Smart Use of Small Spaces

Smart Use of Small Spaces

L’Aubergine Apartment, Small yet "Spacious"


French Property Insider

June 11, 2009
Paris, France

Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,

It’s been an ongoing joke of mine that I’d rather be ‘lucky’ than ‘smart.’ But what if your ‘luck’ only affords a small budget for a small space? That’s when your ‘smarts’ take over.

A small space can be just as smart for a Paris apartment rental as can a larger space, and yield just as high a rental return (by percentage). The trick is making sure that it’s missing NOTHING and in a small space that can be tricky.

Today’s FPI focuses on small spaces — the how to make small spaces smart, how to get the most return on investment from small spaces and some small spaces in Paris you might just want to call your own (in Hot Properties).

In addition, we have for you a variety of articles from our sister publications that are filled with interesting, important and fun information.

Meanwhile, interest rates are low, prices have gone soft for the moment. Both plus the rate of exchange is threatening to increase, so there’s no better time than now to make the leap into a French investment.

If you’re getting more serious about reinvesting your ‘paper’ money into ‘real’ assets, such as property in France, don’t hesitate to let us help you.

And for now, enjoy all French Property Insider has to offer.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds
Adrian LeedsEditor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]

P.S. Many of you have pointed out that our link to the "Le Palace des Vosges" Web site hasn’t been working. Mea Culpa! It’s now fixed, thanks to a loyal reader. That’s the good news. The other good news is that so many of you wrote to say that something was amiss, and that you want to learn more about the apartment. We’re always glad to hear from you. Always. So, send us your questions, hopes, dreams, observations, suggestions. And check out the site, devoted to "Le Palace," the most exciting fractional in Paris. Why not bookmark it? We update the site all the time.

Volume VII, Issue 24, June 11, 2009

In this issue:

* There’s Nothing Wrong with Small
* Living Small in Paris
* Next Week! New House Hunters Int. Episode
* Sarkozy Has the Fix
* Rent an Apartment, Get Free Consultation
* Update on Le Palace des Vosges Fractional
* The Latest Fractional Property Offerings
* Discover the State of Leaseback Ownership
* Where Paris Ranks Low on the Charts
* Currency Online Exchange Service
* For Sale: Paris Landmark Property
* Parler Paris Apartments: Les Ivoires de Montmartre
* Lifestyle: La Folie in the Countryside
* Hot Property Picks: Smart Small Studios
* Results and the Next Notaire’s Property Auction
* How You Can Obtain a Mortgage in France
* Parler Paris Après-Midi: When We Meet Next
* Managing Your FPI Subscription
* Subscribers Receive Discount on Insider Paris Guides

It May Be Small, But It’s Smart
By Adrian Leeds

In the Paris apartment rental game, it’s not how large the apartment is that increases rates or occupancy…but how many the apartment can accommodate. A studio apartment of 20 square meters or less rarely can accommodate more than two, but an apartment of approximately 30 square meters can accommodate up to four, often in two rooms (two in the bedroom with two in the living room on a sleeper sofa), rather than one large studio.

Accommodating four means your rental rate increases — not by double, but by about 150% of the rate of two-person accommodations. If you’ve paid 50% more for the apartment, then your return on investment for each is comparable.

Your decision to purchase a 20 square-meter studio may be purely financial — in that your initial investment is lower by the cost of a smaller space. Keep in mind that renovation/decora

tion for 20 square meters can be alm
ost identical to the cost of renovation/decoration for 30 square meters.

Why? Because the most expensive parts of renovation are the bathrooms and kitchens which require expensive fixtures and appliances.

A 20 square-meter studio and a 30 square-meter two-room apartment each house one bath and one kitchen, therefore the only differences may be additional furnishings for two rooms, such as a sofa bed, additional lighting, etc. Otherwise, all other amenities remain the same and therefore it’s as almost as expensive to prepare a 20 square-meter studio for rental to two people as it is a 30 square-meter two-room apartment for rental to four people.

