Zara Home

zarahome.jpgGood old Zara has done it again: they have managed to invade the home decoration market with stylish rip-offs of more expensive brands.

I was in one of the Paris branches the other day and found a whole department dedicated to kids. They had lovely bed linens and furniture (I love the old-style French highchair), children’s sleepwear and indoor shoes, all as pretty as the brands they are trying to emulate. There are two shops here in Paris but you can also order all the goods online in most European countries.

– Emilie

Not so big

notsobig.jpgTucked behind the Les Halles here in Paris, close to the lovely quartier around the rue de Montorgueil lies the kid shop treasure trove called Not So Big. It started out as a children’s concept store but quickly started to develop its own beautiful line, now available throughout France and Japan.

Why is it such a find? They stock a huge amount of the items the girls and I have reviewed… Courtney’s favourite Petits Démons toys? Check! My favourite Coco Boheme bedroom stickers? Check! Esther’s favourite rocking horse? Check!

It is a one-stop shop for special little finds, and you can order all the items on their website.

– Emilie

Cool for the kids’ room!

Luke Irwin exercizeI really love Vanity Fair; it’s my favourite magazine, and I’ve been subscribed to it for who-knows-how-long. Unfortunately, since the birth of my second child 15 months ago, I haven’t read one single magazine (or newspaper, or book, for that matter)…
But yesterday, struck by the cover picture of a 20-year-old-looking Madonna who IS turning fifty soon (hey, I didn’t miss out on the world for that long!), I picked up the latest copy from the pile of un-opened Vanity Fairs — and read about these wonderful carpets by Luke Irwin.

I especially like this children’s rug called ‘exercise‘ (although I love ‘ball games‘ too), but the company will also custom-design for their clients, or will translate your own design into a rug, if you feel inspired…

xxx Esther

Good Tone

dress.jpgBonton (literal translation: good tone) is fast becoming one of my favourite fashion labels for babies and kids. You know when you want something a bit special for your kids and are willing to spend that little bit more? Then Bonton is the place to go. The colour palate is lovely and the clothes are very French without being over the top.

I have especially fallen for the Bonton furniture line; they have lovely classic French highchairs and great baby room soft furnishing such as sleeping bags, duvets, and crib bumpers.

You can order Bonton internationally over their website and can check out the site for shops that stock their items all over the world, but if you ever happen to be in Paris and enjoy shopping, the boutiques are well worth a visit!


She does not look older than 25…

sacco-1.jpg….but she is 40!!  I am talking about the Sacco chair by Zanotta.
It was designed in 1968 by three architects: Gatti, Paolini and Teodoro, and it hasn’t gone out of fashion since. The cover can be leather, leather-like, heavy cloth or plastic, and it is filled with highly resistant polystyrene pellets. Over the years it has been produced in every possible colour! In 1972 it went on display at the MoMA and now a total of 26 museums have included Sacco in their permanent collection of contemporary or applied art. (more…)

Comfortable seats

balouga.jpgI live in a city where there seems to be a little shop for everything. In my neighbourhood we have: a shop which only sells billiard cues, a shop only selling musical porcelain boxes, a shop selling only chocolate sculptures (a pair of high heels made out of dark chocolate, anyone??), and my favourite, a shop selling only vintage and designer children’s chairs. It might be a bit of a niche market, but I love it!
Balouga is a lovely little shop in the northern part of the Marais, and whatever children’s vintage and designer chair you might want, you will find there!

And I was also exaggerating a bit; they also sell cute toys and cushions and some vintage furniture pieces like trunks, desks and beds! It is a design-parent’s Aladdin’s cave.


Too many toys?

NorreboAt some point there is no escape possible. You need extra storage for your kids’ toys…

This Norrebo storage bench from Ikea does the job wonderfully. What I really like about it is the fact that, unlike conventional toy chests that have a flip-up top, it works as a huge drawer. Because of that, the top stays closed and can be used as a bench for sitting, or to display more toys on top. In our case it houses my daughter’s kitchen!

It’s solid birch wood, and having said that I think the price is very reasonable. The simple design of it makes it easy to blend into any interior.

xxx Esther

PS. If you happen to be living in the U.S. and have a great storage solution, you can enter it in the ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’ children storage contest from Ohdeedoh!

Rock-a-bye baby…

Eames rockersI’ve known about this chair, the Eames RAR, since LONG before I even considered children. In fact, when my boyfriend and I bought this chair in NY, we weren’t even married yet!

Charles and Ray Eames (1907-1978 and 1912-1988) were married when they designed the ‘mix and match’ chairs for furniture manufacturer Henry Miller in 1948.
The famous designer/architect/filmmaker couple adapted moulding techniques, which were invented during the 2nd World War, to create seat shells from fiberglass that were mass producible (and thus affordable). Chrysler (the car maker) developed a system to attach the fiberglass shell to different bases, including Eiffel Tower-shaped legs and rockers. These rocking chairs (‘RAR’ chairs) were given to all Herman Miller employees when they had children, because – here it comes – they proved to be absolutely fantastic for (breast)feeding babies! (more…)

Milano Sofa Beds

Milano Sofa BedIn this expensive city I call home– where houses (er flats) are small and space is a great commodity– only the very privileged have the luxury of a guest bedroom. But many of us are ex-pats here in London who have friends and family making regular visits from abroad. Guest bedrooms (or at the very least, an extra bed) are in high demand!

After making our guests sleep on an air mattress for over a year, I decided there must be a better solution… And after a very long search (scouring at least 20 different furniture and sofa stores), I found it: a sofa-bed that is comfortable (and good-looking as well)! The Milano Sofa Bed is an extremely well-designed and sleek sofa that converts effortlessly into a sturdy and comfortable bed. (Even my mom, who has been known to buy and return more than 10 mattresses before finding one she agrees with, thinks it’s comfortable)!


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