20 May 2013

A Parisian Apartment on House Hunters International

 

 

 

For those who don’t watch HGTV’s most highly rated shows – “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International” – the premise is this:  a couple looking to buy a new house is shown three properties.  From these three choices, they pick the one they want to buy and then a few months later, the show goes back and films them in their new house.  It’s been on the air for ages and it’s great fun to watch and guess which house the couple will pick.

While that sounds all well and good,  a few years ago one couple spilled the beans to Hooked On Houses, about the secrets behind House Hunters.   Apparently, the show is all a set up.  The three houses shown to the couple are faked.  In reality – to get on the show, you have to have already BOUGHT a house!   Once you have signed on for a new mortgage, House Hunters comes and films you pretending to pick your own house out of the three choices.  The other two houses are found by you - the contestant – and most likely are your friends’ houses and aren’t even for sale.   When the popular blog Hooked on Houses revealed the truth behind House Hunters – it was almost a national scandal!!  HGTV had to release a press statement explaining their handling of the show.   Read all about it HERE on Hooked on Houses.

 

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Bobi Jensen – the whistleblower on House Hunters.  She told her behind-the-scenes story to Hooked On Houses – creating a national “scandal.”

 

Now that the secret about the three houses is out – there is one way to figure out which house is the “real” one that the couple has already bought.   Usually, it’s the only house shown out of the three that is empty.   That does make sense, since the other two aren’t even for sale!

Still, even knowing all this, sometimes all three houses will be either empty or furnished, so it’s not always that obvious which house will be chosen.  And even if you can tell which house is the one the contestants already bought – it’s still fun to see houses from all over the U.S. and the world. 

My favorite of the two shows is House Hunters International.  I love when they go to England and chose from three houses in either the countryside or from  London.  And I love when they go to exotic places like Mexican or South American beaches.   The shows from the far east are real eye openers – how tiny their bathrooms and kitchens can be!!  And comparing the prices of houses in Texas to houses in Spain, for example, is also an interesting part of the show.

But, for sure, the best is when House Hunters International goes to France.   Last weekend they debuted a new show from Paris and Elisabeth and I were left with our jaws hanging open.  The contestant was a single woman from the U.S. who lived in Paris.  She is a lawyer who had been renting an apartment and is now looking to buy one.    As usual, she is shown three apartments – one unfurnished and two furnished.  So immediately, we knew which apartment she bought – the unfurnished one.  But we watched and played along as she toured the three apartments and pretended to deliberate on which one she should choose.  We even thought she chose the wrong one – we liked one of the apartments she didn’t chose better!

The one she bought is in an old building, on the third floor, with no elevator.  It is a one bedroom – but the bedroom is behind a wall of glass blocks, which the contestant hated (us too!).   The second choice was charming, but long and narrow – the kitchen was in the entry hall.   The third one was the best one in our minds.  It seemed to have the most Parisian charm – French  doors leading to a balcony overlooking the street.    In the end, she picked the one we already knew she owned – the one bedroom apartment with the hideous glass walls.   That apartment cost around $400K and she had put aside $100k to remodel it.

 

 

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Many time House Hunters International features second homes being bought on the ocean – such as this episode in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.   HHI has filmed on every continent – including going to the Artic Circle!!

 

Now, if you watch House Hunters a lot – you know that most of the houses are not the kind you see in decorating magazines.   The majority of them are just normal, regular houses.  And – the way they are decorated and renovated are usually not spectacular, but just nice.    The last scene where House Hunters returns several months later to see the couple all settled into their new house is the best of the show.  I love to see how much they remodeled and renovated – and what the house looks like now with all their own furniture.   But honestly, most of the finished houses aren’t really decorated. When they are, it’s special and a real bonus to watch.

 

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Houses of all types and in all price ranges are shown – here is a nicer house shown on House Hunters International.

 

While the last scene is usually somewhat anticlimactic, the show this weekend in Paris was anything but.  When they showed the lawyer in her new, totally renovated apartment, Elisabeth and I both gasped out loud.  We started screaming – Oh My Gosh!!!   The apartment was so beautiful!!  I couldn’t get over the changes she had made - it was a total gut job and it was fabulous!

