Building Blocks on the Rocks
Martine di Mattéo came to Nice Friday (just as our unplanned-for new confinement began) to visit our clients’ in-the-process-of-being-purchased properties with our Niçois Interior Designer, Laura Poirier. It’s a collaboration between these two talented women who until now have worked independently, each in their own domains—Martine in Paris and Laura in Nice. This match-making is a result of the needs of two of our clients’ luxury upscale centrally located properties, because their two heads and creative acumen are way better than just one. It’s a huge plus for our clients because of what each of these accomplished designers can bring to the projects—one operating from Paris with a bevy of resources and the other on the ground in Nice to oversee and manage the projects—both lending their creative talents, ideas and local resources.
Martine and I have been working together so many years we’ve forgotten how many exactly, but it’s at least 17 or 18. She’s worked on literally hundreds of our clients’ properties and all of my own personal ones. Each property turned into a jewel at her talented hands and every client she’s had has fallen in love with her as a person…as I have. To say that we have a strong mutual admiration is too light a description of our long-standing friendship and respect for one another.
Martine came to Nice equipped with simulated drawings of our new Fractional Ownership property in Paris, “La Lanterne du Marais,” as she envisions the new decor and slightly revised floor plan. With just a few tweaks, the drawings will soon be ready to launch along with the final pricing and the completed document package…meaning ready for sale on the market. The sophisticated simulations are amazingly similar to what we imagined…almost perfect…and I know you will be just as excited about this property as I am, especially after seeing what it will look like…almost for real.
Laura Poirier has been working with us and our clients for the last five years or more. We met when I was first purchasing my apartment. She was a real estate agent at the time working for the agency who represented the apartment. Later she became my personal concierge and at the same time she started doing renovation and decoration. Now that’s mostly what occupies her time and is very busy thanks to our growing Niçois clientele and her great work.
While I’ve had the designers together, we’ve visited a number of properties. Top of the list was our clients’ apartment on the Promenade des Anglais with a large round salon lined in curved windows overlooking the sea. And another close by on a pedestrian street, just one block from the water, with an 86 square meter terrace and two levels of living space. Both need renovation/decoration and will undergo major changes. Each will have its challenges; both worth the effort and expense.
We also visited an apartment off the beaten track that our clients wanted us to see as a comparison. It was one of two units in a large free-standing home off Boulevard Carabacel just as it climbs north into Cimiez. Made up of two levels (after first walking up one flight of stairs), the main level had two bedrooms and two bathrooms off a large living room and kitchen (no real dining room) with an unusual triangular shaped bar and beautiful gum-drop shaped windows, with a large terrace/den/bathroom/small summer kitchen on the top level that could boast of spectacular views. The entire apartment had been designed by an architect as it was a design masterpiece, but its 50 shades of gray decor sent me reeling. The house could have been just about anywhere (certainly didn’t feel Niçois) and its original Art Deco features had been overlooked, or ignored or quelled. (What a shame.) I gave it a thumbs down, not so much because of the decor (which is changeable, even if expensive to do so), but having an exciting life living this far outside of center would be a whole lot more effort and not nearly as much fun as our buyers’ alternative apartment choice one block from the beach. For me, there was no contest.
Sunday we visited an apartment of our clients’ located in Vieux Nice on which the deed was recently signed and already under renovation by Laura and her team. All the furnishings are in the middle of the rooms and covered in plastic while new lighting is going in, air conditioning is being piped into the ceiling and the walls are being painted…among a few other updates. The building is undergoing renovation, too—the color choices are painted above the door for the owners to decide which to use for the walls, the shutters and the iron railings. The decision for the day was if the air conditioning compressor could be wall-mounted without asking permission of the Syndic…always lots of decisions to make when making home improvements.
The confinement measures will still allow us to continue our work, fortunately. We must be home by 7 p.m.—a more reasonable hour than 6 p.m., especially now with daylight savings time about to go into effect next weekend. The lock-down is for the next four weeks and in several key regions—Paris and the Ile-de-France, Nice and all of the Alpes-Maritimes. We’re allowed to travel outside of our homes during the day without a time limit, but within 10 kilometers from home. Inter-regional travel is not permitted except for compelling or professional reasons. (Fortunately, that applies to us for our work requirements—we’ll be able to go back and forth to and from Paris-Nice!) Only businesses selling essential goods and services may remain open, including record stores and bookstores. The sale of non-essential goods in large stores is prohibited. That’s why on Friday afternoon there were long lines to enter all the major stores along Avenue Jean-Médecin to make those last minute purchases for the next four weeks. I was happy to need nothing leaving everyone else to those chores.
At least the Promenade des Anglais is open for strollers and those who choose to take a seat in any one of the “Chaises Bleues.” On the “galets,” someone had stacked the stones along the waterfront in an effort to see how high they could get without the stones toppling over…like building blocks on the rocks. It reminded me of all the conversations that had taken place over the last few days about building and how many different ways those stones could be placed to achieve the same goals and heights…limitless, like the many renovation projects we’re undertaking.
Martine leaves today and Thursday I will head back to Paris, this time to tape another House Hunters International episode next weekend—my 46th. Even with confinement, the taping will be allowed, but the logistics are much more complicated than usual.
Never a dull moment…even in confinement. C’est la vie…en France.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Stay tuned for more information as “La Lanterned du Marais” Fractional Ownership property progresses. If you wish to be on a special mailing list to learn more about the shares for sale, email us today!