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?

None!

Tea or coffee?

Tea!

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. 

 

At Home With Emily Sell, owner of Ever After Press

Despite being now happily settled in the city of lights for a year, it never really occurred to Emily to move to Paris. She relocated last summer after her husband was offered a job in the French capital - something not many could or would turn down! They met whilst both living in Dubai, so although Paris was never on her to-do list, having lived as an expat for a few years in the UAE, it seemed like a natural decision to live in another city. I met her not long after she moved for a coffee and was very happy to have a fellow Brit in town. After visiting her apartment one evening for a little soiree that she organised with friends, I felt I had to photograph her in her beautiful space and find out a little more about how she set up Ever After Press and her interior inspirations. 

Scroll down to read the interview! 

What inspired you to establish your own wedding stationery company and how did you get there? 

It's been a pretty circuitous route! My first ‘grown up’ job was in a law firm in Dubai. I had just finished my law degree and moved out to the UAE after university. I really enjoyed it, but I’ve always been very creative and it wasn’t long before I started to crave a less corporate career. Once we started planning our own wedding I became pretty obsessed with wedding stationery, and Style Me Pretty. In order to gain the technical skills I needed to work in design, we moved back to London where I studied Graphic Design. After graduating, I worked as a designer in London for a couple of years, before going full time with 

Ever After Press. I think I always knew really that I would like to work for myself, as the kind of design that I like is quite niche. 

I started off working from home, setting up a basic website with the designs that I had already done for friends and starting to figure out my prices. A year later I redesigned my website, as by then I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to offer. I'm now excited to be working on a new high end range of off the shelf designs which I hope to launch in a few months time. Working as a wedding stationery designer is the perfect way for me to be able to work with the understated feminine graphic design aesthetic that I love every day, and help my bespoke couples transform their ideas into reality.

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

Spending time on getting things right behind the scenes and streamlining everything as much as possible is a real investment in your business, so don't worry about taking your time and figuring out the small details so that everything runs as smoothly as possible. I think it's also important to be flexible and to continually assess what your clients are looking for, and then try to answer that with your offering.

I always find it inspiring to listen to the Design Sponge Heritage Radio Network podcast 'After The Jump' and at the moment I'm enjoying the emails for entrepreneurs that you can sign up for at Hey Sweet Pea.

What were the biggest decorating challenges?

I was pretty determined to find a classic Haussmann style apartment with herringbone parquet floors, coving and panelling (you only live in Paris once, right)? and was really pleased when we managed to wade through all the bureaucracy and secure one that we liked, but all the panelling means that we have lots of canvasses tucked away in cupboards and under beds. I was surprised by the lack of central ceiling lights, apparently that's a typical French thing...we only have one chandelier in the hallway and other than that we have to rely on ambient lighting. We definitely need to invest in some more lamps. It makes for quite a cosy atmosphere at night though. It's pretty geeky but we were lucky to find a place with a fair bit of built in storage which I love, I'm a bit of a neat freak and love having somewhere to hide away coats, shoes and suitcases.

How would you describe your interior style?

Minimal with a neutral palette, with Scandinavian and French influences. I like a lot of grey and white with a splash of pink here and there. I love having fresh flowers in the apartment - peonies, white hydrangeas, anenomes and ranunculus are my favourites when they are in season.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures? 

I love my sleep so one of my favourite items has to be the beautiful French carved bed we bought just before moving to Paris. We have a pair of vintage Bertoia white chairs from the 70's, which I love because they are just a little bit rusted and imperfect in places. Some paper pom poms left over from our wedding hang above my desk and the Paloma's Nest ring bearer bowl that we had made for our wedding, which sits on my bedside table (and where I keep my everyday jewellery when I go to bed), is really special to me too. I love everything Paloma's Nest make – they are the perfect gifts for any friends getting married.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

My favourite interiors stores are West Elm and Cox & Cox. I also love Aesop, Diptyque, Ferm Living and Story North.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

I love design blogs, such as LOVENORDICThe Design ChaserThe Style Files and Blonde and Bone - my Pinterest

 account is full of home inspiration that I love, as well as boards categorised by room. For something more colourful I always like checking out the work of Emily Henderson and on Instagram I love @mrorlandosoria for his hilarious captions as well as interior design inspo. I'm always so impressed by furniture hacks like those on The Painted Hive...I wish I had her patience! :) I like Antipodean design a lot - Graphic Design, Interiors and wedding styling, they just always seem to get it so right!

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

We live in the 16th arrondissement, an area usually known for its affluent older ladies and little dogs, as well as its beautiful architecture. I love living there as we are right in between the Eiffel Tower and the Arc De Triomphe. We can wander down to Ladurée on the Champs-Elysées for a weekend brunch in 20 minutes and our local art gallery, the Palais de Tokyo, is my favourite in Paris.

