From New York, Paris, Malibu, Santa Barbara, St. Tropez, Mallorca to Charleston, Dallas, San Francisco, the Hamptons, Beverly Hills, Italy, Switzerland etc., I have seen more than my fair share of houses. Most of these houses are big, expensive, fancy and…horrendous. When my friends are showing me through their houses I politely nod my head and say, “Lovely. Your house is lovely.” But guess what? I don’t mean it; I’m just being courteous but in actuality I am dying on the inside. I have had to endure hundreds of thousands of square feet of faux Tuscan, faux château, faux Spanish, faux Mediterranean, faux barn, faux Provence, faux midcentury modern, faux Swedish, faux antebellum… blah blah blah. The whole time in my head this is what I’m truly thinking…
“Your decorator should be shot.”
“Your 66,000 ft.² house isn’t big enough for your ego.”
“At what point did you think a round Chicago Bears rug in your faux Santa Barbara château was a good idea?”
“Well, you obviously cannot buy class.”
“How is it possible that you have so much money and so little style?”
“Filling your Connecticut mansion with Ballard Design furniture is just rude.”
“Could you please stop parading me through your enormous closet because I really just came for the food.”
“Those 12 brand-new statues of Neptune around your pool do not make your house Architectural Digest worthy.”
But guess what? Not on Monday! Not Monday! Thank the stars above, not on Monday! I didn’t have to fake it. I didn’t have to be fake polite. Fake courteous. Fake impressed. I was 100% “vrai!” Here’s what happened…
My friend, Jennifer Hale Smith (editor of the chic Santa Barbara Magazine and C Magazine) wanted to introduce me to her friends in Paris. I immediately agreed because I trust anything Jennifer suggests (People, Houses, Travel, Fashion) because she is the epitome of style. A few days later I received an email from a woman named Sally Perrin inviting me over to her apartment in Paris for petit déjeuner Monday morning.
A quick Uber taxi over to the Left Bank and I arrived to the Perrin family’s quai Voltaire apartment. I was greeted on the second étage by the stunning matriarch of the family, Sally, and their beautiful daughter Chloé. I had already met the patriarch of the family, Michel, downstairs. The teeny tiny Parisian elevator could not fit my wheelchair so my husband, my caregiver and Michel graciously carried me up the two flights of stairs. Not the entrance I was hoping to make but it did not matter because the warm smiles of Sally and her daughter quickly melted away my embarrassment.
They had me at the entry. Sally is as chic as she is gobsmackingly gorgeous with an air of laid-back elegance. I barely got to speak with her endearingly demure husband, Michel, because my husband was basically swallowing him with conversation. As you know, my husband basically hates everyone. In my husband’s mind, you are guilty until proven innocent. In other words, he will consider you a douche bag until you prove otherwise. No exceptions. My husband took to Sally’s husband like a moth to a flame. I thought my husband was going to make out with him. Then there was Chloe, the 23-year-old daughter (their other daughter, Emma, lives in New York). If you ever imagine having the perfect daughter who is educated, well spoken, fluent in French and English, polite, helpful, lighthearted, cultured, beautiful, dignified with a joie de vivre… Well, look no further. It is Chloé Perrin. (When I got home, I called my daughter, Grace, and told her she better up her game.) I kept thinking to myself, “Who is this family and where did they come from? My God! They are fabulous!”
Okay now, on top of meeting the Perrin family, I also had the privilege, the luck, the luxury, the joy, the thrill and the pleasure to visit their apartment. There is a great article written in Harper’s Bazaar about how they acquired the apartment HERE. Sally and her brilliant decorator Chahan Minassian completely remodeled the apartment after the previous family had resided there for 60 years. Remember, this is Paris. There is not a lot of “movement” with these types of enviable apartments. Overlooking the Seine, Sally and her decorator decided to bring the color of the river into the apartment. This also happens to be the exact color of Sally’s eyes. Green blue, like the Seine, is the dominant color of the apartment. The overall theme of the apartment is…think Venice, Italy palazzo. Jewel toned large-scale terrazzo entry floors, velvet drapes embroidered by haute couture artisans, mercury glass mirrored walls, leather upholstered walls, Venetian glass mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers, Fortuny fabric, brilliant custom-made Tracery carpet by Kelly Wearstler, bronze Brutalist side chair, rock crystal sconces, Nancy Lorenz painting, subtle greige walls, bronze accessories and my very favorite part of the apartment.… the pops of blue. The pops of blue in the entry vase of flowers, the pop of blue in the lamp in the “bureaux”, the pop of blue on the salon mantle, the pops of blue of the bedside table lamps, and the blue lamps on the salon demi-lunes… It was genius, pure genius! The perfect juxtaposition! The apartment read, “Elegant Parisian apartment of a certain age meets young mysterious Venetian lover."
See! Throw away your stupid Birkin bags ladies because it’s all about the clutch. The glove clutch. (Actually just store away your Birkin bags for a day in the future when the nouveau celebrities have moved on to something else and then your Birkin will be acceptable again.) Perrin Paris has shops in Los Angeles and New York and a showroom in Paris. In the vein of luxury leather, Perrin Paris also offers the most hip gloves you’ve ever seen. Check out PerrinParis.com. for all of the details.
So there you have it. My morning with the chicest family in Paris. Now that I’ve seen the best, it’s all downhill from here on out and, most likely, I will have to unfortunately go back to courteously faking my way through another train wreck of a house. But thank you Perrin family for the reprieve.
*Something you don’t know about me? My best friend, Jenny, spontaneously cries every time I play Macy Gray’s, Time of My Life, song. I like to surprise her with it just after she has put her makeup on. Jenny makes life worthy. I hope everyone can have a friend, just one friend, like my Jenny. If so, you are blessed. I know I am.