An Essential Woman of a Certain Age
Martine di Mattéo and I have been bosom buddies and close colleagues for almost 20 years. We met at the suggestion of one of my Search Consultants, but neither of us can even remember how she knew him to begin with. Either way, it was a match made in heaven.
The moment I saw Martine’s drawings of interiors, I knew that her design work would fit our clients’ profiles to a T. Plus, she was so personable, that it was impossible not to love her from the get-go. She was a newbie at the time, having spent her former years focused on window display and retail store design in the U.S.—but that’s what made her work so different. Each room or apartment was a story in itself, much like a retailer’s window tells the story of their offerings. And she was able to marry American functionality with French aesthetic…a rare combination.
Since then, we’ve worked on hundreds of projects together. Well actually, she does all the work and I just come along and add my two cents to the equation…although my two cents have been known to be worth a bit more. We make a great team when it comes to sizing up a property and imagining the possibilities. One thing I have learned over the years is that no matter how smart or talented I think I am, Martine is always right when it comes to harmony and taste. Every property she touches turns into a jewel.
Yesterday we visited Le Charles V together, our newest Fractional Ownership property, scheduled for usage in early July. It is currently under complete renovation, in spite of the fact that there was nothing wrong with it to begin with. Still, we chose to redo every inch, add an atelier-style wall to create an enclosed bedroom, augment the kitchen to add all the most important appliances, etc., etc.
With this project, time is of the essence and she’s racing the clock on getting all the furnishings and materials in on time. Delays have been the norm, as have the inflation of prices. We made some changes today that will improve the decor—the kinds of decisions one cannot always perceive from the onset, but realize as the property takes shape. Without a doubt, the apartment is going to be another one of Martine’s jewels.
(Special note: the photos you see here and on our website are simulations of what we expect it to look like…but we already know it’s going to be much, much better!)
For a special treat to celebrate Martine’s recent birthday (a big one—we’re almost the same age) and take a break from our intensely busy lives, we indulged ourselves in lunch at an excellent restaurant, then checked into one of Paris’ best spas for a deep tissue massage and hammam experience—Les Cents Ciels.
The name itself is so smart. If you know even a bit of French, then you can understand that the name means “The Hundred Heavens,” but it’s a play on words from the French word, “essentiel,” or “essential” in English. And such a bit of heaven on earth is definitely essential for us two women who rarely take time out for ourselves, even at this age when most people are retired.
While we were sitting and sweating in the sauna, the hot drops of water coming down from the ceiling onto our heads, we talked about how neither one of us may ever really retire because we just have too much energy to be creative and produce things. We’re kindred spirits on this issue and we imagine that we’ll be growing very old together as we continue to discuss paint color, fabric and furnishings.
Our customary trip to IKEA is planned to outfit Le Charles V. While Martine offered to go it alone—since trying to fit it into our busy schedules is tough—I vetoed that simply because we have so much fun together, racing through the aisles, making fast decisions, piling it up into the massive carts, checking things off the list and laughing all along the way.
Almost all the workers she employs are men, of course, except for her office staff. She often has to be like a task master to them to keep them on the straight and narrow, while mothering their emotional sides. It can be very tricky, but she does this with tremendous finesse. They all adore her, it’s clear, just as do her clients. She’s one of those “women of a certain age” that is a beacon of light to all who come after her.
Later today, I, as a woman of a certain age, will be on Zoom with Diana Bishop as part of the Women of a Global Interest Series—an event titled “Woman of a Certain Age.” Martine will not be on with me, but we’ll be showing some of her special interiors. Tune into the interview FREE of charge, today, Wednesday, June 1st, live at 12:30 pm EST/9:30 am Pacific/6:30 pm Paris/5:30 pm London. Visit our events page for more information and to register!
To learn more about Martine’s work, visit our site and/or her site directly. But I warn you—Martine only makes herself available to our clients, and our clients only…it’s part of our mutual admiration and loyalty to one another that is yet another thing that makes our union such a success.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian with Martine di Mattéo
P.S. If you wish to be informed personally when shares for our next Fractional Ownership properties go up for sale, email us today.