it never ceases to amaze me, the boudoir. you can look through a catalog and choose any living room and most people could be perfectly happy with the basics of pottery barn or williams sononma. (ok not you, most people)! but the bedroom is super special, so distinct, unique and personal with all its detail and intimacy. every one tells a story of its owner, who she is and what she’s all about. i just never get tired of looking at them! here are a few of my faves from last week’s dip into the inspiration pool. it really feeds my voyeuristic side! these are all from one place, livingetc.com. have you been there? i never had. it’s pretty spellbinding. hope you enjoy them as much as i did!
sigh, so many personalities, if only i had a guest room too…guess i better work on my bedroom first!
and for all my surfing, i did feel a little guilty till i was validated by this creative philosopher:
oh and speaking of creative girls, please welcome megan from paper route to tpa’s family of sponsors! she creates fabulous cards for all occasions and you can customize practically anything with initials, monograms, as invitiations…sky’s the limit! here are a couple of my faves, check her out if you’re looking for a personal, one of a kind gift!
have a great night, i’m off to nyc tomorrow!
bon soir mes amis, i hope you’re having a dreamy weekend. i’m still going thru the pics from surfing last week. it’s been fun saving random shots and watching collections emerge. if you know me at all you’ll know i’m obsessed with the boudoir, the bed and all the trimmings.
beds are seem magical. they’re just as interesting empty as with a kitten lounging adorably. funny how they have such personalities. of course though, there’s nothing more gorgeous on the planet than women. and the women who inhabit these beds really put the cherry on top.
there were so many images of girls in bed, lounging, reading, sleeping, loving, playing music, cards, jumping, pillow fights and crying. i had to draw the line cause it’s a pretty deep rabbit hole, that tumblr.
some of my favorite shots are from the film, marie antoinette. until these shots kept popping up, i don’t think i realized how many bed scenes there were with her!
and they’re all delish!
i’m sure lots of these are staged,
but they’re still ethereal, what is it about lounging in bed?
keira knightly (gasp)! smoking in bed
i’m a sucker for the candids
are you getting sleepy? i sure am!
ok well it’s time for me to head up to my own little piece of heaven. i do have fresh sheets on the bed with lots and lots of pillows and (exciting)! i busted out a cashmere blanket that will be perfect for tonight’s slight chill.
enjoy your weekend when you’re up and when you’re down i hope you’re enjoying your bed and making it as cozy as possible!
did you have to make your bed growing up? my mom’s religious about it. we did it every day as kids.
some say making the bed is powerful and gives you an instant feeling of accomplishment in the morning. i’ve always hated making the bed although i do love getting into a well made one. quel dilema.
these are some shots i came across the other day when so many kept appearing, one after the other…it was a feast and i’m glad i saved them all but somewhere along the way the links got mixed up a little. they all came from from tumblr. if one’s yours and it’s not in the right place, please let me know.
i love the way every bed’s the same and still so different
the same components
but each with an energy all its own
the bare minimum is such a luxury
well anyway, i thought you may enjoy these too, all you unmade beds out there! happy friday and bon weekend! have a ball and when the time comes, dive into your sea of blankets. sweet dreams!
attack your heart that is! hey guys, i’m just stopping by to say hi and share some sweet shots i had on the desktop from my wanderings yesterday.
i’ve been looking for a new apartment all day and am thinking it would be a deal breaker if they don’t allow pets.
daisy (my pitt) was 17 and it’s been a couple years so it’s about time to get a new little somebody.
i guess i’ll have to find the place first and then as they say , ‘if you build it, the kitten will come!’
anyway i hope you’re with your little fuzzy love if you have one and if not, check out these great sites for adoption. the middle one has the cutest dog available on the home page. ok, time to get back to it. have a great night and happy snuggling!
bonjour everybody! i hope you’re having a good week and getting stuff done. i’ve been pretty good at staying put but did drift off tonite for awhile on my favorite new site, pinterest. it’s a great way to veg and get out of my biz head. it’s unbelievable the creativity, styling, great photography and passion out there! here are some of my favorite bedrooms. i’m trying to stay focused so i’ll put together dressing rooms and baths another day! in the meantime, check out some of the links to the sites if you get a chance, they’re loaded with a ton more eye candy. some i’d never heard of but am glad to know, even tho that means straying into dangerous territory. oh well, that’s the beauty of having infinity at our fingertips, right? have fun!
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!
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
when i should be working? saying a quick hello. hello!
hey guys! i’ve had guests for a few days so it’s been beyond hectic. in those four days everyone’s changed their travel plans!
trying to book this trip has kept me on my toes to say the least.
at first the search was for a 4 bedroom, then 3
truth is i was worried more about the other people’s accommodations than my own!
so now i’m the one without a home in paris yet. how typical is that. i’m like the cobbler cliché.
well these are a couple of contenders but it’s still up in the air. with april in paris still so popular, i’ll probably still have to switch apartments. that part i don’t mind.
i don’t mind any of it, the search, the book research, the pics! but it is cutting it close and i do have the rest of my life to live.
oooh i get weak over turquoise as you know!
these are some more of the apartments we’re going to shoot for the book.
this is the one i’ll most likely get, god willing:
don’t ask me why but i love this room. i’ll get linens at the flea.
this wonderful site is one i’ve recommended over the years on my shopping page. they’re going to be selling the apartments so i’m not sure how much longer this will be up.
going through the pics tonight reminded me how beautiful this place is.
well, i just wanted to check in and share some pretty pics of my cyber excursions.
the days are passing quickly so it’s back to work on itineraries, the sample chapter, arranging the girl project and countless other chores on my self imposed to do list including finding something to wear!
if you’re free to kick back and surf, have a great night and happy sunday!