This is not a home you might expect from a French Consul General.
There are no French flags in the windows nor are there patriotic symbols on the doors. Located in Cole Valley, the French Residence is an idyllic cottage-style house surrounded by trees. The living room and the dining room feature big windows that open up to a spectacular city view. The consul general of France, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, 40, has been living here since May 2016. Originally from Normandy, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in Paris in 2003.
Nessie by Adam McCauley, Bubble sofas by Roche Bobois.
Passionate about art, culture and people, Lebrun-Damiens transformed his residence into a private art gallery. A former dance studio with soaring ceilings, the house is furnished exclusively with Roche Bobois designs: In the dining room, for instance, there are two colorful egg-shaped armchairs, and the living room features the brand's iconic Bubble sofas. "When I moved here we asked Roche Bobois to place their furniture in the Residence. We wanted to highlight all the beauty that France has to offer," he says.
Adam McCauley paintings offset the Playlist sofa by Roche Bobois.
Arguably, the home's most compelling feature is the art. Each year, in the fall and in the spring, an art committee selects two local artists (at least one is French) and offers them the opportunity to exhibit their work inside the residence. This government initiative is part of a larger project aimed at promoting French art. The artists are selected in partnership with FACS (French American Cultural Society), whose mission is to promote French culture in the Bay Area. Until May 15, the walls of the living room and dining room will display 15 abstract paintings and sculptures by Adam McCauley, an illustrator and musician based in San Francisco. Each work is for sale and the exhibition will be open to the public three times a week. The artist can also set up special visits for viewers by appointment.
Cherokee by Adam McCauley
In May, the Consul is launching a new author-in-residency program called A Room with a View for French writers who would enjoy the opportunity to live and write at the French Residence for six months. Two authors per year—one in spring and one during the fall—will be hosted at the French Residence for five weeks each. To apply, they must submit a proposal related to the Bay Area. The first resident writer will be Martin Winckler, a French medical doctor and writer who penned The Case of Dr. Sachs, which was released in France in 1998 and became a bestseller, with more than 600,000 copies sold.