March in Paris, pt. 1

Last Friday morning, we landed in an overcast Paris and checked into our amazing apartment in Montmartre. I could talk forever about how beautiful and authentically “Parisian” the place was, complete with creaky herringbone floors, layers of detailed crown molding, three fireplaces, built in mirrors, old doorknobs. It was a dream come true and I could have stayed there for ever. But there was a city to see, so we headed right out to the Rodin Museum where we got engaged (!!), and then just wandered the city in the rain (and I quoted “Midnight in Paris” the entire time: “I don’t mind getting wet. Actually, Paris is most beautiful in the rain” which I think was only true because my coat was waterproof).

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My Home: Sue of A Nomadic Abode

That sound you hear, that sad, bleating cry, would be me, crossing the Atlantic today (and not in the good direction). Oui, mes amies, we are on our way back to the states today and I am most displeased. The trip was AMAZING and I have so many photos to share with you. In the meantime, the delightful Sue from A Nomadic Abode is here to share her London home (the color palate is gorgeous!).

firstly, thank you so much erin for inviting me to hang out with you here for the day! what girl doesn’t like a party invite, right!?!

& being asked to discuss my favourite topic {my home} is just the cherry on top!

there are many words i could use to describe what my home means to me: it’s my sanctuary, my workshop, my decompression chamber from the world outside…

but it’s what my home isn’t that can be summed up so much more succinctly: my home isn’t defined by the bricks & mortar from which it’s built…

for me, home is very much a feeling, not a place…

&, perhaps as a by-product of having moved house so much in my life, i’ve become pretty adept at invoking that feeling wherever i am by simply surrounding myself by the people i love & the things that hold meaning or memories…

here’s a little peak into the london home i share with my boyfriend of nearly ten years…

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in our dining nook sits one of my favourite pieces of art, an etching picked up on a girly weekend in venice: what i remember most about that weekend was my friend & i lugging her baby pram up & down many, many steps as we chaperoned her infant daughter around this city of bridges {there was a lot of laughter that weekend}…

while the white porcelain cockatoo reminds me of those yellow-crested fellas that swoop & squawk around my parents’ house at dusk each & every day, plucking the ripening fruit from their orchard & unleashing mayhem in their wake…

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taking pride of place in our lounge room is a screen-printed bus blind from home: on it are listed some of the suburbs that served as the backdrop to our budding relationship all those years ago…

& vintage photos found at a flea market in cuba, a silver teapot from dubai & an antique key from my boyfriend’s parents’ village in italy bring back memories of our travels together…

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& finally…

flowers are a permanent fixture in our home & never more so than in the bedroom…

i use a lot of floral motifs, alongside the real {& faux} thing, as not only do they add a sense of colour & movement but they also remind me of a childhood spent amongst the blooms {both of my parents were keen gardeners}…

our bedroom is also where i display my jewellery collection {especially the sentimental pieces that have been gifted to me}, some of my favourite books & a selection of much-loved pictures, including a print depicting a simple mantra: LOVE!

everywhere throughout our home there are tell-tale pieces like these that speak of my partner & i, our friends, families & the journeys that have gotten us to where we are today…

& that is precisely what makes this, & every house i live in, feel like my home…

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Isn’t her home beautiful? I love the garland above the tufted bedframe. And all the little bits Sue picked up on her travels…those are wonderful souvenirs! Thank you so much, Sue!

My Home: Christine of the Plumed Nest

Today is our last full day in Paris, which we’re just going to ignore because that seemingly small fact is sending me into an existential crisis. While we’re making the most of the day, I’m happy to bring you another guest-post. Today I’m beyond lucky to have my twinsy extraordinaire, Christine from The Plumed Nest, sharing her wonderful west coast home with us. Check out that faux-wallpaper! 

Hi! I am Christine from The Plumed Nest and I am really excited to be here today at like/want/need to fill in for the lovely Erin while she is in Paris taking pictures for us. Today I will be sharing photos and talking a little bit about my home.

