Lonny Loves: Jean-Marc Houmard

The restaurateur-turned-designer dishes on his boutique hotel in Nicaragua, his love for Jane Birkin, and his opposition to symmetry.

The pool at the Tribal Hotel in Granada on Lake Nicaragua, designed by Jean-Marc Houmard.
The pool at the Tribal Hotel in Granada on Lake Nicaragua, designed by Jean-Marc Houmard.

Name: Jean-Marc Houmard
Occupation: Restaurateur, and co-designer of Tribal Hotel in Nicaragua, which opened in May 2014. 
Resides in: New York City
Best known for:  Being the fixture frontman at Indochine​. 

1. Antique or modern?
Mid-century modern and every decade ever since​... except the '80s.

2. City or country?
​City, but I need country and beach escapes at times​ in order to maintain some semblance of sanity.

3. Favorite materials or textures?
Chrome and wood​.

Lonny Loves: Jean-Marc Houmard

4. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
​Indoor-outdoor (i.e. living somewhere with few walls, where the temperature is always perfect, and seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor design and landscaping)​. 

5. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
​Not really. I wish my mom hadn't thrown out all of the great 60s furniture we had when I was growing up​!

6. Does a room need a view?
I live in the ugliest building on my block in [New York City's] West Village, but my apartment has fantastic views of downtown. ​A view is crucial for me. Give me a small room with a view and keep your blind hangar.

 7. Favorite designer or architect at the moment?
​I've recently worked with Robert McKinley (Surf Lodge Montauk, etc.) on my new restaurant Tijuana Picnic and​ I love his approach of design: using lowly materials to make clever design ​that doesn't cost a fortune.


Lonny Loves: Jean-Marc Houmard

8. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
​AD Spain, Athena Calderone's Eye Swoon, and ​the Simpsons.

9. What qualities do you most admire about the design of a room?
​The juxtaposition of various materials, objects and colors in unconventional and surprising ways​.

10. What is a forbidden word in your house?
​Perfection—it’s too boring​.

11. Design rule you love to break?
​Perfect symmetry​. 

12. What is your favorite room in the house?
​My terrace with a view​.

13. What is your most treasured possession?
My house in Fire Island​.

 14. What do you wish you could do without?
​Tequila​. (I thank God for it on a regular basis though!)


Lonny Loves: Jean-Marc Houmard

15. If you could live in one historical/famous person's home, whose would it be?
I'd live in any of John Lautner's homes, and would vacation in the old Saint Laurent compound in Marrakesh. 

16. On what movie set would you like to live?
La Piscine with Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin, and Alain Delon; just to ​hang out with the three of them at that fabulous pool in that fabulous villa on the French Riviera​ (and it would be 1969, so I'd be very young and stunningly tanned).

 17. To which country would you move for the design?
​Southern California​. It has the greatest concentration of amazing mid-century houses of any country in the world. 

 18. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
A silver-mohair, goose-down-stuffed lounge chair​. 

19. What is an interiors trend you’d be happy to not see ever again?

20. What is an interiors trend you’re excited about​?
​Finally, stark minimalism seems to have given way to more curated and mixed-up design, with elements from different decades being ​assembled together with interesting results.

Lonny Loves: Jean-Marc Houmard

21. What is the last piece of furniture you purchased?
Two great '50s wicker chairs that I bought at an estate sale in Brooklyn and schlepped as bubble-wrapped luggage to my Tribal Hotel in Nicaragua. They now sit in front of a huge painting I brought down there on the same trip, rolled up in a surf board bag. (Apologies to the kind personnel at American Airlines!)

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