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Designer Nadine Teboul: “Don’t be shy, ask for help; This will save you a lot of time”

“Don’t be shy, ask for help!” It would have helped me to avoid losing a lot of time.“Trust yourself!” It would have helped me develop interesting projects that I thought were requesting skills I did not have.“Be more selfish.” To avoid disturbing people, I was torturing myself to try to do everything on my own.“Stop […]

“Don’t be shy, ask for help!” It would have helped me to avoid losing a lot of time.

“Trust yourself!” It would have helped me develop interesting projects that I thought were requesting skills I did not have.

“Be more selfish.” To avoid disturbing people, I was torturing myself to try to do everything on my own.

“Stop being a perfectionist.” I used to wake up at 5 in the morning to finish and review every project.

“Keep being a perfectionist.” Going into details is my job, and I love it.


Nadine Teboul is the owner and founder of The French Apartment Gallery. She received a master’s degree from the Paris Fashion and Design Institute. After having worked for Robert Le Heros, a Paris innovative interior design studio, she spent many years living in different countries, developing her passion for decoration through different personal remodeling and interior design projects.

Nadine Teboul is an interior design consultant who provides her deep experience in interior design to a wise clientele; she will surround her passion to help you envision your future home.


Thank you so much for doing this interview. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Igrew up near Paris, in a very well-balanced family environment. My father was a doctor who loved music and arts, and my mother was an artist who managed to keep her feet on the ground.

Thanks to her, I discovered major artists in great museums, but also the backstage view of art in painters’ workshops. I also spent some time at my grandparents’ clothing workshops. I really loved to understand the making of art. Artists are also artisans.

All this explains why, after finishing my master’s at the French Institute of Fashion and Design, I didn’t look for the job at Yves Saint Laurent or Louis Vuitton that all my classmates dreamed about. I immediately chose to work for Robert Le Héros, an interior textile design studio that looked more like an art workshop, full of workbenches with colors and clay. I felt much more connected with that world.

Can you share a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was eight, my parents started looking for their dream house but couldn’t find it. They finally decided to have it built. This project really became a family project. Of course, it took years. Each member of the family was literally putting his own stone in the project on a daily basis for about three years.

I loved this long and intense process. I loved the way we had to adjust technical issues with aesthetic and practical goals. I started to develop certain attention to detail. Of course, at that time I had no idea I would finally work in interior design. But, retrospectively, this particular experience became truly meaningful.

Since then, each time I am touring a property, I always ask for a plan. This is the way I really understand and get into and feel a space.

Can you tell us the most interesting thing that has happened to you since starting your career?

Surprisingly, stopping my career! At 27, I had to decide: keep working in one of the most talented art studios in Paris, or become a housewife in Tokyo. I was not too sure I was ready for [the latter], but I decided to be curious and accept the challenge. It turned out to be a wonderful experience — Japan is an amazing place.

Discovering a new culture and a new aesthetic made me open my eyes and my mind. Even if I studied and started a career in an interior design company, I really began to feel how much I loved interior design when I started to travel from country to country, from house to house.

Each place became a challenge: how to feel at home while making the most of the specificity of the place — type of housing, local culture…

What’s the funniest mistake you made when first starting? What lesson did you learn?

After years of expatriation, I had to relaunch my career at age 40 and decided to go back to school for a master’s in the environment!

It has been a challenging experience, and also funny because it was not always easy to adjust to students who were 20 years younger on a full-time basis. Thanks to my own children, who were almost the same age, I found some clues. But I was exhausted!

I was really passionate about the subject, precisely because I was feeling, deep down inside, that it was time to think about my kids’ future — not only as a parent but also on a larger scale, as an actor of our changing society.

Following that degree, I started a business to help farmers obtain affordable solar paneled agricultural buildings. I was motivated, but at the same time frustrated, because most people in that industry were opportunists.

Retrospectively, I really think I should have stayed focused and taken a degree in my main subject of interest: design. Being curious is important, but remaining focused on your deep aspiration for your main activity is vital. The good point of this adventure is that I try to take into account, as much as I can, each environmental impact of my new business in LA.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Starting my new business here in LA, The French Apartment Gallery is the most exciting project I ever experienced.

It took me about a year to imagine and set up all the details, with the extra challenge of doing that from Tel Aviv. I am proud of what I have done so far. The selection of pieces I brought to my Gallery is a perfect blend of my current inspiration, which I guess is sophisticated and natural at the same time.

The best part of it is becoming an ambassador of more and more talented designers, mostly French, and sharing with Angelenos a certain French Art de Vivre on the new vibrant and widening artistic scene in LA.

Every day I keep digging to find new lovely pieces of art, mostly one of a kind, from great designers and makers. Coming soon: incredible alabaster pieces of art, and, for art collectors, a unique collection of carpet and tapestries signed by major 20th-century artists such as Picasso and Calder.

What are your “5 things I wish someone had told me when I first started” and why?

“Don’t be shy, ask for help!” It would have helped me to avoid losing a lot of time.

“Trust yourself!” It would have helped me develop interesting projects that I thought were requesting skills I did not have.

“Be more selfish.” To avoid disturbing people, I was torturing myself to try to do everything on my own.

“Stop being a perfectionist.” I used to wake up at 5 in the morning to finish and review every project.

“Keep being a perfectionist.” Going into details is my job, and I love it.

Which tips do you recommend to your colleagues to help them thrive and not “burn out”?

Working in the design industry requires a combination of artistic inspiration and practical spirit. Most interior designers focus on inspiration. Some just follow the trend. The more talented ones express their personal blend of the trend and build their true own style.

But the most accomplished ones also experiment. They take care of the way people will live in their beautifully decorated space, not only intellectually, but also practically. I really think this is the added value a demanding customer is looking for.

You are a person of influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

As a new resident in the US, I am surprised by the huge size of some houses that are still built nowadays. I know it’s part of the culture, but their impact on the environment is really high, from the number of materials used to the level of energy consumed every day.

I would be happy if I could make some of my new customers and friends adopt a more reasonable “scale of view.” I think an easy way to do that is to always keep in mind to value quality over quantity. The right piece in the right space will make you happy.

This is the spirit that I try to highlight at The French Apartment Gallery.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was working on a renovation project in Paris and I met an amazing Bulthaup kitchen interior designer. I can’t remember his name, but I will never forget how he made me understand the importance of an interior designer to be inspired and practical at the same time.

In a very funny but realistic manner, he showed me how ergonomic a kitchen must be to prepare a meal for his family, using his knee to open a closet or his elbow to stop the water while holding a heavy pot. This guy was able to design a very desirable kitchen, but also a highly functional one because he just knew how to cook for his family! Each time I select a piece of furniture and try to set up a room, I remember how important — and fun — it is to experiment in space.

What is your favorite life lesson quote? How has it been relevant in your life?

Ines de la Fressange, a French model and designer, said that “everything you like can fit together.” It made me understand that a stylish room is just a question of balance. Thanks to her, I feel much more confident and willing to develop my own style.

Is there a person in the world with whom you’d love to have a private breakfast or lunch? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them!

Can I pick two?

I would love to meet with Valentin Loellmann, one of the most talented furniture designers and makers in Europe. His style is unique, the ultimate blend of sophistication, nature, and poetry. And his technique of mixing wood and copper or brass is outstanding. Have a look at his work. Visiting his workshop in the Netherlands would be a unique experience.

My second wish would be to meet with Greta Thunberg, the most famous charismatic but enigmatic person of the year. I would love to have a conversation with her!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Find me on Instagram: @thefrenchapartmentla

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