As Paris is experiencing la canicule (heat wave) with temperatures reaching 40°C, I have sequestered myself in my bedroom for the past week because it is the coolest room in the house. By the way, I still don’t understand Celsius and I keep having to ask my husband, “Is 35°C hot because it doesn’t sound hot? In fact, it sounds near freezing.” With an eye roll, he tries to explain Celsius to me but then stops because he knows it’s fruitless… Just like trying to teach me the metric system. I am forced to yell, “I’m American, it doesn’t compute!” Anyway, while I have been in my bedroom for hours on end, I couldn’t help saying to myself, “How can I improve this room?” My husband just loves when I have these thoughts. But honestly, in my “condition” I happen to spend a lot of time in my bedroom and therefore I think it should be rather remarkable. I needed some inspiration… so, as usual these days, my go to spot is Pinterest. To me, Pinterest is like having someone rip out or earmark all the pages of the magazines that you love. Inspiration City.
On my quest for bedroom inspiration, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw one bedroom photo. To me, on this hot Parisian summer day, it was the perfect bedroom. I needed to find out everything about it so I clicked deeper and deeper and discovered that the bedroom was a chambre in a hotel in the south of France!
Let’s back up a bit… I usually only blog about hotels, houses or apartments that I love wholeheartedly… Everything has to be nearly 100% perfect. This is why I hardly post anything I find in the current shelter magazines because it’s never a whole picture. I usually only partially like it. 99% of times in shelter magazines these days it is obvious that there was a battle between the designer, the wife and the husband. You can clearly see when someone “got their way” and that crappy family heirloom found its place in the living room. Ugh. You know what I’m talking about. (By the way, this never happened at our house growing up. My father never had a say in the decor which was best because otherwise I’m sure there would have been a lot of “comfortable” furniture around the house. This is apparently a family tradition of not letting any non-gay men have any say in the decorating. I swear to God, my grandmother reupholstered my grandfather’s reclining chair (ugly and comfortable) in Pierre Deux fabric.)
Anyway… As I was discovering more and more photos of the hotel with this incredible bedroom, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with it. Page after page, I didn’t hate a thing! In fact, I loved everything! So, I decided to do a whole blog about it for you! Also, I decided that this would be my first “tandem blog” (I made that phrase up ) with my friend Heather from Lost In Arles blog! Why? Because the hotel is in Arles and my friend Heather is the expert on all things Arles. I will chatter on about the hotel’s decor and Heather will cover the history of the hotel and of the little village! So here we go…
The hotel is called L’Hotel Particulier and is in the beautiful little town of Arles in the south of France. Let’s take a look…
The house (l’hotel particulier in French, meaning basically mansion) was originally built in 1824 for the mayor of Arles.
Look at those big black entry doors and don’t you love the ribbon/bow door knockers? The zinc planters are not the traditional Provence anduze pots and this sets the tone for the hotel.
I mean, honestly, does it get better than this? Everything is perfectly to scale. The pool is a dream. No one needs a pool bigger that this. While we are on the subject of pools… Don’t you hate when people put those pools in their backyard with big rocks/boulders and waterfalls? Specifically, if you need a reference, I’m talking about the “backyardscape” of Vicki G on the Housewives of Orange County. It actually pains my heart to look at it so I close my eyes when they show her backyard. And don’t even get me started on her collection of artificial flowers. And yet, I continue to watch the show religiously.
Okay, back to pretty… My husband and I have a running dialogue about the beauty of the color of limestone (and that is one of the reasons why I married him) and we also discuss how French shutter colors go so well with the limestone… French blue, sage green, black, lavender, yellow… Almost any color. The shutters of the hotel mimic the Provence sky. Oh happy happy.
The French just really know how to do a courtyard… pea gravel, bistro chairs and tables, matching pedestal urns (it almost doesn’t matter how many urns you have in a garden if they are all matching), lemon trees, cypress trees… It is so simple yet so perfect. I wonder how many times I’m going to say the word perfect in this blog. I should get a thesaurus.Okay let’s go inside…
Completely modernized yet retaining its Provençal glow, the hotel has a simple color story… White. If you’ve ever spent the summer in the heat of Provence, white, light and breezy would be your color story as well… It is what the region dictates.
This is the photo that sent me down this rabbit hole of beauty. Gilt ciel de lit attached to the ceiling with a chain draping the bed and headboard with crisp white linen… And that trim! I think it looks a bit Italian. Ivory marble fireplace, gilt bergère chair with white linen, and the simple matelassé bedding. And we cannot leave out the best part… the smoky gray and white scenic Zuber wallpaper. I love how they only did a couple of walls. Restraint is key. I think this is a good time to point out that all shades of white can work in one room. I would sell my organs for this room.