We immediately started trying to find the apartment on the internet so we could see more of it – and after 10 minutes Elisabeth hit pay dirt when she discovered a lot of information and pictures the beautiful Parisian apartment.  Of course the truth is always more interesting than the fake story.   The owner is actually living in Paris part time.  She also lives in Maine.  When she isn’t in Paris, her apartment is available for lease!   Her name is Abby  Gordon and she writes a blog for other Expats – called Paris Weekender.  On the blog she wrote in detail about the renovation of her new apartment.  

The real estate agent that was on the show has been featured several times on House Hunters International.  It turns out she owns a company that specializes in  apartment rentals for travelers.   Here are the before and after pictures of the apartment and information on how you can rent it if you go to Paris!!

Enjoy!!

 

Here is how House Hunters International advertised the episode:

Abby Gordon memorized maps of Paris before ever setting foot in France. So when a job transfer to the city of her dreams came up, she took the chance. Now, after five years of renting, Abby is ready to take her relationship with the City of Light to the next level. She wants to buy an apartment that reflects her personal style. But in one of the priciest housing markets in the world, property consultant Adrian Leeds knows Abby will have to adjust her ideas of perfection. See what happens when House Hunters International settles down in Paris, France.

 

And here were Abby’s requirements for an apartment (which I got from her blog – not the show!)

1.  Good rental potential

2.  Good view – but negotiable

3.  A balcony or terrace would be nice

4. Elevator (she didn’t get that!)

5.  Decent building near the metro

6.  Decent neighbors

7. One bedroom

 

She hired the Adrian Leeds Group to show her properties around Paris.  After the papers on her new apartment were signed, House Hunters International filmed her and Adrian looking at three apartments – one of which was already hers.  She pretended to be interested in all three – and at the end of the show, she announced the one apartment she had picked.   Adrian has been on House Hunters International several times and you might recognize her for her vibrant personality and her trademark red glasses and red lipstick:

Adrian Leeds, the real estate that showed Abby the three apartments.

 

The apartment Abby chose to buy is in the Le Marais – an historic neighborhood in the center of Paris – where many of the oldest buildings are located.  This area is known for once housing French nobles and during the 19th and early in the 20th century it was the center of Jewish life in Paris – even today, it retains that role on the Rue de  Rosiers.   The Marais is also famous for being a gay community.   The streets of Le Marais are cobbled, with lots of restaurants, stores and art galleries lining them.  The apartment is located in an 18 century maison, just two blocks from the metro and near Rue de Rosiers and Place des Vosges. 

 

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And here is the apartment Abby chose.  It is one bedroom – you can see the bedroom on the very right behind the glass blocks.  There are two large windows that overlook the street.  The building is 18th century but the apartment is very modern, as you can see.  But, it’s in her budget – and with her $100,000 for remolding expenses, Abby is sure she can make it look good – Elisabeth and I weren’t quite as sure!!

 

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At one end of the apartment is the kitchen, open to the living room.  Abby complains it’s not great – but the real estate agent tells her the kitchen is fine.  Through the glass blocks is the bedroom.

 

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The bedroom.  Yes, it’s pretty terrible!  Abby hates the glass blocks and she keeps referring to them.  She really does not like them at all – and neither did I.  I’m sure the previous owners thought this was a good way to bring light into the bedroom. but it couldn’t be more unattractive.  

 

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The gray tiled bathroom was nice enough – but the door is so narrow you have to turn your body sideways to walk through it!  Again, Abby really doesn’t like this. 

 

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Once you make it through the narrow door the bathroom is actually somewhat spacious with two windows overlooking the courtyard.

 

Once Abby purchased the apartment, she hired an architect/interior designer who helped her with the renovations.  It was a total gut job.  But you didn’t see this part on the show.  I found these pictures on Abby’s blog – Paris Weekender.

 

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Taken during the renovation – you can see the glass blocks are now completely gone and the bedroom is open to the main living room.  Notice you can see old octagonal tiles that were on the floor under the hardwoods.  Wonder if those couldn’t be salvaged?   New plumbing and electricity goes into the concrete floor.

 

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And looking from the kitchen back to the bedroom – the door leads into the bathroom.  Those windows overlook the courtyard and were later replaced.  You can really see the old tiled floor here – it just kills me that they weren’t salvaged!!!!

 

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Here, the narrow bathroom is gutted. 

 

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Now you can see there is a wall that has been added between the bedroom – and what will be the powder room.   And in the living room – you can see the original beams have been exposed there – at a great expense, says Abby.

 

 

 

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Close up of the gorgeous beams. 

