Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 Reasons to Love Our Jaunts to Paris

Twice a year, we pack our little bags, hop on Air France (or Delta) and zoom over to Paris for the mother of all retailing events in Europe: the famed Maison et Objet exposition.  It's a veritable feast for the eyes and senses and it's a great place to track emerging trends in design, furniture, accessories and gifts.  Along the way, we treat ourselves to a couple yummy meals, glimpses of La Tour Eiffel and a croissant or two...
This month was no different.  Paris was, as always, superb.  And we found ourselves easily counting the reasons why we love, love, love the City of Light so very much:
No. 1: Gorgeous blooms everywhere you look.

No. 2: Sampling croissants every morning and then insisting you have found the very best boulangerie in Paris.

No. 3: glimpses of the Eiffel Tower when you least expect them...

No. 4: trend-spotting at M & O. Drooling over Tina Frey's lucious resin plates, glasses and serving pieces.
No. 5: Time for lunch at M & O. So delicous.

No. 6:  more trend-spotting at M & O: antique cloches and verterbrae were everywhere.

No. 7: even more trend-spotting: adorable little soaps inspired by Laduree macaroons. Couldn't resist.
No. 8: Dessert at M & O! (We really do work hard, we promise!)
No.. 9: more trend-spotting: cool, metal-wrapped baubles that we had to have.
No. 10: Lucky Meg. (She's not embarrassed to say she pushed Ann out of the way to get this shot - and can you blame her?) The adorable guys from See Ups (super cute little magnifying glasses) are always charming and fun to see.
Paris is so magical that even when we're working hard, it's still a joy to be there. We're already looking at flights for January when we can go back for our next fix....and speaking of, if our jaunts look appealing, keep in mind we're planning a couple shopping trips next year.  Click here for all the juicy details and in the meantime, think about this:
Treasures from Les Puces
Or this...
A heavenly sunset on the Seine.
And, at the end of a long day of shopping, buying and dining, you can relax here...
Imagine this as your Paris home base...
We can't think of anything more fun than a shopping trip to Paris:  days filled with cafe cremes and croissants; aisle after aisle filled with antiques and goodies; restorative sips of chilled wine and cozy delicious dinners under the light of the Eiffel Tower.  We'll hit all the highlights plus a couple little secrets spots we have up our sleeves...

Sounds magical to us.

Ta ta.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We love a good story

We love a good story, and with every piece of merchandise that we buy from our store, we love to dig for the story behind it.  Well, hold on to your seats:  This is a big dig!

It all started about a year ago with a visit to an apartment in Paris.  We were contacted by the owners, who had seen and admired our Beaumes de Venise apartment, particularly for its kitchen, and had asked us to consult with the layout and design of their new apartment, which was being completely renovated.
Before - The living room, in progress
We’re used to renovations, so we were not surprised by the debris or scared off by the condition.  Instead, we completely flipped over the location, the bones, the wrap around terrace and THE VIEW from this phenomenal, one of a kind, apartment.
View from the terrace - spectacular!
We did some consulting back and forth, and tweaked the layout, moving  the master bedroom and the kitchen so that they could both benefit from the spectacular, unobstructed view of the most iconic and beautiful monument on earth.  We made a few other changes so to benefit from the private wrap around terrace of this 7th floor jewel.  But mostly, we just basked in the joy of working on such a fun job.
Before - Bedroom, the big windows let in wonderful light!
Before - Bedroom, saying a final goodbye the old windows.
In return for our hard work, we negotiated for the spectacular windows that we discovered were being removed from the building. After all, these windows had reflected one of the most beautiful views on earth for close to a century.  They needed a second life!  And oh look at the hardware … The original panes!  The 3 paneled glass!  We couldn’t contain ourselves.
A close up of the windows with the original hardware.
A close-up of the hardware. Such a treasure!
We happily brought the windows back to Atlanta and because they’re so heavy and unwieldy, stored all but one in our warehouse, keeping their existence a quiet secret until we found the right client.  So when Bill Edwards, one of our favorite architects in Atlanta, happened to wander in to the store a few weeks ago, and we whispered that we had brought back all the windows from a spectacular, old apartment in the heart of Paris, his eyes immediately lit up.  He just happened to have a client and a fabulous designer, Ann Dupree, who shared a vision for historic treasures and an appreciation for crusty cremones  … and needed four sets of French doors!

Off we went to the warehouse and when this team of visionaries met our French doors for the first time, it was love at first sight!  Trying to piece the hardware together proved to be as challenging as an archeological dig, matching the heavy brass knobs and cremones with their original windows.  But like all things that involve a hunt, it made the reward that much more fun and exciting.
The hardware puzzle
The team trying to put the puzzle back together.
It was quite the team effort getting the hardware back on the windows.
Ann is available for hire if anyone needs help with their hardware (Just kidding!)
These French doors have reflected a gorgeous view of the Eiffel tower for close to a century.  Now they will take their place in history in a beautiful renovation of a 1930’s house in the heart of historic Buckhead.  We couldn’t be happier and we can’t wait to show you their evolution …

But meanwhile, to complete the story, here is a glimpse of the finished apartment rental in Paris with its new windows.
Beautiful new windows in the kitchen open up to a truly special view.
A sweeping view of the lovely new living space.
The dining area with its beautiful new windows. Natural light is something to be appreciated in Paris, and this apartment has it in spades.
One of the updated bedrooms
Breakfast in bed, anyone?
The evening view from the second bedroom. Can you believe it??
The view from the terrace is unchanged and still jaw dropping. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner al fresco, oui?
If you're interested in renting this gorgeous Margaux apartment, click here for more information.
to further whet your appetite, guess who will be staying in this apartment in September 2013?  Any one of you lucky women who joins us for our Paris and Provence trip, from September 20th to 28th.
Didn’t we tell you this would be a fun story?