Let’s take a look at some more of the hotels bedrooms…
I love how they threw in some modern elements. The Marcel Breuer 1920s Wassily chair with its black bands wrapped around steel tubing. You can find the reproduction of this chair on Knoll.com. You're welcome. The Corbusier-ish chaise in pony hide. You can find the reproduction of this chaise on Cassina.com. You're welcome. I love the antique chair with the modern desk. See that standing lamp? Those were my best selling lamps at my shop. We had them imported to California from Paris. They are from a company called Mis en Demeure. You’re welcome. The white curtains are sublime … Lots of pleats…oh, and look! The curtains touch the floor! Imagine that. Are you sensing my facetiousness? Little story… The last official decorating job my mother and I had ended over a dispute with curtains. Our client was a super wealthy woman who had bought a historical house in Santa Barbara. We were excited to work on the project… Until… Until the client asked us to make sure that all of the curtains were 2 inches off of the floor so her housekeeper could easily Swiffer underneath them. Needless to say, we quit. Neither of us ever took another decorating job. I can’t work with stupid.
My favorite thing about this room is everything. I love the stark white walls with molding, the height of the ceiling, the tomette floors (the tomato red terra-cotta quintessentially Provence floors), the antique gilt furniture with white linen fabric with those little tiny nail heads. Look at the little ottoman covered with white linen fabric topped with glass. That was smart. I absolutely adore the white table topped with glass at the end of the bed. Love! And look at that unadorned ciel de lit. This is a perfect example of an inconspicuous juxtaposition. Old with new but subtly.
Now let’s take a look at some of the common rooms… Common as in public, not as in “common” because nothing about this hotel is common.
This mirrored room leading to the garden… Not a stitch of color. Love. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe white leather Barcelona chairs. You can find the reproduction of these chairs at Design Within Reach. You're welcome. Obviously reproductions but so what! The simple rectangular gilt mirror is what that wall dictates.
Oh my God, where do we start with this dining room? Stark white walls, exposed stone, modern sleek fireplace, mismatched antique milky white Provençal chairs, some with a rush seats. There are those lamps again! Love. Gilt settee with white linen. Ivory floors. Candelabras on each table. Antique ivory monogrammed linens on a silver charger with a little sprig of an olive tree. It is so provincial yet it feels formal at the same time.
Look at this other bedroom. Look at that chest of drawers/commode. Antique style, modern color. These are made from a company called Côté France. Make sure to look at their classic line. I did a whole blog about the company back in 2009. Click HERE to see. The company is located in New York so you don’t have to import! You’re welcome. Look at the curtain rod! Look at the curtains billowing. Pop of tomato red with the rug. There is that glorious gray and white scenic Zuber wallpaper again. Maybe it’s the same room, different angle. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.
Guess what? This gem of a hotel even has a spa. A chic one. Look…
I just put this lamb on my Christmas wish list.
I have a feeling I’m starting to sound like that annoying friend that we all have who is always yelling, “Look look look!” So, I’m going to shut up and let you explore the hotel yourself with the next set of pictures… Look at all the details. Whoops, sorry, I’ll shut up.
Those black tole trays!
Let me state for the record that this beautiful monastery-ish stark white hotel in no way causes me to divorce my other decorating story… Florals, velvets, Pierre Frey, leopard prints, etc. It’s just that… I like it all. This week, due to the heat, I’m all about white, white, white. I just think that this hotel really deserves some merit for its brilliant design scheme, it’s merging of eras, it’s well thought out simplicity, its restraint, its history and its overall fabulousness.
Okay, that’s all the talk about the decor of the hotel. Now, pop over to my friend Heather’s blog, Lost in Arles, to learn about the incredibly interesting story of the hotel and the prolific history of the town. You will not be disappointed cuz she’s super smart and has a love of her village of Arles that is infectious… In a good way. :-)
*Something you don’t know about me? As you will discover in my book, if I ever finish it, is that I have tried literally everything in the world to cure my ALS. I must be doing something right because I am still here after five years. I don’t know what I’ve done right though. In the beginning, I tried everything but after a certain amount of failures and a certain amount of years, you just grow tired of the fight. I decided that the best thing I could do for my ALS is my own personal little cocktail… Nearly vegetarian diet, high-fat foods to keep my weight on, extra amino acids, my power food called Liquid Hope, and keeping a positive attitude and trying to forget that I have a terminal disease. I take a couple Western drugs that are supposed to slow my ALS as well. After that, I gave up on searching and searching for the next best cure for ALS. Unfortunately, my best friend Yolanda Foster, contracted Lyme’s disease and is as sick as a dog… A pretty dog. Yolanda still has the fight in her (and the resources) to discover a cure. She and I both think that our illnesses are somehow related on a cellular level. So, with that being said, I have let Yolanda be the guinea pig. She is brave and strong, and I am not. Enter Haelan 951. This is a fermented soy juice that is supposed to be miraculous. Google it. Yolanda has been taking it for a while now and suggested that I try it. I did my research and decided that I could be brave enough. Two weeks later, $400 of shipping charges, French bureaucratic bullshit and €100 of custom fees… I have a batch of juices. Of course I was terrified this morning to try my first dose. I scoured the Internet for possible side effects, couldn’t find any, so bottoms up… And when I say bottoms up, I mean down the hatch… In my feeding tube. I was prepared for the worst… I thought my stomach was going to explode possibly. But one hour later and nothing. It had not killed me and yes, it crossed my mind that it would. Death by soybean. But here I am, 12 hours later… Feeling great. So, onwards Haelan 951. May the force be with me.