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Featured Shop: L’Atelier Belle Lurette

Feb 19, 2016

by Valerie Rains

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

For any new mother, the birth of her first child brings a world of changes. For Sophie, the furniture lover behind the shop l’Atelier Belle Lurette, her baby daughter’s arrival three years ago — and more specifically, the thrill she got from decorating her child’s nursery — led to more than just a new role as a caregiver and role model, it also sparked a career switch: from social worker to full-time vintage and antique furniture restorer. Now, Sophie spends her days sprucing up her secondhand finds in her grandmother’s former tapestry workshop in the town of Colmar, in northeastern France. “I love when a piece of furniture tells me its story, its multiples lives and various functions,” Sophie says. “I cherish its uniqueness and authenticity, its soul and its poetry.”

Read on to learn how Sophie turned her taste for treasure hunting into a business.

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How did you get started collecting vintage items? 

I have always been passionate about antiques, furniture that tells a story, and beautiful objects. As a student, I furnished my first apartment with vintage furniture and antiques, and often offered to help my closest friends and family do the same. I also used to tinker in the family workshop when I was a child; I learned sewing and basketry with my mom, and watched my grandmother doing tapestry there. Then, when my daughter was born three years ago, I decorated her little room with antique and restored furniture; that inspired me to take a huge leap of faith and launch Belle Lurette. Now, I work full time at the Belle Lurette workshop.

Where do you look for your items? Do you specialize in a particular period or style?

I find the items for Belle Lurette by visiting flea markets, garage sales, or while traveling. My shop is not defined by a particular style, but I always pay attention to the authenticity of an item — its quality and its charm. And I have a special attraction to furniture and antiques from 1900 to the late 20th century: I am moved by that time period’s materials, technical innovations, design history, and the evolution of thought in terms of furniture and decor. Above all, the furniture and objects I select for Belle Lurette are those I consider my personal favorites, each of them touching me with their unique history, design, and originality.

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How do you learn about an item’s history? Do you do a lot of research?

When a product enters the workshop, I try to learn a little more about its past — to figure out the period it belongs to and the moments of history it has lived through. I do a lot of research on the Internet and in books and catalogs, and I also rely on the small network of knowledgeable enthusiasts (professional or not) that has formed around Belle Lurette over the months. But it is first and foremost by observing the furniture itself that we learn where it comes from: how its parts are made, how they are assembled and connected, what kind of materials were used, what repairs it has received. The patina and normal wear are significant indicators, both helpful and charming.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

There really is no typical day at the workshop. I love bargain hunting, but the work of restoration and creation takes time, too. When a piece of furniture arrives at the workshop, I clean it and repair it, if necessary. Depending on its condition, what it inspires in me, or what my customers are ordering, it is left in its raw state or restored. Renovations are always aimed at breathing new life into a product while remaining consistent with its history. Sand, paint, varnish, oil — all techniques are possible, as long as they do not change the nature of the product.

That’s not all we do at Belle Lurette, though. I also like to cut new glass to restore old mirrors; I upholster some chairs with my vintage tools; and I build children’s tents and upcycled shelves. I fondly enjoy the photo shoots as well — this magical face-to-face with the product and its hidden sides. Imagining the best environment and the most flattering decor for a particular item, perhaps proposing a new use for it, and telling its story in the item description are aspects of my job I deeply appreciate.

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What inspires you?

Most of the time, it is the products themselves that inspire me. There is no specific rule or trend at l’Atelier Belle Lurette! Iconic design objects are usually safe bets, but they are not necessarily the ones I prefer. I have a weakness for craft furniture, deep patina, bent wood, old musical instruments, aged mirrors, and the Art Deco period. Again, what inspires me most is the emotion from the product and the story it tells.

How did you hear about Etsy and when did you sign up? How has Etsy impacted your business?

I discovered Etsy when the online store Belle Lurette was born. At the time, I was looking for small original creations to offer to my customers when ordering. I immediately liked the idea of the community, and especially the opportunity to discover original creators and surprising shops from all around the world. The usability and aesthetics of the platform also appealed to me, and I launched my Etsy shop in early 2014. Etsy allows Belle Lurette to be open to the world, and most of my clients are indeed foreigners. I have rich discussions with my customers, and the encounters are always very friendly; some have even led to ongoing relationships, special requests and repeat orders.

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What are your goals for the future?

My plans for Belle Lurette are numerous: making more time for restoration and creation, offering a selection of paintings and works of art, and extending my range of small decorative items. There are also many things that will not change: I will always keep searching for gems, respecting each product and its history, and being enthralled by every unusual discovery.

Keep up with Sophie by following her on Facebook.

All photos by l’Atelier Belle Lurette.