Favourite three social media mavens? 

This is such a hard one!! For lifestyle and fashion, I love Kelli Murray @kellimurray - an incredible illustrator based in California, with the best IG feed and blog...her style is awesome and she's a friend of my amazingly talented calligrapher friend Suzy Lee @hellosuzylee - (Suzy's work is beyond perfect and she is also an incredible person).

For general design inspiration, Besotted Blog has been my go to favourite for a very long time. And last but not least, @thefatjewish and @picathepom ... they are always guaranteed to make me laugh.

Favourite three lifestyle blogs?

Kelli MurrayOh Joy! and Cupcakes and Cashmere

Last good book you read? 

The last book I read (in 2 days without putting it down) was The Martian - I loved it! So different from what I normally read, and a total page-turner, I highly recommend it; I'm now obsessed with space! I usually end up reading quite dark books and I'm trying to change that. I love Kazuo Ishiguro, and East of Eden by John Steinbeck is another favourite. 

What’s in your magazine pile?

Kinfolk, Cereal and Living Etc.

What’s in your fridge?

Champagne, lots of cheese, loads of fresh veggies, fruit and probably at least one cured pork product (my husband is of Italian descent so we always have pasta ingredients ready to go). And some very dark chocolate.

Go-to evening drink?

I do like a good Hendrick's and Fever Tree tonic with cucumber. I love a cold bottle of corona (I'm such a lightweight I often can't handle wine) and after dinner an amaretto always makes me happy.

Tea or coffee?

I have an embarrassing sensitivity to caffeine, which means I'm normally the person trying to ask for chamomile tea or chocolate chaud in terrible French, in all the great new coffee places popping up in Paris.

Handbag essentials?

My iPhone, a good book for the metro, Narciso Rodriguez perfume, lip balm and a snack, to avoiding being hangry!

And finally a few of your Paris favourites?

Café: Our favourite little local French place for relaxed almond croissants on weekend mornings

Restaurant: Ellsworth

Shops: my local florist, Merci and A.P.C

Pickled

I ventured over the the 11th on Friday lunchtime with Cindy - an arrondissement I'm migrating to more and more these days - to check out the recently opened

Pickled

. A canteen/culinary agency, Pickled (cute name by the way), was set up by two friends: food designer, Myrtille and chef, Amandine. I'm all for women teaming up and doing business together and they seem to make quite a pair. They've created a welcoming, beautifully thought out space with an equally aesthetically pleasing menu - as you might expect from a food designer and chef duo. I took my camera along just in case and couldn't help but snap a few shots of the food and interior. If you're looking for kitchen storage solution inspiration, this is the place - I love that white wire wall. 

Amandine and Myrtille serve a daily changing menu with seasonal ingredients. We tried the pickled yellow pepper and coriander cream 'le Plat revisté en sandwich' - basically their dish of the day made into a burrito, cauliflower soup and cheesecake to finish. I like to count myself as a bit of a cheesecake connoisseur. Unless there's salted caramel on the menu, it's my go-to dessert, with my favourite being Rachel's blueberry cheesecake (that you can find at her eponymous cafe and in The Broken Arm), but Myrtille and Amandine's offering with sesame crust, drizzled with a refreshing citrusy lemon coulis, might just be my new favourite. 

Pickled

54 rue Basfroi

Paris 75011

Myrtille and Amandine

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,

Dedar

(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

here

]. 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 

here

]. 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

Empty Garnier

A week ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to the #emptygarnier event at the

Opera de Paris' Palais Garnier

, to experience the beautifully ornate 19th century building and get a behind the scenes look at its incredible space. Before it officially opened its doors in the morning for tourists, a small number of us (including the lovely people over at Instagram), were able to explore the stage (much larger than I thought it was), the basement where large cogs work the scenery, walk on the roof to take in the breathtaking view of Paris (without toppling off) and watch a ballet class. It was a magical experience and as someone who spent many years dancing ballet, it's one I won't forget in a hurry. The only downside is, I won't ever settle for cheap theatre seats again! And top it off, I was also included in a lovely

article in last Monday's le Figaro

about the event. 

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

market

(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

here

. We tried the delicious (but pricey)

Pulperia

on Friday night - an Argentinian restaurant that serves some of the best pork I've ever tasted, along with huge cuts of Argentinian beef, good if you're a serious carnivore. I also lunched at

Clamato

for the second time in a month (a habit that I don't mind making!) with

Clerkenwell Boy

- if you're heading to London, make sure you're following him for food tips and restaurant openings. 

