Tag Archives: Parisian Chic

Storage solutions for naturally disorganised people

The secret to sharing a one-bedroom flat with a man, boy and dog is storage. Not a heart-stopping revelation that, I know, but the thing about storage is that it’s a bastard to get right. Our initial solution was to call out a carpenter to fit some units, say ‘How fucking much?’ when given the quote and then go and buy a load of those souped-up shoeboxes from Ikea instead. But there comes a time when you want something more… durable. There’s also the books problem. We solved that one by fitting shelves in the beams. I know, genius, right? It’s the perfect solution, as long as you never want to retrieve them again. But I think it looks quite cosy:

I also nicked this idea from Ines de la Fressange’s book Parisian Chic. Apparently the flat she shares with her family in Paris is only 750 sq ft, which made me feel a bit better:

It’s basically lots of Muji zinc storage boxes, each labelled ‘shoe cleaning’, ‘sewing kit’, etc.

I once interviewed Romaine Lowery of the Clutter Clinic, who said that when buying storage boxes, it’s better to get lots the same, rather than collecting a load in different colours and shapes. This generally means buying them all at once, which is the off-putting part, because zinc boxes aren’t exactly a thrill-packed way to spend your wages. She also reckons that odd numbers work better than even, so displaying three or five boxes looks nicer than two or four. I think she’s right.

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Parisian style

I have a soft spot for those style guides written by slightly bossy, self-appointed taste arbiters, such as Rita Konig. So after hearing 80s supermodel Ines de la Fressange talk about her new book Parisian Chic on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, I’d bought it before you could say, ‘Hmmm, Amazon One-Click: not a guaranteed great idea.’

For a start, it’s a style guide to Paris. Which, since I’m not going to Paris, makes it almost entirely redundant. There are, however, substantial chapters on what to wear, along with the usual tips on how to have a chi-chi dinner party, etc. Much of the advice is of the crashingly obvious kind (‘Nowadays, red and white wine are fine for everyone… For non-drinkers, water and fruit juices are perfect.’) But it’s hard for books to offer fashion advice because they’ve dated before they’ve left the presses. (‘Who would wear a pleated skirt?’ she scoffs. Well, everyone who tried – and failed – to get their hands on this one, for a start.)

In fact I was surprised at how cliche some of her style tips were. Trench coats get a big plug, for instance, as do ballerinas, straight-leg jeans and even Breton tops. You wonder why she didn’t go the whole hog and recommend berets and strings of onions.

Not bad for 54 though, huh?

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