Anne-Hélène @ Du Sel au Plafond's Profile

Display Name: Anne-Hélène @ Du Sel au Plafond
Member Since: 4/20/09

Latest Comments...

I can't believe how bossy people can be !

I had the best compliment from a friend of mine the other day. She went into our newly-renovated sunroom (which serves as a family room/play room/living room) and saw the seahorse lamps, the low 70's couches, the colorful Amy Butler's wallpaper, thrifted sconces, an old suitcase my grand-mother gave me to use as a coffee table, and my kid's toys in an Ikea bookcase. Usually, nobody comments on this room, because ecclectism is not what I'm supposed to crave here in France. She said "I would never have done that at home, but it's totally you and I love the result".

I loved that she aknowledged that it wasn't her personal style, but also that it was not an issue. And she loved the overall effect, which made me happy.

I'm guilty of nr 7 (two kids and two cats, one with long hair - my house is a mess). I'll stop apologizing now. I love my cats, let's learn to live with their furs...


Your Home, Your Choice: 10 Home Explanations You Don't Owe
6/29/14 03:50 PM

Guest room. Really, that's the only sacrifice we made to live in a well-situated house we could afford to buy. The garage was not considered a sacrifice since there's no parking problem in the street and we end up parking in front of the house 80% of the time.

I miss my guest room though. Parents and friends rarely come over since, you know "you don't have a guest room". We don't mind giving up our bedroom, but that makes some uncomfortable (which I understand). We also offer one of our child's bedroom for single visitors. The kids love to sleep in the same room, but again, some people aren't comfortable with that option.

I really wish we could renovate the attic to create a play/guest room, but the renovations are nowhere near that point right now.


What Have Been Your Small Space Sacrifices?
4/28/14 04:00 AM

Just wanted to add a word of warning about cement tiles. I've been meaning to put some in a tiny bathroom we are creating in a closet. Our contractor warned me: they are usually much higher than your average tile, and due to irregularities, you usually end up with a tiny step (like 5 cm) between you cement tiles and the rest of your floor. Which, for me, is unacceptable risk, considering I have small children and very old relatives I love. The floors have to be flat.

I ended up buying regular tiles, but with a very tradition black and white pattern, not unlike the first pictured up there. They haven't been installed yet, but this article makes me impatient ! I really hope the bathroom is going to work out.


Dramatic Contrast: 20 Gorgeous Black & White Tile Patterns Shopping Guide
4/13/14 03:26 AM

Can't express how happy I am that you showed this space today. I've been planning a tiny bathroom reno and chose the tiles for the floor a few days ago. I found beautiful heavily-patterned black and white tiles, inspired by traditional motifs from the North of France. I was really afraid they woudn't work in my tiny bathroom, but now that I've seen those beautiful floors, I'm a bit less afraid. So, great work on the tiles and thanks !


Before & After: Megan's Modern & Mexican Tile Small Bathroom Mix
4/13/14 03:21 AM

Birch, I noticed it too and I love that trend ! Leaving beautiful wood exposed will never go out of style.

I have painted wood that was in very bad shape and had color spots I couldn't remove. Plus, it was a very cheap dresser I found on the street for free, so I didn't think twice and just painted it.

Recently, my grand-mother moved to a smaller apartment and we (her grand children) were invited to take whatever we wanted/needed. I took home two 50's chairs, loving their lines. Of course, nobody wanted them because of the ugly and faded 70's fabric ! But you know, can't resist good bones.
This time around, I wanted to keep the wood. So I sanded, and sanded, and took out the stains whenever I could, then restained and refinished the whole chairs the way they were before. Let me tell you, it's a long and hard job, and I don't think my grand-mother will even notice it. But at the end of the day, I have two chairs I love.

About the fabric, I'm all for gutsy choices (and love the fabric above !!). You know, if you don't like it in ten years, you can reupholster. And if you don't love it now, you may never. And if you stil love it 20 years later, it's the best ever ! (how about photos ?)


Before & After: Inherited Chairs Get a Fresh Colorful Look
4/7/14 10:22 AM

I'd go with: why did we ever buy a rowhouse ? the living room has no natural light and I'm forced to use fixed blinds to protect us from the street. The only natural light I get if from the back of the house, where, fortunately, we have a big veranda and an opening for natural light in the kitchen's ceiling.

And the house is so narrow... Seriously, how about 4.5 meters wide ? We have neighbors on both sides, but are lucky for now. Still, I'm not getting used to how small the rooms are, and we've lived here for five years.


What's an Annoying Thing About Your Home?
3/31/14 07:05 AM

Elegant, inviting and fresh.

