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House Stalking French Style

I didn’t want to do it. I protested heavily. I came up with all sorts of excuses. In the end, I was forced to do it and… I was happy I did it.

As you know, sometimes I let fear get the best of me and it was roaring its ugly head yesterday.

My husband 99% of the time always lets me make the plans and we always end up doing chick stuff that I like… Flea markets (he likes), walks in the garden (he likes), Sunday sushi (he hates), visits with my friends (he mostly hates), Sunday church candlelighting (he tolerates but I think he secretly likes), museums (he likes because I would not have married him otherwise) and a host of other activities that I always have planned on the weekends.

Yesterday, he had a plan that he wanted to do. Ugh… What is it, David? It turns out he wanted to rent a boat and take it out on the lake. Now, this sounds like a perfectly lovely plan… To take out a boat and cruise around beautiful Lake Annecy in the French Alps on a beautiful summer day. To me, it sounded like pure hell. Before you think I'm a total brat, let’s remember that I have ALS and that includes being totally paralyzed, having a huge breathing machine, a feeding tube and diaphragm pacer that cannot get wet, a wheelchair and last but not least, I am Irish and have very fair skin and I do not think that fact should be overlooked. On top of all of that, my husband is the worst driver on land so I can only imagine what he’s like on water. This little boat ride was not my idea of a relaxing Sunday.

I had a lot of excuses but I think my most valid excuse was, “What if I drown?”

My husband looked at me and quite frankly said, “So what if you drown.”

My answer? I thought about it for a bit and decided, “You’re right, so what if I drown. Let’s go!”

I also knew that I selfishly wanted to look at all of my favorite houses along the lake… The expensive ones. So now, this brings us to today’s blog. I am totally going to pull a Cote de Texas blog (which I love) and go on and on endlessly about houses. So what, it’s fun.

Annecy, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful and charming villages in France. Situated in the French Alps, near Geneva, Annecy offers “the perfect summer.” The main attraction is obviously the lake… Clear blue, no sharks (yes, a legitimate concern of mine), no snakes, no big yachts (tacky), little restaurants dotting the shore, and from the lake you can see castles, snowcapped mountains and centuries-old churches. Does it get better than that? Yes it does… The old town of Annecy could not be more charming with fairytale buildings, flowers everywhere, waterfront restaurants with swans floating by with their babies, gardens, all different types of cuisine and great shopping. The once a month brocante is one of the best I’ve ever been to (more on that later) and the Sunday’s farmers market would make Julia Child jump for joy. Check out my previous blogs about Annecy HERE and HERE and HERE.

But today, it’s all about the lake houses of Annecy. It might not get much better. 18th-century houses on the lake. My God! This is why I eventually agreed to go on the boat… Because I needed a lake view of my favorite houses… Here we go…

 This first house, at first glance, looks a bit odd in its position because the front of the house is facing the side yard and not the water. But, it actually works because the house gets a broader view of the length of the lake.

 This is their left facing house towards the garden.
 Not too shabby, huh.

And now for the second house, equally amazing... but with a better garden.
A perfectly symmetrical lake house. I would, however, have made the windows larger. I know that they built it this way on purpose to keep the cold out and the heat in during the winter and vice-versa in the summer... But still, it's 2015... retrofit!

 This is their left side yard with a pergola. A pergola on the lake for God's sake!

This is still their yard.
A statue in the pergola.

I would, however, remove the right side canopy because it makes the house look like a hotel. Also, I would remove the contemporary "I am from Geneva" flying bird art installation.

Saving the best for last... My favorite lake house... And here's the best news... It's for sale. If you have €10 million, it's all yours. Here we go...

I would probably change these floors back to their original state because they look a little Home Depot.
 I love the tartan plaid yellow walls with the yellow print tile floors.
Why do rich people always fuck up a kitchen? Your house is huge... put the washing machine in the cellar, for God's sake. Obviously, this kitchen will have to be gutted. Two words... La Cornue.
 Even though this room looks old, it is perfect with the vintage wallpaper. I might do a four-poster bed with fabric. 
This room is perfection including the persimmon colored linen bed spreads.
 Love this room but I would take out that stupid Edwardian chair and that little desk in front of the door and add a larger gilt mirror (but not fancy) over the chest of drawers.
I would take out all of the furniture around the upstairs staircase and I would add nearly floor-to-ceiling family photos in all the same picture frames.

To see more amazing properties in Annecy click HERE.
So, obviously the boat ride was worth it even though my husband nearly hit 3 buoys, 4 kayakers and 3 swimmers. The upside to our adventure is that  I got to see my favorite houses from the vantage point of the water, I got a little sunshine and I got to see my hunky husband in a bathing suit. Winning!

