Hi there TBSH friends! Angela here. I am so happy to bring to you today our 2nd post in a series called “Local Highlights”. “Local Highlights” are about some of the amazing women that live right here in our own community. And, as Bridgette stated in her post earlier this month titled, “Angie Dornier Photography: An Inspiration of a Passion Turned Profession” , we feel that there are many women right here in our own community that inspire! They are our friends, neighbors, and often cheer buddies at our kid’s sports events. They are just like us, doing their best to live a “simply happy” life! Even if you don’t live here in Houston, more specifically the Spring Branch/Memorial area of Houston, you are sure to find inspiration and enjoy reading about these women.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the beautiful and talented Kate Pernoud (just see her beautiful creations below), someone I am happy to call my friend. Most importantly, Kate is a mom to 2 great children, Grace (13) and Jonathan (11), wife to the handsome Chris, age withheld 😉 and fur baby-momma to Toby the Goldendoodle and Oliver the Maine Coon cat. By all means a happy and fulfilled life, but Kate had a passion all her own (I think we can all relate to that!). A passion for antiques, travel, and meeting new people. Born from that passion was Maison Pernoud, Kate’s own antiques and home decor business. I’d like to mention that Kate also has begun creating her own exquisite home decor items that she is now offering in a few local establishments – Memorial Antiques and Interiors, Bering’s, and Mecox and Taylors on Ten in Dallas. I particularly love the acrylic trays with antique brass handles and the acrylic “architectural” pieces with antique brass adornment. Gorgeous!
I recently sat down with Kate in her lovely home to learn more about her and Maison Pernoud. Including “fun facts” about Kate! Does she prefer beer or wine? The YMCA or the Cotton-Eyed Joe? Read on to see what Kate had to say.
What is Maison Pernoud?
“What started out as just an antique business is expanding into a lifestyle brand. Maison means “home” in French. When I’m traveling, visiting markets around the world, attending shows, meeting artists, or creating art with our daughter I always ask myself, “Would I put this in our home? Would I use this product? Is this product unique?” It’s the basis of anything that I purchase. Maison Pernoud clients want items in their homes that are unique and beautiful. I want people to be inspired by the antiques and other products we sell. I’m not interested in making everyone’s homes look the same.”
Why did you start Maison Pernoud? What is the inspiration behind it?
“I tell people Maison Pernoud was created from our 6 kitchen tables and a case of wanderlust. What started out as me changing our kitchen table and replacing it (by selling the old one) over and over again was what I now see as the birth of Maison Pernoud. Also, in my 20’s we moved to Houston. It was hard as a newlywed and entering graduate school at Rice University. Looking back, I realize how small my world had been growing up. There are so many amazing places to explore in this world, and so many people to meet and learn from. Maison Pernoud gives me the opportunity to do this!”
What is most rewarding about it? Something that makes you “Simply Happy”?
“When I find a unique antique or create a custom piece and then a client has an emotional connection to it! Recently I had a client that was looking for the perfect mantle piece for her new home in Florida. The home isn’t even completed yet, but she came to my home and selected the perfect piece for her mantle. She was so happy and her joy brought me joy!”
What is most challenging?
“A lot of people have commented that my job sounds so “sexy”. I think that they have this vision: “Kate leaves her kids and husband and jets off to Europe, she sees tons of fabulous antiques and amazing historical places, all while eating baguettes and drinking wine all day long.” The truth is, if you are going to be successful at antiquing you have to be at markets very early (no hangover from too much wine), and you spend a lot of time just traveling from location to location, not sight seeing. I sometimes leave a market or source with nothing or very little. Remember, if I wouldn’t put it in my home, I don’t buy it. True story – I once drove 2 hours in the middle of the night to catch an early ferry from Calais, France to England. Then drove 2 more hours to the fair grounds. My bed that night was the cab of a van, and I was up at 6am to start shopping. No change of clothes, toothbrush, or makeup bag. Then, it rained almost the entire day while I shopped. I’ve also peed in a field at the side of the road and tried to figure out how to use the toilets with the hole in the floor…unsuccessfully! It’s ok to laugh! Yes, I’ve peed on myself in the middle of France! How’s that for sexy?
What would your advice be to others that wish to start a business similar to yours?
It can be challenging to balance the need to work and make your business successful, but to also give yourself permission to take a day off. I said yes to every opportunity thrown at me in the last 2 years, and I was blessed to have the support of my family while doing this. However, looking back I was afraid that if I said “no” I would be missing an opportunity that could be incredible for the business. By the end of last Spring I was feeling burned out. I was riddled with guilt over the time I had missed with my family and friends. I took the Summer to reflect on what I wanted out of Maison Pernoud, and my life in general. I asked myself, “what makes me happy?” The answer is BALANCE, which sounds simple, yet it takes daily effort to achieve. I’m still 100% committed to Maison Pernoud, but I have many years ahead of me to grow the business. Yet I only have a few years left with our children at home. It’s one of the reasons we did a combined buying trip and family vacation in France this summer!
Which country/region is your favorite so far?
The wine, food, and culture of Southern France can put you in a state of permanent relaxation! Walking down the cobblestone streets of St. Remy, you feel like you’ve climbed inside a Van Gough painting, and every evening is a starry night.
Now for some “fun facts” about Kate….
- Cupcake or macaron – Cupcake, especially if it is carrot cake with cream cheese frosting!
- Beer or wine – Wine
- Moped ride in Italy or swimming in a waterfall in Maui – Moped in Italy
- Audrey Hepburn or Sophia Lauren – Sophia Lauren, she loves all things Italian!
- Home Depot or call the repairman – Call the repairman!
- The YMCA or The Cottone-Eyed Joe – The Cotton-Eyed Joe
- Orange or blue – Blue (me too!)
- The 80’s or the 90’s – The 80’s (A girl after my own heart 😉 I figured the 80’s since she was playing 80’s music while I was there…)
- Receive a handwritten letter of sentiment or receive a bouquet of your favorite flowers – Handwritten letter
- A self-help book or a novel – Novel
- Dog or cat lover – Both! (and she’s got the cutest of both!)
- Jog or yoga – Jog
- All time favorite movie – The Help (she just loves the strong female characters)
- What song will she dance to no matter the time, day, or place – The Cupid Shuffle
- What trait does she admire most in women – The willingness to help other women (I like that!)
- What is one single piece of advice she’d give to her 20 year old self – Take risks and don’t be afraid to try new things
- One item she’d like to cross off her bucket list – A trip to Italy! Specifically, Northern Italy where her great grand father came from. She’d like to see, feel, and explore her Italian heritage!
In closing I’d like to say that while spending time with Kate in preparation for this post, I could really feel her passion for what she does. She also has a great passion for her family and in creating a personal/work balance. Something we can all relate to…
Also while we were together Kate shared some tips on shopping the Round Top Antiques Fair, like what to bring, the best places to shop for your particular wish list items, what to do in preparation, and more… We did a quick video together that you can find on the To Be Simply Happy You Tube channel. Check it out!
If you would like more information about the beautiful antiques and home decor items that Kate has please visit her website at Maison Pernoud.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about Kate and I hope that you found even just a little inspiration from her. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please send us a comment in the section below.