Ta ta …

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We love to shop!

We are off to shop in Paris! It’s the most wonderfully fun thing we do … tra la!
Since we’re still newbies at this game, we’ve talked to other retailers, of course, and they all agree that buying is the most fun thing there is (and thank goodness it’s fun because the other parts can be pretty challenging … but not that we’re complaining or anything!).

Finding the perfect, different and unique object – whether it’s the next BIG thing (like the Corcicle) or the one of a kind, original, have-to-have, like the gorgeous console that went home recently with a very lucky client who has a great eye and exceptional taste – is all about the hunt.  Of course, in France and Belgium, where we do most of our overseas shopping, the hunt includes the negotiating process, the banter with the vendor, the learning about the provenance, the history and the tell-tale signs of what makes it old, like whether the edges were cut by hand or by machine, and what materials were used to join the corners.  And of course what kind of hunt could we have without a delicious gourmet lunch, whether it’s  a baguette and cheese on a rock by the side of the road or sitting in a cozy café, with real food like daube provencale washed down with fresh red wine.  It’s all part of the hunt, and it’s all part of what we love.

Like finding this wedding chest from Sweden, with the dates of the weddings and the hand written provenance certificate.
It didn't look like much in the parking lot where we bought it, but we knew it would come to life in the store.
Imagine our excitement to see a very similar chest, of the same vintage, in one of Cote de Texas fabulous blogs recently.
A cleaned up version ... what a difference!
We love to imagine the uses for some of our objects after we buy them.  Look at these ladders and farm utensils that we spotted at a fair in the Central France a little while ago.
Farm utensils? Who would buy these?
And look at these two trapeze artists, showing off their outstanding gymnastic abilities, to pose for a recent ad!  Well guess what … these ladders are now going off to the home of a fabulous interior designer, whose work we have admired for over five years.  Yahoo!
Our favorite ladders
Oh just some crazy American ladies who get high on ladders!
Imagine our joy in spotting two twin chandeliers (what are the chances of that?) that just happened to fit  beautifully in the twin salon of our favorite Paris apartment.  By the way, we always tell our clients this:  Do you want two identical chandeliers?  Yes, of course!  Well then buy a fabulous mirror!
A pair is so rare!

If you can't buy matching chandies, just buy a mirror!
And then there was this magnificent French Regence style mirror, which was missing a few parts and therefore couldn’t be sold in our store without significant repairs.  We like the crustiness of it and needed to have it anyway.
Regence Style Mirror
Oh boy, is this going to be a mistake?
Look how fab it looks in the Paris apartment?
the mirror in our favorite Paris apartment
We can't imagine our little Parisan jewel without it!
Sometimes we don’t actually shop to buy but to get inspired by trends and or other stores, like this wonderful store in Belgium where we love to be inspired.
Belgium
One of our favorite stores in Belgium where we like to be inspired
And can you believe this fabulous display of drawer pulls that we found on the 5th floor of the iconic BHV department store in Paris (that sells everything from nuts and bolts (literally thousands of them!) to $10K designer dresses).    This display of eye candy had us mesmerized for hours.
Our favorite floor of the BHV department store in Paris
Eye candy! Our favorite floor of the BHV department store in Paris
And speaking of eye candy, sometimes it’s not just the merchandise that gets us excited!
eye candy
More eye candy. We just love that hotel silver!
So we've been thinking about all the fun we have shopping in France and Belgium and have decided that it's just a little selfish on our parts.  In fact, we've decided that  we really need to share this with our clients.  So for the first time ever, we are dipping our toes into a new trip category, and offering two buying trips to Paris next year.
The Eiffel Tower View from apartment
So when we're not buying, we're doing what exactly?
Are we nuts?  We don't think so ... The focus is antiques and "objets" and the hunt will take place all over Paris, which is a city we're pretty familiar with.  We think that in five days, you can find just about anything you're looking for, whether it's at the Puces (flea markets) or some great stores we know or a twice yearly fair for professionals that we'll be taking our trip participants to.  We'll help you negotiate with the vendors, and then ship it home.  When you're not busy shopping, we'll take you to dinner or to a museum or to a sunset cruise on the Seine.  So if you don't find the jewel you're looking for, we'll hope that at least you've had a great time with the hunt. Or at least the eye candy.
We do, every time.
Just desserts for a hard day's work!
Vive le shopping!

Ta ta ...

HH

PS For more information about our shopping trips next year, March 14 to 19th in Paris and October 3 to 8, also in Paris, visit our website right here, or just sign up for it, right here!