hi guys! it’s been a busy week and there’s lots of news to share in a day or so. today is just a note to say hi and indulge in a scrapbook moment from my spring tour in paris which is featured in october’s travel and leisure magazine! it’s a great excuse to dig thru the pics and thank everyone who was involved.
we had a ball running around and did not hold back while we were shooshed and laughed and skipped through the streets for days. the shots above were taken by anthony of oneandonlyparisphotography.com. i hoped that they’d use some in the article but oddly enough, they sent someone the next weekend to shoot the markets. i’ll never understand that but, whatever!
this was our group, toma, the antiques diva met us at a couple brocantes she had up her sleeve, lynn yaeger wrote the article and kim and kyle shopped with impeccable taste and got the gorgeous gems below (just a small sampling)!
so anyway, it’s nice to have a passion-turn-business and see the fruits of a lot of labor with an article like this.
my next trip to paris in january for the maison et objet and again in the spring, (dates tbd).
join the diva for the Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons on the île de Chatou this year or next.
or come with me, you know you’re always welcome to join anytime i’m there as my guest, bloggers have carte blanche!
Paris Apartment Custom Shopping Expeditions
happy saturday night guys! i’m home catching up and chillin’ out. it’s been a long time since i’ve been able to just goof off and surf the web, say hi to friends.
there are so many pretty things it makes me weak! but getting lost in never never land can keep you from doing just about anything else including eating and sleeping so i’m about to wrap it up and go read.
suffice it to say, a good time was had.
(my new best friend)
on a night like tonight, i could never retrace my steps, but it’s so nice to know these links will be here forever now, preserved. most of my everyday friends don’t even know i have a blog. some people don’t give it credibility and even think it’s frivolous. but it’s such a fundamental way to connect, share and create. i know i’m preaching to the choir.
and i always leave inspired no matter how many i got to visit.
anyway to prove that blogging isn’t for sissies, take a look at tara frey’s book all about it. i was excited to get my copy over the weekend and thrilled she included me. thanks, tara. i would show you my own page but don’t have a header so it really doesn’t translate, so i’ll leave you with this beauty instead: rebeccasower.typepad.com which is making me wonder if should get more creative with the layout.
well i hope you had fun on this little tour, i’m off to bed with a head filled of the pretty places i’ve been tonight. sweet dreams!
hi guys, happy weekend! i’ve had a couple days to drop out, refocus, and get set for a 90 day regime. from today i’ll be making little changes that will hopefully have at least some impact on ma vie. (things like going to bed and getting up earlier, taking the stairs, and tackling the things that wake me up at night for starters)!
i read about no impact man a couple weeks ago and was intrigued by this new yorker who conducted a self experiment to see if his family could live without creating trash (and he had a baby in diapers at the time), or negatively affecting the environment for a year. it’s wild what one person can do.
it’s not a glamorous topic and will take effort, but i’d like to try to experiment myself and reduce the packaging i buy, use less electricity (not sure i could give up my curling iron), and unplug everything at night. but is is really possible to go completely without? or necessary? i just started the book last night so i’m not sure how he possibly did it. but doing a little green research for it led me to a lot of great resources. this gorgeously green book is enticing with the cute cover and makes it look sort of like fun!
one thing led to another and i’m stumbling on people and groups who are involved in changing things all over the world ( and look like they’re having a damn good time doing it).
pricilla woolworth is promoting products that are sustainable, earth friendly and made by hand.
i met these guys at the gift show and love their natural soaps from brazil.
and if you want a little more glam with your green, there’s always gisele’s blog.
what are some things you’ve been doing to go a little greener? one of the things i read was that women are responsible for 80% of what’s purchased on the planet for their families. is there something specific you’re doing at home? do you think air fresheners and swiffer pads will ever be things of the past?
have a great weekend!
