Elle France stylist and journalist Charlotte Huguet packed up and moved from Paris to Barbizon in north-central France with her husband and two children searching for something we all dream of - and something we’ve all been given thanks for the current global pandemic - a slower life...
Given she’s a creative at heart, it’s no surprise that every detail in her home is perfectly considered. Their house, made entirely of wood, was created by Huguet’s woodworker husband. Here, she opens the door to her beautiful home and shares her musings on motherhood, career, and more.
Photography: Bridget Wood | Follow @charlottehueget
How have you adjusted to life in isolation?
It has been intense but having the forest nearby has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve also loved the moments of silence and peace as a family – they’ve really strengthened our bonds.
Tell us about your childhood...
I was born in Paris. I have a brother who is 18 months older than me. From the very beginning, I was always considered as the artist of the family and freedom of expression was a key value in our home. After classical studies, I went to art school at Duperré in Paris, majoring in design textiles. During my childhood, I was lucky enough to travel a lot with my parents. I discovered many cultures in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Polynesia. I understood that the nuances of beauty could be everywhere.
How would you describe the French approach to parenting?
For me, it’s fundamental that my children recognize themselves as original beings. Their creativity is a treasure to protect and to develop. In France, I think that we are often too rigorous and strict and our children risk losing this creative flame.
Back in 2012, you moved from Paris to Barbizon – what inspired the change?
My husband grew up in the countryside in Tuscany. For him, it was important that our children could grow surrounded by nature. For me, who was a city dweller, it was a revolution. I finally felt myself exist. And my children have blossomed deeply in this new environment.
Countryside life looks completely idyllic – in the interests of keeping things real, what have been some challenges of countryside life?
We bought a house that needed work and it took us three years to renovate. It was difficult, but in the end, we’re living in a house that looks like us. I work in Paris and while I don’t go there every day (especially right now), traveling on the train is quite long, so I’ve started to read intensely.
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood for you and how have you overcome any challenges?
The most important thing for me, as a mother, is to deeply love my children while allowing them a lot of freedom. I want them to choose who they want to be, beyond us. They are so different, it’s amazing. I want to preserve this originality. Their brotherhood is also a fundamental element for me. They are very close; they play together all the time and I’m so proud of that.
Talk us through your career – you’re a fashion and interior stylist and art director (mostly focusing on kids' fashion) and a journalist for Elle Magazine – how would you describe what you do?
I make images and I tell stories. Whether as a set designer or stylist, the most important thing is always what we give to see.
You focus a lot on kids’ styling – what do you love about this work?
Children represent freedom and the creativity they display when they dress up is a real source of inspiration…
When did you first start working for ELLE and what do you love about the magazine?
I joined the team in 2001. I was immediately seduced by the family spirit that reigned there and by the freedom of creation granted to the employees.
Your house is made entirely of wood and made by your husband – tell us about your home, from the build to now?
My husband is a woodworker. He wanted to make our house a real sculpture. To do this, he had to completely break down the interior of the main building. He married different wood essences which has produced a magnificent result.
What kind of life have you tried to create for your sons?
Life in the countryside has allowed us to leave the hectic city life. My children have a slow pace compared to small city dwellers. We have also imposed a screen limit. As a result, they play a lot with their toys and spend a lot of time reading. Finally, I often remind them that boredom is good for your health.
How do you make an effort to go slower?
The slowdown occurred naturally. The train forced me to settle down. I started using the time I spent on the train to think, read and dream. My awareness has grown about environmental issues. I am more controlled in my consumption which has now turned organic. I love to cook with my children, which is a form of slowing down even if sometimes I feel rushed. I feel like I’m slowing down on the basics!
You read ‘Where The Wild Things’ are when you were a child. And now read it to your kids. Why do you love this book so much and what is the message of this book?
My parents read me this book and it became one of my favorites. To be warm in bed with my father or mother by my side to protect me was such a pleasure. It describes the power of children in the face of their anxieties. It is about a boy torn between the desire to control the world and the return to the protective cocoon of his family.
How would you describe your personal style - what are some of your favourite fashion brands?
I draw my inspiration from art. Especially among artists such as Nathalie Dupasquier, Charlotte Perriand, or Georgia O’Keeffe. I am looking for artists who are driven by real strength. I favour brands such as Roseanna, La Prestic Ouiston and Acne. But first and foremost, I love vintage clothes.
Working in fashion, you’re exposed to so many new clothes – how often do you shop? Is buying less, but buying better a philosophy you subscribe to?
I decided almost not to buy in shops anymore. I go to flea markets and I mainly buy vintage clothes which I will get tailored.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow?