It's my life

I'm Dominique Malacarne, a designer whose love of all things home, vintage and Rock'n'roll has led to creating Malphor. This is a place where I hope you will find inspiration and help to glam up  your home.

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I grew up in France in a modest family where a lot of my clothes and toys were hand-me-downs. While my friends played with their latest Barbie must-haves, I was creating beautiful interiors for my dolls where a spray can cap made for a designer stool. My 'everything must be white' teenage bedroom would display, such a piece of art on the wall, a pair of shockingly pointy and black 1960's stilettos found in a friend's attic. As a penniless youth, flea markets, junk shops, even the kerb (the stuff people discard!) became my oyster. When living in London grotty shared accommodation (think The Young Ones), I would throw vintage fabrics over manky furniture and the scattering of a few odd objects such as a 1950's upright pink hairdryer and a 1960's green Dansette record player - would stage a bearable decor. The streets and markets of London were filled with unwanted, obsolete, abandoned objects, their beauty fading away and bound to decay, crying to be saved from their doom and I welcomed them into the youth of my world. It was exciting.


Photo: Fabienne Albiac

Although of a creative nature, I armed myself with a degree in Law and began drifting from dull office job to dull office job, until I landed in the administrative department of a graphic design studio. This was my lucky break. I worked all hours mastering the art of graphic design until I was confident enough to take on some of the smaller projects at the studio and eventually put myself forward into the world as a graphic designer. I went on to be a successful art editor on the best-selling women magazines in the UK. I was a creative, I had a career, a bijou flat, a husband and a baby son, I was ha-ppy. And I still picked stuff up from the streets.

Fiona Phillips Cover

Designing Best Magazine

But soon, the economy came crashing down on us. My job lost a lot of its glamour, life became harder, and job insecurity eventually forced us to lead a bohemian life around Europe in pursuit of my husband's career, a brilliant astrophysicist striving to discover what the Universe was really made of - surely it was not just made of money and cheese... We went from temporary contract to temporary contract, like a travelling circus with our precious junk and baby in tow. It was not always easy to constantly reinvent our lives, make a new home, new friends, learn a new language or new educational system. Nevertheless, it gave me the opportunity to study new skills like upholstery, furniture restoration and web design as a plan started to emerge: time would come when salvaging all the endangered objects of the world, giving them a new lease of life and finding them a new home would become what I do for a living. 

Yet, when I felt finally ready to embark on this project, I have to admit that I felt utterly overwhelmed, confused, even scared. Then, a friend told me about Liz Gilbert's podcast Magic Lessons. Listening to people talk about their own creative fear strung a chord. I was not alone! I also read her book, Big Magic, and felt my wings grow as I avidly turned the pages overflowing with wisdom and inspiration. Acknowledging that finding 'treasures' and that making something out of nothing simply ignites my soul, was a starting point. Throwing away the guilt that came from needing to express my creativity came next. Doing something about it became vital. Searching the internet, I found a whole community writing about their love of rescuing furniture. It spurred me on: starting my own blog seemed a good way to go about this - still very blurry - project.


I set up a 'workshop' in the shabby sunroom attached to the back our doer-upper of a house. It's not much, but it's a start. I set up a website to share the love. It's not complete nor perfect, but it's a start. So, here I am! Releasing my world into your world, with that buzzing feeling inside. I hope you enjoy reading about my projects and my tips. I hope I can inspire you and help you turn your house into your home. That's it, just browse, leave a comment at the bottom of the articles, or drop me an email with any questions or suggestions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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