In this new Paris interior designer interview, we speak to a professional about what it’s like to work in the French capital.
A good interior designer can not only maximize the personal space in your apartment and make it more enjoyable to live in. If done correctly, it can add significant value to your property too.
Meet Anna Duval, a Paris interior designer
Anna Duval is a Paris-based interior decorator and designer, with over 10 years of experience in creating turnkey projects in the capital.
Anna designs timeless and elegant interiors, with a character tailored to each client. Her work uses sophisticated colors, classic shapes, and exquisite accessories. She gives preference to natural materials, which make the interiors look and feel ‘alive.’
Anna’s work has been featured in magazines such as Elle Décoration, Marie Claire Maison, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and others.
We caught up with her to chat about her career working on exceptional Parisian properties.
Living in Paris was a dream
56Paris: What brought you to work in Paris as an interior designer?
Anna Duval: I was born in Russia, and in my twenties moved to Canada, before moving again to Paris in 2014 because of the career of my ex-husband. But even before that, living in Paris was one of my dreams, so I think I would’ve ended up living here anyway.
56Paris: How did you get into this line of work?
Anna Duval: I have an MA in economics and started a career in finance with a multinational company. But I soon realized that what I was doing was not inspiring to me, and completely reconsidered my work path. So, I went to a school of interior design, started my new career, and have never looked back.
56Paris: Is working in Paris different from other cities?
Anna Duval: I previously worked in Moscow, Vancouver, Toronto, and now in Paris as an independent interior designer, preparing and implementing my projects ‘from A to Z’.
I feel there are many differences, both in terms of products and clients. In Moscow, it was a challenge to find good stores and manufacturers. Mostly, we imported furniture and decorative objects from Europe. And in Canada the choice of stores and products was wider, but not as interesting as in France.
But here in France, we have a huge choice of both new and antique pieces. You can create something amazing, even with a smaller budget.
France and Russia also use the metric system, but in Canada, even though it’s officially meant to be metric, people mostly use the imperial system. So, after moving to Paris, I was happy that I no longer needed to convert meters and centimeters to inches and feet!
The unique challenges of Paris
56Paris: What are the biggest challenges Paris had in store for you?
Anna Duval: When I first moved here, I didn’t speak French at all, which made my work pretty complicated. So I had to learn French before I could start feeling comfortable, both in my work and my daily life.
In French there is a very particular way to express your statements in a polite way – whether it’s an agreement, disagreement, or a request. It’s important to know the correct phrases, as well as the customs and the psychology of the local people. And that takes time.
56Paris: How has Paris real estate changed over the past 10 years?
Anna Duval: Paris real estate prices have risen, but this is obvious when you realize that here there is a limited supply. Paris is so historic and a real treasure, there’s almost no new construction here. That’s why these apartments attract not just local people, but buyers from all over the world.
56Paris: How many projects have you worked on here in Paris?
Anna Duval: I have designed the interiors of over 20 properties in Paris, and provided consultations on many more. Some clients want a complete design plan and for me to take care of its implementation. Whereas other clients contact me just for a few consultations, where I provide general guidance. This can be planning the space, choosing the main furniture and paint colors, while they manage everything else by themselves.