The morning light shines through the open-shuttered windows and onto the vintage Knoll couch in the living room. The aroma of coffee fills the apartment and I hear Jessie laugh as she says this coffee isn’t her best work. It tastes fine to me and we sip it in her eclectic kitchen while listening to Beyoncé and enjoying a few chouquettes. She knows how to host. Jessie Kanelos Weiner is a Chicago-native watercolor artist who first found her way to France 10 years ago and has made Paris her home. Her bright and whimsical work has been featured by numerous publications (Vogue, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to name a few), she runs a blog about her life in Paris, and more recently published her second book: Paris in Stride: An Insider's Walking Guide. She kindly invited me into her home in Vincennes - where she has been living with her French architecture photographer for the past 6 years - not just for coffee and treats but to chat about her new book, her inspiration, art, and becoming French, another one of her recent accomplishments.
Scroll down for her interview.
Jessie wears a yellow gingham top from Cunnington and Sanderson.
Jessie wears a gingham dress from Cunnington and Sanderson.
What would you do if you weren’t an illustrator?
Hopefully I’d be an artist of some kind.
Best career advice you ever received?
“Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper”. - Beyonce
What were the biggest decorating challenges in your current home?
Since it was the first home I created with my husband, it took time to find our joint style and invest in pieces we loved little by little.
How would you describe your interior style?
Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures?
A crocheted monogrammed blanket made by my grandmother Betty, the last touch from my childhood home in Chicago. And it charmingly compliments our vintage Knoll olive green couch.
Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?
What styles inspire you?
What do you like most about the area you live in, in Paris?
Close proximity to the Bois de Vincennes, excellent food shops and Metro access.
Favourite sources for inspiration?
Strolling around Paris, travel and playing music.
Favourite three social media mavens?
Last good book you read?
What’s in your magazine pile?
Apartamento, Gather Journal, Purple and Comestible by friend Anna Brones.
What’s on your nightstand?
Two glass collie dogs from my childhood bedroom.
How has publishing your books changed your life?
It’s connected me with many people.
What’s your morning routine?
Hit the snooze button 4 times, read the New York Times, think about doing yoga, drink green tea, go to the market, buy a croissant for my husband, light food prep, walk to my studio, make coffee as a reward, catch up on emails, waste time and draw if it’s a good day.
Go-to alcoholic beverage?
Tea or coffee?
Celine sunglasses, Avène Cold Cream lip balm, prenatal vitamins, a black Sharpie, Winsor & Newton watercolor kit, loose change from several countries.
What do you do to relax?
Cooking, baking, knitting and playing the guitar.
Favourite restaurant: Restaurant Kunitoraya
Favourite shop: Astier de Villatte, painfully expensive but always worth a visit if I’m in the neighbourhood.
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Words by Amanda VanOsdol. Photos by Marissa Cox, edited by Monika Varšavskaja