At Home With Haleigh Walsworth

What inspired you to start

Making Magique

?

I was following a few blogs in 2009 (there were a lot less back then) and I was enjoying the content so much, I decided to try my own hand at it and started photographing and writing.

What else do you do? 

I have also been blogging for Lancôme on their USA site since the beginning of 2014 and I have a column called

Paris Rendez-Vou

s

. Once a week I photograph and write articles about culture, fashion, beauty and more in Paris for the US market. It’s a fun project and I've always been a huge fan of the brand, so it’s truly a pleasure working with them. I also create photos and videos for another beauty brand in the US, as well as for their digital channels. I write and photograph outside of the digital realm too, including a book for Penguin by Angela Niles that will come out this autumn, and a guide book to Paris called The Hunt: Paris that will be released by Gatehouse this spring. Now that those are done I’m working on a book of short stories accompanied by my own photographs.

What words of advice do you have for someone wanting to forge their own career path?

I’ve been freelancing and blogging for four years now and I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I would like to think I’ve learned something. Give yourself time to blossom - sometimes things happen fast, but other things take years to bloom. Also don’t lose energy comparing yourself to others, instead spend it on trying to do your best work and being more proactive. Treasure your clients and find a finesse to managing their expectations, while still going out of your way to keep them happy. Also don’t do jobs that pay you less than what you are worth, unless you absolutely have to, it's never worth it in the end. Be original, be authentic, and strive to create real value for the people that you work for, whether it's a client or customer. Put other people forward for work you think they are suited for and you will find the favour is often returned later down the line. Be frugal and stay optimistic in the slow times, ride the wave with grace in the busy times and be thankful for the work you have. Promote yourself, but never shamelessly. Work hard, wait, stay positive, get work, work harder, be thankful, repeat.

And now onto your apartment - how long have you lived there and how did you find it? 

Four years! Time flies. It feels like I moved in yesterday. There's no 

multiple listing service in Paris, so I found mine the only way one can if they want to buy a flat in Paris. First identify the neighbourhoods you want to live in, and then basically spend all day walking around to individual real estate agencies looking at the listings and leaving your information about what you're looking for. Then hopefully you can start doing visits - I found my apartment fairly quickly, but I had studied the market a lot and knew what I could and wasn’t going to get. Know what you can live without in and what you can’t. And when you you do find something you like, do not hesitate as places get snapped up immediately! 

What were the biggest decorating challenges? 

In Paris, space is always a challenge and the biggest was my kitchen. The sink and some of the appliances are less than the standard width - I had to go back 12 centimetres or so, otherwise the kitchen wouldn't have fit. Second was my front door. It’s too small to get most furniture through, so I had to be really clever. That’s actually why I don’t have a proper couch. The only ones that would fit through the door were the ones from IKEA, as they assembled inside. But they are often so generic, so finally I opted for a daybed, which is actually awesome because it’s a great place to stretch out on whilst watching a movie on my laptop and it can actually sit a lot of people on it!

How would you describe your interior style? 

Quirky, modern, French.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures? 

My favourite piece of furniture is my Louis XV demi corbeille bed. I always wanted one, but they are so pricey, I wasn’t sure I could swing it. But I found one I quite liked on ebay for 200€. I just wish you could see it better in my tiny bedroom! I also love the mirror over my fire place. It was also a good buy and I think it adds so much to the main room. 

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home? 

I love the Porte de Vanves flea market and of course the Marché Saint Ouen or Clignancourt as it's also called for all things vintage and antique. For new furniture with lots of different styles, I really like

Maison du Monde

. You can find some lovely affordable pieces that look great when mixed with older pieces. Of course I always mix in a bit of IKEA here and there when it's practical. My favorite home shops in Paris are

Fleux'

in the 4th and

Maison Aimable

in the 11th.

Interiors/style that have inspired you? 

I love little rococo details. Erin Fetherston’s

old apartment in Paris

was really an inspiration as well and 

Bijou Boheme’s kitchen

inspired the countertops in mine.

Favourite sources for inspiration?

I use Pinterest for 

interiors inspiration

. Obviously most of those comes from magazines, including old issues of Domino. Oddly, I also really like Atlanta Homes magazine and always find great stuff in there. Also my mom’s design and decor which she posts about

on her blog

is always a place I go for inspiration for the small decor details and how to repurpose all sorts of objects around the house for beautiful little corners.

Favourite three social media mavens?

The scandinavian gals have definitely stolen my heart!

Elsa Billgren

is my number one there. On Instagram I love

GypsyOne

even though her style is much edgier than mine, I love the way she curates her life as a photographer. Then for all things beauty I love

LisaEldridge

and her youtube videos.

