New Digs

wiring

Well, I did it. After nearly ten years of living in Paris, I am finally going to have a place that I can call my own. After dipping my feet in, and checking apartments from time-to-time, I decided that it was time I went ahead and did it. So I bought my own apartment.

Hunting for an apartment in Paris is quite an adventure; there’s no multiple listing services like there are in other countries (and it’s estimated that over half the apartments in Paris get sold directly by the owners), so you need to spend an inordinate amount of time searching online, in the newspapers, and in real estate agency windows. And since each agency will only show you what is offered by their particular agency – and some real estate agents have a less-than-stellar reputation here – it’s a process that takes a combination of luck, timing—and of course, plenty of time.

Getting a bank loan is another hurdle to cross and I had noticed two major bureaucratic mistakes in the paperwork, then I was required to submit to a full series of medical tests to complete the loan, which I wrote about, but deleted, because I didn’t think anyone would believe me, because I couldn’t either. I guess I should be happy, though, because one friend of mine who was applying for a bank loan had to take a stress test on a treadmill, which fortunately I didn’t have to do…because my stress level was going through the toit.

In short, I almost had three nervous breakdowns. Well – nine, if you count the entire week of 4am conference calls when I was in San Francisco on something I’ve heard about, called a “vacation” trying to save the purchase when the first bank I was borrowing from changed their mind at the 11th hour and rescinded their offer, putting me in a tenuous position since I’d already committed to the purchase. And the mind-numbing amount of paperwork I blew through felled a record number of trees, and more brain cells than I could afford to spare.

So a process that might normally take 30 to 60 days, dragged on for weeks. Then months. Then half a year. And finally, seven months after inking the first round of paperwork, the deal was done and I got the keys to my apartment. It was once an old print shop, previously cobbled together into a living space. Beautiful old stone walls were covered in wallpaper, which is called “cache-misère”, literally meaning “hiding the misery”, which is a reference to things people to do hide something considered “messy” or “outdated.” So one of my projects is to remove all of that and refurbish the stone. Another is to clean up the tangle of wiring that while creative, probably is a good idea to replace.

But most importantly, I won’t have to churn ice cream in my bedroom – and I won’t have to explain to my housecleaner why there is caramel in my bed – because one day I’m going to have a kitchen counter larger than a tapis d’acceuil (welcome mat) – although it’s gonna be a long way before I’m going to be able to roll one of those out around here.

Godin oven

So in the meantime, I’ve been working on getting the place in shape. I’ve been doing things like explaining that Americans like windows that can open, I’ve learned that three is a maximum of number of people that are allowed to yell at me in different languages at the same time (and they are learning that I have a shorter fuse than initially first appeared), and that there are panoply of words that seemingly mean the same thing, like—say, for a sink:

1. Vasque (a really big sink)

2. Évier (a big sink)

3. Lavabo (a regular sink)

4. Cuve (still haven’t figured out that one)

5. Lave-mains (a small sink)

And plumbing catalogs don’t list by ‘type’ of item, like ‘sinks’, ‘bathtubs’, and ‘faucets’, etc but by “Collections”, with ominous names like Opus, Détente, and “Stillness” — so you have to flip through a series of square toilets (and who the heck can manage any kind of détente on a square toilet seat?) to find a normal one.

And I now know that something which is 199 by 282 by 79,5 is cent quartre-vingt-dix-neuf par deux cent quartre-vingt-deux par soixaint-dix-neuf virgule cinq, is even less-comprehensible when you’re holding up a crumbling wall,standing under a shower of plaster dust while avoiding electrocution. Plus I’m trying to teach delivery people that if they ring the doorbell, rather than just affix a delivery sticker to your door requesting that you call to reschedule the delivery, they have a better chance of completing a delivery on the first round. Oh, and I just got called for jury duty in California for next week. Needless to say, the explosion that will be heard around the world may be my head.

The good news is that you won’t have to hear my anymore bemoaning that I have a tiny kitchen. The bad news is that it’s going take me a while to get there. But after all I’ve been through, demolition and construction is a walk in le parque.