Shop l’Atelier Belle Lurette

 

 

Dish empty Pocket purpose ceramic deco 1950's midcentury vintage art pottery object Elchinger french deco ceramic star fifties
Dish empty Pocket purpose ceramic deco 1950's midcentury vintage art pottery object Elchinger french deco ceramic star fifties
Chaise S28 Pierre Chapo prototype minimaliste french furniture sixties wooden chair design vintage rustique chalet primitive
Chaise S28 Pierre Chapo prototype minimaliste french furniture sixties wooden chair design vintage rustique chalet primitive
Latelierbellelurette
$667.52 USD
Vase ceramic artistic stoneware art deco Jean Dunand stoneware glazed antic English ceram midcentury English art flower pot workshop beautiful lurette
Vase ceramic artistic stoneware art deco Jean Dunand stoneware glazed antic English ceram midcentury English art flower pot workshop beautiful lurette
Vintage old dishes mismatched plates
Vintage old dishes mismatched plates
RESERVE Vintage wall mirror in rattan eye
RESERVE Vintage wall mirror in rattan eye
Latelierbellelurette
$203.16 USD
Vintage wooden bedside or tip
Vintage wooden bedside or tip
Established furniture workshop console shelf indu metal brutalist vintage retro patina steel metal furniture craft planter industrial iron
Established furniture workshop console shelf indu metal brutalist vintage retro patina steel metal furniture craft planter industrial iron
Latelierbellelurette
$452.75 USD
Mirror Sunburst Bohemian chic sunburst mirror gold 1960s handmade metal mirror sixties french art deco soundtrack
Mirror Sunburst Bohemian chic sunburst mirror gold 1960s handmade metal mirror sixties french art deco soundtrack
Latelierbellelurette
$208.96 USD
Shelf library wall system String 1960
Shelf library wall system String 1960
Latelierbellelurette
$841.65 USD
1950s shell rattan chair, mobiler boho
1950s shell rattan chair, mobiler boho
Latelierbellelurette
$208.96 USD
Minimalist vase Scheurich Germany 1960
Minimalist vase Scheurich Germany 1960
Latelierbellelurette
$110.29 USD
Tissu en lin ancien traditionnel Kelsch
Tissu en lin ancien traditionnel Kelsch
Latelierbellelurette
$185.74 USD
Assiettes anciennes  faïencerie Keller et Guerin (K&G) de Lunéville.
Assiettes anciennes faïencerie Keller et Guerin (K&G) de Lunéville.
Vintage old dishes mismatched plates
Vintage old dishes mismatched plates
Gueridon service maid vintage retro 60s red pop service table side table English furniture midcentury workshop Belle Lurette 1950
Gueridon service maid vintage retro 60s red pop service table side table English furniture midcentury workshop Belle Lurette 1950
Latelierbellelurette
$168.33 USD
Drum retro vintage Couesnon 1950 blue patina musical circus instrument military curiosity antic drue English deco bohem midcentury
Drum retro vintage Couesnon 1950 blue patina musical circus instrument military curiosity antic drue English deco bohem midcentury
Latelierbellelurette
$336.66 USD
Harness table door-plants vintage retro 50s pop earthenware minimalist tea table coffee table design midcentury french table plants
Harness table door-plants vintage retro 50s pop earthenware minimalist tea table coffee table design midcentury french table plants
Stool formica rockabilly door display plant ateliergarage patina Bohemian boho deco bedside diverted original
Stool formica rockabilly door display plant ateliergarage patina Bohemian boho deco bedside diverted original
Table low coffe table rebuilding dlg René Gabriel Roger Landault Scandinavian organic wood low table french midcentury furniture
Table low coffe table rebuilding dlg René Gabriel Roger Landault Scandinavian organic wood low table french midcentury furniture
Latelierbellelurette
$156.72 USD
Pheasant stuffed hunting trophy taxidermy taxidermy pheasant bird hunt curiosity cabinet vintage curio cabinet decor bohemian decoration
Pheasant stuffed hunting trophy taxidermy taxidermy pheasant bird hunt curiosity cabinet vintage curio cabinet decor bohemian decoration
Latelierbellelurette
$208.96 USD
Poker game table bridge playing cards foldable table Meblutil vintage retro years 70 plateau felt poker table play midcentury
Poker game table bridge playing cards foldable table Meblutil vintage retro years 70 plateau felt poker table play midcentury
Latelierbellelurette
$168.33 USD
Chair years 50 wood and base retro vintage children's school Chair tubular Soviet kid flesh french school furniture chair
Chair years 50 wood and base retro vintage children's school Chair tubular Soviet kid flesh french school furniture chair
Square trash, Old trash and boho. exterior.
Square trash, Old trash and boho. exterior.
Latelierbellelurette
$208.96 USD
Modernist vintage highboard kitchen sideboard
Modernist vintage highboard kitchen sideboard
Latelierbellelurette
$568.84 USD
Mirror wall vintage rattan
Mirror wall vintage rattan
Latelierbellelurette
$156.72 USD
Game keel wooden decor primitive
Game keel wooden decor primitive
Latelierbellelurette
$220.57 USD
Vintage wooden and metal bedside. France, 1950
Vintage wooden and metal bedside. France, 1950
Latelierbellelurette
$168.33 USD