Favourite three lifestyle blogs?

Park & Cube

because Shini is an amazing visual designer of all things,

Hjartesmil

because Mariel’s pictures feel so authentic and lived in, and Natalie Joos’

Tales OfEndearment

, because she has some great stories that make me laugh and she always takes dreamy trips.

Last good book you read? 

Where I Was From

by Joan Didion.

What’s in your magazine pile? 

So It Goes

mag is the only magazine I’m into right now. Other than that National Geographic, because it reminds me of being a kid still and being so excited to read them each month. The only fashion magazines around my house are there just for photo props for shoots I do. I really hate fashion magazines. I used to read Lula and still love the imagery, but I got a bit turned off by their exclusive It Girl club vibe and did away with all of them and my subscription. I tried to still love them because they were sooooo pretty but in the end I just didn’t identify with it. I love books but magazines are not really my thing!

What’s in your fridge? 

Tangerines, tangerines, and more tangerines. My Bkr waterbottle, and lots of gourmet mustards of different varieties.

Evening drink of choice? 

Tom Collins, preferably at

Le Fumoir

.

Tea or coffee? 

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.

Handbag essentials?

Fully charged iPhone and headphones (I’m always listening to music when I am out), at least one lipstick, a nail file (because it drives me insane when my nails snag on things), at least three credit cards (because I have a fear of them not working for some reason, so need at least two backups), and that’s it! I like to travel light.

What do you do to relax? 

In all seriousness, I dance alone a lot in my apartment! It’s kind of like a work out and a stress reliever. I walk a lot, like maybe at least an hour a day. It is my favorite activity and where I have all of my ideas. I watch a lot of Vice videos in my free time too, and also embarrassingly am really into those weird

ASMR videos

on youtube. I listen to at least one a day.

RR Recommends: Ceramicists

The Object Enthusiast

 | 

Paper & Clay

 | 

Helen Levi

 | 

One Suite Studio

You may have noticed from a few of my posts that I have a thing for ceramics. There's something about their unique handmade quality that I find particularly beautiful, considering the love and time that goes in to them. I've mentioned a couple of times that my mum makes pots, but what I probably didn't mention is that she has a little studio down at the bottom of the garden 

Poddington Peas

 style (you'll have to have been raised in the UK to get that one), complete with potters wheel. Over Christmas I thought I'd try my hand at it. She's been making ceramics off and on for years - in fact it helped cure her post natal depression - and every time I go back to visit, I leave laden with bowls, pots and dishes in various shapes, sizes and glazes, which are currently spread all over the apartment - some purely for decoration and others that have adopted specific uses. My new year's resolution is to learn, as I've been looking for a hobby that doesn't give me square eyes. Last year I started following quite a few ceramic artists on Instagram, so thought I'd share a few of my favourites.

Are you taking up a new hobby this year? 

Paris Apartment Update

It's freezing cold and grey in Paris, so since I've been back I've been spending most of my time inside, cocooning as much as possible, cosy on the sofa, bundled under throws and drinking numerous cups of herbal tea - the January health plan is currently underway. I went on a bit of a framing frenzy at the weekend, so thought I'd share a little update. (There's nothing like nosy-ing around someone's home to distract you from your current task!) 

Furnishing the apartment these past few months has become an ongoing job and pleasure (read obsession). Yet at the same time I'm apprehensive about showing more and can already see things that need improving in the photos I'm posting - such as a 

new bedside table and lamp for example, but for now the boy's vintage side table and old Ikea lamp do the trick. 

We finally have a sofa, but still need a table, chairs, rug, curtains, coffee table, wardrobe… the list goes on. 

You can often find me staring across the main room envisioning various pieces of furniture and trinkets – mapping them out in my mind. The boy must think I’m a nut as I change things on a daily basis – I like to call it 'curating'. I’m a perfectionist and like things just so. There are a few corners I’m (almost) happy with - namely the fireplace and free-standing shelves we bought from

Muji

, which I’m constantly styling and rearranging. As the apartment is in an old Haussmannian building (big plus), we can’t fix shelves to the walls just in case they crumble down (slight negative).

There are already a few cracks, which I’m a little concerned about, which might scupper my prospective art wall of framed prints in the bedroom...

Atop the shelving, the print is from the newly renovated,

Picasso Museum

(a must see if you come to Paris). I'm a big art fan, but more and more prefer prints with minimal colour. I would rather have a neutral palette with pops of colour in the flat, a bit like the clothes I wear. The bowls were made by my mum who has been potting for years - I love the turquoise and blue colours. (My new year's resolution is to learn.) And I currently have a thing for copper and picked up the lamp and candlestick I picked up in Amsterdam. The apartment is slowing taking shape and it's feeling a lot more like home.