In the industry, we use 2,000€ per square meter as an average renovation/decoration budget for high quality luxury rental apartments. Considering this is an average, let’s assume that the renovation is higher for 20 square meters and lower for 30 square meters, therefore, as an example we can assume that the fundamental work on a studio costs 40,000€ (2,000€ per square meter for 20 square meters), plus add 5,000€ for additional furnishings and incidentals for a two room apartment of 30 square meters.

So, let’s look at an example:

Studio 20m2
Two-Room 30m2
Closing Costs (10%):
Per M2 Renovation:
Total Investment:
Weekly Rental:
Occupancy Rate:
Annual Rental Yield:
Return on Investment:

Your return on investment remains the same, but your annual yield is greater with a two-room apartment. If you take the scenario into the future by 10 years, and without consideration of appreciation of the property, your profit picture changes if not the percentage of return on your investment:

10 Years Rental Yield

Furnishing a small apartment is challenging in order to create a luxurious rental property that guests will enjoy and return time and again. Everything one needs must be provided, whether in 20 square meters or 30, so the space must be carefully considered.

It is recommended that two beds be provided that can easily be connected to make one large bed to accommodate either couples or singles. In extremely small spaces, one might consider a sofa-sleeper, trundle bed, "Murphy" bed or other space-saving sleeping space. If you construct drawers under the beds, you can gain storage for linens and other items. A shower stall may replace a bathtub if the bathroom size is inadequate. Two stove burners will suffice in lieu of the normal four and a combination oven/microwave saves more kitchen space.

In small spaces, high ceilings, lots of light, bright colors and great views help alleviate any claustrophobic feelings. As long as the studio is as well equipped as the two-room apartment, your renters will love the accommodations and not only return but will tell their friends, which will help increase your rental returns.

There’s no reason not to create a small studio rental apartment, but be smart, and do it right.

Editor’s Note: Photos used in this article are actual studios that have been renovated for luxury and efficient use of space and are available for rent through

Parisian Responses to Living in Small Spaces
Compiled by Schuyler Hoffman

Editor’s Note: Anyone who has stayed in a Paris apartment or who owns a Paris apartment knows that they can be a bit "petit." Much of life in Paris is an experience in downsizing from what you may be used to in other countries, especially the United States. Although many foreigners who buy property in Paris are looking to maintain or create a decor in keeping with the history of the building, for those willing to move in a more contemporary direction there is much being designed to make the best use of small spaces with optimal effect.

There are ingenious ways of hiding the bed. French architects Emmanuel Combarel Dominique Marrec offer a new one: turn it into a sculptural element, in this case a box hanging from the ceiling. From the other side, it is a short step up from the existing mezzanine. Nice idea if you have the ceiling height.

The bedroom becomes a hut in the middle of the flat. Suspended right in the center of the apartment, leaving untouched the floor and the circulations around, it divides the space, reversing the perception of the atmosphere in the apartment by making private what is usually not: the living room.

The parents of some lucky kid in the suburbs of Paris hired HO architects to create a private space for him in a disused garden shed in the backyard. The results are fantastic. The entire interior is built using birch plywood, on four levels, with dedicated areas for sleeping, living/study, and a bathroom. It resembles a boat interior. The architects call it "inhabitable furniture."

It has been noted before that in Paris apartments are often quite small; they often don’t have room for a private kid’s bedroom. H20 Architects dealt with the problem of accommodating children with this structure that puts an elevated bed on top of a play and storage area.


It is a very clever construction, full of secret storage spaces, a desk, and a stair up to the bed. The specific blend generates a concentrated typology of spaces and situations in perpetual renewal. The new partition is porous creating steps, cavities and niches which suggests many possibilities for appropriation (climbing, hiding, drawing, etc…).

