I am totally that freak. You know the one - the freak who checks out what people leave out on the street for the trash to pick up. Despite my extreme fear of bed bugs and germs, there is something about one man's trash, that inspires me to search for treasures.

And Paris is full of them!

Just the other day, as I was walking back to my office from a quick stop at the boulangerie, I noticed that the building next door was under renovation. More precisely, they were changing out all of the windows and replacing them with sad, no-charm, double-paned PVC windows.  To truly understand the tragedy of which I speak, remember that this building was probably built in the 1700's if not before! The old, single-paned, lead-painted windows, were leaning against the stone wall.

I couldn't help myself. I had to save these windows! Never again will buildings have windows like these! They are historical and lovely and I couldn't let them die a sad death in the Paris trash heap. So I did what any freak would do - I went on a treasure hunt and picked out three of the best windows that were in the pile. I wanted to save them all, but I reminded myself that I live in 53 meters squared and I can't save the world.

As I lugged them into my office, I announced to my colleagues that I was saving the windows, and since they are cool people (or just freaks like me), they started giving me great ideas of what I could do with them: make mirrors! turn them into a coffee table! make a headboard! 

yes, yes, yes!

One of my colleagues offered to bring them to my house in her car, another asked me how many other windows were out there for the taking. Treasures, I tell you.

Today the windows are sitting in my living room, waiting for inspiration. I've cleaned off the muck of time and now it's simply a logistical problem - how do I attach windows to my wall? How do I cut a mirror to fit? Should I repaint them or let them keep their old luster à la shabby chic? It's quite a predicament, but one that I absolutely love having.

In my teeny Parisian apartment, I would walk past treasures in the street, not allowing myself to dream of the wonderful things I could make with them. But today, in my little chez moi, I CAN bring home century-old windows without blocking the door to the bathroom. Makes me want to bust a Princess Jasmine on y'all - A whole new wooooorld...!

Behold the beauty of my windows:

I know that I'll have to reign in my craziness since I can't save all of the treasures that get put on the street (even though I totally dream of long, old window doors for my (currently non-existent) closets...), but it's nice to have a little creative project to make our house a home. I've written about my relationship with things, about really being here, and I can't tell you what a relief it is to not worry about that anymore. I still find lots of inspiration from minimalists, and I don't want to go overboard on stuff in such a small space, but it is lovely to feel happy in my space, no matter how small it may be, and to surround myself with carefully selected items that tell a story. 

So the next time you visit chez moi, I'll tell you the story of these windows, which were once in a gorgeous, old hôtel particulier in the Marais, but that I saved from destruction.  


  1. Love your coworkers! They sound like a hoot! I say KEEP that old finish and just hand them on the wall as art! Sooooo cool!!! I think they'd also go for a pretty penny on Ebay! Vintage windows from PARIS??? They'd be snatched right up!

  2. ooh, maybe I'll have to do some treasure hunting this weekend for more windows - I didn't even think of Ebay! But I can't part with these ones; they are too awesome. I like your art idea (in fact I was kind of sad about breaking the glass and putting in a mirror) BUT, my walls are white, so they don't pop. Should I just go with it? Maybe that's part of the charm that they blend in a little, but not all the way? Was also just thinking that I could put chalkboard in the middle and make them message boards, but again, maybe too sad to change them...


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