I'd love to know what you think?!

Scroll down for a 'get the look' with links. 

First Impressions

When I moved to Paris, I was admittedly desperate to live in a traditional Parisian building, complete with wooden floors and original character features. Nearly two years later and my dream has come true. We fought for a good week for this flat (which included bugging the estate agent on a daily basis), but it was worth the stress. One of my main criteria for finding a new apartment in Paris was light, not something that is easy to find living in Paris. This apartment has oodles of it. The light streams in through the three large windows in salon and there's not one, but two floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom. We had to sacrifice a few things - we live above a busy boulevard, so often hear sirens roaring by, but luckily there's double glazing that drowns out a lot of the noise. It's also a little rough around the edges with a dated bathroom and kitchen, but the marble fireplace, cornices, parquet flooring and of course the view more than make up for it. And best of all it's almost unfurnished - not so easy now (we only have two chairs and a bed), but it means we can put our personal stamp on it. The sofa will arrive in three weeks and we'll be adding to it over the coming weeks, so expect many more posts! But here are a few first impressions. 

Margaret Howell



I just came back from another weekend in London to celebrate a friend's engagement party - so thought it apt to post a few photos of Margaret Howell's beautiful central London store that I took last time I was in the Big Smoke. I have a bit of a penchant for clean, modern clothing that supports a palette of grey, navy, white, black, and I particularly like wearing structured lines with minimal fuss that can be spiced up with a slick of bright lipstick. (And let's be honest, I neither have the inclination or time to spend faffing around trying to figure out what to wear in the mornings, so opt for a personal uniform of sorts). So I wandered off Wigmore Street and into the eponymous Margaret Howell shop to peruse a spectrum of greys, neutrals, browns and army greens, peppered with the odd pop of colour, checks and tartan. It's a lovely space flooded with light that streams in from the glass ceiling to showcase the collections, as well as the vintage furniture and homewares. It's more concept store, than clothes shop, creating a lifestyle rather than just offering apparel for the average clotheshorse. And boy, could I have happily bought everything in there. Or moved in. Luckily I had a meeting, otherwise I would have camped out for the rest of the day, in that grey armchair, asking the sales staff to bring me cups of tea in those pretty ceramics. 


At Home with Lauren

Lauren makes up the other half of The House that Jack Built along with Alison, whose flat I visited previously this month. Lauren's apartment came with her boyfriend Jeff, and she moved in Christmas 2012. It's fair to say she hit the jackpot with Jeff - I only met him briefly, but judging by his flat he's quite the catch. The apartment is unusually large for Paris - I could have easily cart-wheeled around the open living space (had I been so inclined), and on top of that it's located over looking Canal Saint Martin, possibly one of the best positions in Paris.

Situated on the fourth floor it's a light-filled space with three floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden floors and the furniture is a mix of modernist and vintage design pieces, such as an Eames lounge chair and ottoman, Knoll chairs, a vintage traffic light, an old stage light and a beautiful cream Krauss piano. Unsurprisingly it's been used before for various photo shoots, so I was glad to get in there and have a good nose around.

Scroll down for the full interview! 

How would you describe your interior style?

Eclectic, verging on schizophrenic. I love it all.

Favourite piece of furniture?

Jeff’s childhood piano. Especially when it’s being played – this week’s soundtrack has been Hey Jude.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Every Sunday growing up, my parents would drag my brother and I begrudgingly all over town to find antiques, we used to hate it with a passion. Now, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Going to St Ouen is an endless swoon. 

I also often pop into gallery and bookshop, OFR. They have ever-changing exhibitions and all the fashion, art, design books you could dream of. That’s where Jeff and I bought our first artwork together, a photograph by Mark Borthwick. For house plants, Bleuet Coquelicot in the 10th. And for organising the ‘behind closed doors’ side to our lives, I swear by Muji.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Born in Australia, growing up in South-East Asia, with an English father, now living in Paris – in some way or another, I’m inspired by a plethora of styles, eras, materials, textures & designs from these different cultures.

If your flat was burning down, what three things would you take with you?

We have a safety rope in case of a fire, so living on the 4th floor, I guess that would be useful. Then, I would take Jeff, because that’s the only way I would know how to use the rope. 3rd thing? Irreplaceable family photos.

Favourite sources for inspiration?

I am a sucker for Pinterest, I could spend hours dreaming my life away on that thing.

Last good book you read?

Cat’s Cradle by KurtVonnegut.

Breakfast or dinner?

Before going to sleep, I’m already excited for breakfast. I love breakfast so much that I sometimes eat it for dinner.

Evening drink of choice?

