leaving for paree in 10 days. it seems like a dream and i’m so tired i’m sleepwalking! no rest for the weary till i tie up the annoying loose ends that bind me! my friend carol k’s been helping make that happen. i see how important a brilliant team is, so thank you girl! now just putting final touches on the itinerary. i appreciate but can’t go to monuments in paris. what gets me are places that were homes, apartments, salons, or Hôtels (aka mansions). i did mention i was a voyeur…
one palace i love is Hôtel Carnavalet, a little palace in the Marais and former home of Madame de Sévigné who was famous for hosting parties in her Salon. she wrote hundreds of letters to her daughter during the reign of Louis XIV. they’re like a diary of life in 1600’s paris and tell about her life’s struggles.
Soubise is another beautiful mansion in the same neighborhood. lots of the marie antoinette film was shot there. i love the turquoise ceilings.
i’m dreaming about staying longer, forgetting ny for awhile and drifting along the french countryside in october. in my fantasy i’d rent a car and jet down to provence and explore more. a blogging friend invited me and i’d love to take her up on a cup o tea down south. But my REsPoNsIbIliTieS!!
i fell in love with the countryside as a kid travelling with my family. after graduation i went back with Volunteers for Peace for something to do between college and the real world. i just came across the ran into the link yesterday from another cool site:
maybe i want to re-live the good times i had? it really was THE best time, restoring ancient chapels and living with such fun people. you choose your country and interests. france has 45 camps going on right now that you can live/work and and have a blast for like 2 weeks, $250. i’m gonna check out what’s happening now. (it was 20 years ago)!
i just found this one:
Project: The municipality of Montendre has already played host to several
international work camps. The restoration of the town’s castle, using traditional,
old-fashioned techniques is something many of the local people keep close to heart,
but currently, their castle is in need of a hand from the younger generation! The main
objective of this year’s work camp will be to repair and refill the joints of a section of the
wall, in order to keep it in good condition. The local community, now well accustomed to
the work camp dynamic, are present on a regular basis to meet and exchange with the
volunteers. ACCOMODATION: tents. LOCATION: 75 km from the sea and to the north of
wait tents? maybe when i was in college…now i want to sleep in the castle!
bonjour guys, happy friday! where do the days go? well, i can say that for the first time in awhile i know exactly where i’ve been cause my camera was with me for most of it. i was invited by my friends to check out their new store in asheville, nc, also known as the ‘paris of the south’. who knew? maybe it’s cause of places like the biltmore estate, below?
anyway they wanted me to get the feel of it and maybe do some buying in the upcoming months as well as have a hand in working with the brand. both prospects are right up my alley so of course i had to take them up on a visit. even though i spent three days there getting to know the store, the staff and the stuff, checking out their photos on instagram made me appreciate them even more so i’m gonna use some of theirs (clock photo above by zach.alexander).
as formal as ‘frenchy’ can be, it’s a contrast to this low-key, easy going town that welcomes you with ‘good vibes’ on the water tower coming in from the airport.
as you can imagine i immediately felt at home and was welcomed by the wonderful gang who run the show. (photo above by Molly)
my friends put me up at their beautiful hotel, the Windsor, which is flanked by their shop, DÉSIRANT. between the authentic antiques, art, sferra linens in the rooms and the amount of entertainment and eye candy in the store, i didn’t want to leave. (not to mention the world class restaurants…) in fact it’s a place i could go back to pretty easily since there’s just so much to explore.
they have a great philosophy and everything in the store is special and has been chosen with care. what makes it even more unique is that they source their collection from paris of course, but also find artisans and designers who love what they do and understand the desirant style. many are local, but some are from miami, others from new jersey! the point is that this is a place where creativity is encouraged to thrive. it’s a kind modern french salon, like the ones we imagine, where artists and patrons came to gather, share ideas, discuss art, music and feast! oh yeah, there’s a coffee bar here too.
in today’s world it’s hard to set yourself apart but when you understand what you want to provide it becomes easier. that’s one of the reasons desirant resonates with me i guess. the goals are simple: to live well. to collect what that you love, design your life, and style your environment by surrounding yourself with things that are beautiful and have meaning.
i must have spent an hour just in this section alone. from this shot it looks like you just could cruise through but i wanted to absorb every detail.
can i take you on a tour? the shot above is where you get in through the hotel lobby
these clocks are by a local artist who makes them out of spare parts and pieces she can repurpose. the second hands are playful fluttering feathers!
other clock faces are mounted artfully under glass.