Which my house would be everything but, if you take out the cats.


The Three Word Plan to Loving Your Home
3/27/14 06:04 PM

TammyE: can you invite me too ? Your parties sound awesome !

I have a rule: I invite as much friends to a birthday as the child is old. My son just turned 4: that's 3 friends and him for his birthday party. Four children I can totally manage for about 2 to 3 hours before the parents come and pick them up, hopefully on time.

Because I'm working from home most of the time, I can rearrange my schedule and spend some more time baking and decorating the week before. I personally don't like having the party somewhere else than our home, but have absolutely no problem with other people doing it. Not everyone has as much time and flexibility as I have, and let's face it, they have more money and are as good parents as we think we are.

Here in France it's become customary to offer small goodie bags filled with sweets (no toys yet), but I don't like sweets that much, and weirdly, so does my son (he actually hasn't finished the last one he got). So for him we did homemade cookies. We baked them together and it's been fun. I also baked a round génoise and decorated it like a pirate face with colored store-bought fondant. The whole took about 3 hours.

He celebrates his birthday at school tomorrow, I'll tell you how it went and if the pirate-cake and cookies were well-recieved !


Throwing The \"Perfect\" Kids Party When You're Not A Pinterest-y Parent Apartment Therapy's Home Remedies
3/23/14 09:04 AM

Well, yet another example of why I don't get the designers in my own country (I'm French). Paris is a crazy city and when I lived there, I wanted my home to be a refuge, cozy, happy and yet very, very chic. I wouldn't sit on any of those chairs, the kitchen is sooooo cold looking, and while I love the color palettes, it's really lacking texture for my taste. The coldness is very trendy right now in France, and under the name of "design" are sold an infinite number of sad square furnitures with no elegance and no history.

I do love the asiatic influences though. They blend in perfectly with the industrial look and surprised me in a good way. Just throw in some soft textures and some happiness and I'm ready to love this place.


A Tiny & Pleasant Paris Apartment Professional Project
3/10/14 05:30 AM

This nursery is beautiful. It definitely says girl, but not girly. I am really a fan of the color scheme here ! And love the freshness of it all.

Really one of my favorite nurseries, it's so elegant ! (can I have a similar room ?)


Just A Touch of Pink in Elizabeth's Room My Room
3/6/14 12:13 PM

Totally agreeing with every comment above stating that these are very wealthy dwellers. When I was studying in Paris (I'm French too), my apartment style was more along the lines of "tiny low cost furnished with grand-parents cast-offs".

The flea market you are alluding to probably are the Puces de Saint-Ouen, and let's be honest, it's now one of the best tourist trap ever. No way am I ever going to be able to afford any major piece there, unless it's my super-lucky day.

I'm not very attracted to most of those places; I find them very impersonal and lacking in color and warmth. The only photo that speaks to me is the second one; the rest seem overly designed and cold.


How To Decorate Like a Parisian
2/18/14 05:43 PM

Totally impersonal and a bit bland, but I could kill (or seriously beg) for a pied-à-terre like this...

(and by the way, congrats on your French spelling, it's nice to see it the accent on the "A" which is often missing)


An Author's New York Pied-à-terre Professional Project
2/9/14 02:51 AM

THIS is exactly why, while French, I come here for inspiration.

I have no idea why, but over the year, interior decorating in France has become a matter of very obviously overdesigned and pretentious ultra-modern-thingies. This is just the very spectacular tip of the iceberg, but the trend goes much deaper. People are decorating their homes with sculptural pieces (no problem there) and very cold materials. No textile whatsoever, pattern is forbidden, there is no warmth anywhere, just painted walls, harsh lines and Ikea pieces.

The result is that you don't feel very well in those places. It's visually very cold, there's no place to snuggle late at night, and it's as personal as a prison cell. I just don't get it.

My home would feel very generic to you guys, but my friends are surprised each time we make progress in our renovations. There are colors everywhere, lots of white to balance the colors, wood on the counters, lots of antiquities I inherited, and gold (gold is supposed to embody everything granny-ugly, which makes me score each time in thrift stores). I even put up two loudly patterned wallpapers with gold sconces !

Well, just to say I'd like the above if it was really avant-garde, but it's just the epitomy of everything I dislike in French interior design. No soul, no warmth, just über-pretentious statements.


An Unexpected & Divine Paris Apartment Yatzer
2/2/14 02:52 AM

That was amazing !! Congratulations !!

I still have some paint work to complete my project, but I'll try and send it this time.