ps a little food for thought:
hey gang, hope you’re chillin’ on this summer sunday. i just came from bunch with linda of parisien salon. we were supposed to travel together to paris last week but since we postponed, decided to enjoy a bit of it in south beach instead and hit the new restaurant au pied du cochon. we feasted on pancakes and french toast (we are american girls, after all) and made plans and set goals for the next couple months. linda’s moving to paris in the spring but in the meantime is exploring anything remotely french and just wrote a great article for bonjour paris on some of the spots around here that keep her inspired. it’s great to have a new neighbor/friend/blogger right around the corner, especially someone who knows the lay of the land and we’re going cruising this week for fun stuff.
getting off my usual track, i was talking to my sis-in-law who wants to head to venice. she and my bro have 3 darling angels (i’m auntie mame so i of course think that, but it’s also true), and her dream is to take them to venice. she sent me a link which led to falling down that ol’ hole and i spent more time than i’d like to admit looking at all the great old maidens in such a creaky incomprehensible city.
one of my favorite memories is traveling there with my family and staying in a pensione that was both charming and palatial. i was maybe 12 but can still remember the ceiling, fireplace, woodwork, the scents…it would have all been perfect if the housekeeper hadn’t tossed out the coke bottle collection i’d acquired throughout our trip.
after finding these pensiones, i have to say there’s no other place quite like it and would love to visit again.
i’m reading eat, pray, love, and the author spends the first third of the book in italy.
i don’t have immediate plans but it’s nice to go off the beaten path once in awhile and focus on other cities.
this one is bit much. good thing they went for all white linens :)
but they all have a playful touch. just a bit of eye candy i had to share.
some of these places have such history and character
i’m sorry i’m not linking to their sites
but just got too wrapped up in my frenzy. BAD blogger! (some have the name in the title. fortunately there aren’t so many you can’t find them in google images.
of course so many are over the top, but with others, the simplicity combined with a dash of lushness is such a sweet combo.
they’re almost like dollhouses. (my dollhouse, anyway)!
well i hope you enjoyed a little jaunt to venezia, where every day is opulent and luxe.
have a great weekend i miei amici!
hi guys! i hope you’re doing well on these balmy summer nights. a lot’s been going on but mostly i’m trying to just unwind from all the shows, traveling and moving around. for the first time in longer than i can remember, i don’t have to go anywhere, do anything, plan a trip for at least 90 days. seeing that much open space in my future is making me think about how to spend the time.
anyway, it’s been a couple days and the ol’ florida home design and remodeling show has come and gone, but i did promise a post so i’m sticking to my word. as you may know, it was the exact days as the maison objet so i just took a deep breath and went in, determined to appreciate where i was instead of wasn’t. i guess i had low expectations, but was surprised that it was both informative and had a little bit of flavor here and there.
this booth was probably the only of its kind, a furniture company with some pretty pieces. i fell in love with this big white lacquer table.
i think what surprised me most was that i was drawn to the stands that had solutions for greening a home. this guy was so passionate about green roofs that it was contagious.
and i had no idea that concrete was such a pollutant and that there are solutions.
there were quite a few really pretty accent pieces
and every show represents its townspeople’s needs
i died for this slab!
and was inspired by the enormous amount of work some of the vendors shared.
it wasn’t huge but i did get my fill.
and discovered some great resources like the company above.
best and most ironic of all, they were giving away florida design magazine. today i happened to flip through it and saw this image from the maison objet. i guess i didn’t miss much. yeah right!
but that was a valuable lesson learned. buy tickets early to all events you know you want to do (holidays, shows, etc). that way you have no excuse but to go. i just bought my ticket home for christmas and next is the show in january. hope to see you there!
ps i was about to get back to work but just heard from trish and had to share a little of her blog, it’s the inspiration i was craving!
hi everyone~as promised, we got our correspondent shots from madelyn of paris perfect who made it to the maison objet and took these wonderful photos for us. thank you, madelyn, you are my heroine, i felt like i was there!
this woman is another super power (like erica) living an incredible dream in paris.
and her coverage of the show was superb. she said there was a lot of violet, black and orange.
i feel relieved.
she also mused it was ‘Hard to think of a whole theme – some retro 60’s, but that is a French thing. They grew up with Louis XVI and love the American modern. So you’ll always see some of that in France and Italy’.
