a house in lisbon, like a summer dream.

Nathalie Cellier - Lisbon, Portugal

By: Aurélie ROUTHIER

Transitioning from interior architecture to fashion design was a dream come true for Nathalie Cellier when, in 2014, she and her husband moved to the other side of the world to La Réunion. This geographical change served as a providential springboard for a professional renewal. From clothing design courses emerged a chic and responsible wardrobe, one she aimed to make as essential as it is timeless :  Songe lab. 

After several moves abroad, it was in Lisbon, in 2021, that she and her family settled. A sunny destination that she loves, but also highly symbolic for this French woman of Italian-Portuguese origin.

Nathalie invites us into her stunning home just outside Lisbon, a place where she has recently completed renovations. Here, her love for beautiful things resonates harmoniously, alongside her appreciation for the light that enhances them. She explains why she feels so "at home" in this place.

Lisbon, where the light never fades, a language that feels like home... and then, there's your house!

Indeed, it was about time to settle down, after years of being nomads and moving from one rental house to another. At first, we thought the house was too big for us, almost overwhelmingly so! Yet, upon revisiting, we were irresistibly drawn to it once again, and that's when we knew it was meant to be ours. And here's the kicker: the house number is a familiar figure in our family's history, despite our lack of superstition!

What influenced your approach to renovating the house?

The idea was to modernize its interior layout, highlight its strengths such as the spaces, and of course, infuse it with our personality. I aimed to bring in more light by playing with interior volumes and opening up certain spaces, like the north-facing kitchen. The choice of colors is, of course, crucial for working with brightness and illuminating the darker spaces.

Light, openness, and colors – if I had to summarize the brief I gave myself... I was certainly inspired by all the sunny places we've previously lived, from La Réunion to Singapore, and now Lisbon, the city of lights!

Is there a natural progression from interior architect to textile creator?

Indeed, I didn't feel like I was changing careers, but rather adding another mode of expression to a fertile ground of creativity that I've been nurturing since childhood. Drawing up a house plan or a piece of clothing and bringing it to life share common skills. We transition from imagination to a sketch on paper, then to a 3D projection. We give concrete form to an idea that sometimes sprouted at the twilight of a dream! The body is architecture, and clothing serves as its decor, its envelope, its covering.

What significance do craftmanship hold in your selection of objects?

Prioritizing craftsmanship whenever possible is important to me. My clothing brand is made in France, and production takes place in small workshops with genuine expertise. In my family, people worked with their hands; whether it was sewing for my mother, crocheting for my grandmother, or even my father, who did everything himself at home. I admire these passionate individuals who pass down their craftsmanship and take pride in doing things well. And an artisanal object undoubtedly has a unique, singular identity.

Portuguese craftsmanship is obviously very present here, like these small baskets, the Bunho, handwoven from reeds.

Do objects hold importance for you?

Certainly. Here, we have items that have journeyed with us from country to country, anchoring us and making each place feel like home. Our sofa, our cherished family furniture, the frames holding our memories—each one tells a tale of our past and our origins. Then, there are the souvenirs collected along the way, each one evoking a wave of fond nostalgia for the places we've been. Objects offer solace, bear witness, and whisk us away to distant lands.

How did you choose your Saudade rugs?

I have a large living room composed of several spaces, and the rugs precisely define the unique atmosphere of each of these areas.

The Lagos rug was the perfect fit for the cozy and comfortable space behind the fireplace. I love its highly textured and plush feel, with threads woven in different shades of beige and off-white, giving it a sublime mottled effect. I wanted a very large size to accommodate all my coffee tables.

My second choice was the Comporta rug: very sleek and architectural, with lines that evoke pencil strokes. Mine is white with black lines, a design that reflects the very contemporary style of the house. These black lines are also found in the window frames and switches. They complement beautifully my Marius Aurenti waxed concrete floor.

Beyond the fact that these rugs have a distinct identity while so many rugs look alike, the fact that they are crafted in Portugal in an artisanal, eco-friendly, and sustainable manner was very important to me.


Lady rugs or mother cushions?

Both! One doesn't go without the other. They are two key pieces that contribute as much to comfort as they do to the aesthetics of a space. A rug, with its color and size, can completely change the perspective and warm atmosphere of a room.

And I'm a big collector of cushions on beds and sofas. I hate seeing empty sofas. Since I discovered SAUDADE floor cushions, I'm a fan! It's reinventing the traditional function of the cushion, which is normally to support the head, but here I can delicately place my bottom :).

Your definition of beauty ?  

Beauty is highly subjective and belongs to each individual. For me, beauty is a matter of harmony, and therefore of balance between colors, materials, and lines. Beauty suddenly emerges when the combination is right. 

Who are some of the people you find inspiring?

It's the people in my family—my parents and my immigrant grandparents. They're the ones who had to start over, rebuild, and therefore had to be courageous. My parents are fighters who instilled in us the value of hard work, self-belief, and perseverance. Moving forward, never giving up! They certainly passed on their nomadic lifestyle to me. It's thanks to them that I know how to adapt easily to new contexts and bounce back in any situation.

Your rug takes off, where does it take you?

Without hesitation, I would go to the island of Réunion, a place dear to our hearts where we lived for four years and which has shaped who we are today. It was our first expatriation and therefore the beginning of a new life for our family. An adventure that led to many others, and brought us even closer together.

A 'saudadesque' object at your place?

The table that my dad created for my living room, 15 years ago, has always been with us since. Its soft, Mediterranean pink color evokes Lisbon for me.

Does it seem that Songe Lab and SAUDADE share a small Portuguese village in common?

Yes, it's crazy! Christelle, the founder of SAUDADE, and I realized, completely by chance, that our mothers both come from Aldeida da Ponte, in the Beira Alta region, a tiny village of less than 200 inhabitants! It just goes to show that when the roots are deep... They always end up finding each other :).

A house in Lisbon, like a summer dream.
A house in Lisbon, like a summer dream.
The eye of the artist, the hand of the craftsman.
The eye of the artist, the hand of the craftsman.
Materials to live by. Facing the Ocean
Materials to live by. Facing the Ocean
We were unable to confirm your subscription.
Thanks for your subscription.

Welcome Portugal into your home

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the link in our emails. Your e-mail address will never leave our system.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more.