The Cure Email Inbox: Reader Before & After Projects from the January Cure
1/29/14 06:00 PM

Since I'm one of the first commenters, I'd like to ask for an "expansion pack". I have a very small house, but it is bigger than the apartment used for the cure: I have a small dining room, two more tiny bedrooms for my kids, a walk-in closet I use as a laundry room and a beautiful sunroom (favorite room in the house). The Cure was too fast for me to take care of those rooms, and my house feels a bit weird.

How could you get us motivated to finish those extra rooms some of us are happy to have ? I think two weeks may be sufficient.

I'm stil very late, but I'll finish that Cure anyway, I just wish I had some company to do it. I don't think I am the only person living in a house...


Final Stretch: The 60 Minute Quick Clean
1/29/14 11:06 AM

Finally, something I already did earlier this month. Yes, I'm the one still sorting out 10 years old paperwork ! That was the assignment from two weeks ago... yes, I'm very late.

In a way, I don't ware that I won't finish the Cure on time, because I'll finish it for sure in mid-February. It gave me the momentum I really needed to do a deep, very deep purging of our belongings. Goodwill is about to get a huge bag of clothes, along with some books I didn't like. We hung artwork, wallpaper, and I made great progress on finishing the stair's ramp. Very happy family here.

I wanted to thank you for this Cure. It was really therapeutic for me, as I needed to get rid of some emotional dead weight that was depressing, and always do so by cleaning and decluttering my home. I've been healing myself this way since I was in High School, but I thought I was crazy. I feel much better now that I had a community to get me moving !


A Gift to Yourself: Hang that Artwork! The January Cure Assignment #19
1/28/14 01:14 PM

I'm a bit of everything.

When I need something, I tend to take my time, exploring everything my city and the Internet have to offer, just to find that perfect product. Usually, it takes up to 6 months, but I refuse to buy something I'm not liking 100%, so if I don't find my "unicorn", I wait some more. When I decide on something that is sold by a major chain, I wait even more to get a discount ! I'm a patient pitbull kind of person.

But when the perfect item comes along, I'm really quick to decide. Last september at an antique fair, we found the most beautiful dresser in perfect condition (with its keys !!), it fitted perfectly in our home, and it took me about 10 seconds to buy it. The price was more than reasonable, and the only thing I negociated was that they wouldn't sell it for 30 minutes, the time I needed to get my car closer. It's still one of my favorite pieces of furniture, and when I put my grandmother's clock and a Jonathan Adler's fox sculpture on top, I just knew it was meant to be in our home !


Shopping for the Perfect Piece: Do You Buy it Now or Wait it Out?
1/28/14 11:36 AM

I needed this too...

Even though I'm late, I thought I would follow the natural process of the Cure and finish later. This is not a race, I'm good as long as I finish it without stopping on the way.

And then... yesterday, I took care of my home office, for the paperwork assignement. I thought I'd start with my craft supplies first, since this shouldn't take too long you know, and ended up doing a deep clean and throwing away about 70% of those supplies (dried out paints and such, why have I moved them from my previous place ?).
This means I still have to tackle the paperwork part I settled out to do, and that alone will take 4-5 hours, because up to now, my husband has been taking care of it, and it's not that his system is bad, it's that he doesn't have any I can recognize, unless "piling everything on top of the rest" is a system. Sigh.

Don't get me started on the books, I don't have a proper library yet and won't have one for a long time. My books are a mess and it breaks my heart.


Keep Moving Forward: On Staying the Course with The January Cure Comment of the Day
1/24/14 04:33 AM

I wish there was a whole week-end dedicated to the home office. And another to kid's or guest rooms. Could we have an "extension pack" ? For those of us who live in a place bigger than an apartment, that would be fantastic.

Anyway, I'm still in the middle of my home office (I work from home), and I am throwing away about ten years of craft supplies I'm never ever going to use again, mostly because they have dried out or are broken. Tomorrow I'll take care of my books, but don't expect miracles here. I never buy dvds but Myasaki's, and there is just no way I'm donating those, so that will stay.

I may have about ten books to donate though.

And then I'll catch up on the paperwork part I've been dreading...


Lightening Up: Declutter Media Collections January Cure Assignment #16
1/23/14 05:58 PM

I may deserve a medal. I deep cleaned my bedroom with my children (1.5 and 4 years old) in three hours. I won't say it was easy, but I will sleep in a beautiful bedroom tonight.

Even though I purged my closet back in early December, I went though my stuff again and still ended up with a huge bag of clothes to donate ! I will postpone my children's bedrooms for a while and do some catching up with the papers (urgh) and the bathroom (double iiick).

Anyway, assignement complete !


Weekend Chores: Flowers, Bedroom Cleaning & Wardrobe Organizing The January Cure: Assignment # 12
1/22/14 05:07 PM