French Lessons
Paris Shopping with Designer Garrow Kedigian

Born and raised in Montreal, New York City interior designer Garrow Kedigian is a strong proponent of a timeless and Continental approach to design. French influences inform much of his work so it comes as no surprise that Paris is a frequent destination when the designer is sourcing pieces for his many projects.

Garrow, whose projects have been published in House Beautiful, Traditional Home, and Architectural Digest and his own apartment, in the New York Times, traces his love for all things French to his many trips to Paris to visit family and one experience in particular: "I was 14, and one of my uncles took us to the flea markets. Our afternoon stroll through all the kiosks had me hooked," he says.

Establishing Garrow Kedigian Interior Design in 2001, the designer, who is classically trained, notes that an architectural background is the foundation for most of his interior design work, stating, "the architecture is what sets the tone and tells you how to treat a space."

His mantra, evident in all his projects, is that good design should look like you've lived there a lifetime. "When I walk away from a project I want it to feel like everything in the house was collected by the client over decades rather than assembled by a designer over a few months."

In pursuit of this goal he revels in Paris shopping saying there are simply things that one cannot find stateside and there are still bargains if you know where to go!

Shopping Tips in Paris

  • Travel with a furniture plan and a mini swatch board for the various projects you are shopping. It is easy to be beguiled by a fabulous piece of furniture, so you always need to keep in mind the pieces that you're looking for, their sizes, and the colors, tones and textures that you're working with for a particular space.
  • Give yourself a couple of days for shopping. I tell all my clients never to make any impulse purchases. Today, with an iPhone and iPad you can take pictures of every object (and be sure to take pictures of all the tags as well).
  • Wait until the end of the first day, at dinner to review your findings, make a list of how you will put everything together along with your furniture plan, and to which vendors you will return.
  • It always helps to negotiate with a dealer in his language. Even if you don't speak French, I suggest learning a few introductory words to break the ice.
  • All the dealers expect a negotiation so don't offer them the full price right off the bat. I suggest starting low but not so low that you offend them. See where their counter offer is, and then meet them somewhere in the middle.
  • Don't forget to budget for shipping.

Garrow's RubyLUX Dealer Faves

  • Galerie Jacques Lacoste - Jacques Lacoste has an incredible eye for mid-century modern. He has a great selection of Jean-Michel Frank.
  • Avant-Garde - Pierre Bosche responds to materials in a unique way. I found this wonderful marble game table in the window, and you never think of a game table made of marble!

Parisian Haunts

  • Le Rivoli Café - I love the vaulted space.
  • In Saint Germain Marco Polo is the best for Italian food, it's a gem.
  • Le Hibou for a traditional French meal.
  • And for classic Parisian ambiance you can't beat Fouguets on the Champs Elysées.