movin’ on up

bonjour tout le monde! i’m still in paris and have moved from the pretty little apartment in my last post to a more masculine, chic sort of modern place. as opposed to the one we just left which was on the first floor, this one is on the 6th and gives an entirely new perspective of the city.

it’s got a great view of the eiffel tower and windows that have caught both a full moon and setting sun.

as promised i’ve been talking with madelyn, the founder of paris perfect apartment rentals to learn more about what it’s like to live, work, renovate, restore and deal with the ins and outs of life in the city of light.

while digging through their website, i’ve come to realize that although we’ve been colleagues and friends for years, she is a treasure trove of information. i also came across an interview she had done previously with Paris Property Group which was really thorough so i thought i’d share it before the interview of our own:

An interview with Paris apartment rentals company Paris Perfect

Continuing our series of interviews with collaborators, we talk to Madelyn Willems of Paris apartment rentals company, Paris Perfect. 

1. Where do you come from, how long have you lived in Paris and what brought you here?

My father was a US Air Force pilot, and we were posted to Naples and Rome in Italy, and Wiesbaden in Germany. My five sisters and I dreamt of returning to Europe one day. While working as a research analyst in London, I met my future French husband Philippe. He owned a small apartment on rue St. Dominique in the 7th arrondissement (district). When he joined me in London we rented it to family and friends and Paris Perfect was created.

2. What is your profession and how did you get into that line of work?

Before we founded Paris Perfect, I was a buyer for a California department store chain, got an MBA at Stanford, and then became an equity analyst and institutional banker. Philippe was a cardiac surgeon.

We got into remodeling and managing Paris apartments by accident, when we rented out Philippe’s apartment to friends who were keen to experience the Paris lifestyle. We owned the first two apartments. But then former guests asked if we could help them find an apartment in Paris with the same wow factor and to help remodel and manage it while they were away. In keeping with my very high standards, I want every home to be warm and welcoming, with impeccably clean linens, warm duvets, and thoughtful gadgets such as Nespresso machines.

Both guests and owners appreciate the way our team maintains and manages the apartments. We’ve invested in our own laundry, a fulltime maintenance person, and an office that is open seven days a week. Since it’s hard to handle every little detail for our guests, we limit our family of owners and retain our cleaning and maintenance services exclusively for them.

3. Had you done/do you do the same kind of work in a different part of the world? If yes where, and how is working there different from working in Paris? 

We’ve done similar work in the UK but the quality of builders and finish is consistently better in Paris. The purchase prices and building costs are higher in London. We’ve also found that the purchase process is more straightforward in France than in the UK.

Part of the advantage of Paris is personal, however, because we’ve been remodeling in Paris for decades and have a trusted team. We’ve remodeled more than 50 apartments in the past few years. So we’ve learned how to squeeze in a second bathroom without losing the sense of space, the best lighting, just how many is enough electric sockets, well-placed storage, and comfortable, attractive furnishings.

4. What were the biggest challenges Paris had in store for you, both in terms of working here and living here?

We commute between London and Paris every other week, just over 2½ hours door to door, which is easy thanks to the Eurostar. Doing business in France is always a challenge, with the administrative rules and paperwork, but we’re fortunate to have a brilliant team on the ground. For all the frustration, nothing beats the quality of life in Paris.

In managing apartments in Paris that were already finished or remodeled with the owner’s own builders, we’ve seen our share of disasters – from inaccessible hot water tanks to unsafe wiring. It really pays to know you can trust your builders when tackling an apartment renovation project in Paris.

5. In terms of your profession, how has Paris real estate changed over the past 10 years? 

Despite the internet it’s the same as 10 years ago if you’re looking to buy an apartment –difficult. There is still no multiple listing service and over 3,000 small agencies who don’t share listings. If you’re not here on the ground or don’t have a diligent search agent, the search takes longer and is more difficult.

Prices have gone up over ten years, but had lagged other major cities for the previous 25.