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My home is in Portland, Oregon and while I have lived in other places, traversed a few spots around the globe and obsessively dream about moving abroad someday, Portland is a beautiful and creative city and I love living here. I live in a community of townhomes that were built in the 1930’s. There is so much I love about my place, it has beautiful wood floors, a wall of windows, huge gardens and lots of vintage charm.

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My personal design taste is not limited. One day I might be dreaming of a shabby chic cottage, the next a mid-century ranch, and a few days after that an industrial loft. So with my love of so many different design styles I try to keep myself in check by decorating in a way that works with the style of my home. Additionally, as a renter, I am always looking for ways to make changes that don’t include knocking down walls or changing out cabinetry. Would I love to have a giant farmhouse kitchen? Sure I would. But I embrace the sweet vintage charm of mine with my 1950’s stove being one of my favorite things in my home. I try to look at the parts of my home I love as starting points to design around and augment them. I have changed out hardware on my cabinets, the light switch-plates, added window treatments and have done a lot of painting in every room!

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A favorite place in my house is my dining and living area. I have three children, work from home and am by nature a homebody, so we spend a lot of time in this communal area. I recently painted this main living space all white to bring more light into my house, but in my innate need for a feeling of coziness I added some patterned interest to my dining wall. I love the vintage feel of it and how it helps define the space. The best secret behind it is that it’s actually shelf liner! Another great option for renters who can’t put up wallpaper.

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Again, constantly balancing my role between mother and a person who works from home with my blog and my Etsy shop, we end up spending all our time in a shared space. It’s great because I can be many things at once and switch back and forth as needed, but it also means I am constantly on a mission to keep it light, bright and airy. It’s important to me that we can feel cozy and relaxed as a family and also feel the space is open enough for our minds to be focused and creative. My exception to this is books, I have several bookcases and books on top of books stacked in each of them. I love the feeling of being surrounded by books. It’s really important for me that my home to reflect all parts of me, the parts I am striving to be – like more organized (always trying to be more organized!) and the parts that are firmly rooted like my love of books, my family and art.

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Thanks so much for having me Erin! I can’t wait to see all those fabulous pictures from Paris!

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I can’t get over how impeccibly clean her house is for having three kids! She certainly puts me to shame :) I’m so jealous of all that sunlight, too, and that vintage desk (Christine said it was her grandparents’)! Thank you so much, Christine!

My Home: Santa of Homestilo

Joyeux Lundi, mes cheres! I hope everyone’s weekend was, shall we say, parfait. Last night we were supposed to see the comedy show “How to Become Parisian in One Hour” but that is story for another time….which will be never because I AM NEVER LEAVING. Today, I’m so happy to have the inspiring Santa from Homestilo sharing some sneak peeks of her beautiful home (check out her view!). 

While Mademoiselle Erin is out enjoying herself in The City of Lights, I’m happy to be with you today, sharing a look at some of the things that make my home…well, my home.

Where the day ends

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We honestly make the bed everyday (and by “we” I mean me, of course). I find it’s just a great feeling to end the day with some sort of semblance of order and neatness. No matter how crazy the day was, no matter what chores didn’t get crossed off the list, a made bed is always a pleasant way to end the day.

On my nightstand there is usually a pile of magazines waiting, for months on end sometimes, to be read. I also keep a copy of one of my favorite quotes attributed to, oddly enough, Elsie De Wolfe: “Be pretty if you can be, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.” Words to aspire to.

Put a bird on it…and some stripes

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Our home and its colour palette are quite neutral. But neutral can be just as fun. I tweaked the old IKEA Melodi lamp with a few birdie silhouettes. Then once, while my husband was out of town on business, I went ahead and added stripes to the focal wall. The hubster wasn’t completely sold on the look, but the stripes still make me smile whenever I look over at that wall.

The view out there

homestilo balcony viewThe main thing that sold my husband on our current home was the view. We live in an apartment and our outdoor space is limited to a balcony. But we do overlook a golf course which gives one a sense of having a much more grand outdoor area. We always have a view of the perfectly green lawn during the warm months and a ‘Winter Wonderland’ after snow fall. It’s also great for gazing out of first thing in the morning or in the middle of the day, when one needs to gather her thoughts.

