When she was twelve years old, Danielle Rubi Dentzel had a horseback riding accident that left her in a coma. Her doctor was also an amateur photographer with a darkroom and gave her photography lessons as a therapeutic exercise. Danielle dove into photography and hasn’t put down a camera since. She moved from California to Paris recently with her husband Adrian and the two have settled into this apartment in the 20th arrondisement. To make it feel a bit more like home, they filled their suitcases with art, textiles and other objects. In an effort to celebrate their mutual passion for travel and food, they’ve just started a new project called the Trail of Crumbs, where they, along with a circle of friends, report on farms, restaurants and special meals. Thanks, Danielle and Adrian! –Amy A
Image above: On one of our recent road trips in Mexico, we found a falcon that had recently died on the side of the road. It was so heartbreaking. We picked up a couple feathers in the grass nearby and hung them on our rear view mirror. It felt as if the falcon feathers acted as a protector from some of the more dark and rough passages of the trip. We have encountered many beautiful birds of prey ever since, and have developed a deep respect and wonderment for this species. Adrian recently carved a feather out of a piece of tropical hard wood to wear around my neck and that is what is hanging near my bedside… Along with some feathers collected in the french countryside. The colorfully embroidered pillow covers are from coastal Mexico. We love how delicate the patterns of the embroidery are – all made by hand.
Image above: We found this hand-blown green glass carafe in a small Rennaissance period village called Caunes-Minervois. The village has a potter in town who also made beautiful olive oil bottles with incredible colors and textures. The photograph on the wall was taken by a french photographer, Benoit Cortet, and the portrait is of his wife Helen.
Image above: This one is of the guest room tucked up high in the attic. Many dear friends of ours have called this home for spells during their Euro adventures and retreats. Lying in bed here during a rainy evening, listening to the sound of the drops on the many glass skylights is very dreamy. Since our flat is on the top floor, we get the benefit of the timber attic space under the mansard roofline. The view from up here is outstanding. You can see clear across Paris.
Image above: Many apartment buildings designed during the epic Baron Haussmann Paris renovation (commissioned by Napoléon III), were built at a time when fires going in the fireplace did all the heating. Most apartments didn’t even have bathrooms, even up until the 1960s. This apartment has a fireplace in both the living room and bedroom. The large mirror above the fireplace opens the room quite a bit and adds an old elegance.
Image above: Adrian’s mother gave us this Pendleton blanket to bring something quintessentially American into our Paris world. It works. The wooden radio was given to us by our dear friend and chanteuse, Leslie Feist. As she downsized her Paris flat, she enchanted ours by passing on quite a few special items. Its so nice to have a circulation of our friend’s objects while living abroad. It’s very grounding.
Image above: This little wooden name plate is something that travels with me wherever I go. It’s from a childhood trip to Disneyland. The Rolleiflex camera has a rich history. This is my most prized camera. During my Oakland/San Francisco days, I went on a long search for a Rollei camera. I ended up getting a call from an elderly man in the suburbs asking me to meet him at a fast food burger joint. He told me to “… look for a man with a navy blue cap”. So I did and there he was, at the table with a serious but warm face, and the Rollei firmly in his hands. He told me that he no longer used it but had been waiting to find someone to be its new guard. In his day abroad during WWII he had loaned money to a good friend and fellow officer. This friend died during the war and years later, the soldier’s widow found him in California to pay back her late husband’s debt. She paid it in the form of this Rolleiflex camera he bought while stationed in Germany. It meant a lot to him and now, to me.
Image above: This large, shallow porcelain sink is not only beautiful, but also useful for so many different purposes. One could wash a baby, a pet, textiles and loads of vegetables. So cool. I planted thyme, tarragon, basil, chervil, chives and mint in my kitchen window box. It’s my tiny kitchen garden, way up on the top floor. The best.
Image above: I’ve discovered that keeping eggs at room temperature is the way to go. For baking, frying or however you use them, there is something about the room temperature egg that makes everything work better. The utensils here are all stored in an old mustard pot, which are easily found at the many Paris brocantes (flea markets). Especially in the Burgundy region, home to the mustard capital, Dijon. Also, I recommend buying a bag of grey french sea salt and using a mortar and pestle, like the one here, to grind batches of it for cooking. It’s one of the healthiest types of salt. It helps with digestion, boosts the immune system and allows your organs to work more efficiently.
Image above: I asked some friends in California to send me California poppy seeds for my Paris window box. They did, and up they came!
Image above: Because my window boxes receive limited sunlight, I thought it would be great to design a box that would work with our slanted roof, which gets at least 8 hours of sun. My husband, Adrian, is a craftsman and designer and came home one day from the atelier he works with, Ufacto, with this smart garden box. It is made entirely of old palette wood, and holds about 30 gallons of soil. We are germinating lots of Kale and herbs for our upcoming plant sharing party. Kale does not exist in Paris, as some French people only see it as a hearty green to feed to barn animals. I’ve already shared some seedlings with several growers and hopefully we will soon see it on a menu at Parisian restaurants. That’s my goal.