Create One Story, One Design Combining Aestheticism and Functionality
Volume XIX, Issue 47
Almost 20 years ago, someone working with me at the time suggested I meet Martine di Mattéo, a budding Interior Designer. Martine had just moved back to France after living in San Francisco for a long time working in retail display at Macy’s and other retailers. She had been taking courses in Paris in interior design and was ready to show off what she learned and the talents she had to “create one story, one design combining aestheticism and functionality.” (These are her words.)
When she showed me her portfolio of drawings, I knew immediately that our American clientele would LOVE her work—classic in the French sense, tasteful in every sense, but functional and friendly. I swooned, and got her working immediately with some of our clients on their newly purchased properties. From the outset, her work was simply brilliant and our clients all loved working with her.
From that moment on, we have been devoted associates and close friends. We at the Adrian Leeds Group would not be where we are today without her and I suspect, that is vice-versa. She’s plenty busy without our clients’ projects, and she works for several theme parks, such as Disneyland Paris, Parc Asterix and the Musée Grévin, but she loves the residential work best of all…as do our clients who love the transformation she can create.
Martine taught us how important it is to offer this service available to all of our clients. Fortunately, we have an Interior Designer in the South who also does a beautiful job for our Côte d’Azur clients, Laura Poirier of LP Interior Designs.
This week I visited a 20 square meter studio in the Marais purchased by our clients just before Covid-19 confinement in which I once taped a House Hunters International episode. It was a nice apartment then, but it’s a sensational apartment now! Martine had the exposed beams sanded down to lighten the wood, added a fireplace, built in tons and tons of custom designed storage and opened and completely changed the kitchen and the bathroom. The sofa bed is a one-pull that easily opens into a bed and the coffee table doubles as an ottoman and storage for the bed linens. Every inch is beautiful and every inch is functional.
Sure, it wasn’t cheap to do all that, but the owners realize the value, especially the way she has made such incredible use of the space making it seem much larger than it is and practical enough that it could easily be a full time home.
Laura just completed a project on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice that wowed me and the owners, having totally transformed it. Also a studio, she cleverly used a Murphy bed system that when folded up into the wall, a couch is exposed. It works very well and provides tons of storage.
These are just a few of the many projects we have going. Two of our Fractional Ownership properties are here in Paris and Martine is knee deep in getting both of them complete before the end of the year.
Am I worried they won’t be done? No! Martine has her finger on the pulse and even though right this moment they look far from complete, I have confidence our first owners will walk into perfection.
What’s Martine’s secret? She’s right when she says she sets out to “create one story, one design combining aestheticism and functionality.” That is the talent that makes every apartment she designs feel like home. It’s not always obvious, but every item so beautifully coordinates in color, pattern and form, that nothing feels out of place, even when the decor is “bohemian” or “eclectic.”
When you visit properties seeking to make a purchase, you may come upon those that haven’t been touched in a very long time and need complete renovation. These are the best kind, because the price should reflect its condition and then you have the privilege of working with one of our designers to bring it back to life…in a big way. Martine and I have worked together on hundreds of projects, for myself as well as for our clients.
You can renovate here in France without building permits, as long as you don’t disturb supporting walls or change anything about the exterior of the building or the common areas. Some things require special permissions, however, such as a “sanibroyeur” macerating toilet, as the plumbing in the building is affected. I have the uncanny ability to seeing right through the walls in a way that I can then fully imagine how the space can benefit from a new floor plan. It could be my past experience as a graphic designer that gives me this talent, or maybe I was an architect in another life, but this serves me well when visiting properties.
Martine is the queen of fabrics. She can put together some of the most unrelated patterns that somehow will fit perfectly like the pieces of a puzzle. And the fabrics are key to design and making a space feel homey.
Count on renovations costing from 2,000€ to 4,000€ a square meter—all depending on the scope of the work and the materials you choose. But don’t skimp! You will never regret making it truly yours.
To learn more about both Martine di Mattéo and Laura Poirier and our Interior Design Services, visit our website—but be sure to tell them I referred you, because they are exclusive to the Adrian Leeds Group!
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian with Martine
P.S. Speaking of HHI episodes…you’ll be able to watch a re-airing of our most recent episode, A Lifelong Dream of Paris, December 22. Details of the episode and air dates and times are on our website.