Tonight, an Aperol Spritz. But mostly, an Amaretto Sour.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee all the way!!! A single shot quartado. I can never win with tea - it’s always too scorching hot to drink, and then by the time I remember to drink it, it’s too cold.

Bedside table essentials?

A good book, papaw lip balm, hotel slippers, body cream.

How did you find your flat? Any advice for people searching for a flat in Paris?

The flat came with the boy! So find a boy/girl? If all else fails, spread the word. Word of mouth is the best way to find the best secret deals in Paris.

And finally you favourite places in Paris? 

Favourite Cafe :The BrokenArm, place to drink :L’Avant Comptoir in the 6th. I’m still thinking about the Rosé, croquette jambon & porc caramelisé I had there 3 weeks ago and I think the best brunch spot in Paris is: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges.

At Home With Alison

I was put in contact with Alison and Lauren from

The House that Jack Built

earlier this year by my friend 

Lauren

, as I was told they both had rather lovely apartments in Paris. She was not wrong. Last Friday I visited Alison at her home in the 11th to take some snaps. 

After working in the fashion industry for a few years in London, Newcastle native Alison came to Paris six years ago for 'a change'. She met Lauren while working at the Rose Bakery. They then began working 

spontaneously

 together after organising a

fundraising party

for the Tsunami in Japan in 2011 at

Candelaria

(part owned by her boyfriend, Josh) using the theme of Hanami - the Japanese cherry blossom celebration. They have since worked for Colette, Stella McCartney, Coca Cola and Gap, among others.

Alison's apartment is spacious and light and set back from a main street through a large courtyard - a rare find in Paris. It's filled with plants, vintage finds, knick knacks and Ercol furniture which all beautifully suit Alison's personal style.  

Scroll down to read the full interview!

How would you describe your interior style?

1970s school teacher

/indoor greenhouse

Favourite piece of furniture?

The vintage wicker coffee table that I bought on Ebay.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Ebay or brocantes for furniture. 

Labour and Wait

in London for kitchen & home.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Maybe subconsciously my Grandma's house and my parents house - they both have Ercol furniture (as do I) and lots of plants and books - my mum's favourite colour is green.

If your flat was burning down, what three things would you take with you?

My boyfriend, m

y favourite photography book, Farm by

Jackie Nickerson

- I bought it new more than 10 years ago when it was first published and it is now selling for more than 10 times the original price on Amazon (= over 500€), so it feels almost irreplaceable - I never get bored of looking at it.

And thirdly the collage that my boyfriend and I made on our second date (!)

Where do you look for inspiration?

I try to find inspiration offline as much as possible - going to exhibitions, browsing bookshops and magazines.

Favourite social media mavens?

@louisphilippedegagoue /

http://www.louisphilippedegagoue.blogspot.fr/

@susiebubble /

www.stylebubble.co.uk

Online reading material?

Wide Eyed Glass

,

Into the Gloss

 and

This Rawsome Vegan Life

.

What was the last good book you read?

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

.

What’s on your magazine pile?

Acne Paper, System Magazine, Metal Magazine

Breakfast or dinner?

Breakfast

Evening drink of choice?

A Curado at Le Mary Celeste

Tea or coffee?

Tea

Bedside table essentials?

Hand cream and almond oil

How did you find your flat?

On Facebook - through a friend, after 6 months of looking.

Any advice for people searching for a flat in Paris?

Be persistent!

And finally your favourite places in Paris!

The Broken Arm

for tea,

Le Mary Celeste

for a drink and

Bob's BakeShop

, or at home

 for juice. I also really like

Juice It

- a new cold press juice bar in the 2nd.

At Home With Meg

Meg is the Denverite behind De quelle planete es-tu?, where she blogs about Paris life, café culture and beer (lots of it). After completing her master’s degree at the French business school, INSEEC she landed the job of Digital Content Editor at Dior. I met her a few months ago in her apartment, when she invited a few of us over for drinks and nibbles. Her vintage style and memorabilia instantly caught my eye, and I thought her colourful cosy apartment in the 16eme filled with knick knacks, photos, books and vinyls would be a good place to start my new series.

So last Saturday I snooped around her apartment, which was obviously just a poor excuse to spend some quality cat time with her seriously cute three month old kitten, Jefferson. I don’t like to boast, but I think he liked me – just look at him posing for photos.

Scroll down to read the full interview!

Note: The questions are a work in progress, so the format will probably morph and change, but hope you like it!

What brought you to Paris?

I moved to Paris in 2008 for university. Having previously spent my Junior year of high school abroad in a French high school in Normandy (where I learned French), I was itching to get back to complete my studies in France. I obviously fell in love with the city and over the years it has become my home.