So, that is a small look at our home. A big thanks to Erin for having me over and for making me take a moment to appreciate my surroundings.

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Is it weird to say that someone else’s bed looks snuggly? Santa’s totally does, though! I love the simple touch of stenciling a bird on a lampshade. So clever and creative! Thank you so much, Santa!

My Home: Niki of My Scandinavian Home

BONJOUR, Y’ALL. I’m in Paris! I’m here! I’m here I’m here I’m heeeeere. Today we’re heading to the Rodin Museum and then, who knows? I’m trying to hold myself together so I’m not crying all over my camera, but I think you can guess how well that’s going :). Today I’m honored to have the incredible Niki of my scandinavian home sharing her own Scandinavian home! 

Hello! I’m Niki from my scandinavian home blog. It’s such an honour to write a guest post here on Erin’s wonderful blog. This morning I’ve braved the cold and made it out to a nearby café here in Malmö, Southern Sweden, so I can fully concentrate (and err drink a few hot chocolates  BRRRRR!). Since I spend my blog life showing other people’s Scandinavian homes I thought I’d share a few pictures of my own home today. Over the past 18 months I’ve shown little shots here and there but this is the first time I’ve put a bit of a home tour together – eeeek! Let’s see what happens….!

Pictures: My Scandinavian Home

Last week I was interviewed by Nest and they asked me which interior style I preferred – English (I’m originally from London) or Swedish. I was slightly terrified I might get myself into trouble. But I think you can see from these pictures that I’ve taken a bit of a pick and mix of both styles. Phew! That’s perhaps the great thing about having influences from different areas of your life.

What style do you have in your home?

Lovely to meet you all! / Niki :)

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WOW, right? Those that know me know Niki’s home is pretty much my dream home. All that white! All that light! Thank you so much, Niki!

Bon Voyage

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So the exciting news is that there wasn’t a single flurry in Philadelphia yesterday or last night. It’s sunny and bone dry here today! No snow! But hold on to that happy dance you were about to break out into, because the “storm” has moved up the east coast and is now hitting New England. No big deal, right? Only apparently my flight out of Philadelphia is actually coming from Boston first this afternoon. The flight is supposed to take off at 3:30 from Boston and land here at 5:15, before taking off again at 6:25 for Paris. Raise your hand if you think any of that will happen when they’re predicting snow ALL DAY in Boston and they’re already canceling flights. NOT ME. UGH UGH UGH.

But regardless, I have a manicure/pedicure appointment in a few hours and then I’m getting my haircut. You know, JUST IN CASE I ever make it to Paris and need to arrive looking fabulous. Most likely I’ll be sitting on my sofa, drowning my sorrows with stale Girl Scout cookies tonight. If I ever do make it Paris I owe all of you an apology for being the whiniest traveller of all time. And hopefully you’ll enjoy the guest-posters who were so generous to agree to fill in for me in my (NON) absence! They’ll be posting tomorrow, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Cross your fingers, kiddos! Bon Voyage, maybe?

Pardonnez-Moi?

Dear Weathermen and women,

I understand you are in the business of manifesting panic to drum up milk and bread sales every so often, and that you revel in your ability to bring an entire viewership to the brink of insanity simply by standing in front of your useless green-screens and making “educated” guesses about natural forces that change on a whim, and that your success rate at being, I don’t know, RIGHT is something like 3.5%. I accept you for who you are, and for the most part I ignore you. But you should know that when you report things like this:

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two days before I’m supposed to fly to Paris for what is obviously the most important trip anyone has ever taken, ever, my brain automatically interprets the situation like this:

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when I should be thinking things like this:

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Instead, all I’m seeing this:

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and not this:

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Lots of this:

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but very little of this:

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It’s enough to make a person feel like this:

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And yes, while I know your track record at accurately predicting how much snow, if any, we’re expected to get is outdone by a blind T-rex making free throws from half-court, this “SUPER STORM SATURN” as you’re calling it is really, really giving me anxiety. I know that my flight doesn’t leave until tomorrow night, and that by then the worst of whatever is going to hit the region will be gone, and that in all likelihood, our flight will be on time and take off without issue…rationally, I know these things. But since when does my brain ever function rationally? You say snow and I start thinking, “WE ARE NEVER GETTING TO PARIS, I KNEW IT ALL ALONG.”

