While I was in Paris caring for Sacha, Chelsea was on vacation in Brazil. Yeah she was there for two weeks. Chelsea returned Easter Sunday, which meant we were together at the apartment.
Have you heard of SNAPCHAT? It is an app for the cell phone, where you can send photos or videos to one another, also you cannot keep the photos or videos as they disappear within seconds (Unless you take a screen shot of it.) My nieces turned me on to SNAPCHAT when it first came out. We snap one another photos and videos every day. I feel like I am with them even though I am faraway.
While Chelsea was in Brazil she snapped us plenty of photos... while we were under a grey rainy sky she was sporting a bikini on the Copacabana. We were jealous. She snapped us videos of salsa dancing on the square, and boat rides to off shore islands.
When my nieces first told me about SNAPCHAT I couldn't grasp the concept why one would send a photo or video to someone and not be able to keep it. What was the point if it disappeared soon after you received it?
My nieces made the point clear by saying, "When you are with someone you "see" them yet you do not keep a "photograph" of every second of everyday, instead it becomes a memory." And so just like that I got it. We see each other everyday through SNAPCHAT and the memories gather within. The photos are simple, often not so perfect, instantly delivered of their everyday moments.
Chelsea and Sacha sending snaps to their cousins at Easter.
I have seen thousands of photos of my nieces school outfits, homework, pets, bad hair days, my mom cooking on Monday, their friends, marching in band, cheering at games, 4-H projects, singing One Direction songs, art class projects, jumping on the trampoline, playing monopoly, making funny faces... I love it! And look forward everyday to what snippets they will send me.
Do you Snapchat? If you do and you want to be see some random every day snaps add me as your friend. My name on Snapchat is, are you ready for this?
Yes that is my crazy name. And the snaps are everything and anything, but mostly random everyday stuff.
I have an idea up my brocante sleeve. If you want to tag along at the brocante with me. I could snap you photos, you could snap me back and we could have a live free conversation about what I am seeing.
Are you going to follow me?
Today I took the train home.
Such an unexpected week, Sacha all to myself.
Arriving early at the Gare de Lyon, I waited for my train
a young man passing by said (in French), "Hi Beautiful!"
He proceeded, "Want to sleep with me?"
He went on, "Can I ask you a favor?"
"Are you afraid of me?"
"Can I ask you a favor?"
"Listen whatever you ask I am going to say no."
It lead into the craziest conversation. He kept talking, asking me random questions. Sometimes I answered, sometimes I laughed, sometimes I said nothing as I stood waiting for my train. It did not bother me in the least that he carried on. At one point he said, "Do you believe in God?"
"Why are you asking me that?"
He pointed to a medal I was wearing.
"Oh. Because I am wearing a religious medal you want to know if I believe in God?"
"Yes. If you believe in God you would do me a favor."
"I am wearing this medal because I think it is pretty."
"You don't believe in God?"
For some odd reason I found the entire encounter assuming. Even though he took my casualness for God knows what, maybe he thought he was making his way into my heart or purse or whatever.
So I asked him, "Do you want money? Because if you do I honestly do not have one euro on me."
"Do you have a credit card?"
"Seriously? I thought you were finding me beautiful and wanted to sleep with me! And to think all you wanted was a couple of Euros? Gee, what a let down."
He went on, "You're crazy."
"I know and don't forget, beautiful."
Then my train arrived and I said, "Goodbye."
Sacha and I went to see a movie this afternoon. He wanted to see the superhero movie of Batman and Superman. Not my first choice, nor second or third, but to be with Sacha was my desire, so Batman it was. During the movie, Superman said, "I miss my dad.", and just like that I flashed back to the dream I had last night but had forgotten until that moment, thank you Superman.
In my dream my Dad and Sacha were talking, and laughing, and I thought how wonderful it was that their love was palpable, then in the same instance I remembered that my Dad was dead, and yet here we were altogether... I did not want it to stop, or change so I absorbed every nuance of our being together, his eyes sparkled as mine filled with tears.
While Batman and Superman were doing their thing; I was faraway with my superhero memory.
A few years ago I bribed my five year old nephew to dress up as a bunny.
These photos make me smile every time.
May the Message of Easter Bring You Joy!