she also tells me she’s meeting with erica for coffee this afternoon. i introduced them. (big smile)
we met last spring when i was researching the chicest paris apartments. she’s an american who has two kids and a hubby, and still has time to look at swatches on montmartre, a tour de force you will be very happy to know when you’re in paris.
i feel satisfied now, that was a real treat.
love the tied books
so that’s it pour le moment. mille grazie encora madelyna!
have a great afternoon guys. i’m about to embark on a 90 day adventure at home so i’ll be back soon with the goings on!
ps for a little more on the show, check out la times’ blog:
yes, that’s needlepoint!
and if you still haven’t had your fill, this is pretty wild! http://www.google.com/hostednews
hi guys! as you know i was heartbroken and have been whining about missing the paris show. and i’ve had time to think about why. i just get so much inspiration from it, and missing one is like missing a fleeting, one time only work of art; a brilliant gathering of design all under one roof. truth is i have so much info from so many shows i haven’t even touched including pics i never even edited from the past couple years. i dug around and found these from ’07 and ’08.
the great news is that both erica from the last post and madelyn who i’ll introduce in the next, are BOTH gonna go and have agreed to take pics as our correspondents!
this is at least motivating me to go through my stuff and really refine.
well, as fate would have it, the florida home show is on right now, woo hoo, and we live around the corner from the miami beach convention center, so i’m going tomorrow. obviously the design is a smidge different than paris but i’m gonna make the most of where i am right now and see if i can get find inspiration there.
thank you erica and madelyn, can’t wait to see what’s new!
happy weekend everybody!
bonjour everybody! even if i can’t make it to paris this week, i’m still working on all the projects, just from home. (biting lip)
one i’ve been working on is an interview with erica berman of haven in paris. she’s become a good friend and huge inspiration for me and everyone who knows her. she’s and american girl who started HiP with the purchase of a modest paris apartment and has since become a leader in the industry she helped create, renovating and renting real paris apartments. she’s now got a couple of her own and has amassed a small army apartments for the rest of us to enjoy. she’s living a dream come true and i sure wish i could learn 1/10th from her and have a place there one day. each of her offerings is more beautiful than the next and she’s had a hand in most of them design wise. there’s a lot of freedom in paris to move baths, gas lines and, well it’s pretty much sky’s the limit to do whatever you want other than touching a load bearing wall. i had the pleasure to stay in a few of her places and every one was an exercise in excellence from the service to the electronics. i’m happy to introduce you to erica. to know her is to love her, a new england girl in the middle of paris, setting design trends. oh, and ps, she’s going to the maison objet and has agreed to cover it for us!
so sit back and enjoy a little conversation with erica to see how she does it all!
Luxury rentals in Paris: Exploring Parisian Real Estate with Haven in Paris founder Erica Berman
A little background: In 1993 Erica arrived in Paris, a recent graduate from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication, looking to perfect her French and explore France before heading home to start post- grad living in the US. Seventeen years later, she’s living between Paris, Italy and the US, and redefining the market for luxury vacation rentals in the City of Light with her company, Haven in Paris, and her blog, HiP Paris.com.
After owning another successful Paris vacation apartment rental company with a partner for many years, she founded Haven in Paris in 2005, and the company’s portfolio now includes over 25 apartments throughout Paris (and a few select villas in Provence and Tuscany). Erica’s unique take on customized travel and Parisian life has allowed her to help thousands of clients achieve an authentic travel experience.
I had a chance to get to know Erica during my last trip to Paris and was more than a little intrigued by her. More recently I interviewed her about how this has evolved, the machinations of apartment stays, the challenges of working in Parisian real estate, and the joys of using her diverse skills to build one of Paris’ premiere upscale rental agencies.
TPA: You seem to be a natural at this, your website is just delicious and you’re the consummate professional. But everything starts from just an idea. How did Haven in Paris (HiP) come to be?
EB: I decided to start my own company to create something that directly resembled my philosophy of luxury and service ideas and original travel experience. It seems that apartment rentals are many travelers’ preferred way to experience a city. You get more “bang for your buck”. This definitely resonates with me, as I always rent apartments or villas and stay in B&B’s when I travel.
TPA: Does your educational background have anything to do with your work?
