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For Pierre Yovanovitch, every room needs a youthful element. The acclaimed French interior architect may have designed a wealth of high-end projects—from châteaux in Provence to ski chalets in Switzerland to wineries in Portugal—but he never takes these spaces too seriously. Amid the grand architecture, you’ll always find a Papa Bear chair here, wavy benches there.

“All grown-ups were once children…but only a few of them remember it,” he writes in his new book, released this week. This philosophy also applies to his bold use of paint, which is filled with squiggly lines and splashed on everything but the walls. While not everyone can afford a cuddly shearling teddy bear chair à la Yovanovitch, most people can pick up a can of paint and add a dash of personality to a doorway, ceiling, or bookcase:

Focus on the Inside of Door Frames

Photography by Julien Oppenheim

At Villa Noailles in Toulon, France, few surfaces are left unpainted: Oxblood and white paths were drawn on antique terracotta floors, and the insides of door frames were covered in bright yellow. On one side, curvy motifs create architectural interest—an easy way to spruce up a boring doorway.

Draw on the Colors in Other Rooms

Photography by Jérôme Galland

In another room at Villa Noailles, a series of geometric archways all pick up one another’s colors. The back wall of the room is painted salmon pink and royal blue—both of which are repeated on the third arch. Even with five different hues in the mix, the recurrence ensures that the spaces feel connected and flow well together.

Paint Trompe L’oeil Motifs on Ceiling Beams

Pierre Yovanovitch: Interior Architecture, Rizzoli, New York, 2019

At a vineyard in Portugal’s Douro Valley, the designer used existing beams on the walls to create a trompe l’oeil mural, employing red and blue tones and geometric patterns—and immediately drawing the eye up. While the walls are left bare and the furniture is mostly neutral, the room (and the effect) is instantly eye-catching.

Color & Paint photo
Pierre Yovanovitch: Interior Architecture, Amazon ($59)

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