Notre Dame was fully packed and mass had started. We were fortunate enough to have seats a few rows from the altar, when a couple of middle-eastern-looking men with backpacks walked up to the front, (where obviously there were no seats available) and slipped discreetly to the side of one of the columns. A church usher went up to them, she whispered that since there were no seats where they stood, that they would have to move back, she continued by saying she could escort them to the nearest seats.Rather than obliging, they calmly shook their heads no. The usher gently persisted but to no avail as the middle-eastern men stayed focus on the altar, simply ignoring her suggestion.
Nervously, I thought what if they are terrorists? They are standing by one of the central columns, they could have bombs in their back packs? Why would they walk up the entire length of Notre Dame to the front when mass had already started? My fearful thoughts raced as the priest prayed, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy...".
My choices were basic: One walk out, or two stay. To walk out I would have to explain to Sacha my thoughts, then we would have to squeeze pass everyone in the aisle, and then walk the entire length of Notre Dame to the exit. I imagined that if there was a bomb in their backpack they weren't going to wait much longer to ignite it. If I stayed: I was in Notre Dame, I was with Sacha (who was unaware of what I saw), those around me were praying, listening as the first reading was been read. I thought to myself, "I could be wrong about what I saw, but if I am right, well this is a sacred place, a beautiful place, and if a bomb is going to go off I want to be at peace, not running in fear for my life." So I closed my eyes while praying in thanksgiving for those I loved and cared for, I felt at peace.
During Eucharist the two men went up to receive communion. The held out their hands, they bowed their heads, they walked back to the column where they had stood earlier, knelt and cried.
I felt horrible that I had succumbed to a prejudice reaction instead of seeing their desire to be upclose to worship in a place such as Notre Dame.
Fear had lead me to consider something that wasn't true about who they were.
Ashamed that my thoughts added to a collective consciousness that has been brewing.
And then worse, that on this feast day, a day that speaks of love over death, that my thoughts were exactly opposite. I felt like I had added a nail to the energy of mistrust and doubt.
I know that we could say it is a sign of these fearful times we live in, that it is out of caution that we look over our shoulders, that with all that has happened it isn't unusual to become doubtful even in church. But still! Such regret I have for feeling that way.
An act of faith what does that mean.
An angel drops flowers like rain from heaven.
The background of tangled branches beginning to bloom
speaks of rebirth, a symbol of life continuing.
The rusty window frame holds fragments of tinted glass.
Light pouring through reflects soft notes of color.
What do we hold on to when we are broken?
Layers of time past and present.
The broken stained glass renders Mary holding a faceless Jesus.
Though the light continues to shine, spilling on those who pass by.
This tomb made me gasp.
The blue eyes of a child, the ruby lips, the iron door delicately designed with flowers.
The sorrow of death and the hope of an afterlife.
Pere Lachaise captivates my imagination.
It takes me to a place deep within.
Fragmented stone statues, engraved words, iron gates that are unlocked, names of people of the past and bouquets of flowers with fragrant dried petals.
Messages of life and death, are within the walls that surround it.
A larger than life stone statue sits with her eyes closed,
her arms are broken,
her lips partly open as if she might utter a word.
Stories vanished in the earth.
The tomb of Heloise and Abelard, 12th century lovers,
is one of the many stories that rest in Pere Lachaise.
Photos: Pere Lachaise on Good Friday...darkness gives way to light.
The gift we give to one another is in the breaking of the bread,
when our paths cross, we share of ourselves.
Giving from the source of who we are,
the essence of our interior self.
Cherishing the sacred moment of connection with another.
Sensing the spiritual seed of exchange taken root,
Watering the exchange with an free heart.
To share life, there is no greater gift than to be communion for one another.
To see with our hearts,
To listen with our eyes,
to speak with our actions,
& to love regardless of the gain.
Like in Paris the renovation in a small space without an outdoor work area means constant moving of things from one corner to the next. If one isn't methodical, a mess and misplace soon becomes nerve wracking. Unlike Paris there are three floors, with gapping holes in places where stairs will be, which at this point subtracts from the limiting space and makes each step mindful adding a crazy amount of effort.
