A Stay at Home Mom Reinvents Herself in the Design World
By Nathalie Marsan -
November 2, 2016
Mother of two little boys, I arrived in Paris in 2010 with my family from Montreal, the town where I grew up. With a Master’s degree in Human Resources in hand and several years’ experience working in Canada, I thought I was pretty well armed to find work in Paris in my field. But my Parisian life did not turn out the way I thought AT ALL….
Finding my bearings
After a few weeks in the capital city, I realized I was confronted with a new system and that moving to France with young kids was not that easy. For example, my youngest son, who was almost three at the time, started his first year of school in the French system. There were 32 kids in his class, compared to eight in Canada. He did not like his school and showed it, by stopping his potty training. After a few days, I received a phone call from the school’s director saying he was sorry but he could not keep my child. I had to find another school. I was lucky enough to find another good one, but there was only a place for him in the mornings.
Becoming a stay at home mom
I finally decided to take a year off to adapt to France. So I took care of my kids, did volunteer work at their school, made new friends and spent time learning about the French system and how people do things here. In the process, I spent more time at home. I discovered I enjoyed creating new atmospheres in our apartment, by moving furniture around, or trying to find the perfect cushion. Having also decorated our house in Montreal before our move to Paris, I thought it could be the ideal time and opportunity to work in a field I always felt passionate about: the world of interior design.
I started looking at different schools for me in France. But with all my children’s school holidays plus Wednesdays off, I needed to find a program where I could study from home and have flexible hours. Finally, I found one based in London, the KLC School of Design, housed in the design center at Chelsea Harbour. So, I started in September 2012 and I remember how excited I was to go to London for the introduction week.
I felt free, alive and so happy. But these feelings soon transformed into stressful episodes related to studying, deadlines, projects and papers.
The school gave us an enormous amount of work. I had to put in really long hours and I had no energy left for my family. It was a difficult time, and certainly not comfortable for any of us.
Pursuing my creative passions
My job in Human Resources in Montreal was quite easy compared to what I had to face going back to university and then creating my own business in Paris. I had to adapt, learn new skills, get creative, and it all took so much longer because everything was new to me. But at the same time, the joy of discovering who I am, what I love, and what makes me happy is phenomenal!
Finding my new vocation is a huge gift I gave to myself and my family. I feel happier in my work and I believe I am a good role model for my boys.
I showed them that with hard work and passion, you can achieve a lot.
Loving my lifestyle
Living in Paris and being trained in London definitely nurtured in me a passion for beautiful things and a need for creativity. My design school was located in a design center with 120 showrooms and over 600 of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands. I often went to the showrooms to find fabrics for my school projects. It was a brilliant and inspiring place where I could spend hours getting interested in new trends and feeling the texture of different fabrics. I said to myself that one day, I would love to share these beautiful designs with those around me.
Today, I work as a freelance interior designer because it suits my lifestyle. My new career provides me with flexible hours where I can organize my time around my family life. My quest to discover interesting fabrics in Paris led me to some fabulous finds. I was inspired to begin making cushions out of them and created my first collection. My family understands the complete satisfaction I feel in finding my my rightful place in Paris!
Nathalie Marsan, left Montreal in 2010, to live in Paris with her French husband and two young boys. Confronted by a complex French School system, she stepped back from her Human Resources Career and took the opportunity to reinvent herself, by following her passion and her dream, working in the Interior Design field. She found an online course at the KLC School of Design in London, and obtained a Diploma in Interior Design. Nathalie then created Marsan Interiors in 2013, an Interior Design Agency, where she has the ability to create thoughtful interiors with a passion for details and creativity. She also launched her first collection of cushions, but can adapt to the taste of her client, as all cushion can be custom made.