Patrice Dangel, who made the contemporary plaster chandeliers. The three best things in Paris are museums, theaters, and restaurants. Brasseries are part of Paris’ DNA. My favorite is The Hen In The Pot by Jean-François Trap. The food is very simple – asparagus and egg mimosa – and they always bring you a plate of fries. It’s just real French bistro cuisine, so important to Parisians.

The last music I downloaded was “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers. I want to dance whenever I hear it.

Gonzalez's Loewe boots for construction sites

Gonzalez’s Loewe boots for construction sites © Alex Cretey Systermans

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a pair of solids Loewe hiking style boots with rubber soles. I’m seven months pregnant, so it’s a bit tricky to buy clothes right now. What I like is not always what I need. But these boots are my best companions when I visit construction sites.

The last thing I bought and loved was a necklace of Ivarene, which makes jewelry from precious stones. The founder, Elisa Battistini, is a friend. This style hangs close to my neck and is made from green vesuvianite. I never take it off – not to shower, swim or sleep. It’s like a lucky charm. 310 €, ivarenegems.com

Green vesuvianite necklace by Ivarene Gems

Green vesuvianite necklace by Ivarene Gems © Alex Cretey Systermans

Crystals from the Paul Bert Serpette Market in Saint-Ouen, Paris

Crystals from the Paul Bert Serpette Market in Saint-Ouen, Paris © Alex Cretey Systermans

I have a collection of crystals, which I keep at home and at the office. I usually buy them from Paul Bert Serpette Market in Saint-Ouen, near Paris. My favorite is pink and in the shape of a heart. I also have 50 boxes of butterflies, which my father gave me when I graduated from architecture studies. I particularly like the dark blue wings of the Morpho menelaus species.

In my fridge you will always find fresh fruits and vegetables, dry white wine – Chablis or Pouilly Fumé – and spicy Matshi sauce. I cannot eat without spices.

I recently discovered Chapelle Saint-Pierre in Villefranche-sur-Mer. I’ve read a lot on the Côte d’Azur lately, and I discovered this little chapel covered with drawings by Jean Cocteau. It was a 14th century fisherman’s chapel, but he completely redeveloped it with his unique design style. It is a very unexpected space.

A fresco by Jean Cocteau at the Saint-Pierre Chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer

A fresco by Jean Cocteau in the Saint-Pierre Chapel in Villefranche-sur-Mer © Alex Cretey Systermans

Eau de Sens EDT by Diptyque

Eau de Sens EDT by Diptyque © Alex Cretey Systermans

The beauty staple that I never deprive myself of is Eau de Sens by Diptych. When I arrive at my office in the morning, people know I’m there because they can smell my scent. It’s soft, feminine and fresh at the same time. I also like Aunt harperthe clean line of beauty products, and I’ll never leave the house without Elisabeth ardenEight hour lip balm. My mom used to wear it, so now I wear it too. Diptyque Eau de Sens, £ 102 for 100ml EDT, diptyqueparis.com. Eight Hour Nourishing Cream Lip Balm, £ 20, elizabetharden.fr

An indulgence that I would never give up is the truffle. I have it with everything – on pasta, in cheese, on bread. I particularly like the white Alba truffle from the Piedmont region of Italy, which is fantastic on the eggs.

The best gift I have given recently is an art deco rosewood piano to my husband, Benjamin, music lover. He started playing a year ago, but he learned faster than me with 10 years of lessons. The piano is Danish and dates from the 1950s. It arrived on Christmas Eve morning, which turned out to be an event for the whole family.

Laura Gonzalez at home in Paris

Laura Gonzalez at her home in Paris © Alex Cretey Systermans

And the best gift I received recently is a green straw marquetry box made for me by L’Atelier Jallu. I use it to store my jewelry indoors – or sometimes just as a decorative box. Everything is always changing in my house.

The gadget I couldn’t do without is my Sonos Move speaker. You can bring it anywhere – the bathroom, the garden, the living room. I use it everyday. £ 399, sonos.com

My wellness guru is my naturopath Valerie Espinasse, which is based in Paris. I like a holistic approach to health.

The podcast I listen to is Where is the beautiful? It’s about art, design, and architecture, but sometimes the episodes are all about one material or an entire design style. I really liked an episode on Maison Jaune Studio and Aurélien Jeaneau. It reminded me of the beautiful memories I have of walking at the Saint-Ouen flea market last summer, looking for new pieces to inspire my work.

The emerald, ruby ​​and yellow gold ring offered to Gonzalez by her husband Benjamin

The emerald, ruby ​​and yellow gold ring offered to Gonzalez by her husband Benjamin © Alex Cretey Systermans

Matching jewelry on a backgammon table

Matching jewelry on a backgammon table © Alex Cretey Systermans

The objects that I would never part with are my rings. Everyone is a part of my story, and if I forget to wear one, I’m having a bad day. My favorite is the tailor-made, inspired by a vintage ring with emeralds and rubies, that my husband made for me in Paris after the birth of our second child. I also like my Clash de Cartier ring, which gives me strength thanks to its slightly rebellious studded design. From £ 1,830, cartier.com

If I didn’t do what I do I would be doctor. I like to take care of people. I am also very interested in understanding how the body works. My friends often call me when they have a problem – it’s like a second job.


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About Jennifer Amaro

Jennifer Amaro

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