No, the bathroom isn’t functional. And the kitchen is nothing but a counter with a Godin oven, which embodies the paradox of French taste: the handmade stove is enameled in a gorgeous red enamel color, and right smack in the front is a bright-blue digital clock with large, flashing electrical numbers. (I wonder if that can be removed?) But that’s the least of my problems at this point. So the last few weeks have been spent stripping everything out to clean up the space, to see it better, and the next few weeks (or months) will be spent figuring out in which direction I’m going to take it next. But first, I need to figure out how to find a sink.

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Whining

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247 comments

  • I love reading your posts and your wonderful sense of humor. Sounds like you have a huge job ahead of you, and, in the end, I am sure it will be fabulous!

  • Is it just me, or could you maybe almost reach the stove from that toilet?

  • Based on this post and especially your recent Twitter updates, all I can say is that you’re a stronger person than I. Yikes, and good luck!

  • Felicitations et du courage, David.

  • “un lavabo” is in a bathroom
    “une vasque” is a kind of lavabo (so in the bathroom) I think you would say a vessel

    “un évier” is in a kitchen, or a utility room

    “une cuve” might name different kind of things but I wonder why you would have a “cuve” in a Parisian appartment… A cuve is usually very big…

    and I think you meant “un lave-main” which is a very small sink meant to wach your hands (lave/wach + mains/hands….)

    Have fun,
    Emmanuelle

  • Congrats! I think that is wonderful that you perservered, triumphed over the banks, and got what you wanted.

    If I can make one suggestion – if you are moving things around in the kitchen, try for space on both sides of the cooktop and counter space next to your wall oven (if that is the way you go). Our cooktop has a sink on one side and a wall on the other – there is never anyplace to put anything down. Drives me nuts.

    Wonderful news for you! I look forward to seeing all your choices!

  • I look forward to seeing where you take it from here – and congratulations on making it thus far.

  • Oh wow, great news. Congratulations, David! I will kinda miss hearing the tales about working in your tiny kitchen (and all the antics/gymnastics that were involved), as well as seeing pics of food cooling on your roof. But I’m sure there will be tons of great new tales in your brand-new-super-big-lux-kitchen (the one with the fabulous new sink)!

  • Mazel Tov David!
    I’m in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel, so these photos are actually exciting to me!
    Really looking forward to reading about the journey to completion and seeing your finished rooms.
    LL

  • Congratulations — I think. :)

  • I know it’s going to be grand.

    Keep us posted.

    Valérie

  • So funny – the first thing I thought of what that you wouldn’t have to churn ice cream in your bedroom! Congratulations. Can’t wait to see pix of the finished project. Many bon appetits!

  • Having rented an apartment in the 5th for a week, with a kitchen that served well enough but was the size of a large closet, I’m looking forward to seeing the progress in yours as well as the rest of your new home!

  • OMG, David – Les numeros francais!! Why, oh, why is ninety eight – four twenty ten eight? Or seventy seven – sixty ten seven? What is up with that??

  • Mazel tov!

  • Dear David,

    Good luck with the apartment furnishing and all. By the way, I would so gladly do your vaisselle for you if you let me tag along with you on your next grocery shopping spree / hunt. I. am. not. kididng.

    Yours truly,
    Pau-Lynn from Courbevoie.

  • That is the first cement mixer I have ever seen in a kitchen! You could make a serious batch of bread dough in that thing. I am so thrilled for you, David. If anyone deserved a bigger better kitchen it is you.
    Leslie

  • Amazing! SO much more room! Let me know if you want a good old reliable American painter!

  • Oh lala, poor you, buying an apartment in paris is not easy, even for a French (although in 1999 I didn’t have to get through a bunch of tests to get a loan, maybe they reserve it for foreigners???) Anyway, on a sink department, Évier is the kitchen sink, any kitchen sink is called évier. Lavabo is the generic name for a bathroom sink. Any bathroom sink you can call lavabo.
    Vasque woluld be a “fancy” one.
    Cuve is more like a tank, or somethink you make wine in ???
    Lave main, never heard of, but yeah sounds like a little bathroom sink.
    Good luck.

