I love to hear stories of people who re-invent their lives. It is what I did when I created this blog, and I know how exciting and sometimes scary it can be.
My girlfriend Laure knows all about reinvention. She worked for many years as a journalist in Paris, and loved her job. The hours were demanding but she didn’t mind. But when she and her husband decided to move out of the city, and settle down in the country things changed. She loved her new house but working in Paris and commuting from the country made for long working days.
A few years after moving house, they had two boys and she quickly realised that she saw too little of her children and decided to make a radical change. She would leave Paris and give herself a profession that allowed her to work from home.
With the support of her husband, she went back to school and learnt the art of upholstery in the workshops of one of the best schools in France, Ecole Boulle. It was a shock to find herself taking lessons again, but the teaching was good, the class a mix of ages and backgrounds and most of all she loved learning a new profession.
When I visited her in her atelier, she was working on this beautiful gold-leafed 18th century sofa, and it was clear to see how much she enjoyed renovating such a lovely piece, and wondering about how many craftsmen had upholstered it before her.
Her careful work and sure eye mean that she has plenty of clients in and around Paris, you can see some of her work here.
She and her husband Sebastien Siraudeau, (whose name you will probably recognise as an author and photographer and who supplied the photos for this piece from his latest book), both enjoy the luxury of working from home.
Their house was originally, in the 18th century, a farm building, that has been converted and updated. Sebastien has his work studio upstairs, and Laure has made her workshop in a building at the end of the garden. Don’t you just love the tiles they laid on the floor of Sebastien’s office?
The inside of the house is decorated with a mix of vintage and antique furniture, and an interesting colour palette. They both love to decorate, and take decisions on colours and new furniture together, often buying at brocante fairs in the region.
They like to collect some quirky pieces, and their decorating style makes for a fun and relaxed family home.
Before I left, Laure served us tea and macarons in her sitting room and we chatted about family life and the importance of making the most of every moment, especially while the children are young.
Despite having loved her work as a journalist for many years, today she doesn’t miss it. She savours the luxury of being her own boss, and working from home, and loves the everyday creativity that is hers.
Laure Pelé at Maison Pelé
Sebastien Siraudeau, books listed here
PS. If you are in Paris next weekend, then here’s a date for yoru diary … I shall be in the Marais, signing copies of my book at the Pp Up store of Chez Nous campagne,
13 rue D’Ormesson , 75004
If you’re in the neighbourhood pop in to say hello!