My Paris Apartment—4 Years Later

adrian cracks me up

Four years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, I found the tiny apartment that would change my life. I’d arrived in Paris for one day, saw six apartments, and picked one of them. Just like that. Impulsive? Impetuous? Oh, yes. But I was a desperate woman who’d just lost her mother to cancer, and I’d somehow convinced myself that only an apartment in Paris would make me happy again.

View of my living room

View of my living room

Did it make me happy again? Actually, that apartment made me happier than I’d ever been. Buying the apartment was the bravest thing I’d ever done, and it changed me from the ground up. Fast forward four years, and I now split my time between New York and Paris, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. My tiny apartment inspired this blog, an episode of House Hunters International, and a book for Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press coming out this October.

©Lisa Anselmo My (Part-time) Paris LifeOf course, those of you who’ve been following along know that Paris homeownership hasn’t all been rosy for me. A devastating leak from my upstairs neighbor’s shower (that only the French courts could force him to fix), has kept me out of my Paris home for nearly two of the four years that I’ve owned it. Lately, I’d been contemplating selling it as is, and moving on. Especially if the court case didn’t go my way, which was looking more likely.

But things did go my way. The court expert finally concluded the case, finding the owner above me 100% responsible to pay my damages and other related expenses. Alleluia.

Now, I’m deep into planning the re-renovation of the apartment—shopping for parquet, tile for the bathroom and yes, that new kitchen. Looks like I’m staying. Four years later, I’m back where I started, with an apartment under construction.

Or maybe I’m starting again. I’ve gone too far to go back to where I started. I’m starting again from where I am now. Making my dream home even better than when I found it four years ago. Like my life.

Packed up and ready for renovation.

Packed up and ready for renovation. This could be viewed as heartbreaking but I just kept telling myself I was renovating because I wanted to, not because I needed to.

Goodbye blue kitchen. Since it has to come out to install the new parquet, I'm taking the opportunity to update.

Goodbye blue kitchen. Since it has to come out to install the new parquet, I’m taking the opportunity to update.

©Lisa Anselmo My (Part-time) Paris Life

I rented this professional dehumidifier to dry the place out before renovation. It’s sucked up over 20 liters of water a day. Now the mold smell is gone and my place is bone dry. God bless this sunny yellow little fellow.

Read about my other anniversaries.

Cover image courtesy of HGTV.

39 responses to “My Paris Apartment—4 Years Later

  1. Wonderful news…can’t wait to see how it all evolves…you are living the dream so many of us have…except you also got the nightmare. that white couch…keep it well covered during the reno!

    take care Lisa.

  2. Great post! And happy anniversary! A

    My (Parttime) Paris Life wrote: > Lisa Anselmo posted: ” Four years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, I found > the tiny apartment that would change my life. I’d arrived in Paris for > one day, saw six apartments, and picked one of them. Just like that. > Impulsive? Impetuous? Oh, yes. But I was a desperate woman who’d ” >

  3. Things can only go up from here Lisa! I look forward to your pictures and posts about your renovation process. I love your positive outlook on what other people would surely call catastrophes.

    • You know, at some point you just go through it, because forward is the only way to go. My friends can attest, though, as to how crazy I had gotten this past month leading up to the final meeting with the court expert. Stressful!

  4. Lisa, so happy to hear this update. Sounds like things are really starting to shape up!

    Best regards,

  5. Sometimes taking that leap into the scary unknown is exactly the remedy we need. Glad that all is going your way with the renovations! Here is to a new year! And book?!! Be sure to keep us posted.

  6. Congratulations, Lisa…justice prevailed!!! Best wishes for a smooth and gorgeous renovation, Leslie

  7. Good on you for sticking it out and not running. I really look forward to lots of wonderful renovation pictures. Time to start enjoying your apartment again!

  8. What wonderful news and I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of your renovations. Have fun with the designs and with your decorating.

  9. I can’t wait to see the final finished product.

    I feel your pain, having just completed a two and a half month nearly whole house renovation that necessitated moving out for a period of time.

    I can also tell you, now that my reno is 99% finished, that it was all worth it. Not running to do it again anytime soon…

    Bonne chance, Lisa. Post lots of pictures.

  10. So glad to hear the court decision went your way and the re-Reno is in the works. Am sure it will be beautiful and you can enjoy your (new) home again.

  11. Your mother is making you tough through this! She was an angel talking to you through the blue kitchen, now from above she is kicking your butt saying “out with the old! Let’s start fresh!”.

  12. So happy to read this- the end is in sight- and it will be wonderful! Looking forward to sharing a bottle of champagne and toasting your renovated digs! xoxo

  13. Yay! Onward! I am looking forward to seeing the progress and I was really happy to hear your “made me happier than I’d ever been” comment. I love a happy ending. Enjoy.


  15. Out with the old and in with the new! Oh I know this sounds soooooo annoying but everything happens for a reason. Even though that leak, mold, process a nightmare. Your apartment will be renovated and even more beautiful when complete. Bissous from NJ

  16. Hi Lisa,its the first time that I’m writing to you.l live in India,and chanced upon your site,a long while ago.I’ ve travelled to both cities,Paris and New York,and have enjoyed both immensely! But I am in love with Paris.Just like you,it keeps my heart beating.Bombay,where I reside,in India,is of course completely different,exciting,chaotic….that’s home for me.I am struck by intense nostalgia for Paris as I read your beautiful posts,and have begun to think of you,as my friend from Paris….keep writing,keep enjoying,keep sharing….looking forward to all your posts…!!!!

    • Thank you, Monica! How exciting to have someone a friend/fan in India. One day I hope to come there; I am in love with all things Indian. Best wishes from Paris and New York to you!

  17. Just finished reading your book, Lisa – loved it! except for the part about the leak – that upset me terribly. I was so happy to learn that it was finally resolved in your favor.

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! I hope you’ll consider reviewing it on Amazon for me. Yes, the leak carried on for a full two years. I’m finally back in my home! But hey, it made for great drama for the book. 😉

  18. Lisa your blog is giving me palpitations; I love how you kept saying – “I wasn’t there to buy an apartment..” – i am that person too! I go there – look – timidly sneak back into the shell and then come out and try it again.. How many times have I walked down Emile Zola towards Les Invalides – (Near where the homeless tents are on the pavement…LOL) …
    and say “I wish – I wish” Now. I have read your story – I’m going to act…
    you inspire me…


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