*A little extra news… I decided I’m going to add new items to my shop only once a month. I’m going to do this because I need time to collect everything and it’s more fun for you to have lots of stuff to choose from. I have been scouring flea markets and brocantes for the past month and I am ready to debut everything Monday, July 6. Some really really great pieces at every price point...Paintings, kitchenware, serving pieces, chinoiserie, wine baskets, linens, and some surprise pieces! Everything quintessentially French. I will be giving sneak peaks throughout the week on my Instagram. You can follow me on Instagram HERE! Stay tuned…


  1. You were very brave to go on this boat tour because let's face it boats are scary. I've never known anyone who could drive one properly. Love that house! Wouldn't mind buying it and setting up in France, and you are soooo right about that kitchen, it needs to be emptied out and adorned with a La Cornue.
    So excited for Monday July 6th! I can't wait to see what you've collected! XO

  2. Rich people fuck up their kitchen s because many never go in them, they have staff! I liked the faded glory of the house and it upsets me a little to think that some crass popstar might buy it and make it a MacHotel house

  3. Because of you, Annecy is now top of my list of places to visit in France. Just beautiful.

  4. I am picturing "hunky husband" in bathing suit driving the boat, almost hitting 3 buoys, 4 kayakers, and 3 swimmers :-)) And you using some swear words? That lake and the trees and sky look like paradise. And that pergola!!! Can you imagine the parties there? Huge hugs to you.

  5. Wow, I am so excited to see this on your blog just now! I just showed my husband "look, look!" as he walked out the door to work. We will be in Annecy four weeks from today. Peak season for tourists like us I am sure, however we have lived in Hong Kong for the past year and will swap this relentless humidity and heat for throngs of sun-burnt tourists in Annecy any day! My sons and I have been researching local food (esp bread and cheese) to try and excursions to take, I'll show them these pics when they are home from their last day of school today. Great timing! Just looking at the soothing vistas gives me enough spirit to bear the heat today ...... Sally xx

    1. Eat any and everything with cheese! Fondue, tartiflette, fondue, fondue . . .

  6. I absolutely MUST visit Annecy! It is gorgeous. I would even live in a shack just to be near that crystal blue water (although, I would prefer one of the beautiful mansions...). I'm glad you had a safe trip.
    Praying for you,
    Michelle from

  7. Just thought of something, can we pool our money together, ha ha ha....share time...LOL....or they say timeshare...I love these places.....yummmmmmmmmm

  8. Yes, you are crazy, crazy brave to have agreed to the boat ride - but I have to say David's response was pretty irrefutable. :)

    Now wait...I just can't get over that kitchen! On a ten million Euro house? Or that there is a big trampoline in the yard. *le sigh*

    And no, Madame Decret...with all due respect, one does not retrofit fenetres à meneaux from the Rennaissance! See the cross in the middle? Voila.

    Sending crazy amounts of Love and Strength to you up in Paris - so close and yet so far,

  9. What a beautiful setting. Thanks for the tour. I am looking forward to your upcoming sales; you always find unique and charming items.

  10. Ellie that was brave but how exhilarating to see these amazing homes on the water (a dream of mine)!
    An outing you will always remember!

    The Arts by Karena
    Art Gallery Opening!!

  11. What I love about your posts most is that you are so real. You say it like it is, no smarmy posts like everything is so wonderful because I realize to the extent that I can, life for you is a struggle. You make the best of it all. Yeah, rich people do fuck up their kitchens in addition to many other things. Money does not equal taste! You are a gem! X

  12. We haven't made it to Annecy yet but oh my! On the list now. And yes, rich people fuck up their kitchens all.the.time. I think in their heyday these houses would have had servants and so many kitchens in big unrenovated houses in France have this problem, don't they? A lottery win woukd not go amiss right now!

  13. Well, you didn't drown, which was a good thing and you got to see some beautiful houses. Sounds like the perfect day.

  14. This is a perfect post!A lot of YOU and your keen sense of style!Hugs from OHIO!!!xxxoo

  15. Absolutely stunning! Thank you for this post.


  16. Water and water-view houses are my favorite thing.

  17. My friend Hutton (Tony Duquette's protege ); says..."I pray every night that people with money get taste; and people with taste get money"!!!!!

    Have I told you that before? Hardly ever does it happen!

    any houses on a lake or a shore have the best viewing from the water! Santa Barbara especially!!!!

    We will be going on Charlie Munger's boat on the 4th! He is 92!!! Yikes! I met him almost 30 years ago! He was younger than I am.....and I thought he was a bit "old"!! But very, very smart!!!! Old is all in the attitude!!!!


  18. Just love this post Ellie, and yes you definitely need the last house. There is something very 'Sound of Music' about these huge properties on the lake side, very old fashioned charm


  19. By the way, just read Heather's comment above, and I think she may be right about the windows. Maybe we'll just have you redo the interiors, but nothing structurally endangering!


    1. What if we just made the windows a smidge bigger but kept the exact same look? I'm thinking it might be in bit claustrophobic in there. And I would want to take full advantage of the view. So many decisions!

    2. No, no and no. We are talking 16th century here! Maybe 17th but I doubt it. I hope that house is on the list of Monuments Historiques...
      Oscar the Grouch

    3. Oh Heather, I am so sorry but I have already started construction. I will send you an invitation to my housewarming party. :-)
      PS. I love you

  20. We spent May 2014 in Annecy and did the obligatory lake tour. Thank you for sharing your adventure as it reminded me of our wonderful time in this area of France.

  21. LOVE the house, interiors, and your suggestions! That blue water is gorgeous, too!

  22. Love, love, love this post!! I was in Annecy about 2 months ago and loved it! It's mostly because of you that we went. After seeing some of your other posts about Annecy I did a little research on it and decided it was a must. I cannot wait to go back. Next time I'll take a boat ride around the lake instead of a drive. Thank you for introducing me to beautiful Annecy!

  23. I've never seen a house like that.