and so are lots of other goodies…
the cases are filled with eye candy, some of it again by local artisans
like these necklaces and earrings by ‘my mother’s buttons’
and these by another who brings old watches back to life. these artists are so creative!
this curio was filled to the gills with one-of-a kind neckties and bowties made of feathers
and these ties below are made of wood!
these are repurposed chairs made by a local gal. each has a story to tell…
like the peacock chair with real feathers on the back~
i fell in love with these candy and coffee tins, they’re another pretty old relic being given new life…
and how about this sculpture?
and the art, don’t get me started!
of course there’s new stuff too, like fornasetti candles
and one of a kind purses,
robes and blankets you can’t stop touching
and pillows you have to have
candles, lotions and potions
some of those are one-of a-kind too
there are handmade chandeliers that look like jewels
and jewels that are well, drool worthy
and the clothes, the clothes!
i ended up spending a lot of time working from the cafe.
the barista makes a darn good latte and they open at the crack of dawn
so i got myself a journal and hung out with the books
i’m home now going through the photos. it reminds me how much i enjoyed being in a store. online is fun but there is something about the tactile element of a place like this. it’s a very special, almost lost art.
the maison et objet is coming to miami again in may and we’ll meet again there. so i’ll keep you posted as things develop. in the meantime, if you need a piece of paris, it’s nice to know that just a couple hours away in asheville, nc sits the paris of the south. if you’ve been there let us know what else earned it the title. if you can’t get there, check out and follow desirant here, they’re keeping the tradition alive!
ps: the winner of the boxes from the last post is lisa. congratulations and let me know your address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
i just realized that this is a perfect opportunity for desirant to host a giveaway so i’ll ask them tomorrow what they’d like offer. if you follow on one of their social media platforms, let me know which and we’ll draw a names from there. have a great weekend!
allo all, how have you been? here’s hoping your spring is in full bloom! for me it’s slowly changing from the winter of my discontent to a new era of optimism. it’s been a long time since i’ve been able to blog, in fact over a month. if not for my mom i may not even have come today. but when your mom wants you to blog, you blog. guess we end up doing what our moms tell us after all. maybe they do know best and i’d do anything for mine. so here i am, and truth is i missed you and all the ways you inspire me.
first let’s go back to the past blog and announce the winners of the giveaway. i decided to give all 5 fashion plates away and if you’re on this list please send me your address at email@example.com so i can get them out to you: susanne, terri, fredreika, melissa and beth. i wish i had more but i do have other wonderful things that i’ll share. in fact i’ll see what i can come up with at the end of this post and we’ll do it again! oh why wait? i have these four pretty little boxes i got last time i was in paris. the idea was to have them on my desk but they never made it and deserve to go with those who’ll use them. so each can go individually and if you’re interested, well, you know the drill…
so what’s been going on? well as you may recall i was working on a self improvement challenge for my business to turn it around over the next year. i tried blogging more frequently, making daily videos on youtube and working more diligently on office and organizational aspects. where has that gotten me? hmmmm…well, i’m still here so that’s one good thing. i’m working on a new angle for the my website so that’s been productive. and i’m collaborating with colleagues on their business and hoping to learn a few things from that which i can apply to the paris apartment. i’m traveling to their store in ashville, nc this week and will blog from there about the goings on.
so it’s been slow and steady but the reality is that there comes a point when you just can’t do everything alone. i’ve had interns and employees over the years but it always comes back to me in the end. the problems i face are self created and i have to take full responsibility. but if i’m going to keep the paris apartment going, i want to be the joyful, playful company it’s always been, full of infinite possibilities instead of one filled with dread and drudgery which is what is was becoming. but why was that?
well, i think part of it was when i started working with vendors and lost control of my brand and vision. so what’s the vision? well, it was originally a brick and mortar store. a place that was sort of a salon, where yes, it was a shop, but also a place where friends gathered in an atmosphere of casual opulence and would converse, share stories, music, their art and just inspire each other. where had my inspiration gone?
when it became a website it was hard to translate and has ended up being a sort of patchwork of ideas and pieced together over the years by various designers and webmasters. i haven’t had control over the site except the boutique and therefore it hasn’t changed much. it’s at the point where it’s out of control. but little by little, i’ve been editing, paring it down, taking off things that aren’t consistent with the brand or are from vendors who are impossible to work with. getting back to basics, basically, to get to a point where i can enjoy my work.
so maybe this is a sort of ‘seinfeld’ post, one not about anything in particular, but one just to touch base and get back in the groove. so thanks, mom, for providing the kick i needed. you always inspire me and i just came across these liles of the valley which i know you love. have a super sunday, everyone~
all images can be found at pinterest.com/parisapartment