  • David. As for sink, check in Berlin (I know it’s a far piece away, but it’s still EU, and they ship) Berlin is the poor man’s Paris and has prices which are maybe 2/3of what you would pay in Paris and more like 3/4 of what you’d pay in the rest of the country. If you want, I can give my Handyman/contractor a head’s up. For all the Germans did to design – I swear there must be an academy of hideous furniture design somewhere near Munich – their plumbing, sinks, showers are generally divine. I haven’t done my kitchen yet, since I am over there only about a couple of months a year now, but I may do it when I spend more time there. Love the stove and the light. I am delighted for you..unfortunately my brood has moved on to Cologne, and somehow it just isn’t the same.

  • looks like a project! just finished the paperwork/contract for my new place…but there is sooo much work to do. I’m hoping in the end…its worth it lol. Best part it is though..the new kitchen is bigger, more open and flowy…and i painted it red!
    i wish us both the best with our projects! :)
    btw i just made the dulce de leche brownies..and u have given me one more reason to believe u r the greatest! :)

    chloe’ <3

  • Forgot to mention – It’s lovely that the cement mixer is color coordinated with the kitchen. Nice touch. Still the Marais?

  • Si tu veux trouver du beau carrelage a tous les prix et avec un tres bon service, je te conseille
    http://www.quarade.com/

    PS Sur la photo, ta cuisiniere est tres pres du mur…Non….De plus si tu as achete ancienne imprimerie appartement doit etre en rez de chaussee. si ouverture vers exterieur, tres bien, si ouvertures sur troittoir…Pas bien securitaire…Bon moi j dis cala hein…Bonne continuation…

  • Felicitations!!! Going to be a fun ride remodeling your new place. Love your blog, laughed out loud at the delivery part. Can totally relate, if we are expecting anything delivered, and I mean anything, my job is to keep a look out the window for the delivery man and chase him down when he ‘attempts’ to make his delivery by driving up to our gate, looking around for a second then pulling away. Can’t tell you how many times my neighbors see me in sweats running down our street chasing a car and shouting in ‘franglish’….. must give us Americans and even better image;)

  • The handle on the oven matches the drawers – nice, never seen that before. It seems almost like the oven is custom made.
    I wonder if the bureaucracy is to discourage foreigners from buying property and pushing up prices

  • Congrats! I do enjoy the color-coordinated shovel, cement mixer, and stove. If it was an old print shop I imagine the floors must be very sturdy – perfect for an old Aga!

  • Very many congratulations! And welcome to my world of dust and upheaval. Thankfully we are nearly done – only the evier to go as it happens. Btw I think you will find a cuve is a deep sink, like a laundry tub. We have a vasque in the big bathroom, lavabo in the small bathroom, evier in the kitchen (still in its box…), a lave-mains in the toilet and a cuve in the buanderie – I think.

  • Congratulations on your purchase.
    I know this is awful of me to say, because buying and renovating is so out of this world stressful, but this was the funniest post I’ve yet read on our blog.

    Courage!
    We bought and renovated our pied-a-terre in Paris while having our first baby and not even living in that country anymore, and we did it.
    At the end of the day only the outcome counts, and it will be beautiful!!!

  • Congrats on your new home! I can’t wait to finally do the same thing myself, although your post has me a little nervous now ;)

  • Have the neighbors brought over a house-warming gift yet? I just made my new neighbors a spinach lasagna with lots of béchamel. Do they have such quaint traditions in Paris?

  • Yay space! I can’t wait to read about all of the delicous creations that come out of that kitchen!

  • Congratulations on the new and larger quarters. Will be watching for updates.

    P.S. Having to churn ice cream in the bedroom does save you the trek into the kitchen to get a bowl of Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

  • Congratulations, David! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures – I can see this transformation being incorporated into your next book. Chin-chin!

  • mazeltov dear David,

  • exciting! terrifying! amazing — all at once. enjoy the process. :)

  • Mes felicitations, David!
    I am dying to know, what is a “Cul de Poule”( besides the obvious ), in culinary equipment terms?

  • Congratulations David! Been following your blog for a year now, came to see you at Omnivore in SF last year. Love the tidbits you share about your life – hope you have fun gutting the place and redecorating. And the next time a delivery guy threatens to shake your sanity, remember “THIS TOO SHALL PASS!”

