Marie-Laure Helmkampf creates elegant yet rustic French homes mostly in the French countryside. Whether they are modern farmhouses, village homes, or country cottages, each is thoughtfully designed and decorated.
Born off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, the Île de Ré influenced Helmkampf's sensibility for neutral and natural tones and textures. After training in the United States as an interior designer, she lived in New York City for 15 years. Helmkampf returned to France and now lives in Nîmes, Provence.
Light and the effects of light on objects is of primary importance to the interior designer. While remaining steadfast to the client's wishes, Helmkampf's work also pays respect to the outside influences of the local architecture and natural landscape. With a general vision of the overall project in mind, her projects evolve from there. Helmkampf favors objects that suggest warmth and uses their colors and textures to link and contrast to the architectural elements of the house.
This blog explores Helmkampf's use of artisanal urns; glass décor, such as demijohn bottles; vintage pieces; rustic kitchen pieces; one-of-a-kind salvaged finds, and quintessential French outdoor furniture and objects, and analyzes how they are juxtaposed with modern finishings.
Please join me on this tour of one of Helmkampf's inspirational Provençale farmhouses!
Marie-Laure Helmkampf's exquisite architectural spaces are furnished expertly with décor that complement the building's raw materials. The muted colors and hard texture of the large Anduze urn installed in the left corner of this divine dining room blends well with the stone wall. While the planted urn positioned outside merges effortlessly with the beginning of the olive grove. Helmkampf keeps the outdoor/indoor in mind. On the dining table, the low-hanging lights meet the flames of the organic sculptural candelabras, creating a wonderful, dramatic effect against the backdrop of the natural light coming from the country garden.
Always conscious of the light source (or of creating one), Helmkampf plays continuously with its different effects on the textures and tones of timber, glass, crisp white plaster, and metal in her work. For her contemporary designs, she creates lines of interest using vintage pieces. Above, a vintage chair adds timeless character to the bold bedroom with its warm and soft mustard and bronze colored bed linen. Attention is paid equally to the view from the window, the beautiful fabrics on the bed, and the chair in the foreground.
Helmkampf artfully uses outdoor French chairs, alongside a rustic table, with painted benches to create a unique modern dining interior while preserving a farmhouse feel. A rustic chopping board accentuates the timber joinery in the kitchen.
Vintage glassware and sculptural demijohn bottles are recurring elements in Helmkampf's décor portfolio. Viewed from the bedroom, they juxtapose beautifully with the crisp twisting stairs.
The modern fireplace pictured at left above also is decorated with vintage French demijohn bottles.
To continue the glassware theme, clear demijohns and vintage bottles are displayed tastefully on this rustic buffet. Together with the white color palette of the room, the shiny reflective texture of the demijohn bottles brings light to the space.
The raw timber table, crisp white wall, and black framed windows harmonize together. What a superb ambience this Provençale home has!
I adore the earthy tones and pops of color in this living room! Everything has its place. Love the nod to the south of France with the large Biot jar beside the elegant fireplace.
Marie-Laure Helmkampf uses the kitchen island to its full potential in the farmhouse's beautiful kitchen. Not only are islands functional but they can be centerpieces in their own right. She has selected carefully a rustic table with pleasing drawers and plenty of open shelving. When moving house, this kind of storage needn't be left behind!
Helmkampf chooses a rustic salvaged door to add rich texture, earthy tones, and a story to this neutral bathroom.
Helmkampf creates contrast in this modern-style master bedroom by using a rustic ladder as a towel rack.
Let's go outside! A splendid pair of vintage wicker armchairs look fabulous beside this inviting pool.
Oh, what a dream! Love this classic French garden table placed in a quiet shady garden spot. Behind, a young olive tree grows in a charcoal grey zinc panier – not only does the color of the table match the green of the olive tree, but Helmkampf is sure to bring out the grey tones in the stone wall by placing a grey planter against it.
Summer in Provence! Laugh and relax with loved ones among fruit trees, green vineyards bursting with grapes, and of course olive trees.