 

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Here, the old radiators are cleared out.  You can see the wood French windows – with the scrolled iron grills outside.

 

 

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Here is the view of the living room – where the kitchen used to be – the bedroom is through the opening, next the powder room and then the front door.   

 

 

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And looking the other way in the living room – the kitchen will be placed along this wall as opposed to how it was before.

 

After the renovations were completed – House Hunters International came back to see the apartment and show it to the audience.  The last time we had seen the apartment, it looked like this:

 

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How the apartment looked when Abby bought it – and how it looks now:

 

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When the final reveal came on - the owner, Abby, was standing in front of the fireplace and mirror, and Elisabeth and I just gasped out loud!  We couldn’t believe how different it looked!  We were shocked.  You have to understand, that most renovations don’t look like this on House Hunters.  Sometimes the new owners don’t even do anything new to the house.  But this was just ….wow!!!  This is where the kitchen was before – and the glass blocks that divided the bedroom.  Now – there is a glass door leading to the bedroom and the white door leads to the powder room.

 

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And looking the other direction towards the new kitchen.  The room is divided by the sofa and tall island.  There is a chandelier in the living area and two nickel pendants in the kitchen.  The sofa opens out into a queen sized bed – making the apartment sleep double the amount of people.

 

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Everything in the apartment was custom designed with storage in mind.  The kitchen is fully functional with a farm sink(!) and a refrigerator that hides behind doors.  There is also a washer/dryer.  For renters – the kitchen is stocked with dishes, cutlery, pots and pans – so you can cook if you want to.  French tiles were chosen for the backsplash and for a “rug” under the island.

 

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Here’s another close up of the kitchen –  I love the brass bars over the doors and cabinets and I love the white hood.  The tall island is a good idea to visually separate the two areas so that if the kitchen is messy you don’t see it from the living area.

 

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For continuity – in the living area – brass bars are added to the cabinets as in the kitchen.  This way a rolling ladder can  be placed here to reach the upper cabinets.  The Louis XV styled fireplace is so beautiful – especially with the brick and antique mirror above it – along with the sconces.  The chandelier is perfectly reflected in the mirror.   The fireplace, though not working – is the focal point of the living room and it is so pretty!!!  The backs of the cabinets are painted a soft aqua to coordinate with the colored tiles in the kitchen.  Though this room is quite small it reads large.  The flatscreen is in the cabinet on the left side. 

 

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Close up of the desk and fireplace.  Free wifi and DVD player comes with the rental apartment.

 

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Here you can see the front door on the right, the powder room door in the middle, and the paned steel bedroom door on the left.

 

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Here is the custom designed steel door that opens to the bedroom.  The door has windows to let in the bright western light from the living area.  

 

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And with the door open – there is a portiere that matches the living room curtains – for those guests that need blackout light in the bedroom.  You just pull the curtain closed against the windows of the door!  Here you can see the custom made bed nook that was built to fit the space – underneath is extra storage drawers.

 

Marais Apartment December 2012-52

The powder bath leads into the bedroom through the opposite door. 

 

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For design continuity, the same concrete tiles are used here as were used in the kitchen. 

 

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The bed has a handy shelf behind it for a clock radio.  Cute mirror and sconces and chandelier.  And I love the pretty embroidered fabric in aqua and beige that is a perfect match with the colors found in the living room.  The fabric hangs from a canopy – held up by brass railings.  You can see the small hall with the portiere that leads to the living room.  Remember – this was the space that was behind the horrid glass block wall!!  The door on the left leads to the powder room.

 

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Across from the bed is a large mirror which helps make the room appear larger.  A new window was placed here – facing the courtyard.   Through the door on the left is the shower room – where the very narrow bathroom was before.

 

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And here is the shower room – with a new sliding door that makes the entrance wide enough for a person to walk through it – as opposed to before.   When House Hunters International showed this room – I started hyperventilating and screaming to Elisabeth – “OMG!!  We have to take a picture of this!!!!”  That shower door just slayed me.  Isn’t it gorgeous?!!!   And in true European  fashion – there is no toilet here – yes, that’s right!  It’s just a shower room.  Again, Abby used the same tiles in here, but sparingly, this time. 

 

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Cute lanterns mix with the steel door, as does the mirror, which opens to a medicine shelf behind. 

 

What I found really interesting was looking at Abby’s Pinterest – you can see where she formulated ideas for her new apartment:

 

old windows as shower stall. like.

