french furniture

A day in Paris

A day in Paris A year in Paris is my wish and a day in Paris is like when you fall in love with someone you can't have. A week in Paris left me with such a thirst that needs to be quenched again and again.

When my feet first walked on the old cobble stone streets of Paris I felt a familiar sense of being home. Perhaps a past life memory or a romantic ideal I don't know, I was sure though that a new relationship had begun. Dragging my suit case along behind me searching for the train station to deliver me to Versailles my eyes were constantly captivated by the beauty of what surrounded me "Paris" It was early in the morning and people were bustling there way to work, the train station was busy and confusing. The thought of my French lessons on my to do list crossed my mind of regret for not getting it together.

With such a small glimpse of Paris behind me arriving at Versailles was a love affair all of its own. Could I possibly blend into the palace unnoticed and stay for ever!

When visiting Versailles it is well worth arriving on Monday. The Palace itself is closed but the gardens are open for free. You need a whole day just to explore the beauty and splendor of these beautifully laid out gardens that seem to go for miles. Every corner you turn is yet another divine sculpture or fountain laid-en with more stunning flower beds, the air filled with sweet aroma.

Spending the evening in Versailles was a romantic dinner with France followed by a leisurely walk around the edge of the palace grounds. Certainly a step up on the esthetics of a romantic night out, be it with yourself or another.

The second day started with a long que. It pays to pre buy your tickets and arrive 30 minutes before opening time so you avoid cues and crowds in the first stage which is the Palace itself.

I was told it can be quite overwhelming. Not for I. I felt as though I could just melt into it all.

Most people visit Versailles, go through the palace and then leave. There is so much more to see without the crowds of tourists from the main palace.

The Grand Trianon which is like a smaller Versailles. The Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's sanctuary which includes the amazing Theatre she loved to preform in. The Queens Hamlet a village of thatched roofs inspired by the Queen Marie Antoinette's return to nature which consists of twelve houses along with a miniature farm. It really is like a fairytale village.

Versailles is one of those must do destinations. Especially if you are looking for ideas and inspiration. I am still inspired just with the memory.

And then there was Paris.

Truly the most beautiful and visually exciting city in the world.

I have often heard how the French are rude and arrogant. I found this to be the opposite, such a lively and certainly the most friendly city I have graced the streets of to date.

The constant bustle of a city mixed with the captivating aroma of coffee on every corner, flower and perfumery shops everywhere. Coffee, flowers and perfume what more could a girl want?... Fashion, Bohemia, antique markets, french furniture, the most amazing architecture, stunning gardens, food that will lavishly cover your taste buds, and of course french men everywhere.

Then there is the pungent smell of urine that will occasionally waft up your nose in the underground but  the rest more than compensates for that.

There is so much to look at in Paris I really do need a year ;-)

The Palais Garnier ( The Opera house ) Rodin Museum Notre Dame Grand Place Musée du Louvre Champs Elysees Sacre Coeur and Montmartre Moulin Rouge The Eiffel Tower The Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter

This is just a few. Beauty is every whereas well as cheap souvenirs for sale on every corner. This can get a little annoying but a simple no is all thats needed unless of course you want an Eiffel Tower key ring or a flashing glass Eiffel Tower.

If you cant live in Paris having a piece of beauty from Paris is the next best thing. There really is something very romantic and special about having a piece of Paris.

I have just received some lovely pieces from Paris as well as a few from Burgundy a town south of Paris.

For prices and more information please see my Vintage Revival French Furniture web site.

ont une belle journée

au revoir

New Zealand Fashion Week - "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Coco Chanel

Fashion week in Auckland has been alive and well in this unfortunate weather. I have had the privilege to View several shows, all with very different styles. I arrived at the first event in blustering winds, forcing me to leave my well groomed hair in the car. I was then immersed in the World of Haute Couture, watching Walk the Line by North Shore YMCA.

This Show was created by young designers, it provides an opportunity for young Designers, aged 13 -18 years, to show their talent. Talent there certainly was. My favourite dress out of the four shows I viewed was from this one. Unfortunately the judges were not of the same opinion.

I think this is absolutely gorgeous. It reminded of the beautiful Valentino dress in my last blog.

The very attractive girl modeling it was the  designer, Narelle Melissa, an exciting name I'm sure we’ll catch up with in future magazines.

Nicole Miller was another favourite.  An American Designer, who completed a degree in Fine Art at the Rhode Island School of Design and also earned a degree at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, where Nicole trained to drape and maser the classical techniques of Couture.

Annah Stretton is also inspiring. A definite temptation to shop.

Just as a beautiful chandelier will enhance your French Furniture so will shoes to a beautiful outfit. What better way to display them than in this gorgeous cabinet?

