Christmas chez moi with Maison Chaumet & The Socialite Family

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a little festive fete in honour of luxury French jewellery house, Maison Chaumet and The Socialite Family, who came to photograph my apartment as part of their Christmas campaign, Winter Stories. We spruced the place up and created a table spread filled with eucalyptus, red berries and cake. Then my boyfriend and I adorned ourselves in beautiful Chaumet jewels and watches from the Liens collection that let's be honest, I didn't want to take off. And if it hadn't been for the bodyguard, I might have made a run for it, or stuffed them into my pocket to later wrap up as a well-deserved Christmas gift to myself. 

You can read the full interview with The Socialite Family here.


Created in collaboration with Maison Chaumet and The Socialite Family

At Home With Betsy Kasha, Co-founder of A+B Kasha

American export Betsy is one half of A+B Kasha, an interior design and real estate agency based in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which she founded ten years ago this month with her husband Alon. The agency specialises in pied-a-terre properties in the Saint-Germain area on some of Paris' most charming streets. After moving to London from New York for Alon's work, they visited Paris for a weekend and fell in love with the city. They decided they wanted a pied-a-terre apartment of their own, so they bought an apartment with beautiful bones, but one which needed gutting and renovating. With the skills and experience they learnt from managing such a huge project, they decided to establish A+B Kasha and move to the City of Lights permanently. Today they create beautiful pied-a-terre apartments - apartments that have all been hand-picked by Betsy and Alon and then thoughtfully and beautifully restored to their natural glory. There is nothing too ambitious for this design duo, which you can see from their apartment below - it too was gutted, renovated and restored, to create a beautiful two bedroom apartment in one of Paris' most sought-after neighbourhoods. 

Scroll down to read the interview.

Why did you move to Paris?

I moved to Paris in 2004 from London with my family to start our company A+B Kasha now celebrating its tenth anniversary!

What inspired you to establish your own real estate and interior design agency and how did you get there?

It was more of an evolution than an inspiration. And that’s usually how life is…we had just moved to London from New York when we were invited to use our friend’s apartment in Paris for the weekend. After a great weekend, I knew I wanted a Paris pied-a-terre of my own, and we ended up buying one in Saint Germain-des-Pres that had great style but needed a ton of work.

The process of buying and renovating an apartment in Paris turned into a bigger project than we expected, and showed us all the inefficacies of the Paris market. This gave us an idea that turned into A+B Kasha, The Art of the Pied-a-terre. In essence, we were our first clients.

What words of advice do you have for someone following their own career path and setting up a business?

Trust your instincts, surround yourself with smart and honest people, and be prepared to work all the time.

How long have you lived in your apartment?

We bought this apartment after living (around the corner) for five years. The renovation took a year, and we moved in four years ago.

What were the biggest decorating/renovation challenges?

Our apartment had two glaring problems: (1) the floor plan was impractical and uncomfortable, and (2) the beautiful old herringbone floor was sagging, creating 10cm bow in each room.

First, we completely flipped the floor plan of the apartment; the main bathroom located off the living room became the kitchen; two bedrooms in the back became a large master bedroom and bathroom; and the kitchen and dining room located above the living room became the bedroom and bathroom for our daughter.

Today, the living, dining and kitchen are together and the bedrooms are on opposite sides of the apartment…the flow of the apartment works perfectly for our lifestyle.

How would you describe your interior style?

For me, balance and context are big keys to good design.

In my work, I always choose elements which will be harmonious together, and that make sense for the space. In my apartment, I like order but I shy away from formality. I like to be surrounded by beautiful art, but I am very sensitive to visual clutter. The key is balance.

In terms of context, it is important to stay true to the proportion and natural charm of the space. As stunning as Versailles is - for example - its style and proportion does not work in a Directoire-period apartment like mine. It is a question of respecting the natural beauty of the space and “dressing” it to enhance rather than distract.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures?

I make it a habit to only keep objects, furniture and art that give me pleasure. But I will single out the metal bookcase in our living room for its sculptural silhouette. It also has interesting provenance…it was designed in the 1920’s to store heavy machinery in a French factory.