The plaster walls will make the rough uneven walls smoother, not as straight nor streamline as I would like due to the old uneven stone walls,nevertheless they will look better. Unfortunately, I am not there to say yeah or nah to what is happening... I had wanted to be there as to see Renee's father work, he is a master at plaster. Of course I trust his talent, and I believe his eye is what I had in mind.
Sacha feels better then he did yesterday. His fever broke this morning, and he isn't throwing up. By tomorrow he should feel more like himself. When I came to Paris to be with him I did not think about this being "Easter Week" and the trains being full. The last I checked the earliest I can return home is Tuesday. Unforced motherhood decision means I will miss seeing Lieselotte and Dieter, miss French Husband on Easter Sunday, miss three major brocante fairs that only come twice a year, and miss seeing the apartment advance... though what is more important is the choice I made. So it is what it is and all is good... No Easter baskets as I left them at home and only a change of clothes.
The truck pulled on on the port with fifteen 88 pound sacks of plaster powder, plus numerous other sacks that needed to be hauled up stairs.
Manpower is impressive and rather sexy.
Pinch myself I do often. A dream come true.
The truck full of plaster sacks is better than a closet full of designer clothes and shoes.
And that view. Amazingly fortunate I feel.
Renee, the artisan who is renovating our apartment in Cassis, is young, strong, talented, fast... I am utterly impressed with how he can do it with contagious happy energy.
His father came to help him today. His father looks like his brother.
Renee's father is an artist one of the many things he does is creates staff moulding by hand. He came to help plaster the walls.
A massive undertaking in a small space.
Talk about no room in the inn.
My mom tells a story of when my cousin Daniel plastered her dining room. She says that the amount of plaster on the ceiling was enough to cover the entire house.
It stuck, stayed strong and is still there: A ton above the dining room table.
A biggie bag, as they call them in France full of sand.
Once up the first floor, most things can be hauled up by the electrical pulley.
Those rough walls will be torn down, then chicken wire will be nailed and the plaster process will begin.
The walls upstairs are ready for the chicken wire.
Our apartment, the two blue shutters above Chez Gilbert.
The entrance stairs.
Attractive aren't they?
Our friends from Austria, Lieselotte and Dieter arrived last night. This morning Sacha called to say he wasn't feeling well, he has a high fever, throwing up, worshipping the porcelain god and well feeling miserable. He said he passed out twice. Needless to say, I caught the next train to Paris because that is what moms do. I cannot stand to be sick alone. Our friends are staying for a few days so hopefully I will see them in a day or two.
May peace on earth come soon.
For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know that I have the brocante bug badly, and that living in France is a cure and a curse for those of us who have it
Because any day, all day whether a brocante fair, second hand store, someone's garage, Ebay.fr, or the dumpster there is something to be had to feed the bug.
Because it is endless which makes the bug more hungry.
So those who have the brocante bug either open a shop, become a hoarder or go through withdrawals.
We went to Carpentras, like we usually do..
The first thing I noticed was that the tree lined parking lot (That the brocante is held at.) was missing a few century old trees.
Several had been cut. I hope they are not going to cut anymore! They most likely were ill, and I noticed that they had replanted trees which was reassuring.
Francine, the fabric lady.
A ton of fabric every weekend.
I have decided that I cannot go fully MCM. I can do a touch of it, I can mix it in, I can breath and live with that. Cassis will be a mix, otherwise I will suffocate. That is the problem with the brocante bug it likes everything old, but has its favorites to play with.
A wooden floor panel on top of an iron frame with wheels.
A bag of old lace on the ground.
A bag of pitchers.
A lady walking by lace curtain panels.
Paper mache puppet heads.
A bucket with a rosary.
The reflection of the trees in a mercury mirror
Philippe's stand. One of my favorites.
Boxes and boxes of linens.
An 1800s gilded wooden Madonna
on top of a blue suitcase.
Pick through that for the pearl.
Carpentras sets up at 9:30 am sometimes 10 am.
Well dressed future brocanteur.
The bug lurks.
Mid century modern.
Cannot do it.
But not to live with because I like the other "stuff" more.
A wicker garden chair, zinc wash buckets, and an oval framed portrait.
Jesus figurine on Palm Sunday in a zinc pail.
Tools for different purposes, for different seasons.
A book on the history of America.
