Émilie Migault, interior designer, opened her EMD agency in 2011. Her desire is to help her clients create a universe in which they recognize themselves, an atmosphere in which they will feel in harmony. Very attentive to its customers, its objective is to imagine universes that correspond to them and above all not to impose its own. She offers a real qualitative support and, today, she reveals to us the profession of decoration.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words and the profession of decoration?
My name is Emilie Migault, I'm almost 54 years old. I have been an interior designer for 10 years on my own. It is a professional retraining because by training, I am a chemist and I worked for L'Oréal. I was responsible for the lipstick formulations. A connection to the universe of color but that did not nourish my creative fiber enough.
I've always been a little immersed in the world of decoration. My parents taught me a certain idea of “good taste”. Very early on, they took me antiquing at the Puces de St Ouen and in flea markets. They enriched me with other cultures and therefore opened my mind to other worlds. I took courses in sculpture and modeling, hence my interest in art, aesthetics and the harmony of proportions.
I have just taken up stone sculpture, in addition to my activity as a decorator, for 2 years.
Finally, I have 3 children: Alexandre, Valentine and Justine.
How did you get into the decorating business?
I started decorating after buying a very large property which I completely renovated and transformed. Decoration obviously but, basically, very big structural modifications and constructions. The garage has become the guest house. We have created a swimming pool, a tennis court and a building to house the technical room, the summer kitchen and an invisible integration of a telescopic swimming pool enclosure which is useless to us during the summer period. I took care of this site with an architect who took over the drawings I had made.
Often, architects are not very present on construction sites and errors or modifications are not managed directly. So I decided to take care of the construction site. This is how I became aware of the skills that I was not exploiting and especially of my interest in this profession. It took me a long time to get started. I was a little configured: a diploma/a job.
And then, a friend, herself a decorator, told me every time she came by the house, “Listen Émilie, that's your job, that's what you have to do!”. The idea began to germinate little by little in my head. When the children started to grow up, I offered this friend to work with her for a year, for free. I wanted to confront myself with the job, my skills or inskills and see if I was really made for it. It was an enriching experience that led me to open my agency at the end of our collaboration.
Has the fact of not having a recognized training or school hindered your clients?
It was obviously my fear, you understood… Well no, not at all. This does not deter customers. I started by helping my friends make plans for them and helping them with their renovations. Afterwards, there was a lot of word of mouth and, to this day, I pretty much only work with that. What slowed down my development was the fact of not having a website. So I took the time to create one during confinement. Thanks to this, I can show and give confidence to potential customers who contact me without knowing my song of possibilities. It also allowed me to be contacted by the platform for connecting professionals in decoration and construction "Houzz", to put myself forward in the 78.
So what was really holding me back was not knowing how to promote myself to people who weren't in my inner circle. Then, customers are sensitive to the taste you have, to your way of presenting the possibilities and taking them into a universe that they hope for without being able to conceptualize it.
In your opinion, what are the qualities required for the decorating professions?
Creativity and imagination. Then comes the taste for harmony, listening and availability. Indeed, customers entrust you with their home, their way of life. It is an important part of their intimacy. They often have many questions about the project, so you have to be there to reassure them.
There is also trend analysis. I try not to lock myself into the trend of the moment. I think that when people call on you, you have to know how to create for them a decoration that is a little timeless, but with touches of modernity. This modernity being by definition fleeting, it is necessary to design a project that can evolve over time, at a lower cost. This means being able to change tones per key; replace curtains or cushions for example. It would be a shame if customers find their project outdated or dated after 2 years! At the moment, everything is Scandinavian and light wood. I'm not sure in a few years people won't overdose.
You have to give a little warmth to a room. We can put one or 2 pieces of a slightly more refined Scandinavian style, for the current trend, which can be changed later. It is fundamental for me.
We must not impose a style of decoration or layout on clients. You have to put yourself at their service, listen to them, understand how they live in a house or apartment, what the traffic is like, who lives there, etc. We do not decorate the apartment of a young family like that of a single person or a couple. You really have to understand the lifestyle of the customers to adapt to their tastes and their needs. Often they don't know how to really express what they hope for.
We solve their worries by listening to them and by going beyond what they could imagine. Clients don't have that imagination and projection that I can have in a room. I have a certain analysis of space, and when I “scan” a room for the first time, there are a lot of things that come to me in an innate way.
Of course, there is a lot of work behind it. You have to listen to the client and know how to lead him towards a project that he has not necessarily considered. There is a confrontation of ideas to put in place. Then a lot of research. The job of decorating is painstaking work. You have to look for suitable materials, objects and furniture; think of layouts and restructure spaces if necessary. It's a long process. The first analysis of a piece, that's the only thing that's easy afterwards, it's a lot of work.
So for you, the profession must constantly reinvent itself?
Oh yes ! Above all, always listen to what is being done, trends, and watch what others are doing. We draw a lot of inspiration from the creations of others by going to shows like Maison et Objet. Be on the lookout for what's being done, new materials, new types of construction. Even if I'm not an architect, you have to smell the spirit of the times.
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Interview by Clara Didier
Formatting by Coralie Mottu