She pinned this picture of a shower door that looks amazingly like hers!

 

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And there was this picture – where the panes are frosted.  I like them clear better!

 

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This bed looks very similar to her own – with the wood canopy above and the curtains and drawers below.

 

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She even pinned Layla’s darling bedroom in her old house- The Lettered Cottage.

 

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Under this pinned picture of a bed drawer – Abby wrote “good idea”  - yes, indeed!

 

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She pinned this picture of a French door between rooms – almost like what she ended up with.

 

calming white with a touch of colour

And she pinned pictures of kitchens with the range on the back wall – just like hers.

 

This pin was most telling – with the same type of tiled backsplash as hers, along with the farmsink.   Pinterest is such a great tool when gathering ideas for a renovation – all Abby had to do was take her ipad with her to a meeting with the designer and say  - “look, this is what I want, tiles like this for my backsplash.”   The designer’s job is made so much easier, knowing exactly what the client wants.  Love this kitchen!

 

 

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Now that the apartment is completed – it’s available for lease through the real estate agent’s company:  Adrian Leeds Group HERE.

 

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Be sure to look at all the apartments on her web site – there are many that are redone just like this one!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Paris via House Hunters International.  Next month, there is another House Hunters International from Paris again with Adrian Leeds – be sure not to miss it!  HERE.

 
 
Interior Designer Architect Martine Di Mattéo – no web site, but you can email her here:  Martine.di.Matteo@gmail.com

 

And to read Abby Gordon’s blog Paris Weekender, go HERE.

 

 

89 comments:

  1. Wow- Joni you have done it again! Great start to a Monday morning. What a fabulous makeover- I would happily live there forever!

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  2. TV shows have to be 'forced'.

    Exactly why HGTV garden shows are fluff. Too much time, aka money, to show a real garden be planted & then mature for the camera.

    However, remember decades ago Victory Garden? Peter Seabrook would walk & talk his way through gorgeous mature gardens.

    Learned tons from him. L-E-A-R-N-E-D.

    That's a concept long forgotten.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    Replies
    1. ...oh yes!...victory garden and the original this old house...a perfect sunday afternoon...(tara do you sometimes fill in for walter on saturday mornings?)....blessings laney

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  3. OMG--I did the exact same sleuthing after seeing that episode! The designer Martine Di Mattéo has been featured before on some of the House Hunters International Paris makeovers (if you look at the apts offered by the Adrian Leeds group you'll see some of them)...wish she had a website! Love this! Thank you for making my day!

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  4. Love love love!!!! Love the show, love this post, love the flat! Great topic to post on Joni! Can't wait for the next one!

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  5. ""Thank you, Joni, for another AMAZING post! I had an especially wonderful cup of coffee as I read about HGTV on this Monday morning. I was aware of the" scandal", and the info you gave was interesting!
    Thank you again, for all the research you put into this...it continues to be my favorite blog!

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  6. That is an amazing makeover! Thanks for sharing it.

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  7. It "was" one of my favorite shows. I don't think I'll watch it anymore now. I don't like to be lied to. I appreciate you being honest!!

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  8. We love House Hunters International! It's a great way to see houses overseas and get an idea of pricing, even if it is staged. Thanks for bringing us the back story on this one... we were on vacation last week and missed the episode.

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  9. The transformation is amazing. I like very much that she chose to expose the beams and the new floor plan. I do question the use of the blah white cabinets. They seem out of place with the architectural details of the rest of the apartment. If white cabinets were preferred I would have done a creamy white with a antique wash, or a light distressed wood. I also would have used a different door for the bathroom. The bedroom is delicious!

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  10. OH LA LA !! Gosh, I can't even get through the whole post without commenting! It's soooo beautiful! How tall are the ceilings? I want to put a chandelier like that one in our house but I'm afraid it will hang too low. Please tell me the ceilings are 8'...

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  11. After reading 10 or 12 blogs this weekend with one pic and "Happy Weekend" type comments- I read yours this morning- What a contrast! Loved the story, loved the "Before and After" and appreciate so much the time you take to post. Your blog is a confection! Thank you!

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  12. Joni, your right...you never see this kind of transformation on house hunters...it looks amazing! I love the old beams!

