balconyThere are so many things I love about the apartments we’re renovating.

Obviously the fabulous high-relief carvings are at the top of the list. But many little details make me smile. Like the design of the balcony railings, now painted in regulation gray.

doorknobOr the door knobs. Husband scoured all of France to find matching antique knobs.

He also scoured the hardware stores and online to find feet for a couple of radiators. During the demolition, somebody threw them out!

radiator feet
It’s a small triumph but a necessary one

There are a few weird doors to nowhere. A door jamb on one side of a wall and smooth plaster on the other. Though when we discovered the door to the harnais, we decided to keep it. I wonder how they used to get up there? A ladder?

harnais door

I love the wavy glass in the old interior windows. We had to give it up on the exterior windows, because we aren’t as clever as Daniel of Manhattan Nest, who fixes everything, including making new windows out of old ones, by himself. We had all the exterior windows replaced (by a professional) with double-pane glass, albeit according to strict design rules of the Bâtiments de France.

wavy glass
Can you make out the waves?

I love the little interior room that gives onto the light well of the stairway. The view of the stairs is so typically French to me. And talk about a quiet room!

back bedroom window
More wavy glass! Those stairs don’t ripple like that.

I love that got my way and have black paint on the inside of the window frames in the black and white bathroom. And I got at least a little bit of floor with cabochon tiles.

I love that a friend managed to salvage the Art Deco bed and transform it so artfully from a double to a queen, while improving the frame.

back bedroom bed
This is going to be a great place to sleep. Do you see half of a ghost door in the corner? The wall next to it is solid stone! WTF? No door on the other side, either.

I love the weird things about the place. Like what was the point of the niche below? It isn’t even symmetrical. I can’t wait to scout something to put in it.

back bedroom niche

I love the furniture we bought with the place. The stories that must have gone with them. Perhaps one day I’ll find out. The previous owner is still around.

Who was M???
A comtoise, or grandfather clock

The floors have all been treated, the appliances installed (except for the sauna, which is en route), the kitchen cupboards built. We began moving furniture to the right places. It is taking shape.

43 thoughts on “It’s in the Details

    1. No. The tomettes in that room had been covered by vinyl, so we couldn’t tell what shape they were in. The tomettes in the kitchen were covered by linoleum. About a third in each room–the traffic areas–were broken. According to the Bâtiments de France, we could rip them out only if more than 25% were broken. Since the bedroom doesn’t have the fancy moldings and no fireplace, the BdF said it was a room “of no historical significance.” So we used the unbroken tomettes from the bedroom to fill the holes in the kitchen, which does have historical significance. It was perfect–we didn’t have a single leftover tomette. And in the bedroom we installed wood-like tile, which I like very much.


  1. Not that this helps any, but I think the monogram on the needleworked chair is AM. The assymetric niche is a mystery. Definitely quiz the previous owner when you get a chance. How much do you want to bet that the answer is really prosaic?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much good detail in those pictures. That clock face is lovely.
    Funny, Susan read the needlepoint monogram as AM, I read it as MA. And is that a chair or a prie-dieu? Can’t tell from the angle.

    Liked by 1 person

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