Cover Finding sanctuary in a cosy, functional and visually relaxing living space after a long day out was the objective in designing this room. The sight of trees and sunlight coming from outside are welcome bonuses. The Metafora table by the Vignellis is one of Monzon-Cueva’s favourite pieces. It works harmoniously with other mid-century pieces like the Serpent lamp from Martinelli Luce and the Sarfatti-inspired chandelier

Paris-based Filipina Bianca Monzon-Cueva opens up her gorgeous Haussmann flat, showcasing that form, function and family can stylishly co-exist

“Curated to me means to edit in a soulful, thoughtful and meaningful way so that the collection serves all the demands and aspirations that people want and need from it,” shares Bianca Monzon-Cueva. Located on Avenue de Suffren on the border of the 7th and 15th arrondissements, her stunning flat seamlessly blends that iconic Haussmann architecture with sleek modern pieces resulting in that effortless Parisian chic.

“Modern, timeless and functional,” she declares, when asked to give a description of her aesthetic. “I am very much attracted to clean neutrals, structured lines and timeless vintage pieces that must still effortlessly serve the needs and feel of a modern home. Even the occasional quirky statement piece will not detract from this style. Conversely, I am not at all into old, heavy looking antiques!”

The three-bedroom flat where she lives with her Ecuadorian-French husband Paul Cueva-Gamard and their two daughters, nine-year-old Albane and six-year-old Garance, has all the allure of classic Haussmann style with high ceilings, a gleaming chevron parquet and intricate mouldings. Monzon-Cueva worked with the interior architect, Jean-Christophe Peyrieux, to renovate and design the space. “I came to his team with peg files for each room illustrating the practical and aesthetic details I wanted to achieve, down to sketching the inside of each storage and nit-picking on the colour scheme,” she shares. “The Peyrieux team came armed, as well, with a lot of excellent ideas plus their set of trusted vendors, really having down pat that modern Parisian flat look that you can see from their portfolio of projects online. It was truly such a great synchronicity and tango of our tastes and sensibilities that till today, we both feel very rewarded with the results.”

Currently sitting as the programme manager of the LVMH Chair at the prestigious ESSEC Business School and co-founder of Agence Le Bon Mot, an agency working to establish Philippine accessory brands in Europe, Monzon-Cueva is deeply rooted in the fashion industry. Which, for her, means a meticulous attention to detail. “My early career was in product development and right before I moved to Paris, I was in charge of managing the Boys’ collection for Ralph Lauren’s special projects such as Wimbledon and Olympic uniforms,” she shares. “The clothing would sometimes have up to ten different embellishments, and we would painstakingly review each detail from the shades of colour on the fabric and trims, the size and shape of each logo, number and patch and the placement of each throughout the sizes. You can imagine the meticulous level of detail that goes into work like that.” She further explains how this translated into the decorating of her home.

“When I was working with my interior architect in designing our space and choosing the elements, I definitely micromanaged the project and sometimes obsessed over details, down to vacillating nonstop among different shades of white!” she laughs. “However, because of my exposure in fashion and editing collections based on a good balance between margin targets and style, I am quick at identifying pieces I want and usually always go for well-priced finds that are beautiful but also practical.”

Even if style is important, Monzon-Cueva explains that “we really tried to create a space that works well for our needs as a growing family of four, which really boils down to storage, storage and more storage! Paris modern interiors are typically banal, minimalist—épuré, as they say—but that would not work chez nous [at our home] because among the four of us, we had so many things that required floor to ceiling storage. Even our vintage statement pieces were chosen based not just on design, but on ease and functionality. We simply could not compromise on this”.

The best expression of this marriage between form and function is in the living room. “It is really in the salon that we tend to gather round the most as a family. We spend a lot of time here doing all sorts of fun things together—from playing games, watching movies, doing homework, enjoying our goûter [afternoon snacks] and just lazing around. This is also where we receive our friends for apéros [aperitifs] and hangouts throughout the day. It was as important to make it visually appealing for our adult functions while creating a comfortable and down to earth space that our kids can enjoy.”

When choosing pieces for her home, she and her husband are drawn to the clean lines of mid-century design. “I am a lover of mid-century items and antiques that still have a modern, unusual yet timeless feel to them and are statement pieces on their own. I also ended up gathering several Italian pieces, so I suppose I am an accidental lover of vintage Italian design.” Some favourites are her collection of vintage lamps: “The gold eyeball lamp by Goffredo Reggiani, our kind of gothic entryway chandelier by Gaetano Sciolari and our newest find, the icicle-themed chandelier from Murano in our dining room.”

Other pieces that she loves are her coffee table and an iconic tulip chair. “My Metafora coffee table is one of the first items I bought even before moving and it always makes me happy to see it at the end of the day because it is just so simple, practical yet so timeless and special. Second is my blue Little Tulip chaise by Pierre Paulin because it is striking, cool, comfortable and stands fine on its own corner.”

Her Filipino roots also figure into the décor. “We have a few pieces done by some Filipino friends and designers, aside from our many tabletop elements from the motherland,” she shares. “Our bedroom has a beautiful Vito Selma origami wooden ceiling lamp, our throw pillows in the den are made of wonderfully colourful abaca material from the French-based Philippine brand Buntal. Incidentally, Buntal has also supplied for the collections of Armani Casa and a couple of France’s choice milliners. My books in the dining room are being held by electric blue Jose Rizal bookends from Liwayway PH and a lot of my hanging art and photos are by my artist friends. I would love to add more Filipino artists on my walls eventually.”

Tatler Asia
Above The primary suite features calm, dusty tones and a grand trumeau mirror from the 19th century topping the marble fireplace

In the end, she feels that layering pieces you love is the best way to create an authentic and balanced space. “The process is to incorporate anything that feels right and that creates a harmonious mix in the space, regardless of where the pieces are from in terms of era and origin.” Drawing on her fashion background, editing is also key. “It is incredibly important because your living space should feel like a sanctuary that you can come home to after a noisy, busy day in the outside world,” she explains. “It should serve all your needs effortlessly as a family, but it should also be appealing to the eye and soothing to the soul.”

This story was originally published in Tatler Homes Philippines Vol. 28. Download it for free on Magzter

  • PhotographyFrenchie Cristogatin
  • StylingJean Christophe Peyrieux and Sophie Prevost
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