To read the entire article go to

Next Week! – House Hunters International "Vacation Home in Paris"
By Adrian Leeds

Vacation Home in Paris

Episode HHINT-1A05

Tune In:
June 15, 2009 10:00 P.M. e/p
June 15, 2009 2:00 A.M. e/p

em> p>

New Yorkers Jeff Ballinger and Mary Schiller recently began the first steps toward making their dream together a reality. After honeymooning in Paris, they knew they wanted their own vacation property in France. Now, they’ve moved out of their house and into a smaller condo in the Bronx, NY, and have begun their search for a pied-a-terre in Paris.

Adrian Leeds, Property Consultant, Adrian Leeds Group

The Sarkozy Effect

France Defies the Recession with Safe and Stable Investments

New Data coming in for 2008 and 2009 shows that despite the difficult current climate, the French property market is continuing to strengthen under Sarkozy’s “real estate investor-friendly” Governance. Sarkozy’s laws which support broader home ownership have been a major driver. From the beginning of 2009, France has been able to offer its homeowners zero-interest loans of up to €30,000. The loi Bouvard pertaining to tourism property extends the original Loi Scellier (on unfurnished property) to sale and leasebacks so that residents can offset 25% of the cost of buying a residential property against their personal income tax up to a maximum of €75,000 on a €300,000 property.

These measures have helped to shore up the construction industry in France and keep both supply and demand steady when other property markets have crashed. Pierre & Vacances Property Investments (P&V), the European leader in sale and leaseback property investments, which defied international trends and sold €100 million worth of property in the last six months of 2008 sold a further €150 million in the first six weeks of the change of law in April.

Nick Leach, P&V Head of Business Development UK and Ireland says: “These laws have incentivized promoters to build again especially because the tax benefits apply for properties delivered between now and 2012.

“There has been a definite increase in supply and demand for French leaseback properties as confidence returns to re-boost the French property market ahead of other countries. Foreign investors benefit indirectly from the knowledge that France remains a safe and stable place to invest…”

To read the entire article go to

One-Hour Consultation with Adrian Leeds Free!

If you are a guest staying in any one of our luxurious Parler Paris Apartments, and would like to consider having your own "pied-à-terre" for your pleasure and profit, contact Adrian Leeds for a FREE one-hour consultation while you’re enjoying the apartment in the City of Light.

Visit more information or email me at [email protected].


Follow the Renovation Process of Le Palace des Vosges…

June 11, 2009

The boxes and cartons were piled high outside on the cobblestones of the courtyard today as the kitchen was being installed along with the appliances while the carpenters and masons were completing the tile work on the floors and in the bathrooms. The saw was making such a racket the upstairs neighbors couldn’t hear their television…but they were assured that by the afternoon, all would be calm again and the debris removed.

Until today, there wasn’t much to show on the exterior for all the work that goes into the reconstruction of the walls and ceilings in preparation for the finishings. As with all construction projects, the last 10% of the time spent on the project completes 90% of the exterior finish — so the bulk of time is spent on creating the foundation for the final decor and all that is finally enjoyed by its residents.

Within the next two to three weeks, we’ll be able to show a finished product, with occupancy scheduled for mid July! So, stay tuned…

Fractional Property Offerings from French Property Fractional

If you are interested in traditional fractional ownership properties currently offered by our Fractional Ownership partners, see below:

Place des Vosges 



Chez la Tour

La Rsidence Luxembourg

Le Petit Tresor
 Maison Bleue

Sale and Leasebacks: Were They – Are They – a Good Idea?

FRENCH SALE and leaseback properties – where buyers sign a lease with a management company to completely rent and manage a property they have bought – once so popular with investors, have become something of a bete noire.

The collapse of management companies, like ski resort company Transmontagne last year, and more recently, ResidHotel, left many owners without rents to cover mortgage repayments and fearful of having to pay back the 19.6 VAT rebate given to them when they purchased. Unsurprisingly, this is scaring off some potential new buyers.

