Paris renovation

Paris renovation

“If you're in Paris," read the text from one of our favorite international clients, who happened to be scanning her Instagram, "Could you please look at an apartment for me that just came on the market this morning?” I.e. Drop everything, run don’t walk and make an offer asap!

Of course we can, and we did, and within 20 minutes of walking in to a beautiful, spacious (by Parisian standards) one bedroom apartment, with a killer view of the Eiffel Tower and a gracious private balcony, we had an offer on the table with fingers  crossed and the exciting feeling that we were about to land another Parisian renovation project.

The view that captured our hearts on that warm and sunny June day

Fast forward a few months and that’s exactly what happened, with the directive to transform this dated but pretty apartment into a functional but pretty home, with two bathrooms, new kitchen, new floors and all new systems. Initially we had reservations about giving up on the not so functional but pretty bones … but we realized that working with a great contractor, we could accomplish modern conveniences without sacrificing the charm of the old. And that’s what we set out to do.

We loved it just the way it was, but sadly our contractor confirmed that the floors had to go.

And although it was oozing with charm, we had a couple of challenges ahead of us, including a fireplace front and center that didn't have the prettiest marble.

We presented our client with a series of Powerpoint slides which included everything from the inspiration that we sought to achieve down to the hardware for every cabinet (which we hand carried from the USA). We had a challenging time with the plumbing fixtures, which we circumvented by keeping everything very simple and clean, complemented with some pretty tiles.

One of our 37 slides for our client, the result of several visits to marble showrooms in Paris

When we decided we wanted to add some molding to the walls, our contractor didn’t hesitate, and just drew them in with magic marker. And when we decided to move the kitchen from way down the hall (as is typical with Hausmann apartments) into the living room, he merely shrugged and muttered something about “la cuisine americaine.”

Many of the walls had been stripped of their pretty Hausmanian charm.

Our contractor didn't hesitate when we asked him to add some moulding.

Fast forward another few months, and with the help of an awesome project manager on the ground, a wonderful contractor in Paris, an enthusiastic client and countless emails, phone calls, trips across the pond, internet searches, scouting trips in the U.S. and France, and some last minute shopping all over Paris to pull it all together, we completed it in time for some lucky people to spend a wonderful Christmas together in Paris.  And we were able to relish the pictures of what was one of our most delightful pet projects ever.

With great pleasure, we present to you Cairanne, a pretty little jewel in the heart of Paris.

Using light furniture and light floors, we tried to maitain the serenity of the open feel and keep the focus on the view of the Eiffel Tower and the stunning architecture on the street. We loved the punch of dark brown skin rug, which was an inspiration from one of our HH designers, Sam Jones.

We spotted this pretty Louis XVI style table with one of our vendors, and painted the top dark to pick up on the fine lines of marquetry down the sides. We hand carried the <a href="" target="_blank">Kelley Ogburn</a> painting from Huff Harrington Fine Art.

Phew! It fit! (Measuring in centimeters and making sure that our beautiful Louis XV gilded mirror would fit was a bit of a challenge!)

Moving the kitchen from the back hall, we worked around the mantel (and yes, we painted it!) to be light and airy and part of the living space and the view.

We love the reflection of the mirrors from the kitchen to the living room, and the multiplication of chandeliers in the reflection. "How to get four chandeliers? Buy one Chandie and two mirrors!"

No this is not photoshopped. That is the Grande Dame peeking out from the window into the living room.

Even in December, we couldn't resist a morning of strawberries and bubbles on the beautiful terrace!

Our client insisted on a sofa bed that could be turned in to two sleepers. We never believed it could look so good!

It was pure magic when we fell upon this beautiful mustard and blue Hermes scarf in a neighborhood market. We used it as the basis of the colors for the bedroom (and hand carried all the custom pillows and drapes from Atlanta to match it!).

Even the bedroom has a pretty window and wonderful early morning sun.

We love the mix of modern with old, and the bathrooms reflected this with their crisp, modern fixtures and timeless marble features.

Although we love European fixtures, we're not crazy about their hardware, so we brought 64 pieces of brass knobs, pulls and handles in our suitcases from Atlanta!

We opted for classic subway tiles in two of the bathrooms ... because what is more Parisian than subway tile? And pssst, do you know why they're shaped the way they are? Ask us, and we'll tell you!

Meg kept saying, "We need another level of Dec Acc" (our shorcut for decorative accessory, or the effortless looking "je ne sais quoi" that pulls everything together and gives a look of being collected  over centuries).  Of course this meant several more trips to our favorite destinations, including flea markets, book stores and street fairs.  Always in a hurry, we know there's only one way to get around Paris in a pinch, even when you're carrying a lamp:  Le Metro!

Nobody looks askance in le Metro when you show up holding a lamp or carrying a lampshade on your head!

Just the thing for that level of "dec acc": Beautiful 19th C. French creamware, that can carry many poses.

The creamware worked wonders in several different vignettes, and of course there's nothing like having four florists just steps from the apartment.

We spotted this guy in one of our favorite flea markets, and learned that he weighed 20 lbs when we tried to take him on the Metro!

But it was all worth it when we paired him with a beautiful painting by <a target="_blank" href="">Kelley Ogburn</a> that we framed in Atlanta and carried with us on the plane.

In the end, with minutes to spare, we pulled off the dream job that we all dream of!  Now we just cross our fingers that we'll get another text, one of these days, with our favorite question: "If you're in Paris, could you please ..."

Oui, oui!  Absolument.

Sweet dreams, Paris.  Let's wake up and do another!

Ta ta,


P.S. And speaking of Paris ... we're headed there next month with a fun group of shoppers, and then again in September, and would love to have you join us!  Read all about it and call us for more information.  A bientot ...

Les filles a Paris!

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