Another one of my favorite stands.
A taxidermy peacock.
Boxes to explore.
Two wooden oars, two massive wine bottles.
A toile paravent.
Susan from Vancouver noticed me at the brocante. She told me that she is a friend of two mutual friends of mine that I met through blogging... One friend is Jill, who Sacha stayed with in Vancouver and who I feel I know but have never met and another is Jani and Rob whom I have met several times.
The wonderful world of blogging about the brocante.
Susan designs and makes clothes from antique linen.
Ratatouille is the name of her brand.
A carousal car and garden chairs.
And the plant lady who never fails to have a variety of plants amongst boxes of everything under the sun.
Buried under a raised floor, we do not know why it was raised nor hollow underneath, we found a wooden 18th century boat paddle. You bet that is staying in the apartment, not underground either. We had to rip the floor out as one of the beams was in a bad state and needed to be replaced.
This a closer look at the top part of the handle.
Since the stairs are ripped out the only way to get to one floor to the next is climbing up the skinny straight up ladder. Going up is not as scary as the first step down.
This is the new old beam, isn't it beautiful? If only I had the money to replace all of them I would.
The one in the background is in good condition, and just because I would like to replace it doesn't mean it is going to happen. I wanted to strip it back to the original wood, but the space to work in has no floor at the moment. Each inch of the apartment has either buckets, or shovels, or supplies, or rubble, or workers, or ladders... since we cannot do anything outside, everything is inside. Tasks such as stripping the beams of the old stain and varnish are not high on the list of things that need to be done and space usage. Oh, and by the way, I say, "We" as if... My mother would say, "Do you have a mouse in your pocket?" As "we" doesn't mean that I am doing any of the renovation. But just running around selecting, purchasing and making decisions. I have the fun part.
Boards on beams with a ladder.
Secure, but scary as hell.
It doesn't look secure.
I tapped it, and poked it before walking across.
Up up up is the bedroom.
The stairs will go on the right side.
The stairs: Finding stairs that will work, given the beams, small space, angle and more importantly, as if that isn't enough important stuff already, getting them upstairs from the outside inside is the biggest challenge as the space is only 55 cm. wide.
Looking down from the bedroom loft to the middle floor.
Standing on the edge, talking about the skylight. We decided not to extend the loft. The light from the skylight is too important to block.
That is what it looks like to go two floors down.
Scary (insert bad word).
Yann does it with a folder in hand.
I did it with my heart in my mouth.
I believe this is going to be lovely.
I see it finished.
Yann says that is a gift he does not have, he cannot visualize images.
Middle floor makeshift workbench.
Rubble going down, at least the pulley is electric.
Though the last floor to the outside world is on foot.
The stone wall. Not a elegant stone wall more like a hit and miss, mismatch or rubble and dirt stone wall.
Plaster will cover this.
The new old beam with sprouts of greenery growing inside.
The ceiling on the right had to be replaced. The ceiling of the left has the old beams, though it looks interesting as is, it is too rustic for my taste. Cleaned up could be beautiful, unfortunately the amount of time, energy and money to do so might not make it worth it. I might regret covering them... I haven't decided what to do.
History whispers. Modernity calls. Beauty sings. I stand in awe of it all.
The water heater that belongs to the restaurant below us, use to be in the stairwell, the stairwell is no longer there. Crazy but true. So the restaurant's water heater will go in their storage space which we enter to get inside the apartment. Now if you understood that layout you are a champion of visualization.
The ladder is standing on the future kitchen.
The wooden paddle was found in that back space under the floor...
The kitchen (on the first floor) looking up at the new ceiling and the hole that will house the stairs to the middle floor. If you saw the video on Facebook this is where the electrical saw was cutting through.
How do you carry tons of debris down two flights of stairs when there aren't stairs?
Brocante Passion. Soul food, brocante in big chunks to chew on, savor and to hold while the sweet juice run down my arms. I am crazy for this stuff and though I am really really trying to do the apartment in Cassis with a twist of a new clean fresh look... my heart leans towards French brocante.
My friend's Jean and Nathalie have a shop in Lourmarin. Their style, the way they put French brocante together is appealing, utter soul food. Not fussy, nor pretentious rather a style that makes one feel at home amongst beautiful old things.