There are many questions you can ask about French sale and leaseback properties, but the big ones are: should new buyers be tempted to invest in developments being offered for sale? And if you have already bought but want or need to sell because of the recession, can you do so and are there penalties for selling? And is there anything that can help investors caught out when a management company collapses?

Sale and leaseback developments began as a French government device to promote newbuild accommodation in tourist areas: a 19.6 per cent VAT rebate was given as a tax incentive to buyers, who had to sign a nine or 11-year contract with the development’s management company to lease back the property to them to rent out. It is, effectively, a commercial lease.

In exchange, the management offered a specific return – usually 3- 5 per cent – and handled all the rentals and so on themselves. Most offered buyers the choice of using it for one or two weeks a year or more themselves. It appealed particularly to small investors, the kind of people who might never have considered buying overseas before.

Many agents selling leasebacks implied – or said outright – that the tax incentive meant that their developments were French government backed, or guaranteed – a word thrown around by overseas agents with abandon: in hindsight, it is now obvious that the tax incentive was of course no more a guarantee than a Section 23 tax incentive is in Ireland.

Others promised serious capital appreciation, clearly something that no one can guarantee…

All investments carry a risk, but in this case it was one that few buyers would have anticipated: that the management company with which buyers signed the leaseback deal might go out of business.

There are plenty of lucky buyers who invested in well- managed developments that have lived up to their promise: rents as promised lodged to their accounts regularly that may cover nearly all the cost of mortgage repayments. They are lucky because it’s probable that very few buyers checked out the track record of their management companies independently.

The tales of woe of those caught by companies that have gone out of business or into administration can be read on property blogs and make for unhappy reading. It is possible to survive this reverse: in some cases, a new management company takes over the business, although they may offer lower rents to owners. Some owners break

their lease (although thi
s must be done legally, as with all things in France) and sell or rent the property on their own. At the least, it creates a huge amount of hassle for these owners, and at worst, serious financial loss.

Nonetheless, agents for sale and leaseback properties stoutly maintain that in general, they are a sound, if unspectacular, investment. Where else, they ask, could you invest money and get a return of 3-5 per cent right now? Some also warn that offers of returns over 5 per cent are suspect, because they’re unlikely to be sustainable…

To read the entire article go to

Talking Taxi

Excerpt Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Wednesday , June 10, 2009

Hailing a New York taxi is relatively simple (except sometimes in clement weather), as they are abundant and easy to spot in all their yellow glory. The same thing goes for the London cab, whose classic "hackney carriage" form dots the landscape like a ants on a mission.
Just recently research conducted by among 1,400 travelers from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark reported that London’s cabs ranked best in the world, for the second year running. New York ranked second, but sadly, Paris ranked 10th in the top ten taxi cities:

1. London 33%
2. New York 17%
3. Berlin 6%
4. Madrid 5%
5. Copenhagen 4%
6. Stockholm 3%
7. Bangkok 3%
8. Las Vegas 3%
9. Dublin 2%
10. Paris 2%

The research found that taxis are the most popular method of transportation to and from hotels and therefore for tourism, these first experiences are key to a favorable impression of the city. London cabbies are considered the friendliest, too with 16% of the vote, while Parisian drivers were considered the rudest in the world.


To read the entire article go to



Currency OnlineCurrency Online Limited is a member of the Moneycorp group of companies. Moneycorp provides comprehensive foreign currency services to businesses and private individuals around the globe. Moneycorp has quickly become a market leader in foreign exchange with a network of offices in Australasia, North America and Europe that manages billions of dollars in foreign currency transactions annually.

Visit the FPI Web site for more information and take this link for Currency Convertor by Currency Online: for up to the minute conversions of all major currencies.

Crillon Hotel, Paris Home of the Stars, is Put on the Block

American owners are offering the glitterati the chance to buy the Paris residence many have called home for the night

ROYALTY and leading lights from the worlds of politics and showbusiness have passed through its doors. Now the glitterati are being offered the chance to buy the Paris residence many have called home for the night.

