Many of you may have heard the story of how we decided to make the big move to France, but to even more of you it may be a bit of a mystery. It all started last year when Matthew and I were married in Paris, and begun to think seriously about living in France. We spent 3 weeks (week 1, week 2, week 3) with our whole family in Paris before the wedding, and during that time we viewed many properties in the city.
We searched and searched Paris looking for the right Arrondissement to fit our family. After much exploring, we found that although we loved the culture (hello Musse D'Orsay, Rodan, Jardin du Luxembourg...!) and saw many properties we found intriguing, Pairs wasn't the right fit. It was that gorgeous dress you've been lusting over, only to try it on and notice it's pulling at the edges. Pairs felt like a struggle with two children, and as a family of sometimes 4, and maybe someday 5, that felt unmanageable.
Then two days after our wedding we headed out on a short 1 hr flight to the South of France for our honeymoon. As you can see in this recap from last year, we absolutely fell in LOVE. It felt like the missing piece we were looking for in Paris. Everything about the city is family centered, and children here are celebrated and included in all areas of life. And hey, the palm trees, ocean and sunshine didn't hurt either!
The AirBnb we were staying in was a fantastic location. It was right on the ocean, steps away from the charming Old Town, but also far enough removed that all you heard were the crashing waves, rather than the noisy bars. A few days into our trip we noticed an apartment for sale 3 buildings down. After contacting a realtor and viewing the property, we had a big decision to make.
As you will see in the photos, this property was in dire need of a complete remodel, and an enormous amount of time and energy was spent attempting a remodel in France while living in the US. But we took the leap! Some days it feels like it will never be completed, but when it is it will truly be exceptional.
*These photos were taken after the demolition process a couple of months ago. There have been many more improvements since then, but most of it is below the surface (wiring, plumbing, moving walls around, etc) so there isn't enough visual progress to document further right now.
This is our grand room. To the left you see where our kitchen will be located. We have designed an L-shaped kitchen layout which will sit against the back wall, extending into the left wall with and island in the middle. The kitchen table will sit in front of the walk out window on the left.
The middle window is framing our petite living room. There is a wall missing now, but the beam which you can see between the middle and right windows, shows where a wall will be in place separating the living room from our master bedroom on the right. If you look and see where the fireplace is on the right side, that is part of our bedroom!
Here is another photo of the same space. The wood flooring couldn't be salvaged and needed to be removed, and you can see that the ceiling needs repairs in numerous areas. We're adding in some beautiful French moulding around the vaulted ceilings which will be lined in a gold paint. I snapped a picture today of the progress which I've posted at the bottom of this update!
This is a view from our master bedroom (photo was taken near the windows) looking into what will be our closet and bathroom. The previous plumbing had leaked and caused significant damage to this bathroom and needed to be gutted - I cannot wait to show you what we have in store for our new room!
Another photo from within our master bedroom. We were happy to salvage all of the original fireplaces in the apartment. There are 3 total and each have different marble and designs. It's interesting how tiny I find them to be compared to fireplaces in the US. As you can see on the balcony, there is damage to the stone pillars all around the terrace. We're replacing the broken pillars and sanding down the marble to restore the color.
Here is a shot down the main hallway. We're keeping the doors and original glass, however there was significant damage to the walls in many places. We have changed this area dramatically by moving the walls around a bit. You won't even recognize it!
Here you can see Matthew standing in front of the balcony in what will be our 'multipurpose' room. It will function as a guest room when we have visitors (come visit us!!) with a built in Murphy bed structure, an office for Matthew during the day with a desk against the window and as the only space in our apartment with a TV, it will also eventually function as a family room when the kids are older.
The gorgeous view from the small terrace!
And one last photo to close - I just snapped this today while I was visiting our apartment to make some final decision on furniture. Here is our new molding in the grand room, I absolutely LOVE it! As you can see, they're still touching up spots on the ceiling and restoring the original molding around the chandelier pendant, but it is really coming together.
We're scheduled to move in at the end of Oct, so keep your fingers crossed that it happens! I absolutely can not wait to show you more.
I hope you enjoyed this post - I would love to hear what you think!! Matthew and I have absolutely poured our heart and soul into designing every inch of this place (really, ever inch!) and I am so anxious to see it come together. Matthew did an incredible job taking lead on the structural design, while I focused more on the interior design side, so showing you my part comes a little later! I am so proud of the designs we have come up with and I really think you will love them!