The Founder of Madame de la Maison Has the Perfect Parisian Rental

updated Aug 3, 2023

The Founder of Madame de la Maison Has the Perfect Parisian Rental

updated Aug 3, 2023
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Name: Ajiri Aki, Thomas Buchwalder, and two kids
Location: Paris, France in the 11th arrondissement
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1076 square feet
Years lived in: 12 years, renting

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We had such a hard time looking for apartments in Paris to move in together after our wedding and I was officially going to relocate to Paris. We saw many places, but nothing was a match, nor could we agree on non-negotiables,” begins Ajiri Aki, the founder of Madame de la Maison.

Ajiri says the top priority for her husband, filmmaker Thomas Buchwalder, was “an apartment facing south and mine was 19th-century Parisian decorative features and a terrace. I remember riding on the back of his motorcycle going from one open house to another and looking up at a corner Haussmannian building with a wrap-around terrace and thinking, ‘I really just want one of those!'”

Credit: Karis Danish

“I left to go back to the States, and Thomas got a message about another apartment in the 11th. He arrived too late to see it and the agency had already closed the downstairs door and gone up with the potential inhabitants. There was a very kind man who was sitting on the doorstep and saw Thomas frustrated that he was too late. He gave Thomas the door code and told him where to go. Thomas ran up those steps, and immediately fell in love because it was everything we both wanted: a 19th century Haussmannian building, original door handles, fireplace and gilded wood mirror, it was facing south and had that wrap-around terrace I coveted,” writes Ajiri. “We got the apartment and here we are 12 years later.”

Credit: Karis Danish

Apartment Therapy Survey

My style: My style is a mix of antiques and contemporary pieces.

Credit: Karis Danish

Favorite element: There are so many elements about our home that I love. First of all, the wrap-around terrace is a dream and I enjoy sitting out there on our antique garden furniture. Also, I love the open plan of the living room and dining room, which we call a double sejour in France. The original marble fireplace and grand gilded mirror make such a statement in this space.

Credit: Karis Danish

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Take your time! Don’t feel rushed to decorate your space. Take your time finding things you love slowly so that your space brings you joy and you are surrounded by objects and pieces that are full of story and meaning to you. For example, you might find something on your travels, at an art show, walking down the wrong street, while visiting a friend, or strolling through an antique market.


Credit: Karis Danish


Credit: Karis Danish


  • Collection of antique mirrors
  • Bench Thomas made with fabric sourced from Marché Saint Pierre
Credit: Karis Danish


  • Paintings — Allison Blumenthal, a New York painter living in Paris
  • Everything else — Vintage/antique
Credit: Karis Danish


  • Art — Collection of antique floral paintings
  • Bedding — La Chambre Paris and Merci Paris
  • Organization system — IKEA Pax that we customized
  • Rest of the furniture — Antique or custom-made by Thomas

Thanks, Ajiri!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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