The painting over my bed is also special to me. It was painted by artist Cecile Defforey. I think it has a magical quality.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

In addition to the furniture dealers I work with regularly, two of my favourite home stores are Caravane (rue Jacob) for its soft sofas, bedding and accessories and Original BTC Lighting (rue Bonaparte) for its great ceiling, wall and bathroom lights.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

I love the work of designers Axel Vervoordt, John Saladino, and Alexandra & Michael Misczynski.

What do you like most about the area you live in, in Paris?

I love the energy of Saint Germain des Pres…it has a quirky, village feel. I also appreciate its cultural and architectural history.

Favourite sources for inspiration? (ie Pinterest, instagram)

I often get design inspiration from the most unlikely places. Yesterday it was the floor of an old boulangerie, and the day before, it was a beautiful ceramic pool in a private garden. I always have my phone with me so I just snap a photo and keep it in my inspiration file.

Favourite three social media mavens (could be instagrammer, blogger, Pinterest user)?

My social media of choice is Instagram. I love following the Instagram of the Beach-chic concept store, Pistol and Lucy (pistolandlucy), in Malibu, CA.

I also follow blogger/instagrammer Alexandra Stafford (alaxandracooks); her food photos and recipes are mouth-watering! And I have become a devoted fan of artist Kevin Scorgie’s instagram (kevin_scorgie) as well as his work.

Last good book you read?

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

What’s in your magazine pile?

AD France, Elle Decoration (France), Vanity Fair, and The Week (US Edition)

Go-to alcoholic beverage?

Red Wine, although I rarely say no to Champagne.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, but only in the morning

Handbag essentials?

Sunglasses, lipstick, liquorice Ricola, Farrow&Ball colour chart, and a tape measure

What do you do to relax?

I am learning how to meditate…

Paris favourites:

Café: Outside at La Palette on rue de Seine… perfect for an outdoor cocktail or lunch with friends.

Restaurant; It is too difficult to single out one restaurant because there are so many amazing ones. But my new favourite dining spot is Come a Casa on rue Pache in the 11eme. It was introduced to me by my Italian foodie friend, Max, and it has some of the best Italian food I have ever had. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Shop: Honestly, my go-to store is Le Bon Marche…for everything!  I am rarely disappointed.

Words & photos by Marissa Cox. 


At Home With Editor of The Other Art of Living, Sophie Trem

I discovered Sophie a little while ago through Instagram. She oozes positive energy and by the photos on her feed, I could see that her home reflected her personality. So I reached out and ventured down to the 13th. It's not an area I go to very often, so I was a little out of my comfort zone and admittedly got a bit lost. But I finally found her building and she opened her door with a big smile. We immediately clicked and I spent a few hours there, chatting, snapping photos and munching on a delicious breakfast that she kindly laid out - obviously just how any photo shoot should go. 

She’s been in her home for 5 years, and it’s the kind of space that you want to curl up in with a good magazine. It’s bright and cosy, and filled with personality and warmth, with touches of colour and pattern - in other words, a real home.  

Paris born and bread, of Cambodian descent, she grew up in Paris’ China Town and has remained in the area, where she lives with her husband and two small boys. She works as a freelance web and fashion consultant, as well as working part-time for Qwant, looking after their communications. Her blog, The Other Art of Living is full of positive vibes, inspiration and tips for mastering the art of living well! 

Scroll down to read the interview.

What inspired you to start your blog?

It was a time in my life when I wanted to change direction. I went back to school because I needed to learn new things. That’s how I started, but it was not supposed to be a blog, just a website showing what I could do as a freelance creative consultant…  I was so surprised when I was invited to an event for bloggers the very first time!

What words of advice do you have for someone following their own career path and freelancing?

Listen to yourself; try to feel it. Do things you want to, not only because you have to. That makes a huge difference.

Any projects in the pipeline?  

Don’t get me started! ;)  I think I have as many dreams as there are stars in the sky, so I always have a project on the go! But seriously, I’m currently really excited about my first collaboration with K-Swiss. We are launching an exclusive style of the Classic tennis shoe this Thursday at Colette. I still can’t believe it’s real; it’s a dream come true!

