Grab a glass of wine because it is time to take a break from the holiday rush for everyone's favorite--a "Before" and "After" about our apartment. Now, I would say our "new" rental but we did move in at the end of July and we are quickly approaching the end of the year! So, although the photos are not the quality that I would like (the rooms look small, they are not) and the decorating is not finished (where oh where is my chandelier), here we go!
As those of you who have been reading for a while know, we were excited by the photos that we had seen in the real estate agent's ad. It looked like exactly like what we had been hoping for and we pressured him hard so as to be the first to visit it. So imagine our surprise when we walked in and found this...
BEFORE, THE LIVING ROOM
Heehee, you weren't expecting that now were you? Three futons, the empty bottles, a refrigerator by the fireplace and a whole lot of sadness. The white stucco walls had been repainted only as high as someone could reach. I could smell the cat. With planning and elbow grease, we changed the space to this...
AFTER, THE LIVING ROOM
(This is an early photo from this angle as the lithograph is now hung and I have made a linen underskirt for the white table behind the sofa)
In one corner, a closet had been partially covered in stucco that was peeling. We removed that but left the patina behind. Yes, some of our friends think that we are odd.
A view looking towards the "kitchen", which is in truth an alcove in the living room. What on earth to do for a couple that cooks as much as we do? Cry? Well, Remi really used his thinking cap and I'll do a separate post soon. We did take the stucco off half of the facing wall, put in cabinets and appliances (they are not often supplied for rentals in France).
One of Remi's best ideas was to use the old shutters that were previously our headboard as a means of pulling out the space while still retaining a bit of privacy from the kitchen. Behind them we installed a simple stainless steel cart from Ikea that holds all of our pots and pans below, veggies and wine above.
I knew that I would be spending most of my time in the salon or small living room as soon as I saw this photo in the ad.
BEFORE, THE SALON
Do I really need to say anything about my feelings when we visited? Truly, I wanted to give those students a kick in the pants right then and there and save this lovely apartment.
AFTER, THE SALON
So here we are today. As for all of the photos, I just took them on regular ol' days when I thought that the light was pretty. No special pillows or styling as you can see. If anything there is too much light! More than the little Pentax can handle.
As with the living room, we scrapped all of the stucco on the outside wall and painted the rest of the walls "Chanvre" by Tollens. We were delighted with the quality of the paint and it was well worth the investment. When you live with a photographer, the light needs to reflect just so...
(Oops, another old photo. Yes, we have put the "Maharajahs" to right.)
Remi's office (seen in the doorway) is, shall we say, still not available for viewing. Ah-hem. But you can see the big architectural piece where we keep his prints with our big mirror above it. And yep, here is my little desk where I write! I can't tell you how hard it was to find the right piece of wood to make that photo railing. In the States, poof, we would have found it ready made. We have recently been given some wonderful gifts by friends that are moving, including this club chair and brass standing lamp. Remi had that deep attachment to our former club that only men can have but when the bottom fell through, reason won out.
(I wish the photo better reflected that the paint perfectly matches the aged paper on this Four Seasons series. Winter is on the bottom and I love reading with a bear peering over my shoulder. Delightfully, no longer in this chair.)
Oh my. BEFORE, THE BATHROOM
AFTER, THE BATHROOM
Well, it still isn't exceptional enough to merit a large photo but we scraped the paint off of the glass door, removed the linoleum, painted the walls Sesame (also by Tollens), installed cabinets and these glass shelves holding more bits from our travels, including the pair of carved bone buddies, bought in Bali and originally from the island of Sumba. The great news? The owner's of the apartment recently stopped by for a visit and were so pleased with what they had done that they are willing to renovate the bathroom!
BEFORE, THE HALL
AFTER, THE HALL
How happy was I to put up these three classical drawings? Very. Along with the pair of African heads and Remi's crocodile skull, it all gives the entry the oomph I was hoping for. The walls are "Muscade" by Tollens and are lovely in the evening.
Looking towards the bathroom, Remi built the shelves in a doorway that we had closed off...
And back towards the salon...
Oh, and let's not forget the lantern that I wrote about here.
BEFORE, THE BEDROOM
Now thankfully, the students used this room as a work-space so it was less, sigh, well, you know than the others. Still. Time to make it ours so we installed an alabaster light fixture from the 1930s (yes, I know that the chain is too short, I'll fix that eventually) and painted the walls "Teatime" (still Tollens). Now, never in my wildest dreams could I have guessed that the ivory tone would come out with a soft pink hue to it but it did. So for all of our very careful masculine/feminine balance, I got my girly bedroom.
AFTER, THE BEDROOM
We only recently put up the ciel de lit, one of the things that held me up from doing this post. Can you believe that I found it at that Depot-Vente in Eygalieres for 40€? Score! I also decided to give up on having the money to make curtains out of the Nina Campbell fabric that I had bought truly for a song on ebay UK and just swooped it up and around the frame. In the summer, we had our silk coverlet from Angkor on the bed, now thanks to the generous gift of a headboard and a matching bench from our friends, we have gone with something simpler.
Try as I might, I cannot get this right, photographically. But yes, that is Ben's "bed" and that will be my makeup table once I fix the chair's also saggy bottom.
So to wrap up, let's go back to the apartment's main feature that called to us, the enfillade or stretch of rooms opening one after the other.
BEFORE, OR ACTUALLY DURING THE LONG FINGER BREAKING WORK
Tah-dah! I hope that you enjoyed this little walk through the apartment, past and present, with me. Yes, it may have been a decided "down-sizing" but I can say with all joy, that it most certainly now feels like home!