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Madame de la Maison Will Help You Set Your Table With French Country Antiques |

Madame de la Maison Will Help You Set Your Table With French Country Antiques

“I have been collecting for a while, only now, my husband can’t get mad at me,” jokes Ajiri Aki, a vintage porcelain enthusiast who calls her home an “antiques factory.” With the launch of her company, Madame de la Maison, just one month ago, Aki’s personal hoard of tableware serves as her company’s inventory. And she can now justify her never-not-antiquing way of life; no matter her location, Aki has one eye open for Limoges porcelain or a tureen from Sèvres.

The concept for the Paris-based Madame de la Maison is three-fold: one of a kind antique place settings are available for rent for special occasions (Aki also produces events), there’s an online shop (with etched crystal champagne coupes and toile patterns aplenty), then there’s her own line of linens. The last of which she manufactures locally using 100 percent linen to create natural-fiber napkins and tablecloths dyed, embroidered, and monogrammed in the most pleasant of shades. The brand’s ethos as a whole is also one of sustainability; Aki recycles dinnerware, and her linens are ethically-produced with a biodegradable fiber.

Of Nigerian descent, Aki grew up in Austin and moved to New York after college, where she steeped herself in the fashion world with a couple of magazine editing jobs. She then developed a taste for academia, studying decorative arts at Bard College before working at the Met’s Costume Institute and the Museum of the City of New York. It was fashion history that brought her to Paris, where she currently resides—she was actually researching couturier Jean Patou when she decided to settle in the French capital. But no matter her location, Aki maintained a strong sense of community, hosting and creating beautiful moments with the help of her antique wares.

“I was at a friend’s house in the countryside, talking about how much I loved the decorative arts,” says Aki. “I thought, wouldn’t it be kind of amazing if I could do this for a living?” So the studied antiquarian decided to do just that.

Aki now spends her time daytripping through the French countryside, pilgrimaging to the town of Lille for its annual Grande Braderie and scavenging at the Parisian flea markets of Brocantes and Vide Grenier. On weekends, she loads up the car with her husband and sometimes her two kids; things eventually start to get more cramped as the crockery piles up. “I basically collect what catches my eye, but I have a hard time passing up anything Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Regency/Empire styles,” she says. “I also like the idea of bringing French country life to the city.”

And her collecting doesn’t stop at interior decor. Unsurprisingly, Aki is often found dressed in her pieces of ’30s to ’50s-era vintage, and there’s likely a scarf involved. She has an endless collection of silk squares and claims she does not play favorites when it comes to the accessory: “My scarf-love has no decade restriction!”

Her whole aesthetic, both personal and in business, is envy-inducing. Head to the Madame de la Maison Instagram for beautiful tablescapes and dinner party-schemes infused with an air of the bygone Provençal. But unlike on most accounts, these are experiences to be shared and recreated for others. And though she’s based in Paris, Aki confirms, “so long as the shipping is covered, I’ll ship anywhere!”

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