fantasy vs reality


I believe that in previous lives I’ve been a princess, a kidnapped maiden, a peg-legged pirate and a court jester of Louis XVI. -Shirley Maclaine

allo all, how’s everything going? it’s been hectic getting ready for the holidays and i’ve also been busy working on the new book, Boudoir Moderne. part of the fun has been doing research and digging into the women and men who inspired so many dreams and fantasies with both their films as well as their real lives. there are so many who’ve influenced our culture that it’s hard to pare it down. i got caught up looking through shots of our all american girl, marilyn monroe and decided to start with her. needless to say she’s sort of an enigma that could never be pigeon-holed. the shot above is her in full regalia posing as theda barr (below) in either salome or cleopatra.


when i googled marilyn monroe bedrooms all sorts of looks came up, many of them over the top images of what were interpreted or considered glamorous boudoirs, but the shots of her in her actual habitat revealed something completely different.


i admit to having a slightly voyueristic love for candid shots of people at home and it’s no wonder that whoever was in the presence of this woman would want to photograph her any chance they could get. what i was suprised to find was that her home was humble and comfy, a place she could probably really retreat to and enjoy some sacred solitude and not the vampy boudoir of our imaginations.


the backdrop of her home was as intriguing as the woman herself.




of course she had her and vanity and dressing table which was de rigeur for all femme fatales 



and just doing the simplest things took on a whole new meaning when she was shot.


and she did have glamorous furniture covered in velvet or silk where any pose she struck made her the star of the show.





i adore the shots of her in bed with plain white sheets, simplicity itself, and of course there is that satin comforter…






what i loved discovering was that marilyn treasured her book collection and was a voracious reader whether it was scripts, industry mags or ways to learn to improve herself.




the living room was part bedroom part entertainment area



which was decorated with bold colors, midcentury furniture and accessories and full of art and mementos.


a real refuge from the stress of the studios and the public.


i adore these shots of her enjoying her music even if some of them are posed and not candids


it still shows the spirit of her place and how she spent her time alone


i guess we’ll never know what her place truly looked like


but for sure it was a reflection of her life, passions and dreams


bottom line is she was just like us. she loved having things around that inspired her, with places to kick back, honor her daily rituals and feel safe which is crucial to well being.


i’m sure when marilyn closed that door at night she dimmed the lights and enjoyed time just truly being herself. maybe her dream was to have a simple uncomplicated life and this was just the place to indulge in that.

below is an excerpt from Boudoir Moderne:

I’ve never considered myself a decorator. I simply take people’s outrageous dreams and translate them into eveyday life. My translations can sometimes go over the top because, I admit it, I live somewhere between fantasy and reality.

I belive in miracles, fairy tales and dream travel, astral projection, past lives and mental telepathy because every day the universe reveals something even more magical than the day before. When you look at ‘real life” you’ll find tented safaris in the desert, decorated elephants, enchanted forest and wishes made on stars that come true. the fact is that imagination is real and perception is reality. Your take on life makes your home a personal creation. The excitement lies in knowing you can have that be whatever your heart desires.

Life isn’t always a fairy take, we all know that. But beauty and perfection do exist. Think about what is perfect in the world, places you know to be magical, transformational or otherworldly. When you see a castle or garden that’s a maze, those are dreams that have been brought to life. It was imagination that made them real. Just because we live in an era of computers and wires and reallity doesn’t mean we have to live without that magic. Look around your home. What’s your reality? What would you like it to be?

We’ve come to an age when we realize that less is really more. It’s not about the amount of things you have but more about making sure everything you have is important to you and has a function. Living minimally doesn’t mean living witout opulence, it celebrates it. Your home is a playground where you can live out your dreams and have conveniences to serve your every need. When you clear clutter and live with only objects that are useful and loved, your decorating vision will develop. If you live with others, commit to having a room or space that reflects your personality and make it your haven. Just like you, your home is utterly unique and more importantly it’s a reflection of you. Focus on what matters most and create space for the daily rituals you enjoy. Think of it as a work in progress, just like you are. It doesn’t have to be a one shot overhaul. Make small improvements each day and let it be your sculpture, your work of art. Be prepared to discover a new style, one that is perfectly custom made for you, by You!

ok, well i better run. just wanted to announce the winners of the giveaway are Rié and Suzanne based on the random number generator. i have more books and promise to do another giveaway after the holidays. have a great week!

December 17, 2014. Decorating.


  1. irenevilanova replied:

    Ohhh, I adore her bedroom…Congratulations for the fantastic post and a very good compilation of pictures!


  2. Suzanne Moore replied:

    I’ve never seen those photos of Marilyn before. Gorgeous. And how different the living room looks in color! An aqua wall! Love.

    Congrats to the winners of your book. I do have one question, though. There were three Suzannes who signed up for your book give-away, lol! Which Suzanne won?


  3. Randa Talley replied:

    What a young, adorable beauty she was… I am sad not to have seen her grow old so elegantly. Thanks for sharing these pictures. It was a great writing and I like how you called yourself a “voyeur”…it made me all the more aware of how I do the same thing, soaking up every item of decor in her room. I even have the coolest old record player like one in her living room! We missed seeing more of you, Marilyn. Your candle always shines bright in our ideals of what beauty is… 💫✨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. fernsandnettles replied:

    Bravo for a tribute that captured a lady so well!! Merry Christmas to you!!


  5. Nikon replied:

    Beautiful collection of photos of Marilyn – she was so beautiful!


  6. Peggy Braswell replied:

    stunning photos of Marilyn + congratulations on the book + you did a fab. job.


  7. Karena Albert replied:

    So excited about this book Claudia! It is wonderful!

    You have found many images of Marilyn I have never seen before. She was such a natural beauty, lost way too soon in life.

    The Arts by Karena


  8. Chryle replied:

    Dearest Madam Gorgeous~

    I don’t know which I find more exciting… your post on Marilyn Monroe or the excerpt from your book! Both are luscious and gorgeous. Just what I have come to know you will share with me each post. Thank you!

    I am so excited for your book and I wish for you that you continue to find the magic you have so clearly already found.

    Happy Holidays!

    p.s. Is it my imagination or is the paris apartments blog page snowing??!!


    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Hi Chryle, Thank you for your note, you made my day and yes it’s snowing on the blog! Happy holidays! Claudia



  9. Rié | Portobello Design Blog replied:

    I was just reading your latest post, and was hoping like you that when Marilyn closed the door, she could be herself and had peace. And your advice to clear clutter and live with things you love, is something that I have been applying now for a couple of years, started slowly, and now in full swing… and I have to say it’s freeing! When I got to the winners, I saw my name, unless someone else has the same. I am excited to find out either way! All the best to you! Rié


  10. fishhawk replied:

    Surely this is a site well worth seeing.


  11. Kathy replied:

    OMG! This pictorial is just amazing. Great pics of Marilyn. Just love this, just love Marilyn. Thank you for sharing


  12. madeleinemiranda replied:

    What a gorgeous collection of photos! :) x


  13. KatWillow replied:

    What a beautiful woman Marilyn was- and with a sweetness underlying the beauty. Thank you for the photos.

    I thought you might find this Guardian article interesting:


  14. Mumbai replied:

    never seen this photos before. I adore this woman . She had much more to
    offer than her sex apeal. Still I’m sad about her early death. Thank you for
    that report and a happy 2o15 .


  15. spiritofdragonflies replied:

    I agree with the others. This pictorial was very interesting and opened a door to this beautiful woman that I hadn’t known. Thank you for sharing!


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