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  13. What an epic post with so much juicy aspects - design, makeovers, house hunting, overseas house, and behind the scenes news! I hope you know your research and home related sherlock holmes skills are very much appreciated! Wow - that flat really has transformed tremedously. I must laugh though because in London I am rather used to small spaces so when Americans think everything is so sweet and charming until they realize how much sweet and charming costs to buy and then refurbish. Do you have any gossip on London stuff?? Can not wait.

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  14. Joni you and Jennifer are super sleuths!
    You know I love these before and afters and this is amazing!!
    That fireplace what a superb focal point, the beams exposed her new bedroom and bath design the windows and doorways!
    I will definitely visit her blog!

    Come with me on my adventure in France.
    life, possibilities, grace
    a beautiful dream...

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  15. I always wondered how the buyers could make a choice from only three options!!!!
    Boy, my life would have been much easier as a designer, if I could have forced my clients to choose from just three fabrics!!!
    This was a wonderful transformation, but I don't understand how people can sit at the island behind the sofa. There's NO ROOM!

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  16. What a great way to start the week. I love your blog, and as usual, you didn't disappoint. My favorite Paris episode is from last year and was a Martine De Matteo design. The episode was of a widow with young children. The "after" was amazing! Thank you for all your research and eye candy.

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    Replies
    1. That beautiful apt. also appears to be for rent on Adrian's site:
      http://adrianleeds.com/2013-03-05-15-52-57/2013-03-09-02-04-43/la-greneta/la-greneta-photos

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  17. well, I dropped everything this morning to read your post and peruse all the links. I saw this episode last week and loved the results! Thank you for sll the details for the very curious Francophiles!! So glad to know I can rent this. Merci beaucoup!

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  18. Joni...One of my favorite posts from you! I rarely watch HGTV anymore. I try to catch Sarah Richardson reruns and I have seen a few HH shows but was never a big fan. After reading this post I will have to check out the international version of HH more often. I have friends going to Paris this summer and I have sent them a link to Abby's blog. What a treasure trove of information she has for anyone visiting the city and surrounds.

    Thanks for all your always interesting posts and the beautiful pictures that make one feel as though they were standing in the rooms! Vikki in VA

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  19. Beautiful! I like everything but the crazy-quilt tiles, which distract from the elegant neutrals. What an amazing transformation and creative use of space. Best wishes!

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  20. It's difficult to believe that this renovation could be achieved for $100,000. I would like to know the "real" numbers. I like everything the owner did to make this a comfortable and inviting living space. While the kitchen is "happy happy" with the painted tiles, I think a more sophisticated look would have complimented the kitchen better. I would not have repeated these tiles in the shower and WC area. A fabulous transformation over all.

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  21. Love this post. I love Parisian peid a terres. They have mastered the art of organization and style in 400 square feet! Knew about HHI about 10 years ago when a friend bought a home in Hawaii. They were approached by their realtor about being on the show. Camera attrativeness is also a big part. You have to look good on camera. Still I love the show.

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  22. Fun post--thank you!
    Great use of space. I agree with a previous poster that the cabinets are underwhelming. I also don't care for the tile, which seem a bit too busy and whimsical for such a small but sophisticated space.

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  23. Joni, We are in Paris now and spent all afternoon in the Marais and eat Jewish food on Rue Rosiers a couple times a week. Thanks for posting this as we will definitely consider renting it next year as the cost is about the same as we have on our apartment on Isle Saint Louis also in the 4th that we rent each year through Guest Apartment Services. Hers is nicer and newer and would be a real treat to stay there.It is also easy to get many places on the Metro from there. You should come over. Yesterday we went to a fabulous museum, Musee Nissim De Camondo, that was the home of a Jewish banker and completely filled with French antiques you would love. I will blog about it when we get home at the end of May. Summer

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  24. Wow! Sorry I missed this. House Hunters International is usually the only show I try to catch on HGTV, but they keep moving the time for the re-runs around, and now they have "Love It or List It" in its former time slot. Ugh. I rarely catch the new shows that are on later. My favorites are always the ones in Europe, especially France, England, and Italy, or anything on the Mediterranean. I hope to see this in the re-runs. Love that shower door. Thanks for a fun post!

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  25. What a makeover, she knew what she wanted + did it. The choice of the tiles( while I would have not picked them ) is a matter of taste. Loved the fireplace! I can not watch HGTV any longer(too staged) but will check out this show. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  26. Great Post!! Great photos!! Love to see how the ideas come to full fruition.