I was also a part of the jury for Maison & Objet last week and of course my (almost) full-time job at Qwant is full of new adventures everyday, that’s a startup lifestyle both ways.

What do you like most about the area you live in?

There’s such a great energy here, which I guess is because of the mixture of cultures. We are near Chinatown where I grew up, and this is one of those new areas mixed with old, with a real family spirit. On top of that there are also a lot of green spaces, which is so important when you have kids.

What were the biggest decorating challenges you faced when you moved in?

Our apartment is a former medical office, so renovating that into a home was the biggest challenge. But as soon as I got there, I had the image of what our home would be, I could totally visualise it, then it had to be!

How would you describe your interior style?

I guess it’s a mix of modern, Scandinavian & boho, we like to mix everything together.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures?

I never know how to answer that one as I like everything, but more as an ensemble. Although I do love the buffet we’ve had for years because there’s a funny story behind it, and I love when things have their own story!

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Recently I just went nuts at my friends store Jamini! I love the designer, the products – I just can’t get enough of those pillows, they really add some flavour to the spirit of my home. I also really like Bloomingville and Bxxlight. 

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

L’Eclaireur, Merci, Maison & Objet

Favourite sources for inspiration?

Travel and blogs, such as blogger & instagrammer, Jesus Sauvage.

Favourite three lifestyle blogs?

Inside Closet, Apartment Therapy, Anna G, Beautyarchi

Last good book you read? 

I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m really enjoying: Le jour ou j’ai appris à vivre from Gounelle (the day I learned to live.)

What’s in your magazine pile?

Home magazine, Le M Monde, Les Inrocks, Society, Happinez, Vogue and MPA.

What’s in your fridge?

Organic fruits and veggies and some easy stuffs for kids like ham & cheese and a lot of different condiments & juices

Go-to alcoholic beverage?


Tea or coffee?


Handbag essentials?

Lipsticks, money, pressed powder, earplugs, kleenex and something to rinse your hands.

What do you do to relax?

I play with my kids, I sleep, I play music with my friends, and I love spending hours in my bathroom and having a home spa!

Paris favourites:

Café: Le Bonaparte is around the corner from my office, it's super convenient. It's a tourist trap, but I still love being amazed by my city.  

Restaurant: there are so many I love, but one of my all time favourite cantines is New Hoa Khoan, 15 Avenue de Choisy, 75013. It does the best dim sum in Paris, trust me!

Shop: Colette for its crazy selection from street to high end, Merci as most of the fashion designers I love are there, Heimstone, Le Bon Marché, L’Eclaireur, Jamini and…. Monoprix for everything!

For kids: Maralex, Little Michel & Noel online and Womb.

Words & photos by Marissa Cox. 


Dedar Milano

Last week, as you may have seen from my Instagram photos, I went on a little trip to Milan to discover the Italian furnishings brand,


(short for Design D'Arradamento) and had quite a journey (this is an epic post, just like the trip, so be prepared!) A family run business, Dedar has been going for some 40 years and creates gorgeous luxurious fabrics and wallpapers - they recently did a collaboration with Hermès. First we drove to their showroom in Milan and were introduced to the team and thousands of richly-coloured fabrics in an array of materials, from silk and velvet to linen - some so soft to the touch, that I could have happily laid down on one and had a little snooze. I'd woken up at 5am for the flight after all. Next we drove over to the

Arts & Food Triennale

to peruse the vast exhibition dedicated to food and art through the ages that showcases everything from kitchen design, cutlery and ceramics to how food is portrayed or used in modern art. If you're a big foodie, this is a good one to add to your bucket list.

This was followed by lunch in the terrace restaurant on the roof of the building, which had launched when the exhibition opened this year. Lovely and airy, with a view over the gardens and Milan's financial district beyond, it was the perfect place to take a lunchtime pause before we ventured on to our next destination. 