Rough linen sheets used to reupholster arm chairs.
The painted walls in their shop are a perfect backdrop for photos.
I will be strong. A brocante diet while I drool over their shop. Drool. Today I saw some mid century furniture and it felt like eating carrots and salad. Nothing wrong with carrots and salad...
A spoon full of sugar to the rescue. brocante passion.
Cheese, bread and wine sort of things. brocante passion
No curvy lines.
Tomorrow we are ordering the bathroom. I will show photos.
The tub is out,
A washer and dryer are in,
A walk in shower with the coolest shower head won French Husband over,
A water heater that takes up valuable room but deserves it,
I so wanted a patterned tile floor, but I had to let it go as the tiny floor space really doesn't do it justice.
Maybe tomorrow will prove differently but I doubt it.
Who knew that buying a toilet and a water heater could be such fun.
The bedroom is next. xxx
PS Thank you Lilly and Marie for telling me there was something wrong with my blog post. I hope you can see the photos now?
Renovating implies constant decisions.
Every detail is a wonder world.
You name the place I have been there, junkyards all the way up. Yesterday after visiting Cassis to define where to put the light switches, led lights and sconces I went to a tile shop not noticing until the saleslady gave me the once over that I was covered in dust.
Oh well dust is my new perfume.
This is the place that years ago I bought the stones to build our fountain. Of course I wasn't looking for stones this time. How did we ever carry those puppies!
Saw this stone sink, fell in love with it. But unfortunately, I do not think it is going to work:
MCM doesn't say stone sink... and more so Yann says one crazy sink (aka: The baptismal fountain sink we already have) is enough.
I have to pick my wishes/battles.
Decision making mode.
Every Monday my mother cooks a dinner for the family. Besides a homemade dinner she bakes two or three desserts. PLUS the grandchildren come after school and hang out until dinnertime.
Every Monday I receive a slew of wonderful snapchats from these cutie pies.
Patti and Chelsea are the oldest grand daughters, then there are the boys, Andy, Sacha, Sam, Joe, then these five: Gina, Marie, Maci, Molly and Kate, then Warren.
The five nieces sent me this selfie.
Homesickness and yet such gratitude xx
Brave took me up the ladder, fear reminded me that a ladder broke which caused my wrist to shatter the last time I was up a ladder. But there I stood on the second floor looking down where a floor use to be. This is the section where the two beams had to be replaced. The builder is re-using the smaller beams/slates that use to be there.
That space will be a living room... or in this shack-teau better known as a sitting room.
A slab will be created and then the ceiling will be installed underneath. As making cement outside is impossible due to the restrictions on the port, and impossible to carry a cement mixer up the narrow steps. The builder introduced us to another product. I forgot to take photos of it, so I will show you that another day. It looked like sheet rock but more solid than sheet rock.
The space above will be a bedroom.
We took the ceiling off to open up the roof line.
It sure feels lighter.
I walked across these planks a few times, eventually the builder noticed me doing so and remarked casually, "Oh stay on the yellow slab, because the other ones are not stable enough.
I about fainted as I was standing on those two brown boards taking photos.
Funny how I just noticed the old plaster wall was a pinkish color.
There is the ladder we used.
Images via Ikea
The kitchen I bought is through IKEA. It is light grey.
The counter will not be black, nor will there be any upper cabinets.
The counter top is faux marble.
This was a door in the apartment. Maybe we will use it as a window instead.
But who knows.
It is 97 cm wide.
This I fancy. It might be too overpowering, or industrial for the kitchen but I am toying with the idea of copper and grey.
When I showed French Husband he looked at me like I had lost my marbles.
Oh this light.
Nothing certain, just tossing ideas... and watching French Husband sweat, as dust swirls around.
If you have any questions let me know and I will try to answer them in the comment section.
The unexpected surprise, the pleasure of two for one:
Thumbing through a book I had bought earlier,
a piece of paper folded between the pages.
A small painting.
As if whoever painted it, did so in a hurried state, though obviously with a talented hand.
A droplet of water stains the page, or maybe a delighted person's tear?
Tiny waist, red hat, black gloves, pushed back hair,
a cigarette holder in one hand
and a letter in the other.
Can you hear her calling out to someone?
