(May 18-22, 2008 ) On this visit to our Quintess residence in Paris, we wanted to help our American guests decorate their newly-purchased apartment on Fifth Avenue, New York. Ellen and Allen were decorating in Art Deco and wanted to add some very special pieces that they were having trouble finding in New York at reasonable prices (whatever that means).

We introduced them to our good friend, Michael West, formerly the Artistic Director of Faconnable. Michael obviously has great taste and a great eye and has turned his attention from fashion to his long-time passion for antiques. What he does now, in addition to adding to his own fine collection, is to advise clients, mostly Americans in Paris, in finding the best furniture, fabrics and decorations to their taste in Paris and negotiating the best deals for them.

For Ellen, he talked to her about her tastes, set up visits to some of the neatest places on both banks, and led them to things they weren’t finding in New York. And, then, he showed them similar items in other shops so they could get a true sense of the value of what they wanted to buy.

The end result: they were able to buy three pieces at much less than what was originally asked by the store. Must have been worth it, because at the end of the day, they asked that Michael accept more than his fee (300 euros for one-half day) as a nice “Thank you.” He doesn’t work on commission so there’s no incentive for him to make sure you spend too much. Nice! (Michael can be reached at mwest05@attglobal.net ).

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