6. Which neighborhood do you live in and what made you decide to live there?

When we’re in Paris we stay in the 7th arrondissement where Philippe spent almost 20 years. We love the village-like atmosphere and close proximity to the boutiques and museums of other favorite neighborhoods, the fabulous open-air markets, and the top-notch food shops. Our children have known the pharmacist, cheese shop, local pastry shop and favorite boulanger since before they could walk. We picnic or go jogging in the Champ de Mars Gardens, where our two children used to play.

7. If you could live in a different Parisian neighborhood, which one would it be, and why?

Place Dauphine on the Ile de la Cité! It’s truly the heart of Paris, known as kilometer zero. Founded in the 1600s by Henri IV, this quiet square has remained unchanged for centuries and is full of excellent restaurants. On one side of the Seine you’re in the 6th arrondissement of the Left Bank with first-rate eateries and boutiques. On the other, you’re shopping on rue de Rivoli, enjoying walks to the Louvre and the Tuileries

8. What would you miss the most about Paris if you were to move away?

There’s so much I miss when we’re not in Paris: early morning jogs or walks along the Seine, especially in winter when the light is magic; the sunrise behind Notre Dame; seeing the bridges in sunlight and how the light changes throughout the day.

We can’t go for long without visiting our favorite restaurants, like Café Constant and Au Petit Sud Ouest in the 7th, or buying our favorite baguettes on rue Saint Dominique and the best croissants on rue de Grenelle.

9. Is there one hidden treasure (specific fabric store, website, a certain booth on the flea market, etc.) or resource that you find indispensable to your work here? Please share.

A spot you must experience is Dreyfuss fabrics and Reine below the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. Go soon because this neighborhood is changing fast. It was the old fabric quartier, but is now converting to souvenir shops. Bring your curtain sizes since you’ll even find a shop to make them up immediately so you can carry them home.

10. If you could offer one piece of advice to a first-time buyer in Paris, what would it be?

Can I share three? First, get a good licensed search agent. They dig through hundreds of listings published by thousands of agents each day to find the gems. They know all the streets, the desirability of certain buildings, the unknown problems a buyer may be unaware of.

Second, if you walk in and your heart soars – and the property has the no-budge essentials such as an elevator – go for it. If your agent tells you the apartment will be grabbed up, make the asking price offer on the spot. Don’t negotiate because you may lose it to a higher bid.

Third, if the property is almost perfect but not quite, give it the 24 hour rule and see how you feel the next day. For example, it might be on a lower floor when you wanted to be higher up; it may have no elevator but is only on the 2ndfloor; or it overlooks a courtyard but you wanted a street view. “Needed a gut job” is rarely a constraining factor for us, since we prefer to know how the electricity and plumbing were installed.

so there you have it, the truth from Madelyn, an american who is a really living the dream and sharing her knowledge and experience as well as expertise. i’ll profile her a bit more later but want to get out before the rain comes this morning although i have to admit it’s as hard to get out of this comfy bed as the last one.  have a bonne journée!

 

September 7, 2017. Decorating, Interiors, Kitchens, Layon apartment, Living, Madelyn Willems, Paris, Paris Apartments, Paris Perfect Apartment Rentals, Paris Trip, Real Estate, Travel. 4 comments.

life as we know it

 

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very few things are predictable in life but one that remains constant is the endless supply of apartment porn in paris. how are you doing tonight? 79ideas_beautiful_parisian_home_kitchen

i’ve been crazy busy at a boutique show all day working with the buyers from Désirant for their store in asheville, NC, and couldn’t be having more fun on the job.

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but after 12 hours i’m just getting home and about to crash. then i remembered that it’s just too easy not to do this little post each day so here we are! so without further ado, today’s bookmark~

79ideas.org-another-gorgeous-apartment-in-paris

and so to bed, good night!

June 10, 2016. Design, Interiors, Paris Apartments. 4 comments.

make room for love

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bonjour mon amour, it’s officially valentine’s day 2015. i’ve been doing some research on feng shui which is an ancient oriental philosophy about creating spaces that bring abundance in different areas of the home by incorporating the yin and yang of furniture placement and the four earthly elements of earth, air, fire and water.

feng shui
ˈfəNG ˈSHwē,-SHwā/
noun
  1.  a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account.