How long have you lived in your apartment?

A little over 2 ½ years.

How would you describe your interior style?

Flea market and retro goodness, with pops of color and memories all over the walls.

Favourite piece of furniture?

My 1950s formica red cabinet with drawers that I found at the Centre des Objets Perdus near Canal Saint Martin. It is perfect in every way.

Go-to shops/places to buy for your home?

By far I prefer to find my treasures at flea markets or brocante shops (I’ve got favorites in both Paris and in Denver)… I also love finding things from my parents’ house that they don’t use anymore. While traveling I also love finding things… not too long ago on a trip to Istanbul I found the most beautiful rug.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Mostly retro, minimalist décor with lots of crowded table tops and shelves where I can put little knick knacks. I love wooden furniture and random bursts of color. 

My main inspiration is when I see homes (or photos of homes, ha) that really reflect the person that lives there… you see the apartment and you think to yourself, “this is so that person”.

I was raised in a house that really reflected my mom’s taste and everything that she liked: our home was filled with trinkets and pieces of furniture from travels in the Middle East, with also a Native American flare given her Arizona roots and love for Santa Fe. Our walls were covered with her artwork and that of her mother or other artists, mixed with photographs and other hanging things like rugs and baskets. She was so good at mixing together different styles, modern and ethnic, colourful and shades of browns and tans…

All of this inspired me so much growing up, and made me realise that I want my apartment/home to reflect who I am and be filled with all of the things that I like - and that of my chéri. It also has to be filled with memories.

If your flat was on fire (touch wood), what three things would you take with you?

I would immediately grab my vintage green metal toolbox that is filled with everything I deem awesome and close to my heart, my cigar box filled with favorite photos old and new, and my kitten, Jefferson. But if Louis grabs the cat, I’d probably also grab my metal filing box filled with all my important files (being a foreigner in France helps to build up quite the collection of important and irreplaceable documents!).

Sources for inspiration?

I just love Pinterest and Instagram for drooling over interior design and decoration ideas. I usually get a bit jealous when I see big open spaces as most places in Paris are quite small, but I must say that I love discovering how to arrange random things and maximise space with things like shelving or hooks on walls, for example. It’s pure eye candy for me, I just love it, it gives me so many decoration ideas.

The other main inspiration of mine are my in-laws. I just love the way they have decorated their countryside house (and everywhere they have lived).

Top three instagrammers?

I’m going to go with @westelm@ohladycakes and @ohhappyday

Online reading material?

Note to SelfSF Girl by BayHello Sandwich. Although I must say I am always so thrilled when I find new lovely blogs to follow.

Last good book you read?

Bossy Pants by TinaFey

.What's on your magazine pile?

Vanity Fair, Vogue… whatever catches my eye at a random magazine shop or museum.

Breakfast or dinner?

Breakfast, à l’américaine, savoury all the way. 

Wine or beer?

Beer forever and ever… IPAs and stouts, preferably. I like wine though, too. 

Tea or coffee?

Oh, this is a toughy. I do like both…. I like my espressos with sugar and tea with heaps of honey. Coffee vs. tea depends on the time of day, where I am and the mood! 

Bedside table essentials?

Little containers for random things, a ring stand, hooks for necklaces, my jewellery box, a big glass of water, phone charger and chapstick.

And finally your favourite Paris places!

Pain & Chocolat +Pain Et Chocolat for breakfast, , Le Trois 8 +Les Trois 8 for a craft beer, Cafe Loustic for coffee, and I love wandering around Belleville and Montmartre. Oh and my favourite sweet treats are chouquettes.

Boot Café

I ventured into the pint-sized (or should I say shoe-sized) Boot Café a few weeks ago with the lovely Carin. It's housed inside a former cobbler's, hence the name. As Paris' smallest cafe, it is petit but perfectly formed, with three tiny tables, a little bar for tempting sweet treats and a wall of shelves displaying fashion magazines (one of the owners works in the industry). We popped in for coffee (they serve Belleville) and cake one saturday to escape the rain. 

What it lacks in size, it makes up for in style. There are little green geometric stools, white tiles, posters and art covering one wall, old wooden floors, plants and a pretty blue front. I also love the little wooden crate filled with coconuts (they serve coconut juice - not your usual offering in Paris!) But the best thing? It's just a short walk from my studio. 

What's your favourite cafe in Paris? 

Boot Café 

19 Rue du Pont aux Choux

Paris, 75003

Coffee at Caféothèque


You'd be forgiven for thinking this space had somehow morphed into a coffee blog, what with all the close ups of coffee cups lately. The thing is with the cafes in Paris, so many of them have such good-looking interiors that I just can't resist. Oh and it might have something to do with my current coffee addiction. Look at that cup, teasing me with its perfectly formed frothy latte art. I'm even making my own at home. I blame the recent rain.