EB: Not directly per se, but I use it all the time. I have a degree in journalism from Syracuse Newhouse school of Journalism and a minor in Psychology. I spend much of my time writing and I definitely use some psychology in order to try to best understand and meet the needs of my diverse clientele and owners, and the many challenges that go hand in hand with the rentals. I also studied photography in Paris which comes in handy on the Haven in Paris site and the HiP Paris blog.
TPA: Do you think you could prepare for this sort of career or is it’s something you learn as you go along?
EB: Personally, I learn as I go. But I’m sure an MBA and/or interior design degree might be helpful. Nevertheless, I have no plans to go back to school. There is too much else to do with working, traveling, learning Italian, doing my photography and writing!
TPA: I know running a business isn’t as glamorous as it looks and you’re constantly working on the back end. Still, there’s always an upside., What are the 3 things you enjoy most about the business?
EB: 1. The fact that I can work from anywhere as long as everything in Paris is in order (and I try my damndest to make sure it is. We have fabulous greeters, cleaners, and service providers.) This past year I have lived in Massachusetts, Paris, Genoa, Italy, Brooklyn, NY, and Maine. 2. The fact that no day is ever the same. 3. Meeting so many wonderful diverse people.
TPA: You must see a lot of great apartments in your travels. How do you decide which will fit in with HiP? What constitutes the WOW factor for you?
EB: The way I approach the flats on the HiP site is not really whether it is a personal WOW, but whether an apartment will be a WOW for my clientele. After so many years in the business, I have developed an eye for what tourists and business travelers are looking for, and I aim to give them just that—luxury fittings, views, central neighborhoods, large beds, computers, quality linens and towels, balconies when possible…
TPA: We had a ton of fun when we went out but it was all business when it came to your owners and clients. What’s your business philosophy?
EB: Glad I was fun, so were you!
Let’s see, I am very firm. This was very hard for me at first. I worried people would go elsewhere (especially owners), but it gets easier and I think people actually like someone who is steadfast and knows what she wants and expects of them. All potential owners are given a list of all that they need to do and put in their flat in order to be considered for the HiP site. I will not work with them if they are not willing to fill the requirements. I want my clients to find similar quality and amenities in all flats. Owners often do not realize that in order to make money they need to spend money. If they are reluctant, I tell them that Haven in Paris will not be a good fit for them. There are many agencies out there and Haven in Paris is not for everyone.
On the client side, we try to make the booking process as seamless as possible with all of the apartment and rental details clearly defined on the website and in the contract so there are no surprises.
TPA: I met with a lot of owners and saw lots of apartment when I was there researching a book about renting real apartments this spring. Your apartments were by far the most plush and comfy. What do you attribute that to?
EB: Thank you! It’s so nice to know the hard work is paying off.
Let’ see…I will not skimp on linens, towels or high speed wireless Internet. I try to require king, or at least queen, sized beds, include computers in all the apartments, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms with proper North American style fittings. As most of our clients are North American, Australian or British, we offer free unlimited phone service those countries.
We are also constantly maintaining the apartments in order to keep them in the best condition possible. Not an easy or particularly enjoyable process, but an extremely important one.
TPA: Each place I stayed had everything from art to books to videos. How do you strike the balance of having real apartments that belong to families or artists with a place that feels uncluttered enough for guests?
EB: I don’t usually take on any apartments that are owner occupied (with infrequent exceptions), as it is very complicated to strike this balance with the owner’s personal belongings. On the other hand, I want all the flats to feel both luxurious and comfortable with books, music, videos, and little touches that make clients feel at home.
TPA: You own an apartment that you rent when you travel. Was getting that first apartment difficult? Was there a lot of red tape?
EB: Buying in France is complicated, but I imagine it may be no more so then anywhere else. As I have never bought anywhere else, I have nothing to compare it to. There are specialists in Paris that who help foreigners buy and make sure they are treated fairly. I work closely with these professionals so friends and clients who buy in Paris have positive experiences. It is best not to set out on your own to buy in France if you do not know the system.