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since i’ve always been passionate about le boudoir, i’m taking v-day to focus on what we can do to bring some supercharged ions in to activate it for love whether single or married

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the bedroom is that one sacred place you can really unwind and check out. it has to be as comforting as it is comfortable for you as well as someone special enough to be invited in

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there are lots of theories (some conflicting) on how to go about creating your haven, but then there are other theories that are de rigeur. one of the first things that we’re advised to do it to let fresh air in by airing the room out. throw open all the windows and hang curtains that move gently with the breeze.

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Eva Rubinstein

i came across this image and thought why not incorporate some lacy accent that will play with the sunlight on your skin

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you’re basically supposed to keep it simple so that masculine and feminine energy are both at home but hey, a tiny bit of lace couldn’t hurt if if casts beautiful shadows across your bed…and you

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the second rule is to keep the room uncluttered to let the chi (energy) flow. next is to have nightstands on either side of the bed which symbolizes and welcomes partnerships

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next and maybe one of the most important (to e anyway) is having fresh flowers beside the bed. the fragrance and color enhance the senses and this is the place to amp the ol’ olfactories up

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artwork in the boudoir is a super personal choice and a very strong statement to the universe putting out a very distinct message

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infarrantlycreative industrial-metal-letters

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i love rooms that turn into galaxies…that’s when the stardust starts falling

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if you love the beach or the mountains or the moon but can’t have the real thing, this philosophy recommends just using a reasonable fascimile like an image of the sky or beach

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homedit.com bedroom-views

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or both if you’re lucky

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one of the recurring themes is to take note of the EMFs (elecrtomagnetic frequencies) that are floating around the room. they’re emitted from phone chargers, computers, cable boxes and tvs so it’s best to remove as many as possible. if you have a big empty wall, a way to compromise with having a tv in the bedroom could be to use a projector so when it’s off, it’s gone.

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of course if you have to have a tv make it supercool

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we’d probably all love to have a fireplace in our bedroom, but since that’s not possible, there are lots of ways to bring in fire without installing a chimney per se

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a faux mantle and candles will work wonders

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hayneedle.irradiatable top fireplace

or a modern mini tabletop fireplace

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or a few simple tapers will do the trick

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light should be soft, so definitely ban the curly fluorescents and think about using a pink bulb here and there

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for the details, crystals are recommended since they’re known to emanate certain vibrations and frequencies. rose quartz is specifically mentioned for an erotic charge

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one of the most important practices of feng shui is to clear a space using incense or sage.

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bamboo

for some reason plants aren’t recommended in the bedroom but it seems that bamboo is ok if you have two stalks. they also don’t recommend water as one of the elements to bring into the lair so i thought it was pretty interesting that this one plant could make up for a couple things in the balance:

Bamboo plays an important role as a living example of the feng shui elements of water, wood and earth. When you place this plant in the correct pot, it can introduce fire and metal to complete a balance of the five elements.

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essential oils are the pure essence extracted from plants. certain scents are inherently sensual such as rose and jasmine. you can even make your own

alchemy and aromatherapy set with rose flowers and flasks

one of the debates i came across was over which colors to use but all signs seemed to say that pink was a good go to hue

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todd-hido

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and that blue was cold but gray was ok

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personally i’m into white but there was even debate on that!

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ultimately you’ll decide what works best to create the space that nurtures your heart and soul

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enjoy your bedroom for the sanctuary it is and let it be a work of art that you relish and play with each day and night

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well, happy valentine’s day to you all, my really dear friends. hope all your dreams of love come true! xoc

resource links:

fengshui.about.com/od/fengshuispaceclearing/ht/feng-shui-space-clearing-major.htm

fengshui.about.com/od/love/qt/sexfengshui.htm

msfengshui.com/feng-shui-bagua/relationships-love-marriage

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/home-garden/Erotically-charge-your-bedroom-with-Feng-Shui

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14925/10-feng-shui-tips-to-help-you-sleep-better.html

 

February 14, 2015. Bedrooms, Feminine Apartments, Feng Shui, Holidays, Interiors. 8 comments.

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