  • With 142 comments, you don’t need mine…but I’m so very happy for you–that you have a place not only to hang your ice cream maker (to say nothing of your hat), but TO CALL HOME. Bonne chance! (Made some of your ice cream Monday night..a very dear friend’s birthday dinner. Perfect as always. I just got the 2qt Cuisinart — couldn’t find another 1 qt, though I loved my old/broken one terribly.)

  • How wonderful! I hope you post pictures of the process as your home takes shape. Congratulations.

  • Congrats David. Bon chance avec la reste…mais je pense que le cauchemar est fini.

  • Wow, what a process! But congrats. It’ll be worth it in the long run. Once you get settled in. (and not When or If) :)

  • Best online French-English dictionary I have found (that’s not saying much) shows this: http://www.wordreference.com/fren/cuve

    As far as I can tell, unless it’s something particular to Paris dwellings, une cuve is a cistern or a tank.

  • Congratulations! Can’t wait to see your progress!

  • Shopping for plumbing fittings is about the same in France as in the USA. Go in person to the plumbing showrooms or bricolage and point at what you like.

  • Congratulations, David! What fun you’ll have designing your own apartment. Don’t worry too much about the cost, because it will be well worth it in the end.

  • Mazel tov! I’m looking forward to the photo essays to come.

  • Congrats David! I can’t wait for the book, “Where the Ink Stops, Pastry Begins”

  • Let’s face it: it’s going to be darn hard, and our famous French service (French what?) will not help. But at the end you will have what YOU want, and that is just awesome to say “it’s “chez moi” !”
    Good luck, Congratulations, Bon courage… well all that :)

  • Mazel Tov! We’re also right on the edge of purchasing. It’s a scary thing, but when you start making changes in a place that you OWN, it’s a terrific feeling. I hope you’ll keep us up-to-date on the changes and improvements.

  • You’re going to do great things with this apartment! Best of luck! :)

  • And yet I still envy you—go figure! You don’t give away the exact location, but who cares?—it’s in Paris, n’est-ce pas? This insanity is my dream; bonne chance, David. Can’t wait to hear more about your latest Parisian real-estate adventure.

  • I like what you said about the bathroom! Congrats on finding an ideal place (it will soon be after all the major works are done.)

  • Congrats on your new home purchase! I’m happy to hear that you found something wonderful to work and live in….in Paris. I have to say I’m dismayed that your wonderful cookbooks and blog and other gigs haven’t made you the fortune that you deserve that would allow you to buy the apartment without that loan. Where’s your donate button and/or your Kickstarter campaign? :) Nothing like home renovation to test everything you thought you knew about yourself. Such a great project, enjoy!

  • I like how the category on this one is “whining”. Congrats!! And congrats on being funny while whining ;)

  • karin: That would be great, but there are few large showrooms where they are a large variety of items on display (well, there’s Lapeyre, but they are always out of everything that’s supposed to be in stock) – so one needs to look at catalogs with clerks and pick things out that way. Sinks are so personal – at least to me – that I like to feel and look at them. Yesterday I woke up at 3am and went to the supply shops with my contractor in Aubervilliers, although one needs a card to get in to those places.

    Kristine: Paris is a pretty expensive city and rents and real estate prices are high, and climbing all the time. (I started looking a few years ago and everyone said, “Wait. Everything is too expensive. Prices are going to drop.” But coming from San Francisco, things may dip a bit, but unless people stop wanting to come and live in Paris, prices aren’t going to go down all that much. And Paris isn’t getting any bigger. Unfortunately writing is not a high-paying field, I’m afraid (I know, I should have listened to my mother and become a doctor..), nor was being a professional chef – but am happy I was able to buy something here nonetheless.

    Carole: It’s not easy for anyone here to buy property and especially get a loan, but as a banker explained to me a few years ago (when he was turning me down) – “It’s not like America, where we can just come in a few months later and repossess property in a few months.” It does make sense for them to be cautious, but screening people for certain ailments and medical conditions left a rather bad taste in my mouth. But the laws and processes aren’t just for foreigners; they apply to everything. The process is also designed, I think, to discourage rapid turnover of property, since the buyers assumes all the closing costs, including the real estate agent commission and notaire (the person who is in charge of the legal and financial paperwork.)