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  27. I want to go!!!! (and I had no IDEA it was staged!!!!)
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  28. What a transformation. The bedroom and shower doors are absolutely fabulous!

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  29. Very interesting post! Loved the space, hated the tile. I loved the look of the shower doors, hated the thought of cleaning them...

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  30. While it's an amazing transformation, I have to join the few that hate the tile. It looks like something from a Montessori school. I do love the beams and some of the other special customizations through.

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  31. Great transformation. Apparently I don't have your super sleuth capabilities because I have not been able to find the square footage of the unit. Any idea what it is? The architect did a great job of packing a lot of functionality into a small space. Thanks for showing the apartment.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Patty M,

      366 sq feet. Too tight for my taste. What was the point of a table that seated 6? Can't imagine trying to entertain in such a small space. My room at the Best Western was bigger than that!

      Charlotte

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  32. Joni thank you for sharing your wonderful detective work with us again!You are seriously the BOMB when it comes to sleuthing out the details! I LOVED this post! It really is quite an amazing transformation. No I don't "love" that tile either, but sheesh the rest is pretty fab. I'm with you though, in that I wish those original tiles could have been saved. I would have given my eye teeth to get my little hands on em! *winks* I also LOVE HH International. And I knew it was staged from the beginning....Don't care. I'm just thrilled to see so many different homes in different parts of the world.
    I have also wondered how large an impact pinterest is having on the design world?....Maybe you could do a post about that someday? *winks* Vanna

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  33. Like other posters, I loved the beams and new floor plan -- but hated the tiles and cabinetry. Too much of a mishmash (closed TV doors in the middle of the cabinet, open bookshelves above/below) when the designer could have created more elegant, clean lines. Cheap-looking white bathroom door, too. I found the tiles loud and distracting, not charming.

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    1. The workmanship on the tile installation in the toilet is very poor which is only accentuated by the vibrancy of the tile choice.

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  34. Hi Joni,
    Loved this post! You are the guru of the bloggosphere! Loved everything about this, don't know why everyone is so down on the tiles, its nice to have a bit of fun and personality to what is essentially a weekender or rental (would also be lovely as a full time apartment). I liked the repeat of the tiles in the bathroom but used with restraint, it ties it all together. Doors gorgeous. Really well thought out space. Also love how you give links for further research!!!
    Thanks!! Libby

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  35. Joni, you did a great job as usual. I loved the before and after photos, but I also like how you even dug for the inspiration photos.

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    ReplyDelete
  37. This post was great. I have always wanted to rent an apartment for a few weeks in Paris. What a renovation-the shower doors AMAZING.
    HGTV and Bravo are addicting even if they are staged. HGTV should create a show called Fluff and Flip and let you be the designer!

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  38. My husband and I were also blown away when we saw this episode initially, Joni. I guess I'm in the minority because I love the concrete tiles. I like the cabinets, too, although I don't love them, especially the cabinet door over the TV with open shelving around it. I think one of the above posters was right about creamy white cabinets with a more distressed/antique feel.

    One of the other posters asked about the renovations--the homeowner said on the show that she went over budget and spent $130,000.

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  39. Reading this post was like watching a suspense interior TV drama and I needed a glass of wine for the excitement and anticipated results! That makeover is fantastic!

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  40. Gorgeous! Usually the visit back after they've moved in is so disappointing. Love the way she redid this. She knows what she is doing.

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  43. OMG what another great post! HHI is about the only worthwhile show on HGTV these days. My friend rented for years in the Marais and I've spent a lot of time there.Fourth floor Walkup, guests in the maids room on the 5th floor and traditional classic decor. She bought down in the Sarlat region and renovated a pile of rocks into a spectacular home. We were there last summer.

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  45. In NYC, I see a lot of transformations of itty-bitty banal boxes into luxurious homes, albeit still small; this one in Paris, however, is exceptional. The lesson here is not just the amount of space, but how one utilizes it. A well-thought out plan, carried through with quality workmanship and materials will always produce superb results, and often for less money than many generic approaches. If you do not want to live in a box, then think outside the box...

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  46. I absolutely love this post, and the apartment. It's gorgeous and smart. I've never been to Paris, but I'm saving this link for my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!!

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  47. Wonderful post and photos!!!

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  49. Thanks for sharing this post! Rooms are excellent and all the photos are wonderful.

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  51. The Apartment looks great, but I'm not nuts about the bathroom. It's so small!

