One of the things I like most about blogging is seeing how different bloggers around the world are inspired by their local surroundings. When you read the design blogs, you get a flavor of the interiors of the South, the Mid West, Canada, and maybe even the English countryside, the Australian coast or the Italian hills. While I love catching up on the latest interior styles from New York or LA in the design magazines, it’s the blogs that bring you the variety and character of homes from around the world.

So I started thinking, how about if I asked some of my favorite bloggers to tell us about their city? And Style and the City was born. In this series, I’ll be interviewing bloggers about the cities that have inspired them and asking them to share a few pictures that characterize the style of that city.

And where better to start the series than with Alek of From the Right Bank to the Left Coast (and also of the What’s your Style in One Pic challenge).

From the right bank

If you don’t already read Alek’s blog avidly, then you should! It’s witty, smart and choc-full of inspiring images. We seem to have eerily similar taste – although I probably don’t manage to incorporate it into my home as well as Alek does, judging by her pics! If you are already a reader, then you’ll know she’s fantastically well-travelled and has lived all over the place. But her heart is really in Paris so, when I asked Alek to share her favorite city’s style, Paris was the obvious choice. Now, as the title of her blog suggests, Alek’s home is the Pacific NorthWest and she has some fabulous ideas for combining these two very distinctive styles.


Four Walls: What does Paris style mean to you?

Right Bank: I think I associate Paris style with the people I knew there and how they lived. I was lucky to know people from all walks of life so accordingly, Paris style means several things to me.

First, it’s a very grand and opulent style and one that probably comes to mind first for most of us when we think of Paris. Historical buildings, antiques, and luxurious materials may all add up to a romanticized view of France in some ways but some people really do live in apartments like these(!)


Via Architectural Digest.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there’s what I would call a more Bohemian look a la Amelie (who didn’t fall in love with her red bedroom?) This style is more about brocante (flea market) finds, lots of color and fun. I love the creativity that goes into this style. It’s also usually budget-conscious, but no less fabulous in my opinion.


From Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers.

And finally, for me there is a third style that is also quintessentially Parisian. It mixes contemporary and antique pieces, usually in muted tones and has a slightly industrial edge but still remains very French. This is my personal favorite and one that is closest to my own.


Via desire to inspire.

How do you incorporate Paris style into your home? Any tips?

I was so fortunate to collect a number of really great pieces while living in Paris. I was even luckier to have the chance to bring back whatever I wanted since we had a giant shipping container at our disposal! (For a design-obsessed Francophile, that part of my life still seems like a dream!) Everything we brought back is scattered throughout our current home. But because our house is contemporary, it’s been a bit of a challenge making it all work. While I’m a huge proponent of mixing styles and eras, it needs to be harmonious. What I have learned is that you can’t go too horribly wrong if you work within the same palette. Also, having just one or two statement pieces makes the mix work much better. If you try to incorporate too much, it can become overwhelming.

Now you’re living in Seattle, what are your sources of inspiration locally?

Seattle is a different world from Paris on so many levels! Whereas in Paris my biggest source of inspiration was the history, here in Seattle it’s really all about nature. Therefore, much of the contemporary architecture here really focuses on blending outdoor and indoor spaces and I just can’t get enough of that. I also find a lot of inspiration in the landscape. I have a bit of an obsession with everything Scandinavian so I was really happy to discover that much of the Pacific Northwest landscape closely resembles Scandinavia.



Via Oska Architects.

Ok, you’re looking for a weekend house. Tell us what the dream Pacific NorthWest weekend house looks like… Will there be just a little bit of Paris in it?

I think this house typifies the dream Pacific Northwest vacation house:


Via Miller Hull.

Now, I certainly wouldn’t turn down something like this if it fell into my lap. But because this is the same style as my primary house, my dream vacation house is a very modest and rustic little place. In other words, the complete opposite. I often say I have design schizophrenia. So truth be told, one of my primary motivations for getting a weekend house is t indulge another side of my design personality (But don’t tell the hubs. He just thinks I need a place to get away!) I also hope that it can be on some body of water.


Via Solblomma.


By photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo.

As for the interior, I actually have the boho Paris look I described earlier in mind for it. After all, you can take the girl out of Paris but you can’t the Paris out of the the girl! Again, I want to go in a different direction from my house which is decorated mostly in white and neutrals. I would love a new canvas where I can play with lots of colors and patterns.


Via Marie Claire Maison.

Thanks, Alek!

I told you she had some great ideas. I completely agree with the design schizophrenia point. I’d love a house for every design style but then I’d be broke! But that dream house with all the wood and glass is truly inspiring. One day…. Jump over to From the Right Bank to the Left Coast for more great images and ideas.

Hope you enjoyed the first of Style and the City. Huge thanks to Alek for putting together such beautiful and insightful images and sharing her dream home ideas with us. If you have a city you’d love to see featured, let me know (or if you want to share some style images from your city, just drop me a line via the contact form on the ‘About’ page). I can’t wait to hear from you.