Now I'm no coffee connoisseur - I usually just go for a bog-standard cappuccino or café creme as they like to call it here in France - but the coffee at Caféothèque is particularly good. These guys know their beans. They even have an in-house roasting machine to prove it. But of course, being the interiors girl that I am, I wasn't so interested in the beans or the machine, it was the room at the back that resembles a tropical jungle, furnished with colourful rustic tables and raffia bags that got me. Oh and that delicious cup of coffee. 


Thanks Carin for modelling the coffee cup

Blackburn Coffee


Another day, another cafe post. I've got a lot going on at the moment, what with all this flat-hunting, so need all the caffeine I can get my mitts on. On Friday I visited the newly opened Blackburn Coffee (no, I didn't see the UK connection - town & football club - until my foodie journalist friend Sophie pointed it out to me) in the 10th. The coffee's good, but even better is the interior. I'm sure you've figured out by now that I have a thing for interior decor, and the Danish design magazines piled up on the back table, which looks like a large slab of driftwood fashioned into a work bench, immediately won me over. The space is a mix of scandinavian design (a big trend in Paris right now) with white round tables, white walls, mixed in with some cosy, rustic touches such as a log cabin-esque wood-panelled wall at the back and colourful cushions and knick knacks that give it that lived in feel.

The owners, Sofiane and Sarah are friendly and welcoming, making you feel like you've just stepped into their living room. Sofiane makes the coffee and Sarah cooks a range of tartes, quiches, open sandwiches with avocado and salad, which I'll definitely be coming back for. 

Blackburn Coffee, 52 Rue Faubourg Saint-Martin.

The man behind the machine, Sofiane
Sarah getting culinary 

La Trésorerie


I had a brilliant start to the new month yesterday. Lauren, who is pretty clued up on all things Paris, found out about a new cafe/shop opening, called La Trésorerie (it used to be the old treasury and you can still see the bars on the windows) so invited a few of us along. It was so new we got a good whiff of fresh paint as we walked into the cafe, and while we sat and drank our coffee we could see the staff still buzzing around and making the final finishing touches to the shop next door. 

The cafe serves good filter coffee, fresh orange juice and Swedish food - Carin (our favourite Swede) ordered a smörgås, better known as an open sandwich, for us all to try. 

At 11:30 they opened the doors to the store and we quickly piled in to get the first look at the space. It's a mecca for all things home, aka my kind of heaven. They sell crockery, furniture, linen, pots, pans, glassware, Turkish towels and even paint, by some of the best brands from all over the world. So of course there were Swedish brands, as well as the famous English brand, Denby who make beautiful crockery. 

La Trésorerie, 11 rue du Chateau d'eau, Paris 10th.
Carin cutting the smörgås so we could all taste a bite


Katie and Carin perusing the crockery
One of the owners in his lovely yellow apron

Paris' most colourful cafe: Colorova

Hello! It's been a little while since I've blogged, as there have been a few changes in my life recently, but more about that later….

My first post of the year is about the beautifully colourful cafe and patisserie, Colorova that was published on Apartment Therapy last week!



The first thing you see as you step off the street and walk in Colorova, located just south of Saint Germain, is the black, white and red diamond wallpaper on the adjacent wall. As the name suggests, this place is all about colour, from the rainbow-coloured crocheted chairs to the colourful pastries and cakes that are so artful, they look almost too good to eat.

Paris is known for its beauty, but not necessarily for colour; this unique space created by French chef, Guillaume Gil, places design, and especially colour (hence the name) on the same level of importance as the food served. Gil wanted to create a space where he felt at home, after all, he comes her every day. He says: "The colours are very important to me; I wanted to have a business that didn't look like any other. Typical tea salon in Paris is decorated with cold colours that are very similar to the tea salons that you might find in Austria, for example. I wanted something eye-poppingly colourful and young. If I go into a tea salon as a client I want to feel a part of the space, and that's what I've tried to do here."

He shopped around for inspiration, visiting various stores, showrooms and numerous second hand markets, which, luckily Paris is famous for. He finally settled on colourful crocheted chairs from a store in Paris, windows he found while on holiday in Thailand and vibrant seats made from Tunisian markets. The interior is completed by unique display counters - which Gil had specially designed by a cabinet-maker - that beautifully exhibit the artisanal cakes. 

There are are also books and magazines dotted about on the shelves, reading lamps that add an intimate and more personal touch, artworks, and even the addition of a cool mint SMEG fridge. The result is a space where you feel instantly at home and so cosy that you'll want to move in!