    Nikki: When I moved here and a company in town was sending me something to be delivered, they said – “You need to be standing there with the front door open, with your name written on your forehead.”

    Jo-Lynn: Most things are cheaper outside of France and my contractor does prefer to buy things in other countries for that reason, and because of differences in quality. I can’t believe how much less-expensive things are in England versus France, and I don’t think anyone would accuse England of being an inexpensive country! I do want to support France and local merchants, but it’s interesting how so many French people are now shopping online for things.

    Aude: Well, the good news is that..and you know..if you get someone in France to help you, the service is great. And people who work in the housing business are often professionals and good at what they do. It’s just you pay a premium for that service.

  • congratulations! I have a tiny kitchen that is really more of a cabinet with a stovetop, and just the other day I sat in bed and whipped egg whites and daydreamed about countertops and storage space. good luck with all of the construction, and I don’t know anything about French bureaucracy but if it is anything like Italian bureaucracy then you have all of my sympathies and admiration!

  • Happy for you. Want to hear EVERYTHING about your new place as time goes on. I think we all do as so many of us wish we were in your shoes! You’re lucky and you deserve it!

  • Mazal Tov David. I’m so very happy for you. I can tell you after many renovations during my lifetime that as difficult as it is, like child birth you forget the pain and intensely enjoy the fruits of the labor.
    Have many happy days there enjoying and creating.

  • Congratulations David!!! A challenge, but at least it’s about making a space that is just for you.

    You probably have it somewhere on your Web site that I’m missing, so would you please let me know how I can send you a small cash donation as a house gift?

    Thanks.

  • Mazel Tov.

  • Your cabinets and range are lovely. Hope you find the white tile.

  • Wow but the toilet looks tiny. It must be a pretty big room. C’est normal I guess. Best wishes

  • Congrats David!

  • love love love the stove however, non le $. i promise i won’t insert the odd french word any more. i’ve lost my love of convection ovens, however. need to remember the importance of timing and almost always forget that last, critical time period. can’t wait to see further posts with complete progress reports. i will be starting kitchen and bath remodels and i’m very interested in your choices.

  • I didn’t have time to read through the 100+comments to see if what I want to say has already been addressed so apologies if you’d heard it already. The way the french count: a hold over from Roman days! four twenties, etc — so blame the (very early) Italians… Jury duty: I am transplanted LAer. When I get jury duty notice I send them a very nice letter (and I am sure that you are a master of official letter writing now that you live in France) explaining: I live 5000 miles away — do they wish to pay travel expenses? By the mile? And ask to be excused, and assuring them you will write again when you return to LIVE in the USA. Did the trick for me. I actually had a harder time with the jury duty notice for my mom, who has dementia — at first they assured me that disabilities can be catered for — had to point out the legal problems of letting a person with dementia actually judge a matter of law…. And, David, how wonderful for you to have a new, large space, to make the way you wish. Gandhi used to say that the journey (or actually, the means) are the end in process… so — go with it and find pleasure in the journey

  • David,

    Best of luck in your reno! Things are very different over there when it comes to their distribution channels. We are glad to have purchased a turn key apt. as not to deal with redoing an apt. and we wanted to be able to rent it right away. Where is yours located? We are in the Marais and love visiting as often as possible..

    I see numerous trips to BHV for you, but you are already acquainted with that place!!

    Julie Boston
    My Paris Dream Apt.

  • And The LIGHT!!! omg there is so much light. too much fun,

  • Sincere congratulations, David! I love following your posts, but this one especially hits home and makes me ever-so-grateful that I survived what you’re describing and that our purchase and remodel in Paris is behind us! I rolled on the floor re: being yelled at in 3 languages–our contractor was Polish, some of the workers were Russian…it was pretty intense at times. I love the bones of your kitchen and am so happy for you to soon be able to spread out in your very own place. Best of luck as you go thru the remaining weeks–it will all turn out and soon be over! I’ve been told there’s a special badge we get to wear after all the medical exams, paperwork, remodeling, etc. but my maire’s office hasn’t sent it over yet…

  • annette- I know all this stuff drives French people nuts as well, but they’re more used to it so can deal with it better. Honestly, I don’t know how they live their lives with all the paperwork and so forth, that they have to do. I’ve bought (and sold) a few apartments in my life, but I never saw or went through anything like this. On the plus side, I am learning some Polish ; )

  • One helpful hint: we were able to solve the bright blue digital clock problem on our Miele stove that we inherited here, by putting black electrician’s tape over the display. It blends right in with the black glass and you hardly see it.