Painting Portrait of woman in prayer oil signed
Painting Portrait of woman in prayer oil signed
Latelierbellelurette
$156.72 USD
Blue umbrella door. Design Italy
Blue umbrella door. Design Italy
Latelierbellelurette
$127.70 USD
Mismatched vintage old art deco crockery
Mismatched vintage old art deco crockery
Screen claustra boho, Art Deco room separator.
Screen claustra boho, Art Deco room separator.
Latelierbellelurette
$255.40 USD
Old vintage wall poster
Old vintage wall poster
Ceramic vase vintage antique Elchinger
Ceramic vase vintage antique Elchinger
Latelierbellelurette
$174.14 USD
Vintage wooden nightstands
Vintage wooden nightstands
Latelierbellelurette
$185.74 USD
Vintage Vallauris soliflore vase
Vintage Vallauris soliflore vase
Hiking backpack antique walk with military look
Hiking backpack antique walk with military look
Small child bench, modular. Vintage
Small child bench, modular. Vintage
Midcentury black bauhaus-inspired vintage lamp vintage desk table antic black metal desk lamp midcentury french deco fifties
Midcentury black bauhaus-inspired vintage lamp vintage desk table antic black metal desk lamp midcentury french deco fifties
Latelierbellelurette
$150.92 USD
Multicolored plant carrier. Brand Pola France 1950
Multicolored plant carrier. Brand Pola France 1950
Latelierbellelurette
$185.74 USD
Kids Desk Chair Pagholz Flottoto design 60s furniture school design German Thur Op mod antic kid chair Seat cover
Kids Desk Chair Pagholz Flottoto design 60s furniture school design German Thur Op mod antic kid chair Seat cover
Bohemian retro crochet blanket doll handmade poetry gift for newborn baby crocheted blankie amiguramis doll birth gift french craft
Bohemian retro crochet blanket doll handmade poetry gift for newborn baby crocheted blankie amiguramis doll birth gift french craft
Box, vintage wooden archiving crate.
Box, vintage wooden archiving crate.
Ceramic candlestick. Gustave Reynaud Le Murier Vallauris
Ceramic candlestick. Gustave Reynaud Le Murier Vallauris
Montessori teaching material algebra calculation box material child school school wood Waldorf Steiner nature wooden school equipment
Montessori teaching material algebra calculation box material child school school wood Waldorf Steiner nature wooden school equipment
Belgian school Brabant Medard Maertens cauliflower Fauvism painter still life oil painting painting 19th antic oil painting
Belgian school Brabant Medard Maertens cauliflower Fauvism painter still life oil painting painting 19th antic oil painting
Latelierbellelurette
$2,786.16 USD
Serving pedestal table glass and metal style Guariche 50s design side table glass french fifties midcentury furniture
Serving pedestal table glass and metal style Guariche 50s design side table glass french fifties midcentury furniture
Latelierbellelurette
$145.11 USD
Pottery Ramberwillers flamed sandstone or slub collection art deco Dove birds signed sculpture potery french deco bird sand stone
Pottery Ramberwillers flamed sandstone or slub collection art deco Dove birds signed sculpture potery french deco bird sand stone
Latelierbellelurette
$301.83 USD
Vintage folding chairs light wood
Vintage folding chairs light wood
Latelierbellelurette
$174.14 USD
Vintage wooden Baumann chairs
Vintage wooden Baumann chairs
Latelierbellelurette
$371.49 USD
Vintage modernist bedside wooden
Vintage modernist bedside wooden
Latelierbellelurette
$325.05 USD
Brutalist ceramic vase Denmark
Brutalist ceramic vase Denmark
Vintage child's wooden chair
Vintage child's wooden chair
Latelierbellelurette
$110.29 USD
Cabin malle, old suitcase with fittings. Vintage decoration
Cabin malle, old suitcase with fittings. Vintage decoration
Latelierbellelurette
$325.05 USD
Small plateau table in red formica. Extra or Office
Small plateau table in red formica. Extra or Office
Latelierbellelurette
$197.35 USD
Vintage vase midcentury sea Ecume
Vintage vase midcentury sea Ecume
Latelierbellelurette
$110.29 USD
Ancient planter, ceramic sandstone pot. Circa Alsace 1900
Ancient planter, ceramic sandstone pot. Circa Alsace 1900
Latelierbellelurette
$168.33 USD
Old furniture counter, vintage storage
Old furniture counter, vintage storage
Latelierbellelurette
$557.23 USD
Table pen ink retro vintage 50s landscape Castle deco antic french drawing ink landscape midcentury rustic bohemian deco
Table pen ink retro vintage 50s landscape Castle deco antic french drawing ink landscape midcentury rustic bohemian deco
Latelierbellelurette
$110.29 USD
Vintage constructivist Bauhaus Memphis black and white porcelain teapot vintage Marianne Brandt antic tea pot design french deco retro
Vintage constructivist Bauhaus Memphis black and white porcelain teapot vintage Marianne Brandt antic tea pot design french deco retro
Vintage workshop chairs indus Jacques Hitler tolix Tubauto 50s metal set of two antic chairs industrial midcentury design
Vintage workshop chairs indus Jacques Hitler tolix Tubauto 50s metal set of two antic chairs industrial midcentury design
Latelierbellelurette
$168.33 USD

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