After lunch we visited

Villa Necchi

. If you've watched the film,

I Am Love

starring Tilda Swinton (in which she plays a Russian, married to a Milanese), you'll recognise the interior, as it's the house where the family lives. An incredibly-designed space - the architect, Piero Portaluppi was given free reign and an unlimited budget - it was originally owned by one of Milan's wealthiest families, who made their fortune by creating the Necchi sewing machine. It's one of the most beautifully designed and furnished villas I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. To say I was excited to see it, was an understatement. I would happily have stayed there all day snapping away, and probably done my best to lock myself in and never leave had we not had a guide. The interior is what you might expect (and more) from an Italian villa built in the 1930s in the art-deco style. Marble is in abundance -  all the bathrooms are furnished from floor to ceiling in the opulent material, either in blue, green, pink or black. The staircase is made from walnut, there are wooden floors, marble fireplaces, ornately-carved doors and the furnishings are equally luxurious. My favourite being the green velvet sofas in one of the living spaces, which has a huge corner window that looks out into the trees and garden, so that the outside feels part of the space. The villa was the location used for Dedar's most recent collection campaign, hence our visit and I could see just how well Dedar's fabrics suited the villa's interior style. Heaven. 

After dragging myself away - I was of course the last to leave, literally running after the group - we drove over to the new

Fondazione Prada

. Another feast for the eyes, the new foundation has been built in an old distillery, with warehouses renovated into large gallery spaces by the architecture firm OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas. It's a modern space that reveals its historical roots - old buildings have been given a new life, with mirrored walls and one of the buildings has been painted entirely in gold. [You can see me posing against its wall


]. The foundation is currently showing a range of contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois. If you're an art fan and find yourself in Milan, this is a must-see. 

By the end of the day, my head was literally buzzing with visual and inspiration overload. So an hour's car ride to our hotel in Lake Como was a welcome relief. But of course more beauty was waiting. We checked into the

Hotel Villa Flori

, right on the bank of the Lake, so that when I opened my doors onto the balcony I could have jumped into the water. [See the view on my Instagram 


]. I quickly changed and met the rest of the group, including the Dedar's two owners Caterina and Rafaelle Fabrizio for a drink on the bar's terrace. After a full day of sightseeing it was time for the classically Italian drink, Apero Spritz.  Drinks were followed by dinner in a nearby restaurant, again with magnificent views of the lake. After eating and drinking a little more than my fill, I woke up fuzzy-headed the next day, but luckily it was a much more calm and relaxed itinerary - we visited the company's offices and then the factory to see how all the fabrics are made before heading to the airport to fly home. 

The terrace restaurant at Arts & Foods 

Villa Necchi

Fondazione Prada

Hydrangeas at Home

In my endless quest for better living, one of the things I'm constantly, almost stubbornly aiming to improve are my green fingers. Despite my love of flowers and all things green, this skill unfortunately does not come naturally. Over the years I've killed bonsai trees (remember when those were trendy?), numerous orchids, potted herbs (most recently mint and basil) and even cacti, and the now fashionable succulents, which are notoriously easy to care for. I've put it down to the fact that unlike pets they don't wind around my legs and make noises when they're hungry. But I'm persevering, as I think no home is really complete without some plant life. 

So this weekend, I replaced the dead basil and mint with sweet-smelling, lusciously green pots and bought two beautiful pink hydrangea plants from the


(not usually a colour I'd go for, but they were almost grinning at me in the sun), to pot in the balcony boxes that have been sat sad and empty since we moved into the apartment last September. I got out my little trowel, laid magazine paper down on the wooden floors and began throwing soil into the boxes, I even repotted the aloe vera plant, the one plant (besides a coffee plant that the boy has been tending to and somehow kept alive for the past 2 years) that appears to be thriving, and which has begun to sprout uncontrollably, along with two or three little offshoots. And I'm quite pleased with my handy work, I'm even keeping an eye on them, noticing when they wilt a little as a sign that they need water. When speaking to my mum Sunday night, who is naturally green-fingered, boasting how her garden is in full bloom, she suggested I talked to them. I'm not sure I'll be going quite that far - again unlike animals, there's no noise of reciprocation, but I am trying to keep a beady eye on them. Are you good with plants? 

In other news, the brilliant

Domino Magazine

featured my workspace on their site over the weekend, you can read about my desk essentials


. We tried the delicious (but pricey)