The Hôtel de Crillon, one of the world’s landmark hotels, has been put up for sale by its American owner for more than €300m (£262m).

Starwood Capital, the investment firm that owns the Crillon, has instructed Eastdil Secured, a property adviser, to find a buyer. The venue, built in 1758 as a government building after being commissioned by Louis XV, is more likely to be sold to a high net-worth individual or a property investor rather than one of the large hotel chains.

Starwood has owned the Crillon, situated near the Champs Elysées on Place de la Concorde, since 2005. The company took on the hotel as part of its €2 billion acquisition of Taittinger’s hotel and champagne empire…

To read the entire article go to


Parler Paris Apartments Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the "seal of approval" from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds. Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home ­ and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do heir best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.

SPOTLIGHT APARTMENT(S): Les Ivoires de Montmartre

Rue des Trois Frères, 18th Arrondissement
Studio, Sleeps Up to 4

This bright and beautiful studio apartment has been freshly redesigned and renovated with the utmost attention to detail. Located on a quiet one-way street which was made famous by the hit movie “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain” (yes that Amelie!), it promises you a stay to remember.

As a very spacious studio, the apartment is well laid-out to feel very large. From the high-security front door one enters into a small foyer, which connects to both the bathroom and the bedroom area. The comfortable Queen-sized bed (which can become 2 single beds), is framed with ample storage space. High quality linens adorn the bed. This bedroom area can be separated from the living room by drawing a heavy decorative curtain, to span the width of the apartment — great for groups using both sleeping spaces.

Reserve now! Visit or email: [email protected]

Property in France: C’est La Folie
By Michael Wright


Life remains blissfully simple in this old-fashioned corner of the universe

"Is that it?" asks Serge the mason, with what sounds suspiciously like a groan, after inserting yet another new window in yet another dusty stone wall. "Is everything finished now?"

Serge, bless him, has been working at La Folie, off and on, for almost five years; rebuilding doorways, creating stone steps and, above all, making various openings for new windows in the yard-thick walls of the ancient structure, to allow light into the old cow barn that has become a bedroom and bathroom, and into the former hay-store that is now my office. Daily life in rural France is steadily being converted and renovated, too, as we Anglais make our presence felt in the villages and towns. I only hope that the openings we are creating bring more light and fresh air than unwanted draughts and glare.

Despite the continuing influx from abroad, life remains blessedly simple in this old-fashioned, underpopulated corner of the universe. I worried about such peasant rusticity when I first invited Alice, a fully paid-up city chick, to come and join me at La Folie. But I am appreciating it all over again, now that fatherhood has me marching under its yoke like a captured barbarian…

To read the entire article go to

HOT PROPERTY PICKS: Smart Small Studios

Each week French Property Insider features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various regions of France and districts of Paris.

As we are not a real estate agency. These properties do not constitute a sales listing. For those readers seriously interested in finding property in Paris or France, you can retain our services to do the whole thing for you. For more information, visit

This week our focus is on studio properties throughout Paris.

***Paris, 11th.: Studio, approx. 25m²

studio Apartment – Floor area 25m2 – 3rd floor, no elevator -
Open kitchen – Bathroom.

Asking Price: € 167 500 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Paris, 5th.: Studio, approx. 20m²

Studio Triplex – Floor area 20m2 – 3rd floor elevator -
– Bathroom – Separate toilet – Intercom.

Asking Price: € 195 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Paris, 11th.: Studio, approx. 60m²

Studio Apartment – Floor area 60m2 – Ground floor -
Separate kitchen – Bathroom.

Asking Price: € 273 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Paris, 5th.: Studio, approx. 55m²

Studio Apartment – Floor area 55m2 certified – 6th floor elevator – Eat-in kitchen- Bathroom – Separate toilet.

Asking Price: € 735 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



Results of the Latest Notaires’ Property Auctions

Notaires de Paris
Place du Châtelet
12 avenue Victoria
Paris 1st


Additional information on Les Ventes aux Enchères des Notaires can be found on the Web site at Though the site has a button for an English version, it isn’t necessarily reliable.

