So aside from Paris and Belgium being so very much more than I ever could have dreamed, I want to talk about what, aside from the company and the food and the landmarks, really lit a fire in my soul and completely changed the way I view the world and beauty.
And not even the grand palaces or city streets (though those were all also breathtaking -- never in my life have I been in a place where every damn square inch is covered in beauty) but the intimate settings I was privy to as I ventured between the two countries.
First, let me show you the Airbnb I stayed at in Paris. Full disclosure, these are screengrabs from the listing because I didn't want to seem like a creeper taking photos of a stranger's home. Also, I was in Paris, within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I wasn't going to be spending what precious little time I had there going full house blogger.
Now, this was my first Airbnb venture and as for this particular apartment, it was everything. The host was an absolute doll -- she was just wonderful and cute and kind and I kind of wish we could keep in touch, if I'm being honest.
Instead, Iet's creep her apartment.
This is the room I stayed in. It may not seem like much, but this place had such character. Like there are two hidden closets there flanking the window, and the feel of this bright, white space was just ... beautiful. I could open these antique windows and listen to the city at night and get a great breeze, during the day it was full of light and fresh energy -- I don't know, as it goes for a random Parisian apartment it felt perfect. Also I completely own that high gloss teal Kallax unit to the far right. Aww yiissssss. Once I build it wherever I'm moving to next, it will now forever remind me of Paris.
The other side of the room, with the built-in mirror and the marble fireplace. So effortless, so simple, yet so ... everything.
The hallway inside of the apartment. When you walked into the front area, basically you were surrounded by doors -- one to a closet, one to the room I stayed in, one to the host's bedroom, one to the toilette (standalone toilets ftw) and then this hall that led to the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom. The mouldings and trimwork were just astounding. Those angles!
The living room. Yes, I'm aware it's fairly IKEAed out, but to me that's not a bad thing at all because SO IS MY LIFE. It was a truly viable way to see how things I actually own are used in completely different settings (and continents!) than the one currently I reside in. Maybe it's because I've never lived in an city (a) apartment (b) with history (c) alone, but this whole set up was just very meta to me. Like what my life could have been like, had I made a couple of different choices. What you imagine places being like, had your life gone a little differently.
The kitchen, which was probably the least visually stunning (aside from the toilette which was literally a floating tank toilet and carpet) space, however I learned some quick and dirty tricks on how to do some serious small space living just by helping to make breakfast the morning I was there. Height is everything. I also felt validated in the bathroom, which was a clawfoot tub with a retrofitted shower head in a weird corner with a pedestal sink and a small mirror and as much narrow shelving as you could possibly dream for such a small space and I felt right the fuck at home so much it made me giggle. Except trade the black and white color scheme. Flip it and reverse it, as it were.
Basically this apartment taught me the joys of white on white on white after living in my gypsy jewelbox of a saturated home and illustrated that when it comes to living comfortably in a small space, it is so totally doable with style that isn't necessarily minimalistic. Also I think I may have just been Parisian in a past life because so many of the things that just ~are~ how at least this home's inhabitants live are the things I felt like I dreamed up for my own home. What's the most stunning for me is how effortless it all felt -- it just was. Not like my current house where obviously a lot of work went into it looking a particular way. And while it's work I'm very much proud of ... I want my home to feel bright, airy, friendly, effortless, full of light and life ... like this apartment felt to me.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE.
On Thursday I'll show you the other apartment I was privy to, as well as a couple of shops and other scenery that really grabbed my eye while abroad and probably changed my personal design aesthetic forever.