    Bonnes et joyeuses renovations! lol

    (I am totally jealous, btw.) Kate

  • Congratulations, David! I love that there are so many possibilities and that you can make it truly your own. The only question I have is…caramel in the bed?

  • Wow, CONGRATS! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out, I love that red in the kitchen. Good luck! :)

  • Congratulations, David!!! And thanks for sharing the “before” pics. Can’t wait to see the “After” !!!

  • Congratulations David! I LOVE reading your post. I keep so many of them in my inbox so that when I go to paris I have your recommendations.

    Good luck with the renovation. Be patient!!!

  • I can’t wait to see the final product :-) Felicitations!

  • When we came to France in 2000 I realised this problem and so I started a company called French Riviera Property Search – and I make no charge to the Buyer as I take my commission from the advertised price. It is just as important to structure the purchase in the most tax efficient way according to the personal position of the buyer, as the Napoleonic laws in French are quite different to those in USA or UK or, in fact, most countries. So I do hope your purchase was structured properly, David, and I wish you a big congratulations on getting this far. It is not at all easy for someone who is not fluent in French and to get your own mortgage and then to do your own renovations as well ! You are really brave and a very big bravo to you. Jackie x

  • david, congrats on the home purchase! best of luck with the remodel. vert exciting!a re you in the same arrondisement?

  • Congratulations, David.

    I am so happy for you…….WOW!!!!!!!!!!
    Finally, you will have the Paris kitchen of your dreams.
    I LOVE your blog.

    With fond memories of having lunch with you
    at Ubuntu restaurant, Napa, several years ago.
    Marlene
    A friend of Carolyn, Cliff and John.

  • remember to laugh :) a medical exam for a loan?! wow. have fun! looking forward to the updates…

  • ~too funny, those bright blue digits do look out of place, lovely stove though, the red is gorgeous!

  • Congratulations, David! It’s going to be fabulous — some day. I can’t wait to see it. I’m in my apartment 4 years working in a kitchen built for handicapped people, so the counters are really low. I’m saving for a new kitchen one day — actually, I’m waiting for the stock market to rise. Then, I’m going to use all of your helpful tips and design myself a great kitchen. Keep us posted on your progress and enjoy the journey — if you can.

  • If the front panel on your beautiful stove is made of ferris metal you can attach something with the tiny strong magnets currently available. They are about the size of an aspirin and many little signs exist that are reproductions of old advertising signs, enamel on steel. With an eye out for an image you would enjoy this could mask the clock and be removable for cleaning when necessary.

  • oops! no spell check…ferrous, as in iron bearing.

  • Congratulations! I look forward to reading your adventure in refurbishing a building into your dream home. That is a gorgeous stove! (Hope the drool doesn’t drip onto your blog.)

    Probably the 2nd (1st is money) reason that I’ll never own an apartment in Paris is that I currently have a kitchen that is 16 x 20 with a 8 x 3 mahogany butcher block island. I cannot imagine giving up the space in my kitchen! I designed it myself when I built this house so that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. It’s a workhorse, not a showplace.

    So, while I dream and dream of living in Paris–I’ll just have to visit more often and stay longer each trip.

    Freda

  • It will be worth it! We renovated our 17th century stone house in Provence. Check out the sinks at Ikea. I know it sound awful but we got a great, big country sink, it hold big pots. Bon chance!

  • Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear about the great new things you’ll be able to produce in your splendid new kitchen. (Eventually.)

  • Just think how many flies will be on the wall as you go through each stage of the renovation: ALL OF US!

    I hope you keep the red R2D2. No kitchen should be without one.

    Your description of the tribulations of arriving at ownership of your new apartment is in the classic Russian literary tradition of “laughter through tears” and I heaved many an “Oy” as I read. Wear the chef’s hat of your new domicile in good health!

