Vallée du Moulin?

Yes, the apartment is more or less ready. It is painted, it has a finish floor and a working bathroom. One apartment all-but-the-kitchen down, one house to go.

So after a roughly two-year odyssey across an entire continent, financial hassles, legal hassles — settling any estate is a legal hassle — mind-bending grief and generally turning myself inside out to deal with all of it, you’d think I would have changed a little bit. You’d think life in France would give me a taste for that Louis-Louis furniture that pops up everywhere, or at least the Philippe Starck plastic version of it. But no. On the first day of unpacking, what did I do? I created a small corner of Mill Valley, circa pretty much any time from the early ’70’s to the present.

So, Cassina sofa on the left, Poltrona Frau Archibald chair on the right and, sitting on the vintage oriental just in front of the Païste 38″ Earth gong, an Archibald footstool. The paint is Flint, a Little Greene color that is blessedly not as white as it looks in the photo.

I just know you are curious about the gong. Païste, a Swiss company that makes cymbals, symphonic gongs and other things, has a series of planetary gongs. Each one is tuned to the vibrations of a particular planet, in this case the planet Earth. You can feel that gong vibrate, no question. Whether in so doing it causes me to vibrate in tune with the planet is an open question. It does make a glorious sound, which the workers assure me can be heard all over the property. Striking the gong and feeling it resonate is extremely calming — extreme calming, how cool is that? — and for that reason alone I am happy to finally have it unpacked.

My friend Nico, who really does live in Mill Valley, has about a dozen of these gongs. Yes, she has more gongs than planets, so she also has Chiron and a couple of other things. She gives you this amazing facial with special wands, oils, tuning forks and who knows what all. Then, while you are laying there hoping some of that goodness will soak in, she gives you a gong bath. She chooses the gongs that her intuition tells her are what you need that day to be emotionally balanced. That’s when you melt into the table and thank the gods that led you to her little tucked-away office. Nico is fully booked and probably has a waiting list for cancellations or I would tell you how to find her.

I am a long way from Nico right now. Most of the time I make do with YouTube. I hope you enjoy your gong bath. Given my level of technical klutziness, I mostly just hope it’s there for you.

5 thoughts on “Vallée du Moulin?

    1. The curse of too much art school! I used to joke that it make me an expert traveler. Now that I live where I used to travel to, I think it just makes me a fussy shopper. I’m not at all sure that’s good. Anyway, thanks.


  1. Is it too much art school? My problem also. So that’s why we tie ourself in mental knots trying to get these spaces right.
    About to post on art school influences soon

    I like that look, my interior design course tutor used “eclectic ” as a catch-all for any mix of styles- I won’t insult you by using it. I prefer to call it the longer title of “put it together because it look good, feels right, makes me comfortable and I LIKE IT!”

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    1. Seriously, this is not eclectic. This is straight-up Mill Valley.

      Back in the seventies Mill Valley was a hippie enclave. Over time we found out that the hard-core hippies had something the rest of us did not: rich parents. One by one their dads took them to the country club and they had The Talk, the real one, that said the Bank of Mom and Dad was open for just one more thing, graduate school tuition, and, ahem, law school would be an excellent idea. The rest of us just floundered around, chose things like architecture school. I can’t believe I thought of that as a sensible choice.

      Anyway, those guys never forgot their little wooded hideaway. They got out of school, got jobs in big San Francisco firms and went right back to Mill Valley. That’s when the rest of us stopped being able to afford the place.

      So when you go to their houses, they look pretty much like this. Lots of modern furniture, bought new and not the knockoffs, please. Some vintage/inherited pieces, just to show that they are not slaves to fashion. And a New Age doodad, just to show that they may be overpaid pencil-pushers but they can still roll a joint. Some of them even do, from time to time. Generally their views are superior to mine . They probably have a lot more windows. Still, you get the idea.


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