TPA: We spoke about some of the renovations you’ve done. It’s something most people don’t enjoy because there are lots of rules and regulations here in the States. What’s it like working with architects and the city of Paris in general? Are there lots of rules for what can and can’t be done?
EB: I love renovating and have done over 15 guts, renovations and complete decorations in Paris apartments specifically to rent to tourists. I think that Paris may have less red tape then a lot of other places, but there are definite rules that need to be followed. Having a good architect is key. Luckily, I know and work with a couple of excellent ones (and one is even a very charming American living in Paris).
TPA: I think we all dream of having an apartment in the city. Having it generate an income is an additional benefit. What would you suggest to Americans who are interested in purchasing an apartment as a rental property in Paris? Is it a good investment?
EB: Paris will always be Paris. Prices appear to have stabilized and may even be dropping, so I would say it is a good investment. Depending on the amount of the mortgage one needs to take out (or not), the apartment can generate more or less income.
TPA: On your site you have listings for villas in Tuscany, and I know you spent time in Italy this summer. Is Italy a place you’d like to develop for your business?
EB: It’s possible, as I love Italy, but for now, I really want to concentrate on Paris.
TPA: When we talked I mentioned expansion to NY or other cities but you said you wanted to keep it tight and focus on what you already have.
How many apartments do you represent now and where do you see your business heading in the future?
I am a firm believer that it is best to stick to what we do best, and that is Luxury in Paris, and to keep improving in that area. Right now we have over 25 luxurious Paris apartments with a few new ones on the way. We have so many Parisian apartment owners contacting us to be on the site, we just can’t keep up. Thus, I am only representing the best of Paris and that is keeping me very busy!
TPA: I’ve been reading your blog hipparis.com. It’s an incredible resource full of original ideas and great places. Is there ever a shortage of things to write about? Who does the research and have you ever considered putting a book together?
There is certainly no shortage of things to write about. There are 4 of us here at Haven in Paris and we all do the research. We all have different areas of expertise and poles of interest. Iit helps us to keep on top of all sorts of amazing things. We just started the blog in January so I had not thought of a book. But, you never know!, Iit’s great fun.
TPA: Not to change the subject but we share a passion for going green. What are some of the green elements that you’ve added or would like to see in your apartments?
EB: I’m working toward going green in the flats but this is not a simple task in Paris, or with a luxury clientele who have certain needs and demands. I’m looking for a green who dry cleaner who uses non- toxic products, but have not found one yet. I’m testing organic cleaning products and hope to implement the use of them completely in the flats shortly. I’d also like to have literature in the flats and on the site asking clients to turn off lights, turn down heat, take shorter showers, change linens only when needed, reduce, recycle, reuse and simply use less in general. I firmly believe that together we can all make a difference.
tpa: i agree. in fact in paris i hardly buy anything with packaging. thanks for the info erica! well gang, i hope you enjoye a glimpse into erica’s life and next time you need a place to stay in the city of light, look her up and tell her i sent you for extra special service and rates. for more information on her and her company, check out her site and blog.
all photos courtesy of Haven in Paris
hey guys, how are you doing on this summery night? i hope you’re safe and sound and life is sweet.
i had to post today to clear the air and just cheer up. i’m looking at life and biz in a different way suddenly. usually they’re one in the same; when one suffers so does the other and i think that’s what i want to change. i’m ready to grow up a little with my business and savings and not do absolutely everything on the fly.
as of right now i’m letting go of the past and moving into the future with thoughtful planning and as much precision as i can muster. as a creative type it goes against my grain to do either but at least i’m aware and that’s a start.
welp that’s it. my pity party is officially FIN!
enjoy your night and those you love!
hi guys, two posts in one day, that’s a first. but i just had to write before anyone else wished me well on my upcoming trip. for reasons i can’t bear to disclose, i have to postpone. this photo says it all. le sigh.
on a happier note, i just won a mystery bag of goodies from sophismpress.blogspot.com
i’m not really sulking, i’ll get over it. i’m glad we’ll always have paris, ancient, silent and just waiting to be witnessed! the next maison objet is in january which i have to attend but it’s a totally different trip in the fall. hmpf. something good better come of this!