Or maybe she is leading the band before she does the can-can.
Just the right blotches and smears.
Was the painter infatuated with Mademosielle Parler-Vous?
Brocante surprises every single time.
Have you had any good surprises this week
The miracle workers: Took down the two beams that were badly cut from the apartment. They were able to buy two new old ones, load them with a crane on to the truck, then unload them and heave them (unbelievable) upstairs and place them in the ceiling, within an afternoon!
These two new old beams will be left as is, the walls will be scrapped back and re-plastered.
If money weren't an option, I would have all the beams replaced as the new old ones are beautiful in color and texture.
Monday the electrical lines, and plug placement needs to be decided. I will mark the spots, that is how I roll... visually. Thankfully, only the downstairs needs to be marked.
The view is worth the dust, debris and deconstruction.
The wooden slates in the background will become part of the new ceiling.
This is a fuller view, walking around is not easy, and things are constantly being moved as the work area is small. plus everything needs to be done inside.
Re-plastering and the cement will also be made inside.
The debris is carried out in those small black buckets.
In this photo I am standing downstairs looking up towards the two top floors.
A diamond in the rough, hopefully!
Tulips fading on the nightstand
The much needed weekend on the horizon.
What are your plans for the weekend?
I plan on drawing out the bathroom for the builder and marking light sockets on the walls.
When we renovated in Paris I was there every single day, most the time inside the apartment watching the hunks do their thing. But this renovation it is not possible to stay inside as the work is more intense, the space is smaller (though the same size as Paris) because it is on three floors, and the stairs no longer exist because they were torn out so we could access the each floor with one singular stair case.
But the main reason I am not in the apartment ... INCREDIBLE DUST!
The apartment is on three floors, here you can see two of the floors.
They ripped out the walls, for the stairs, and also because I thought it would be better to see the roof line, and have the loft open verses closed in by a wall. The top floor we will extend so the room will be larger too.
Question: Can we make the skylight larger? No. There are strict historical monument codes in Cassis. Nothing on the outside of the building can be changed. This code came into practice no so long ago...
A hole was cut out to access the bottom floor. On Facebook I added a video, showing the floor being cut out.
So far the renovation team has carried out seven tons of debris. They had to carry the debris in buckets as the stairs access the building are too steep and narrow to do otherwise.
This is the top floor, or as I call it the bedroom. The wall in front was removed and the roof line exposed for more light and to have a open feel. The guard rail was were the ladder came up, that will be removed as well. The stairs will come up on the other side.
The stairs use to come up under the toilet. There was a tiny entrance where the rubble is piled. A tiny entrance equals a truck load of rubble. How many buckets did it take to unload it downstairs?
Oh please name this photo!
When we bought this apartment, the first thing we knew we had to do, was figure out the stairs. We had a suspicion that when we removed the old unusable stairs that we would find a problem, and we did. The two main beams in the apartment, one of them under the stairs, had been cut and did not reach the wall! YIKES! Also the other beam was cut in half so the toilet could fit underneath the stairs. YIKES Again!
Needless two old oak beams were purchased and hauled upstairs... a feat for Hercules!!
Photos of that tomorrow.
We are off to a good start.
The other question many of you have asked is can we make the windows larger? No we cannot as the outside cannot be changed.
If you have any questions or want to see a detail of whatever, let me know in the comment section and I will try my best to answer you.
Can you guess what items I acquired for the apartment in Cassis?
Was it a pair of this armchair with its layered black and cream velvet?
Have I flipped?
Turned a new leaf?
Skipped the light fantastic?
Joined the Fruit Cakes?
Or simply taking a dip in Mid Century Modern and freaking out every step of the way?
First and only needed hint... Yes, but just for Cassis.
French Husband and I went to the antique markets to readjust our eyes as to see "new old things". It took awhile to adapt, in fact it was like being reborn into a new world.
I rarely notice mid century modern, I notice pottery, linens, paper, gilded wood, French 18th century anything, but mid century modern... rarely.
Who is Eero Saarinen and the tulip table?
I spent the day trying to see things differently, most of the morning I was flat out distracted.
Color? Was I blinded by the light? Am I going colorful too? Hey, let's not push me over the edge. One thing at a time. First I am going to try to see things differently, or see different things.
