I have decided to share pictures of our home with you. What better way indeed to get an insight of what I love most and how I use color. I hope these will inspire you to try new things out. One thing you might notice right away is the color of the walls. Yes I know, I know: I am the one preaching the use of colors everywhere and yet my walls are boring off-white (RAL 9001 to be exact). Well we do rent and if you have read my bio you know that we tend to be on the move quite often. I did paint the walls of every rented apartment I/we have ever had. We had to have all the carefully chosen colors of our previous flat painted over in white before leaving for Brussels. Our actual flat we moved in a little over a year ago had been completely renovated, and when I first started dreaming about painting the walls, my darling half reminded me gently about the repainting in Berlin and the seemingly picky management we have now. So I had to settle… well for the time being.
I am starting this house tour with our living room nook. We do have a very nice open living/dining/kitchen area under the roof and flooded with light, which was one of the reasons I fell in love with it. I installed a little seating nook across the kitchen. It’s a great place to have a cup of tea, to have a quick lunch, or to chat once our little one is in bed. Here is a general view of my mostly art deco nook:
Over the years I have collected vintage or antic furniture, I’ve bought mainly on flea markets or on Ebay. It has actually been a huge source for me. There simply isn’t something you can’t find on Ebay.The Art Deco buffet I purchased on Ebay for our first flat dining room in Paris about 8 years ago. I have always loved Art Deco and the geometric pattern on the doors as well as the beautiful handles did it for me. A few years latter I was able to replace the original brownish red marble top with a more classic black one.
The Art Deco trumeau was also an Ebay find for our Paris dining room to sit above a chimney. When I got my hands on it, I realized it had actually been spray painted in gold (some things you just don’t see on pictures). I spent weeks transforming it to aged silver, first scrapping the gold off, then applying dark blue paint as undercoat instead of the red used for gold. I ordered aluminum gilding leafs (cheaper than silver) and spent hours applying and reapplying them until I was happy while they were flying around my work table. My work table was actually our dining table in our 14 m2 dining room, so you can imagine how thrilled my husband was during all this time of my monopolizing it for DIY projects involving dust and chemicals. I ended up aging it with a various mix of pigments applied more or less randomly until I was satisfied with the result and applied a coat of varnish to protect the aluminum from tarnishing.
It has followed us since with every move and I certainly don’t plan getting rid of it anytime soon. I do love the that that over the years and before my purchasing it, the humidity corroded the mirror and created this grid outline. It adds so much to the mirror in terms of personality.
The frame sitting on the buffet is a small Art Deco (again!) frame puchased on Ebay (again!) which holds a simple postcard of a painting by Marc Chagall. I chose it for it’s colors which echo the overall color scheme of this little corner.
The two bridge armchairs we purchased almost 10 years ago on a flea market in Paris. They were upholstered in an ugly brown fabric. We had to wait a year or two to have them reupholstered but had it finally done with “Cabine Rouge” by Les Toiles du Soleil. Isn’t it amazing what some bright colors and stripes can do!
I am quite proud of the bistrot table which is a recent acquisition. I spotted this gorgeous Art Deco (notice there is a theme going on here?) pedestal foot at Les Petits Riens, a charity in Brussels which sells used things from houses they empty or donations people make. It had an ugly beige plastic square table top straight from the 70’s. The guys from the store were kind enough to unscrew and to dump it for me. The real treasure was this massively heavy table foot.
It was rusted and dirty so I tried to no avail to get rid of the rust with a bunch of chemicals. After three or four treatments it was clear that it would need something more. So I decided to simply hide the rust with spray paint. I went on the search for the perfect dark gray mat spray paint and bought this heat resistant one because it was the only one that was charcoal AND mat. My (lucky) choice could not have been a better one: the paint had actually a slight metallic sheen to it and it looks now as if the table foot had been manufactured just recently. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a great result!
I had a simple pine wooden top cut in a shop near the Sablons in Brussels. I wasn’t really convinced about it when I saw it in it’s raw wood condition. But the defaults actually made the top interesting after staining it and applying a clear gloss varnish.
The table and armchairs sit on one of three rugs we purchased while backpacking in Syria. We spent about 3 hours drinking tea and bargaining with the owners of a carpet shop in the Aleppo souk. It is one of those beautiful memories of an otherwise fantastic trip. This carpet is actually a Bukhara, a typical carpet from the city of Bukhara in Ouzbekistan. And yes we did bring back 3 carpets in our backpacks! Aleppo was actually our last stop before flying to Jordan and ending our vacations with a few days or non backpacking, which made this possible.
On the buffet sits otherwise my darling Wi-Fi radio which allows me to listen to the French, American or German radio stations I used to listen while living in those countries. It is really great, well at least when your internet connection is working. The two wooden candle holders are from Habitat and were a gift from my siblings for my first housewarming party and flat after returning from the US. The marble lamp is a consignment store find with a purple shade from Habitat.
Isn’t the geometric paneling on the buffet doors just amazing? I am definitely still in love with it after all those years owning it. Next to it you can see a close-up of one of our framed pears engravings. I spotted those engravings on a cold autumn Sunday afternoon in the town of Auxerre where we had stopped on our way back from a weekend getaway in Burgundy. The town is charming but on Sunday afternoons everything is closed and it can be outright depressing. We walked by this old bookstore where they had about 6 different prints hanging in the window.
Since it was closed I took pictures of them and called them a few days latter. The owner told me that he had about two dozens more in the shop but since we were back in Paris, I simply selected 4 of the ones I had photographed, wired the money and received them latter in the mail. They had all the color mats already. The framing was done a little latter and ended up being a Christmas gift from my mom. The lady who framed them told my mom latter that she wasn’t really convinced about my instructions to frame them with a silver frame but that she ended up really loving the result.
Well this is it. I didn’t think I would write quite as much about our little nook but I realized how much fun I was having sharing the memories attached to all those objects with you. I hope you loved reading it as much as I loved writing it. Please share your thoughts, questions or remarks with me. I am currently working on the next rooms but it does take a little time as I have to make them look pretty and because I take about 200 pictures before finding the ones I will use.
Have a lovely day.