  • I couldn’t be happier for you! I think it’s not much difference finding something herte in Italy and certainly you can experience a lot of yelling and cursing when renovating, but you are on your way. That radiator/towel heater will heat your bathrobe if you hang the hanger on a bar, then you can step from the shower into a hot cloud. Leave your slippers under it and bath time may be your best time of the day, which preserves Americanness.

  • David, do accept my congratulations on your new flat. May be it will take time to do up to your (exacting) specifications, but when it’s done, it will be all yours. We feel your pain at your evocative descriptions about how small your present flat is!

  • Congrats, David ! It’ll well be worth the hassle and wait !

  • I like Judith of Umbria’s idea about the towel heater and hanging your bathrobe on a bar. What a mitzvah!

  • Oh, how exciting! Reminds me of my brother buying his place in Cortona. Crazy and stressful and exciting!
    I can’t wait til my husband and I can buy a place of our own too….

  • David, have you considering outfitting your kitchen via IKEA? We’re using their 3D planning tool, which is very nifty, and a trip to the store at Villiers-sur-Marne is quite doable, with handsome young men to help with your design.

    • I am getting my kitchen cabinets there but we had the worst experience at the Ikea here last Monday- We went to their “kitchens only” store in Vélizy, and took a number…then was told it was be a “minimum wait of 2 1/2 hours.” I thought they were kidding until a nearby man said he had been waiting 4 hours. After waiting nearly 3 1/2 hours in the store (and since it only has kitchen stuff, there’s nothing else to look at – and although they have a small café, the cook wiping his runny nose in between dishing up meatballs wasn’t so appealing…) finally, my number was called. It was like being trapped in an airport when your flight is cancelled.

      When we finally got called by a kitchen planner who spent literally 3 minutes with us, then ran away to another person (who was also flipping out), then we begged them (literally, I got down on the floor – on my knees) and they came back to help us for another 2 minutes, before leaving yet again. It was a horrible, awful experience and a complete waste of a day. If someone had sat with me for just ten minutes, we could have hammered the whole thing out since I knew what I wanted. I don’t quite get their business model because instead of having a kitchen design area full of furious, frustrated people (and staff), it could have been a much better experience. I’m tempted to get my cabinets elsewhere because of the time wasted and frustration.

      (I tried to use the 3D tool at home, but it’s not user-friendly and I couldn’t download the planner from the internet, despite trying several browsers.) #IkeaFAIL

  • Congratulations on your new place! I’m a real estate agent in New York and people think things are complicated here, but it sounds like buying is a much, much more headache-inducing chore in Paris (of course if you ever decide you want to buy a pied a terre in NYC, I’ll make it easy for you!).

  • ….oh my! This is gonna be fun! I will be checking your blog more often than usual to watch this story unfold! Another book in the making?

  • I agree with the previous poster — write a book, with all your wonderful wit!

  • CONGRATS!!!!! I am sure your new kitchen will be to die for! Oh, and if your landlord is looking for someone to take over your old apt, I’d be happy to. It must be bigger than the closet I currently live in in the 7th. (I’ve been looking for a new place for 3 months and its an AWFUL process!)

  • As far as I remember…
    Lavabo -> Is meant to be in the restrooms / bathroom.
    Evier -> Is meant to be in the kitchen (to wash dishes)
    Vasque -> It refers to a different shape, i.e. the “evier” or lavabo is like a cube inside which you dig a hole for the water. A “vasque” is rather a conic bucket put on top of a table. (So theoretically it is much more beautiful).

    I don’t know about “cuve”, and I guess that “lave mains” is a tiny “lavabo” that you can put in tiny restrooms (nudge so that people actually wash their hands – otherwise they may be too lazy to go to the nearby bathroom…)

    Does this make sense?

  • Congratulations on the new apartment! Quite awesome. But jury duty in San Francisco? Did you ever see the episode of 30 rock where Tina Fey gets outbid jury duty by dressing up like Princess Leia? It might be worth a shot…

  • How many m2 is your new place?

    Good luck with the renovation. If it’s anything like Spain expect to at least double the time you would expect a similar project in the states to be completed. And then you’ll be vacuuming construction dust constantly for the first 6 to 9 months after you move in. Goes with the territory.