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Meet the Master Magician of Material and Matter

Martine di MatteoMartine di Matteo is a master magician of material and matter. She is single-handedly making ‘silk purses’ out of ‘sows’ ears’ in a bevy of Paris pieds-à-terres that deserve her attention.

My apartment will be one of them when the Franco-American Interior Designer oversees the renovation and redecoration of my living room and bathroom beginning in mid January. Both rooms have been crying out for a ‘face lift’ since long before moving in more than ten years ago…the ceiling is peeling, the cracks in the walls have taken on new life (exposing a corner where a door once was in a past century) and the “early divorced” period furnishings have worn out their California life style long ago.

Martine has chosen gold and silk canvas for the upholstery of the couch and two arm chairs, hired an “ébéniste” (cabinet maker) to transfer the Ikea-style laminate desk unit into a wall-to-wall built-in work station and will also be keeping me sane overseeing it all while I must live in my 16.5 square meter “Le Provençal” studio rental apartment while the apartment becomes a dust bowl. By March 1, I should be back in business and organizing a house-warming party.

Meanwhile, Martine has been waving her magic wand over several of our clients’ investment properties. This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the results of the last several months of creative planning and careful execution of two in particular.

One WAS a two room 28 square meter ‘box’ on one of the city’s prettiest little pedestrian alleys with historic significance in Le Haut Marais on rue Cité Dupetit Thouars with views only on a simple courtyard. Today that apartment IS a ‘mini-château’ in deep eggplant and mauve tones, adorned in iridescent silk fabrics and furnished with pale-toned country French tables and chairs. The transformation was overwhelmingly surprising, but the proposed name for the apartment, which will go immediately on the market as a luxury rental, is fittingly, “L’Aubergine.” (Clever name, as “Aubergine” = eggplant and “Auberge” = inn.) Martine’s finishing touches include a bowl of faux “aubergines” as a centerpiece on the dining room table.

The owner arrives in Paris this morning — I just wish I could see his face when he sees the once ‘box’ he bought a few months ago!

The second one I visited is the pride and joy of a couple who live in Houston, but travel to Paris very regularly. The wife of the two is a flight attendant whose route is to Paris almost weekly. It took a year and a half to go from attending a Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference to finding the apartment and beginning the total renovation.

When we first saw the apartment overlooking a typical Montmartre stone stair, we knew it had ‘good bones’ but needed a serious change to make it livable. Ideas from many sources suggested a new way of reconfiguring the rooms. Magically, an oversized foyer with a closet and toilet was opened up to become an open kitchen and a space large enough to house a dining room table. The once corner kitchen and claustrophobic “salle d’eau” (shower room) became a luxurious bath with laundry room, and the three divided main rooms were linked by double French doors opening the space between all three, but enabling closing off any one of them for more privacy. One serves as living room, one as bedroom and the third as an office/guest room.

The colors are soft blues and mauve tones. The furnishings country French, the kitchen and bath purely contemporary and regal. I wanted to move right in, but Mr. and Mrs. M. had beaten me to it!

Martine’s a busy woman these days, thanks to her talents and our eager new pied-à-terre owners. She’s about to embark on a few more projects at the start of the new year as challenging as these. We’ll keep you posted as they each take shape and in the meantime, be watching Parler Paris Apartments as her works of interior design art are offered to the public as luxury rentals.

To contact Martine, email [email protected]

A la prochaine…  

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Plan on coming to Parler Parlor December 22nd to practice speaking French or English, bring your cake or cookies and we’ll supply the “Vin Chaud!”…plus register that day and get 12 sessions for the price of a 10-session card and 24 sessions for the price of a 20-session card! Closed only December 25, 2007 through January 2, 2008. Reopens January 5, 2008 WITH NEW LOCATIONS AND TIMES! Be sure to visit for more information.

P.P.S. Are you a serious writer with aspirations to have your book published? Deborah Ritchken of the Castiglia Literary Agency would enjoy meeting serious writers who are interested in learning more about how to find a literary agent as well as how to craft the perfect proposal. She is interested in literary fiction, commercial (non-genre) fiction, and narrative non-fiction, particularly with French themes.” To participate, come to the first floor of La Pierre du Marais, corner of rue de Bretagne and rue des Archives in the 3rd arrondissement (across from the Mairie of the 3rd), on December 22, 2007 at 4 p.m. For more information and to reserve your place, contact Deborah Ritchken at [email protected]


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