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  52. Really nice renovation. I love the glass door leading to the bedroom. I used to watch House Hunters International and thought I was so lucky to live state side after seeing some of the kitchens on island homes.

    ~ Pam in Austin

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  53. I'm always intrigued with House Hunters International. My husband and I always fantasize about moving to any place we travel.
    I totally agree-this is a spectacular makeover and unusual for the show. Your detective work was magnifique! Loved the details and trailing you did on Pinterest.
    Just found your blog and look forward to following!
    Cheers, Heather @Stylemindchic

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  54. Hi Joni,
    Love what she did with the place! We're relocating to London in about a month and friend suggested I go on the show. When I started looking into it I found out what they're doing and decided is wasn't worth it. A big inconvenience for $300. I just did a post about my home search (we're renting) and did my own version of the show on my blog. My relocation agent was on the show a year ago. I wonder if you saw that episode--she was very pregnant she says. I haven't seen that one, I've been trying to fin it online. Anyway, pop over and weigh in on which property my husband and I are letting in London. www.monkeygrasshill.blogspot.com

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  55. Very cool Joni, thanks! Nothing better than a good before and after story and in Paris no less, mais oui!
    xo~
    T

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  56. I was always skeptical about House Hunters -- who would ever agree to purchase their home after seeing only 3 options! I suspected that they were really looking at lots more homes but only the top 3 were featured in the show. I had no idea that the whole thing was a bunch of that brown stinky stuff that helps the gardens grow... ;-)

    But the Paris apartment you're showing here is absolutely perfect. I would love to have a place like that waiting for me in the Marais when I'm in Paris for Maison et Objet. I know several great restaurants in that neighborhood. :-).

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  57. OMG, Joni, I'm over the top impressed with what she's done with this place. I just returned from France and stayed in a charming flat in the Marais my last two nights in Paris. I will definitely have to look into renting this place on a subsequent trip. I usually use AirBnB to book Parisian apartments but I'll have to check this out for sure.

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  58. I too like a decent sized bathroom...but I think that Americans are too obsessed with square footage. Give me a well designed room over a huge one with no functionality!

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  66. I love a good before and after story - brilliant!

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  68. This place actually looks stunning but I guess there is so much more this house can offer. I have actually moved in to my new apartment and I have certainly learned a lot from all these tips. So, thank you for sharing this post!

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  69. Holy Crap! I can't believe the renovation. You are right! I've never seen any House Hunter resident do this on the show. Good find Joni!

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  70. I'm going to my apartment renovation in few weeks so this post is very edicative for me :) great photos, thanks for sharing. (I like the dark wooden dor crossed with glass, great! ) thanks

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  72. Thanks, Joni, for the amazing play-by-play! I'm glad you like the renovations. You just got one thing wrong -- all my Pinterest photos, etc. didn't make my designer's life easier. I think she hates me now for being so picky and demanding!

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  74. This looks like the apartments Lubbock that I rented a a couple months ago. The floor plans and design was so cool! Great article thanks for sharing and thanks for showing photos.

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  75. If you saw this episode: http://www.amazon.com/Moving-up-in-Paris/dp/B00C18XAPG here is the renovation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71214692@N00/sets/72157634229186771/

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  76. Loved this transformation as well! A realtor friend who has taped several episodes let me in on the "secret" years ago and I was a good girl and kept my mouth shut, but seriously I thought it was obvious to everyone - just makes sense when considering the process of buying a house! The purchaser has to be under contract on the home they choose and often the other two homes are also on the market.

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  77. I think the "after" is a lovely space that the owner made use of very nicely to her taste. I'm totally in love with those ceiling beams!

    We filmed an episode of House Hunters International 1-1/2 years ago featuring our vacation home in the Dominican Republic. I'm not sure how the US only House Hunters is filmed, but regarding this quote:

    "Once you have signed on for a new mortgage, House Hunters comes and films you pretending to pick your own house out of the three choices. The other two houses are found by you - the contestant – and most likely are your friends’ houses and aren’t even for sale."

    In HHI the realtor is the one who finds the other homes that are shown & they really are for sale. For our experience in filming with them (and I believe with most others), the before/after is filmed the same day giving only enough time to make a few decor changes. HHI is now airing "Where are they now" episodes so we can all see how spaces have been transformed since purchasing (that being said I have noticed a few not very inspiring "afters' on that show).
    Carol @ http://theinspirednester.com/

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