Air dates/times: October 18, 2013 - 11 p.m. E/P October 19, 2013 - 2 a.m. E/P
Scott Baker always wanted to live in France. When he discovered a job opening in Nice, he leapt at the chance to fulfill his French fantasy. But the apartment he rents has been falling apart around him. Not ready to give up on his dream, Scott's decided to purchase his own home in Nice and is leaning on Nice-native and close friend Clara for advice and assistance from Adrian Leeds to find just the right place. Clara's eagle eyes are spotting potential pitfalls in every home, and Scott will have to decide if he's willing to renovate or spend to get the perfect property when House Hunters International goes to Nice.
FREE one-hour consultation! Guests of Parler Paris Apartments or Parler Nice Apartments who are considering the purchase of their own "pied-à-terre" for pleasure and profit, can take advantage of a free one-hour consultation while enjoying the apartment in the City of Light or on the Riviera. Simply complete the request form to book your consultation.
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Natural light and use of glassStorage space on highGlass instead of a solid shower enclosureMirrors open up small spacesCreating larger visual spacesOpen up a small space with muralsUse of mirrors and muralsCreate space with a Murphy BedUse of a bed that raises and lowersGood views open up a small space
While big is better in Texas and other parts of the U.S., in France it's chicer to be "petit." When you use your credit card to charge a purchase, the salesperson will ask you for your "petit signature." Your boyfriend is your "petit ami" and your grandchild is your "petit-enfant." After dinner you order "un petit café" and after that you might visit the "petit coin" before you leave the restaurant.
And so it goes with apartments, too. It's chicer to have "un petit appartement" in central Paris or Vieux Nice than a large house in the suburbs. And it could be more valuable, too! (The average price per square meter can be as much as seven times in Paris compared to other regions in France.) As property in France's major cities has gone up in price, smaller properties have become even chicer!
I have a friend who is signing today the "Compromis de Vente" on a 14.5 square meter (156 square feet) apartment in the Carré d'Or in Nice and another client who is purchasing 18 square meters in the oldest building in Paris (194 square feet). Yesterday, Interior Architect Martine di Mattéo and I visited with a client who decided to renovate his 17 square meter (183 square feet) apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés to rent rather than sell it. And "Le Provençal" is our 16.5 square meter (178 square feet) apartment that was the flagship or our entire 'fleet' of rental apartments and is one of the highest yielding properties of the lot.
The trick is making "une petite pièce" every bit as chic and livable as "un grand château."
So, how do you take 20 square meters or less and turn it into a studio apartment with everything you could need or desire in which to love living?
Martine and I have our tricks. In fact, it's one of our greatest challenges -- the clever design of small spaces. Here are a few of our 'tricks':
Light: A small apartment needs to get more natural light than a large apartment. The more windows the merrier.
View: Great views will turn any small space into a window on the world. You'll never feel claustrophobic if there's plenty to look at on the outside. If the view isn't all that spectacular, add a painted "trompe l'oeil" painting of a scene you like to recreate the view that takes you outside of the space.
Line of sight: Make a tiny space feel twice as large by using mirrors in STRATEGIC positions. If it's not reflecting back at you, then there's no point in it being there. For instance, if when you enter, there is a mirror directly in front of you, you will feel the space is twice as long/large. Don't be afraid of mirrors. Use them EVERYWHERE it makes sense. Some people say they 'don't want to be looking at themselves.' But the reality is, they won't be -- they will just be looking at the space that is doubled in size visually, but not physically.
Color: "Light colors create a sense of space, even airiness or freedom. Darker colors can add drama to a space, but they can also prove oppressive." (ehow.com/) Use light colors to make your space feel bigger -- on the walls, in the fabrics and in the furnishings and cabinetry. Then take it a step further and think also about the psychology of color. Ever read "Goethe's Theory of Colors?" Or know that "different colors are perceived to mean different things." Use bright, happy colors to make your small space feel happy and inviting. When our guests enter "Le Provençal" for the first time, inevitably they say things like, "This is so cheery!" and then many have remarked after their stay that "It's impossible to be depressed in this space, regardless of its size!" (color chart of the theory of colors)
Use of space: Use every inch! Go all the way up with cleverly-designed storage spaces. Add a step stool if you must to reach the high spots. Design the inner shelves and drawers to maximize use of the space and don't be afraid to use the space under beds or over closets. It is best to think of what must go inside and then design the storage to accommodate the things rather than the other way 'round. For example, don't forget that a broom or an ironing board must have a tall spot and where are you putting your suitcases if they don't collapse down?
Light furnishings: Don't crowd the space with heavy furniture -- use glass top tables and airy designs to open up the space. Kitchen cabinets that have window-type doors so that you can see through to the interior space add visual space, too. Beds take the most space, but there are many clever ways of managing the bedding -- Murphy fold-down beds, sofa beds, trundle beds, beds that are on platforms that raise up(!)...and lots of different clever designs, all with space-saving ideas in mind.
Wheels: Make it easy to move things around -- put your furnishings on wheels! It just makes it so much easier to maneuver in a small space.
Corners: Avoid sharp corners or edges -- such as square or rectangular tables -- to avoid accidents. This may seem like a 'detail' to you, but you won't think so after you've cut or bruised your shins enough on that coffee table! (If you have space for one!)
After you've brilliantly designed your small space to be really livable, the question is: Can you really enjoy living in less than 20 square meters (215 square feet)? In France, an apartment must be at least nine square meters to be legally rented -- the average size of a servant's quarters. And at this moment, PAP.fr is advertising almost 100 studio apartments less than 20 square meters for sale in the Capital. So, clearly lots of people manage it.
But do they manage it as well as you can now that you know the 'tricks?'
P.S. Getting a mortgage in France is easier than you think -- if you know where to go. We can help by introducing you to enders, assisting you in organizing your loan applications, and explaining the various mortgage options to you. For more information visit French Property Loan or email info@AdrianLeeds.com.
Own a luxurious pied-à-terre in Paris… at the best address in the city
The luxurious two bedroom fractional ownership apartment known as "Le Palace des Vosges" feels more like a house in the country, but is conveniently located right in the middle of Paris’ most elegant square, the Place des Vosges. If this is the year you plan to purchase your Paris pied-à-terre, Le Palace des Vosges is the perfect property – it is finely decorated by Interior Architect, Martine de Matteo, and furnished with every luxurious amenity. There are just a few shares left. Become one of the happy owners of Le Palace des Vosges before it's too late.