Maybe seafoam, or lightest blue...
French Husband fell hard for this piece.
Early 1800s, original paint - faded blue.
My eyes declared this could marry well with mid century modern.
I keep saying mid century MODERN thinking it might take the bite out of the BROCANTE BUG.
"Well just this once couldn't hurt," is what I keep telling myself.
Cassis needs to be light... that is my reasoning, as I dare myself to take the plunge into "MCM" if you know what I mean.
Glass, silver, straight lines...
Adarn Inc. x style chairs?
I was thinking of a large painting, and stumbled upon:
"Dorothy Draper was an American interior decorator. Stylistically very anti-minimalist, she would use bright, exuberant colors and large prints that would encompass whole walls"
Dorothy loved color like I favor brocante.
"We need stairs."
"True but not these."
"But these are amazing, look at the craftsmanship."
"What I see are those narrow, tiny, impractical steps."
"Why do you have to burst my bubble."
"To bring you down to Earth?"
A pair of sconces with long straw like crystals, hanging from a chunky long golden chain.
"They use to hang in the Aix les Bain casino," the antique dealer told me, "It was renovated you know?"
I thought of "Le Train Bleu" in Paris...
Before I uttered, "Renovation doesn't always mean better," I thought about what we are doing in Cassis. Each person has their taste, their ascetic, their idea of beauty. I wanted to run back and hug the brocante bug, but it shook its head, maybe out of jealousy or frustration or feelings of betrayal.
With Cassis I am daring myself, it is an exhilarating fortunate challenge.
When I walked into my friend Odile's antique shop the hat box, black with bright yellow lemons straight back from 1920s or so or mid century modern, was calling my name, "Hey look at me, I match those black velvet chairs."
As much as I wanted to grab the hat box, my new friend MCM tapped me on the shoulder, "Restrain yourself. Then added, as if it was trying to be funny, "Hold on to your hat. You know smalls come last."
Chairs are my downfall. Everyone has their weak spot. Some people like shoes, or candles, or bath products, or pillows, or jewelry --
No I did not buy it, though it is pretty cool. I guess this MCM thing that I am aiming at makes me often think out loud, "Can I live with this really?"
Oh those big, important, all meaningful questions:
"Can I live with this really?"
The wonder of it all.
Not gold, or shiny, or metal.
Plus there were only three, and one had a sad state of a seat.
If only this were nine hours north in a land called Paris. Like I said, decisions of utter importance.
10,000 steps in a new direction, just this once.
What do you prefer in interior design?
Photo Collage by Sacha
Chelsea did it. Last Sunday, in Paris, she ran a half marathon.
A quote she often says, "You don't have to run fast, you just have to run, " then she adds, "I don't run fast, I run."
Chelsea's goal was to complete the marathon between two hours fifteen minutes to two hours and twenty minutes. Her time: Two hours and eighteen minutes.
I think that is fantastic.
Sacha, Mr. Espresso and a friend from university Alice were Chelsea's cheerleaders, they went to different points along the half marathon to cheer her on. Mr. Espresso brought a fake bottle of champagne, popped it at the finish line and let it spray over the racers! Confetti! Chelsea cracked up, she loved the affirmation of success.
Sacha noted, "Chelsea smiled the entire way, it was as if she wasn't running in a half marathon, but a smile-a-thon!"
Oh she was so happy.
An accomplished goal always sets the heart on fire!
Tomorrow the renovation begins. Sledge hammers, tiles, rocks, more rocks, dust galore will happen, then hauled down two flights of stairs in buckets since the stairwell is small and the port doesn't allow removal from tubes out the windows.
This is the other part of the apartment. It is on three floors. We call this the first floor, the other floor we call the middle, and the last floor the loft.
On the first floor will be the entrance, a kitchen and a bedroom. The middle will have a bathroom, and a living room, the loft will be another bedroom.
That is the plan.
There are two sets of stairs to the apartment. This set will be ripped out, and covered over giving us a couple more feet of living space, or enough room to add a table by the window.
Those stairs will become many buckets of debris, at least a ton worth.
This is the view from the first floor, where the kitchen will be.
Twilight in Cassis.
The ceiling beams will be stripped back to the natural wood.