Valentino and my New Obsession

I  have just spent 9 days in Brisbane having a wonderful time shopping and updating my wardrobe, visiting lots of Vintage clothing shops, even finding one called Vintage Revival. The biggest highlight of my trip apart from spending quality time with a valuable girlfriend was the Valentino exhibition, currently showing in Brisbane, Australia. The ‘Valentino. Retrospective: Past/Present/Future’ is a major exhibition exploring the work of the celebrated Italian fashion house Valentino, known for its sophisticated, timeless design and glamorous clientele. Developed by renowned decorative arts institution Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition encompasses haute couture from the first collection designed in 1959 by the house’s founder, Valentino Garavani, through to work from the Autumn/Winter 2009-10 creations by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Picciolli – appointed as creative directors for Valentino in 2008. Valentino retired unexpectantly in 2008. Designs from the house of Valentino have been coverted and worn by European royalty, Hollywood celebrities and members of high society the world over. This magnificent exhibition includes garments worn by Cate Blancett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and more. The garments are absolutely amazing and are all hand stitched. To find out all about Valenino I would highly recommend the movie “Valentino: The Last Emperor” I absolutely love haute couture and Valentino is one of the greats. I came home feeling so inspired and motivated, now I want to get out my sewing machine and revamp my own clothes. Arriving home with an overweight suitcase I felt a tad depressed while unpacking finding nowhere to place and show my new found treasures. I feel as though my house is shrinking. Accumulating more without enlarging your space things can become a bit cramped. I am currently looking for a larger home as we have certainly outgrown this one! My home is so full of Vintage and French furniture as well as yummy treasures from around the world. I have always planned a walk in closet like Carey Bradshaw’s in “Sex in the City," which is one of my favourites. I am a huge fan of “Sex in the City”. The vision has grown, unpacking I decided what I need is a beautiful complete dressing room!!! Not just a walk-in closet but whole room to show off my beautiful things. A room for myself, my clothes, my adornments and all my accessories. I imagine emerging from my bathroom in the morning and  opening the door of my very own dressing room. I sit in my beautiful French chair or Canape and leisurely decide what I will wear today. My face framed in a huge gilt mirror. Shelves for my shoes and hand bags. All my clothes and jewellery hung beautifully and easily accessible. I love to dream and design rooms in my head. My visions are endless and I have only just begun with this one. Browsing on the web  has inspired my vision but has also unfortunately triggered impatience!

Look at what I found. These are some of my favourites.

Carrie Bradshaw's walk in closet, of course!!

My new found favourite. Nanette Lepore’s Eclectic Dressing Room Designed by Jonathan Adler. I love the Art Deco rug, the colours are divine!

Organization is the  key in a dressing room or large closet area. The bench in this purple one {above} looks like a necessity with all those shoes to try on!

Miley Cyrus' dressing room is absolutely what I would expect to see for decoration  in a teen's room. I love the big mirror and chair. Loads of fun to be had with girlfriends, trying on the many variations of outfits!

Olivia  Wilde's wardrobe at her townhouse in Venice, California. What a beautiful dress!

Mariah Carey’s  dressing room is absolutely stunning.  “Spending time in here would be such a pleasure, I would never want to leave.”

This is the dressing room of the head designer of  J.Crew,  Jenna Lyons -- you can be sure it's full of many fabulous things!!

In Christina Aquilera's Los Angeles mansion she has two expansive wardrobes. Very theatrical in a very feminine style.

I adore this one,  Very Marie Antoinette.

A Unique, Simple and Cheap Way to add Colour to your walls

I once had an old door off an antique piece of French furniture that I loved so much I had it hanging on my wall. There are so many interesting items that look really funky hanging on your wall. An old piece of iron work, an antique balustrade, old screens and vintage wall plaques. Scrap booking paper is also a great way to make a lovely vintage wall hanging. Whenever I go into a shop that sells scrap booking paper I always have a look to see if there is anything interesting. As a result I now have a great collection of vintage wall plaques.

What you will need is … A piece of ply wood cut to the size of your paper. Glue, a clear liquid glue is the best. Black paint. Matt polyurethane.

1 Have your wood cut to the correct size you want 2 Make sure the edges are sanded and smooth. 3 Paint the back and sides of the wood. 4 Drill a small hole in the back at the top in the middle so you can hang it on a nail. Don’t go all the way through, just half way. 5 Spread plenty of glue on to the back of the paper and press on to the wood. A ruler or a damp cloth can be used by sliding it lightly over the paper to remove any bubbles. Allow it to dry well and if any of the edges lift apply more glue. 6 Once it has dried properly paint the paper with a matt polyurethane. This will seal it and keep it place, also allowing you to be able to hang it in a bathroom or kitchen where it may get damp or need cleaning.

Beautiful old pieces of vintage wallpaper are also great to use and can be made in any size.