Yours, ever so disdainfully,

Erin

Paris Street Fashion

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via The Sartorialist

I doubt any of you need an introduction to The Sartorialist, so I’ll just skip the formalities and present you with these amazing shots from Paris. Fashion Week will have ended the day before we take off this week, but that doesn’t mean the incredible sense of style ends with it. I’ve been packed for weeks for the trip, but browsing the Paris street fashion section of The Sartorialist is making me rethink everything I’m bringing. How gorgeous is the first girl? I can’t stop staring at her, she’s stunning. In my head she’s the daughter of the old man with the moustache (how dapper is he?) and they’re both writers. Or something.

New Reads

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Haussmann or The Distinction / Writers on Writing

It’s been a while since I shared what I’m reading, as seeing as how I’m supposed to be blazing through two books a month this year per my 26 in 26 list, I thought it was time. I’m almost finished “Haussmann, or The Distinction” and to say I’m in love would be an understatement. I don’t want to get off the subway when my stop comes, because the book is so beautifully written and I can’t bear to put it away. “Haussmann” (which my French teacher reminded me is pronounced without the h) opens with the author, Paul La Farge, explaining how he discovered a tattered old copy of the first publication of the book by an obscure and forgotten author named Paul Poissel in a French library, and that La Farge has done his best to translate and modernize the text in this reproduction. Only Paul Poissel never existed. According to the author’s Wikipedia page, the entire thing is an elaborate conceit, which at one point had its own (now defunct) website dedicated to the life, work, and death of “Paul Poissel.” More:

The entire website functions as satire, including, at one point, the accusation that the American author “masquerading” under the French name “La Farge” had the audacity to put his own name on front cover, as if he was the actual author. Other parts of the website include quotations, such as an excerpt from a 1934 letter Walter Benjamin “wrote” to Gershom Scholem, in which he makes a deeply complicated observation about Poissel, and also MP3 files featuring early archival “recordings” of Poissel’s voice, reciting (in French) portions from his own “works”.

I mean, is that not the most quirky and fantastic thing you’ve ever heard? I so wish the website were still active. On his own (real) website (complete with a copyright in the footer crediting the site to Paul Poissel, ha!), La Farge tells the story of how “Haussmann” came into fruition. The entire story is worth a read, if not for how buoyant it will make your heart feel, but for this line in particular:

I worked on ‘Haussmann’ for five years. I never changed the first paragraph.

I am fascinated by the creative process, particularly the experience of writers writing. Partly because oh right!, I’m writing a book (sometimes I have to remind myself of this fact or else I tend to put it off), and partly because hi, my name is Erin and I have a serious reading addiction. If it has letters and words and at least one of them is worthwhile, I’m reading it (kidding. my standards are a bit higher). I devoured “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, which provided insight into the daily grind of coping with the little voice inside of you never shutting the fuck up with its flowery prose about absolutely everything, and also potentially making a living off of it, and so I was thrilled over the weekend to pick up a copy of “Writers on Writing.” It’s a collection of essays by some pretty amazing writers: E.L. Doctorow, John Updike, Elie Wiesel, Jamaica Kincaid. Perhaps because the essays are all short, the tone changing every few pages with a new author, that it feels more like a staccato than a legato (and yes, I totally googled “what is the opposite of staccato”) and is why I’m having trouble really latching on to it. I’m still enjoying it. Writing is one of the most singular pursuits there is when it comes down to the act of actually writing (writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so I concede you have to interact with other people to gain any sort of inspiration), and I don’t know, I kind of feel like the new kid at school who finally finds a group of people who totally accept and understand him when I read books like this. These are my people. (Also, yeah right, Saul Bellows wouldn’t even sneeze on my manuscript, but it’s fun to pretend).

What are you guys reading? Any hot plans for the weekend? It’s my mom’s birthday today! We’re having dinner in her honor tonight. Happy birthday, Moo! I won’t tell anyone how old you are, I promise.