The angle piece (on the left) will be removed as it is the exterior stairwell going to the middle floor.
Hence in front of French Husband there will be a new set of stairs going to the middle floor.
The kitchen will go on French Husband's left side, it will be three meters fifty long.
This is the angle part that will be taken out.
Renee is the young man who will be doing the work, and the little guy is his sweet son.
Behind French Husband is the window (future kitchen table) in front of him will be a bedroom, where he is standing a kitchen.
The future bedroom.
And so it begins tomorrow morning.
Years of collecting,
The photos show some, a trickling, of the smallest of things, the sweet things, the bits and pieces that passed through my hands to yours.
It started the first time I went to a Frence brocante back in 1988. I remember that day well, so much stuff, and a few French francs in my pocket. Some of that stuff that was so plentiful back then I rarely see now.
When our garage could hold no more, I started to sell. The first time I sold at the brocante I sold out within an hour.
Years of collecting poof gone in an hour.
The brocante bug bit and the happiness is unmeasurable.
A clever little video, in silence, yet speaks volumes!
Do you speak French? When I was in high school my French teacher told me to stop taking his French class, he said,
"You will never speak French."
Commercial for EF International Language Centers.
Directed by Gustav Johansson (gustavjohansson.com)
Produced at Camp David (campdavidfilm.com)
Client: EF International Language Centers
Campaign site: ef.com/livethelanguage
A pocket size, canvased covered notebook sat on a stack of books. The antique ephemera dealer, who I am sure rubs his hands and licks his lips when he sees me coming, "Oh that lady who loves old papers!!" Grabbed the book and handed it to me, "Wait to you see this!" I knew the minute I opened the first page that I had to have it for my shop.
1918, is the date marked on most of the simple sketches and paintings.
The artist book is not from Provence, the building tell me so.
In the back of the book are scribbles and funny drawings, I imagine they happened later from a younger hand.
The first part has sketches like this one, and later paintings...
I imagine the artist is in school and these are his lessons.
They are not serious, but they do have spirit.
A work in progress.
Do we allow the artist child within us to progress?
Adore! The splashes of color on the side of the pages, like the untamed nature growing along the river, like the water splashing from his toes.
The baguettes in the window.
No need for color it is already in our mind's eye.
This is my fav.
Which one is yours?
And then a complete different direction in the middle of the book, four pages of the changing of the guard, well army attire throughout the ages, with descriptions underneath;
The dealer was happy,
I was happy, and G who bought it from me will be happy.
Last night and the night before and the night before that I fell asleep thinking about the apartment in Cassis. Imagining the walls gutted, the space empty, the placement of the kitchen and the stairs, calculating what is needed and what is not.
What is needed in that small long narrow space?
For the first time in my life I might take a very practical step towards a modern design. Just writing it makes me shiver. Modern, light and open, few objects, practical leaning towards sparse. Sometimes I wonder what is happening. Then I reminded myself about the size and the need to keep it open and light because it is dark and tight. Thinking about a modern design is one thing, admiring it another, but actually living in it, could I?
As the kitchen is narrow, there will be one long counter... 60 cm x 330 cm, no upper cabinets and a very small table at one end and a stairwell at the other end.
I kinda have a crush on this tub.
I kinda like the idea of it in the bedroom.
Can a Brocante Fanatic go modern?
Brocante Bug where the hell are you?
When French Husband saw this bathroom sink, he said, "You like the basket, not the sink, right?"
"The basket? No. Actually I thought the sink was pretty cool, but not very practical."
I think I might have shocked him with the word "practical" as he looked at me strangely, and whispered, "Are you okay?"
At dinner I opened my Pinterest and showed French Husband some of the images I have been collecting, "Like this one, you see, it is just about the colors, though I really like the oversized art piece, you know the apartment is small but the walls are large, so I was thinking..." as I talking I could see he wasn't listening, or more so not understanding, or actually French Husband was wondering silently out loud, "She has gone off the deep end."
And there I am swimming in Cassis wondering can I really go modern?
I have my doubts.
But something is stirring that I cannot deny.
Which way do you lean:
Modern or Classic
Practical or Arty
Do you dot your "I" and cross your "T" or Scribble?
Do you dream out loud?