Shop this Look!
Play with the light and texture of modern, vintage, or antique lights like Marie-Laure Helmkampf, and connect and contrast with other textures and colors of the room.
Suitable both inside and outside, planted or empty, Anduze urns will add a touch of France to your home.
Discover a charming range of stools and chairs and experiment with using them in untraditional ways.
Bring a garden chair inside, select a pillow with great fabric and texture to place on the seat, and position near a bedroom window!
A great way to link wooden textures together in a room, French cutting boards are useful, decorative, and come in interesting shapes and sizes.
Farm benches are just some of the rustic chairs available now at Chez Pluie to recreate a French country look.
Demijohn bottles large or small, tinted or without color, Chez Pluie has a complete range most of the time.
Explore Chez Pluie's collection of outdoor chairs inviting you to spend relaxed time in the shade or sun.
Authentic Biot jars have been made the same way by artisans in the south of France for centuries. They are incredibly special and bring the passage of time with them.
Recreate Helmkampf's kitchen aesthetic with white ceramics stored visibly on a kitchen island. Shop Chez Pluie's full range of lovely porcelain.
Salvaged panels and doors can add an amazing atmosphere to a space and appear as though they were always made for that specific spot.
Helmkampf's beautiful example of garden furniture can be recreated with the help of Chez Pluie. Shop our truly charming range of outdoor tables.
All images care of ML Helmpkampf.
Frequently asked questions
1) What is the name of a contemporary French interior designer?
Marie-Laure Helmkampf, Nîmes, Provence, France. https://www.instagram.com/mlhelmkampf/?hl=en
Richard Goullet, Saint Maximin, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France. http://www.richardgoullet-decoration.com/; Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/richardgoulletdecorateur/?hl=en, Tel :00 33 6 51 62 64 04
Royal Roulotte, Paris, France. https://royalroulotte.com/; Tel. 00 33 6 20 75 02 37
Philippe Starck, Industrial architect & Designer, Paris France. https://www.starck.com/
2) How can I bring a French feel to my home and garden?
Most French homes are interspersed with antiques – acquired either through the family trove or from flea markets, brocantes, or marchés. The French aesthetic combines a lived-in feel with formality that can be re-created by combining a mix of rustic and refined pieces in the same room and from different time periods – from antiquity all the way through to the present. Plants are never far away from the French home, and many are kept within. Topiary – clipping herbaceous plants like rosemary or hardy plants such as boxwood into geometric shapes (spheres, for example) is common in French homes and gardens. It’s also very French to display bouquets of flowers throughout the interior spaces and on garden tables.
3) What are some examples of typical French décor?
Throughout French homes can be found rustic or salvaged wooden tables and chests. Stylish butcher tables or rustic butcher blocks often feature in kitchens, as do a mix of vintage ceramics, and multiple cutting boards. Demijohn bottles and old tinted preserving jars commonly are used as vases. Of course, dried lavender can be found throughout the house. Ancient and antique pots and urns (Anduze urns, Biot jars, Medici urns), antique and mid-century outdoor furniture (Arras tables and chairs) and outdoor modern pots (Willy Guhl designs, Faux bois) grace French gardens, courtyards, and interiors.
4) How do I harmonize a space and how do I match different objects together?
Pulling together a mix of different furniture from different periods, a range of fabrics, patterns, colors and blocks of color will give a room creative interest and will visually cohere, more than a room where the furniture and décor all match – too much matching makes a room look packaged or lifeless. Focusing on juxtaposing contrasting textures and playing with size can help make it flow and keeps interest too. Make mental notes of interiors you love. Like Marie-Laure Helmkampf, be conscious of how the light sources effect the object and the room. Move things around and experiment, and most importantly buy what you love and it will work!
I so enjoyed looking at this house! It was like taking a mini vacation.
Thank you for sharing.
A wonderful house.
Your designs are timeless, cosy and warm. I picture myself in these rooms and sigh… I am home, they are so beautiful.