my stylish french girlfriend – laure pelé

by Sharon Santoni


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


Emm November 30, 2015 - 3:33 am

Brava for Laure for inventing her own career. And I love Sebastien’s office with its row of analog computers. The wall of clocks seems appropriate for a journalist, as well.

My copy of your book, a present to me, arrived today, and I’m looking forward to leisurely reading.

Iris November 30, 2015 - 5:36 am

It takes alot of soul searching and determination to switch careers. Speaking from personal experience it can be very scary but exhilerating at the same time. Finding that delicate balance between career and family is challenging but oh so rewarding when found.

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:17 pm

Hi Emm

yes, I also like Sebastien’s workplace, it is creative and masculine at the same time.

Thank you for gifting yourself my book! I hope you enjoy it


florence November 30, 2015 - 8:31 am

Wonderfull post about my friends Laure and Sebastien’s house ! Such a nice place where we love sparing good and friendly moments…..

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:19 pm

En effet Florence, ils sont très chaleureux


Eleanor miller (jan) November 30, 2015 - 8:52 am

Hi Sharon,
I finally managed to get your book and adore it,well done such interesting women and all so “themselves”
I think we women are quite good at reinventing,like Laure, I too have done it,actress from London to estate agent and house renovator in France,and couldn’t be happier.
Have a great day

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:20 pm

Hi Jan

I almost wrote in my piece that reinvention is a female quality, then I didn’t dare! But I think you are quite right

thank you for buying the book, I am so glad you like it


Our French Oasis November 30, 2015 - 9:32 am

The course of one’s life can have many turns and changes. I was a London career girl prior to getting married and having children. Five children later, and now the youngest is 9, I started writing my blog and a year later the children read it and look at me in what I can only describe as sheer amazement. They knew I had a career, back in the dark ages as they like to say! But to them I have always just been Mama, suddenly I get comments like, “I didn’t know you could write” (from our 15 year old), “awww Mama I am so proud of you” (from our 19 year old), “will this make you rich,” from our 13 year old son! and “Mama will you be famous” from the two youngest!!! It’s just a small blog, but for me it has been incredibly rewarding.

bonnie November 30, 2015 - 4:16 pm

Your blog is one of my top 3. I can’t wait to read what the family is doing. You make the smallest experience so interesting

Our French Oasis November 30, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Hi Bonnie, thank you so much, what a lovely comment:)

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:21 pm

Increasing our street credibility with our kids, is just one of the happy side effects of writing a blog! 🙂



Darina November 30, 2015 - 12:19 pm

Such an inspiring story!

Susie Craig November 30, 2015 - 1:06 pm

I adore reading about clever women who are bravely change careers and admire their determination in making a success of their new pathway. I wish I was there to meet Laure.

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:22 pm

Hi Susie

I think we all love to see how other women make their lives work out

Hope you are keeping well


Marian from England November 30, 2015 - 1:14 pm

Yes, it does seem that women are not afraid to take a plunge into the unknown. I worked in administration for most of my working life, before and after children. Then redundancy in my mid 40’s made me realise I’d had enough of that and wanted something more satisfying and to be working with people. So, through serendipity, I re- trained to become a Foot Health Practitioner and spent my remaining working life travelling round to people (many elderly) in their homes to look after their feet. Not for everyone I know, but so rewarding and I met so many lovely people, both colleagues and patients, was my own boss and could choose my working hours to fit in with my grandchildren as they came along. Now I’m newly retired and moved to the countryside, I fancy trying my hand at crafts – in between the garden, the house and oh, I’d love to start a blog!! That’s where Sharon here and Susan of Our French Oasis are so inspiring. Thank you ladies!!

Our French Oasis November 30, 2015 - 6:36 pm

Thank you Marian, what a lovely comment and glad we are offering some inspiration. Sounds as if you have had a very rewarding career and can now enjoy a very happy and fulfilling retirement, start the blog and follow your dream!

Sharon Santoni November 30, 2015 - 7:23 pm

Sounds as if you are quite an inspiring act yourself Marian. Thank you for reading and commenting so regularly here


Carol Preston November 30, 2015 - 1:31 pm

Sharon, I so enjoy reading your blog and look forward to each post. I am in the USA, so no chance that I could make it to your book signing. It would be so great if you offered signed books to your long distance readers. :-):-):-)

carolina elizabeth November 30, 2015 - 1:31 pm

Oh, my! I read this and cried. It’s been a scary thing to think of leaving teaching, but I am in need of something that is more flexible for myself and my family. My father has been an upholsterer for over five decades and I’ve upholstered along side him for many years. I long for the creativity it offers and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment at the end of the of the day. So, I’ve decided to return to those roots, but with a bit of a heavy heart. This has made it much easier. I THANK YOU with all my heart.
Kindest regards,
Carolina Elizabeth

Vicky from Athens November 30, 2015 - 1:49 pm

Sharon – I so enjoy reading about you and your very fascinating friends! You all lead such interesting lives. I’ve loved meeting some of them through you . . . thank you for the opportunity.

Laurie November 30, 2015 - 3:30 pm

Do you know when you’ll be there for the book signing? I will be in Paris this coming weekend.

Sheila in SF November 30, 2015 - 3:41 pm

Another great post on an interesting women. So enjoy reading about their fulfilling lives.
Thank you.
P.s. Will you be having any tour trips in 2016?

Marty November 30, 2015 - 4:23 pm

Loved this post. Best one in months!

Colleen Taylor November 30, 2015 - 6:02 pm

Bravo for Laure for her reinvention of herself. I know for one that it takes courage. I’ve done the reinventing of myself a few times & it does get easier after the first time. I’m currently in another reinvention, wish me luck!

Emm November 30, 2015 - 8:58 pm

There are studies that say people now reinvent their working lives multiple times over their working lives. I think women have always done it as their lives and their families’ lives have changed, but it may be newer for men, with the changes in various employments. Bon courage.

Dana Veach November 30, 2015 - 6:06 pm

Bravo! What an encouraging story…and beautiful craftsmanship and lovely home…thank you for highlighting the lives of your creative courageous friends to inspire us all!

PEGGY BRASWELL November 30, 2015 - 6:17 pm

love reading this + what talent

Susan November 30, 2015 - 6:50 pm

Your word sketches of women and their lives are so interesting…please keep them coming!

cynthia woodyard November 30, 2015 - 7:04 pm

What a truly inspirational treat of a post! Thank you! Looking forward to the next…….

Rié | Portobello Design Blog December 1, 2015 - 9:09 am

How lovely to meet another of your girlfriends! You know I love your book! Brava to Laure for reinventing her life so bravely and successfully! I believe I am at that point in my life right now. Maybe you could write a post about just that. Inspirational thank you! xx Rié

Sandy December 1, 2015 - 1:57 pm

Marais, how wonderful! I will have to check the book out on Amazon since I am across the BIG pond :). Have a falafel for me!

Jacqueline December 2, 2015 - 4:30 pm

She has an excellent eye for decorating as do you. One thing I notice in the posts on decorating,, no one has any family or kid photos on display. Everything looks beautiful of course but everything looks like House & Garden photo shoot. Does no one show personal family photos??? I’m curious

Susan December 7, 2015 - 8:17 pm

Oh well done Laure, how wonderful, I just devoured all those amazing pictures, detail by detail!
I loved everything, but then, I always love everything here on your fascinating blog!

cindy hattersley December 18, 2015 - 5:03 am

I adored this article. I am in awe of anyone that can reinvent themselves at any age. It was wonderful seeing their lovely home and workspace. You have such interesting friends!


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