To read Schuyler Hoffman’s article about the property auctions in Paris, click on:

  On June 02, 2009 the following properties were auctioned off:    


4 Rooms 78m²
27 rue Taine
75012 – PARIS 12eme
Starting Bid: 305 000,00 €
Sold For: 485 000,00 €



2 Rooms 36m²
7 rue Gauthey
75017 – PARIS 17eme
Starting Bid: 100 500,00 €
Sold For: 175 000,00 €



Studio 44m²
27 rue Villiers de l’Isle Adam
75020 – PARIS 20eme
Starting Bid: 175 000,00 €
Sold For: 215 000,00 €



2 Rooms 38m²
15 rue du Louvre
75001 – PARIS 1er
Starting Bid: 175 000,00 €
Sold For: 300 000,00 €



On July 7, 2009 the following properties will be auctioned off:



3 Rooms 77m²
43 rue de Constantinople
75008 – PARIS 8eme
Starting Bid: 330 000,00 €
Deposit: 66 000,00 €


1 building 3 Apartments 354m²
1 à 3 villa Hersent
75015 – PARIS 15eme
Starting Bid: 1 220 000,00 €
Deposit: 244 000,00 €
7 Rooms 246m²
1 rue Daru
75008 – PARIS 8eme
Starting Bid: 1 840 000,00 €
Deposit: 368 000,00 €

Editor’s Note: If you look at the properties on the Notaire’s site (, when you click on the information for a particular property there is also a link to Google Maps to show you exactly where the property is located.


French Propety LoanWhen you make a purchase as important as a piece of real estate in a foreign country, you ant to know that you can trust the people you are dealing with. Adrian Leeds has developed a network of professionals that meet only the highest of standards. With the expertise and experience of Adrian and her team, you can depend on getting the best advice and support to feel completely confident that you are making an informed investment decision.

Let us help you secure a mortgage in France at a competitive interest rate. Visit for more information or contact [email protected]


1 square meter = 10.7639104 square feet

1 hectare = 2.4710538 acres

For more conversions, refer to:

Parler Paris Aprs Midi

Parler Paris Apres Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris…

The next gathering is July 7, 2009 (Exceptional due to Bastille Day on July 14th) and every second Tuesday of the month (except August).



Managing Your French Property Insider Subscription is Easy!

French Property InsiderWe receive many emails from French Property Insider Subscribers who want to change their email address, or update personal information. But did you know that you can make these changes yourself?

It’s easy…

1. Go to

2. Click on "Manage Subscription." You’ll find it under the "Subscribers Only" section in the sidebar.

3. Enter your username and password.

4. On the Welcome Page, go to "Manage Your Account" and click on "Change Password/Edit Profile"

e="2" face="Verdana">5. Once you’ve made
the changes, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Save Profile."


Of course, we’re always happy to help, so if you do need assistance, send an email to [email protected]


To access password protected pages: click on any of the links on the left panel of the home page of under "Subscriber’s Only," then type in your personal username and password.

Past issues of FPI are available on the Web site. You will find the
"Past Issues" link on the left under "Subscribers Only" or by going to
To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property
Report, click on

We wanted better guides, So we wrote them!

insider paris guidesInsider Paris Guides are written for people who love the City of Light. You’ll get a Paris insider perspective on Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…and the newest guide, Practical Paris!

French Property Insider subscribers receive a discount of 10% off any uide and up to 25% off the entire purchase (if two or more guides are purchased at the same time). Here’s how it works:

1. Click on special Web link we give you just for FPI subscribers.

2. Then order one or more guide(s) and use the promotion
code "ED762." This promotion code gives you 10% off your total

3. If you order two or more guides, then an additional 15% will be
taken off automatically. There is no promotion code needed.

Here is the special "coupon" Web link just for you:


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