Classic Style, Modern Taste: Insights from Bellevue Designer Blaise Bouchand
Anyone who ventured into Old Bellevue and strolled along Main Street during the final stretch of summer would have found an incredible al fresco dining scene. Restaurants like 520 Bar & Grill and Monsoon Bellevue embraced the balmy weather and customized the curbside with decorative flair. None seemed to embrace the creative possibilities more than Blaise Bouchand, an acclaimed interior designer who partnered with Bis on Main to outfit its outdoor section with a French-Italian Riviera aesthetic.
Passion for art and a refined eye are what Bouchand offers, but his entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond the drawing board too, as he seeks collaborative opportunities to sow his artistry and bolster other local artisans and merchants. For example, finely woven rugs were loaned for the al fresco area from Shiraz Rug Gallery around the corner, along with flowers sourced from local nurseries that were donated for the arrangements. Complete with custom pillows inspired by Dolce & Gabbana couture, plumes of feathers and statuesque figurines mounted along the fence added a certain whimsical charm that invited people to step off the sidewalk and escape into an environment uniquely its own.
His boutique showroom, MAISON DE FRANCE, isn’t far off from his immersive outdoor experience. From Italian marble floors to an ornate ceiling, a collage of vibrant textiles and rich patterns cover nearly every stitch of space. As soon as we stepped inside, Bouchand eagerly guided us through a labyrinth of inventory, imported from French manufacturers and other European companies that supply an authenticity and elegance. Despite the dramatic decline in business over the course of the pandemic, Bouchand said he owes a great deal of gratitude to his loyal customers and ability to leverage new and innovative prospects while he waits for market demand and interested clientele to return.
Nationally recognized for his expertise and creative sensibilities, it would not be a stretch to call Bouchand a renaissance man. Born and raised in Paris, France, Bouchand credits his aunt and college professors with nurturing his keen eye and encouraging him to visit museums like the Louvre, where he could absorb the beauty in the exhibits and the architecture that surrounded him. He spared no time in his younger years, studying culinary arts, driving as a chauffeur and climbing the corporate ranks in the hospitality industry to become the youngest certified hotel manager in the country. Among his accolades, the one most near and dear to his heart can be found framed by the entrance - his credentials as a founding member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Northwest chapter - a national nonprofit organization advancing the practice and appreciation of classical tradition in architecture, urbanism and the allied arts. Next year, he will be celebrating his 25th anniversary in business.
Whether furnishing casual or professional spaces, Bouchand aims to draw on the interests and sources of happiness his clients express. If they seem uncertain about where to start, Bouchand said he commits to exploring different styles and tastes in order to suss out what reflects his clients’ most genuine essence. Globally iconic brands like Christian Dior and Chanel have also served as a wealth of inspiration when developing design concepts for clients.
But nothing appeals to him more than achieving a certain feng shui in physical spaces that he said can foster joy in all the other spaces within our lives. In the midst of an era that has merged millions of office and home environments across the world, Bouchand offers a wide variety of organic, sustainable paints that use color therapy principles and other materials like air-purifying fabrics that are guaranteed to not only spruce up your space, but elevate your peace of mind in navigating the challenges rife in a quarantine lifestyle.
Given the dire need to differentiate our distinct spaces, Bouchand said he considers design like completing a puzzle - an activity that requires patience, a thoughtful plan and an inventive spirit. Before losing yourself in the excitement of accent pillows and other accessories, Bouchand encourages anyone planning to redecorate to do exactly that - plan. Without curbing your enthusiasm too much, a simple, structural blueprint can help your refurbishing project start in the right direction and run smoothly.
While channeling the latest fast fashion trends might seem enticing at first, Bouchand considers the practice of design to be an investment, one that requires discipline and foresight. Design elements that not only craft a harmonious relationship, but age gracefully, are truly a labor of love for Bouchand, who appreciates a collection of colors, shapes and textures that can stand the test of time.
Visit MAISON DE FRANCE in person or browse the boutique online to scope out a vast selection of departments, designers and new arrivals. Plus, anyone interested in starting a registry can create one for free and will automatically receive a $20 gift certificate, redeemable in store. Oui to that!
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.