Welcome to The Paris Apartment.
I'm Claudia Strasser, company founder and thrilled to be celebrating 27 years in business! Many of you have been clients and colleagues since the boutique opened in New York City in 1993 and I'm grateful to have such a beautiful and creative family of friends.
The concept of The Paris Apartment began after working with Volunteers for Peace on ancient chapel restorations in the south of France. It was a lifechanging experience and I fell in love with working with my hands and discovered an appreciation for all things old and French. From there I went Paris and was hired as an au pair for a lovely family. The job gave me the opportunity to live in a quintessential Paris apartment that felt like living in a French pastry, with decorated walls and ceilings, sumptuous curtains and floor to ceiling windows. The flea market was nearby and I was drawn to it almost daily for its incredible array of objet d'art and living history as well as friendly vendors who loved to congregate, eat and talk about the pieces they collected. They accepted me into their fold and gave me an education and appreciation for French antiques.
When I came back to the states, I rented a storefront on a handshake, unsure what would develop but knew it would be a place to gather, a sort of modern salon, something along the lines of the early Salon Hostesses of France. I wanted to honor the beauty of French decor and was particularly fascinated with the women who created it (specifically the boudoir) and defined an era that's still the gold standard in design today.
The boutique was a striking contrast to the grungy neighborhood as French boudoir furniture spilled out onto the gritty sidewalk as a little piece of Paris landed in the heart of the East Village. Repairing and restoring pieces from the Paris flea markets reminded me of the restorations I loved doing in France, and people from neighborhood the came together and we all felt the joy of working with our hands as well our heads.
The shop inspired the book, 'The Paris Apartment, Romantic Decor on a Flea Market Budget'. It's playful guide to honing your personal style based on the things you love.
When I began taking clients to shop the markets in Paris, I wrote 'Paris Flea Market Style' as guide through the maze of markets, with tips, history and pics of my favorite flea markets in Paris.
In 2014 the Paris flea markets that were slated to be destroyed and replaced with a modern mall. We fought to gain landmark status by promoting the history and importance of this special place and today the markets are recognized as national treasures protected by the Historical Society of French Heritage.
Shopping and sourcing the flea markets of France has taken a lifetime to master and it's still my favorite pastime. I love to share that knowledge with those who create and collect, sell and decorate...those who appreciate the handiwork and people behind the fine linens, embroidery, art, furniture, and the history that's alive and thriving at the Paris markets.
My aim has always been to share these romantic pieces of the past as they become heirlooms for each new generation. As we pass them along, it's with reverence and understanding that we are mere stewards of these precious treasures.