Meet Emily, the British founder of Paris-based design studio Ever After Press, and her daughter Elodie. Following seven years in Dubai and a short stint in London, Emily moved to Paris with her husband two years ago after his company transferred him to the French capital. By chance, the couple stumbled across their Haussmannian rental in the 16th arrondissement after viewing a series of apartments around the city. Complete with all the details you might expect from a Parisian apartment, including wooden parquet floors, marble fireplace and ceiling cornices, it’s the perfect home for her new family. Emily has made the most of its period features while adding her own personal aesthetic. I visited Emily and Elodie to find out more about her holiday plans and decorating tips.
By Marissa Cox, Paris-based editor of Rue Rodier.
It’s Elodie’s first Christmas, how do you plan on making it extra special?
Elodie is eating proper meals now, so while one of her favorite things to do is gnaw on a piece of baguette, this year she will be trying a full traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings (although it might be pureed!). We also have a few slightly more festive outfits for her. I like to dress her quite traditionally, and the French stores have beautiful babies clothes. One of my favorite guilty pleasures of late is shopping for outfits for her—so much more fun than choosing things for myself! In terms of gifts, she tends to love playing with really simple things like one of her own socks, or banging a wooden spoon against the parquet rather than proper toys, but I had thought of a little toy-sized grand piano for her so she will probably be banging away on that on Christmas day. We are all really looking forward to spending Christmas with a baby in the family this year.
How do you usually spend the holidays?
Recently, we have spent Christmas in the UK where we are from so we can see both of our families. This year, we are renting a house in Brighton so there will be lots of bundled-up walks on the beach, snuggling by the fire with large amounts of chocolate and time spent wandering through the Brighton lanes for last minute shopping. We might also go to midnight mass at the church my husband was christened in and used to attend as a little boy.
What are your top tips for decorating your apartment during the holiday season?
I like to keep things simple, which echoes my decorating style in general. I have always been a big fan of the Scandinavian pared-back look, and I try to reflect that with our Christmas decor. Since having Elodie, we also need to make sure that everything is baby-proofed as she is now crawling. Our apartment isn’t huge so I don’t like to overwhelm the space with too many decorations. This year I made a really simple wreath using eucalyptus, which also fills the apartment with a beautiful natural fragrance. I tried to keep to a color palette of white and green and use a lot of natural elements to bring nature inside the home, which I find really calming, while allowing the people in the home to bring the color and movement.
Can you recommend any ideas for a festive table?
I love to fill the table with foliage and overload it with candles. Champagne is a must, and I have it at all my festive gatherings. I also like to end the meal with a glass of Amaretto over ice. My husband’s family is Italian, and we were married in Italy, so we always have a few Panettone, and amaretti biscuits are always a welcome addition. Christmas crackers are always featured on our festive table. And paper hats are a must-have. I know my husband is hoping to recreate a funny photo of me as a baby in a highchair wearing a paper hat with Elodie this year.
What are your favourite holiday treats?
I must admit, I do tend to go overboard with the food during the holiday season. I have a terrible sweet tooth and normally end up eating far too many Quality Street (the tackiest English holiday chocolates), Lindt balls and Terry’s chocolate orange pieces. Fondant icing-topped mince pies and mulled wine normally make an appearance. Luckily, my husband is a fabulous cook, and I am a big fan of the traditional Christmas lunch with bread sauce and I even love brussel sprouts. We normally have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with Prosecco on Christmas morning, followed by a late lunch.
Why do you think it’s important to give cards during the holiday season?
I designed this year’s Ever After Press card collection as a nod to my favourite Scandinavian aesthetic, but also referencing minimalist typography, France, and a color palette of black, white, gray and blush pink—all recurring themes in my work. I tried to juxtapose the wording of traditional Christmas carols with modernist design to create cards that are hopefully unexpected and yet familiar, and perfectly at home in a modern interior. In our busy modern lives, the holiday season seems the perfect opportunity to reach out and reconnect with the people in our lives who are important to us. Social media is an amazing way to stay in touch, but I love the personal and tactile experience of receiving something handwritten by a friend—I specifically chose a matte heavyweight textured card stock for that reason.
Was it hard to adapt to a Paris rental?
We were lucky enough to find an apartment where all of our existing furniture fit in pretty well. We have a lot of items, which are French or Scandinavian-esque, which complemented the space.
Is it harder working from home now that you have a baby?
Working from home has some challenges, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel really lucky to be able to spend so much time with Elodie as she grows up. She goes to the most adorable Halte Garderie (daycare) in the afternoons, so I get some time to work, and she gets to hang out with her little French friends.
What did you consider when decorating your bedroom?
I like to keep our bedroom clutter free and as a place to relax at the end of the day, but Elodie and I also spend a lot of time playing together in bed most mornings. Her personality is really starting to show now, and it’s such a pleasure getting to know her. We bought this French style bed before we knew we were moving to Paris, but it fits the room perfectly, and we have a large print of Rome above the bed. Rome holds special significance for us—it was the first holiday my husband took me on, as a surprise trip when we were began dating.
Has having Elodie changed how you think about your business?
Yes. I am planning to branch out from wedding stationery and also include a line of non-personalised lifestyle products—cards, notebooks and posters are coming soon! Follow along on Instagram to keep up with the latest goings on behind the scenes at Ever After Press.