Having lived in France in the past, Wendy and Gregor had often thought about spending more time there and ideally owning their own property. When the opportunity presented itself to buy an apartment in Nice at the end of last year, the couple had a major decision to make.
‘When we saw the apartment, it was so lovely it felt like an easy decision to buy it,’ Wendy explains. ‘The wobbles come when you consider the commitment, both financially and time-wise, but we never want to let opportunities pass us by, so we decided to go for it.’
Wendy plans to completely revamp the period property, redecorating, styling and faffing to her heart’s content! We thought the story behind the renovation process would offer a unique insight into the design decisions Wendy makes, discovering what colours, textures and patterns work in the different light and setting of the sun-kissed French Riviera. Here, we bring you the very first chapter in Wendy’s Nice design story.
‘We first visited Nice as a family in 2014,’ Wendy says. ’I had planned a daytrip to Nice from a camping week in Provence and I just knew I was going to love it - it’s a beautiful city on the Mediterranean coastline, what’s not to like?
‘I was not disappointed. The architecture is probably what grabs you first and then the stone doorways, the beautiful doors and all the lovely details, along with the city buzz and, of course, the beach.
‘Our lurcher Eddie was much younger and did draw a little unnecessary attention from the gendarmerie and we were told to move on as dogs were not allowed on the part of the beach we had settled on, so it was a memorable trip for many reasons!’
‘Our new apartment is very central, located in the Musiciens quartier of the city, a few minutes’ walk from the Promenade des Anglais,’ Wendy explains. ‘The architecture is heavenly, with the most beautiful, ornate details. Our apartment is a little younger than the immediate surroundings, although there are many very similar in the vicinity too, built in the 1930s by an architect called H. Aubert. It has a simple elegance, which I love, and, as you would expect of a property of this period, it has good bones, high ceilings, beautiful floors and great doors.
‘The apartment could possibly do with an electrical update, but it all feels quite manageable compared to previous projects we have taken on. I am thrilled at the thought of being able to decorate this space, to faff with floor decor, colour and texture, and to introduce some locally found treasures too!
‘It is a manageable space, so I don’t feel daunted by the task ahead, just incredibly excited. It is quite likely that my just-OK French will improve too!
‘Our initial plans are to decorate with colour and textiles, I have already been inspired to design new rugs and wallpaper with the apartment in mind, which will obviously take time, so in the meantime I am very happy to make it home with colour, textiles and treasures.’
La vie française
‘I very much enjoy being in France,’ Wendy says. ‘I feel very comfortable with the lifestyle, and always feel happy amongst beautiful architecture and beautiful things. I am also excited at the thought of spending time in Nice during winter. I struggle with the darkness of Scotland in the winter months, so it will be a welcome escape at that time of year. I love springtime wherever I am, when the new growth appears, and I expect it will be lovely in Nice. I am especially looking forward to visiting Colline du Chateau, which has fantastic views over the city, in the spring.
‘The dream has always been to have our own home in France, possibly something more rural with land for our menagerie! Nice feels like a good stepping stone for us to explore the neighbouring countryside whilst we enjoy a whole lot of styling and faffing fun in our new art deco home.’
The Next Chapter
Look out for the next chapter when the decorating begins, Wendy shares her market finds and local treasure-hunting tips, as well as her favourite new places to discover and explore.