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Nashville. Interior designer Marcelle Guilbeau brings a bold design aesthetic to each of her projects, and is highly sought out by those who seek a soulful and eclectic vibrancy. Step with us into the Green Hills home of Pilates trainer Anissa Pollard. Her vitality is conveyed with the use of saturated colors, warm vintage Oushak rugs from Turkey, and gold wainscoting. The hand-blocked wall coverings and Thai-inspired sculpture add layers of sensuality.
Marcelle’s artistry in interiors draws from her French heritage and a crossroads of culture the Mediterranean region has uniquely represented. Marcelle often layers rustic chic, Moroccan, or coastal elements into a classic, slightly minimal presentation. These unique pairings result from a collaborative exploration of her clients’ passions, tastes and lifestyles.
The Nashville market that has historically been defined as being conservative is finding a new generation embracing color and globalism. Marcelle is designing for a generation raised to be design savvy and they are not afraid of living with ink or pattern on their walls.
The use of teal, blue, cherry red, and gold clearly ground each room; yet there’s a secondary layer of intricacy that reminds one of fine jewelry against a black dress. We see this delicate layer immediately in the celestial wallpaper of the foyer. Another example of attention is demanded by the architecture
of the dining room, where the coffered ceiling has the elegant setting it demands.
Marcelle’s approach involves more than one engaging conversation with clients to explore what may sound to some like contradictions in style. For Marcelle, however, there is no contradiction in being both daring and delicate.
For example, the foyer crosses into a threshold where a Rolling Stones image is perfectly at home above a bold cherry leather bench. However the room is softened with the celestial metallic shimmer of the wallpaper called “Stardust” by Bradbury & Bradbury.
The dining room wallpaper from Herter Bros. Tradition bears the name “Crane and Tiger” also underscores this fantastic juxtaposition—again the daring and delicate pairing that evokes her client’s tastes.
“Clients often begin by saying they are looking for something ‘simple.’ That is rarely the case. I’ve learned to work in translation, and unpack the reference of ‘simple’ to mean ‘modern with clean lines.’ In consultation, a client eventually reveals their authentic style and it is always inspired by one or two artifacts in their life. The question, ‘What has to stay?’ is always revealing.”
For Anissa, the vintage red velvet sofa had to stay. It was no workaround, but a catalyst. The red faux leather drapes in the dining room followed. While shopping in Asheville, Anissa called Marcelle with the news she had found an amazing red leather antebellum bench for the foyer. It was the perfect addition.
Together with the indigo bedding of the master bedroom, the home’s use of saturated colors became striking. The wallpaper, however, steals the show.
Marcelle’s experience with wallpaper is evident in these rooms that bring a depth of texture and imagery perfect for the homeowner’s growing eclectic art collection. Wallpaper is not just for the powder room any longer, this designer reminds us as we step into the elegant master bath where wallpaper transforms the words utility to retreat.
Beyond determining if a client swings toward modern or traditional, there’s typically a skew toward either extremely practical or highly sensual. “A practical style may get translated as tech-savvy with a preference for finishes that are kept solid and low maintenance,” said Marcelle. “A sensual style, however, is highly attuned to texture and a layering that results in a nurturing space.” In other words, a client may be modern and sensual, or even traditional and practical. Here we see Anissa’s home as clearly modern and sensual. ❖
Photography by Gieves Anderson and Steven Long