House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Rabih Hage

The designer kicks off his week with Creative Monday

Rabih Hage

June 07 2011
Rabih Hage

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Mondays are always make or break. You start with great enthusiasm, wanting to achieve plenty, but you usually feel as if you haven’t finished anything. It’s normal, though; it’s Monday. My remedy to Mondays is to consider this day just like a regular weekday. Therefore, I have decided to start it with the spirit of continuity from last week. In fact, I did not have much of a problem doing that as my weekend was short: dedicated to finishing a project for my client and old friend Elizabeth in Paris, as well as shopping with her, and for two other projects, at the Paris flea market.

Most of you might think that shopping in Paris is a great activity, especially when it tends to be other people’s money that you are spending. Well, you would be wrong. It is very demanding, being entrusted with the two most valuable, and opposite in the extreme, assets of modern time: emotion, and cash. Most of you will know how to spend it, as you read this fantastic website. But it is easy when the chain of decision based on these two extremes is concentrated in one brain.

When you have to shop with your own heart and with someone else’s money and sensitivity, this is when it becomes “work”. On the one hand, you feel that the FSA should regulate this job; on the other hand, it is a completely subjective decision based on emotion, social and historical knowledge. A few chandeliers, Louis XVI mirrors and Marco Zanusso armchairs later, it was Saturday evening on the Eurostar, crossing the Channel to London. Probably the best time to travel between these two cities. Free of children, curious travellers and staring French, the Eurostar Premier section has the true feel of an exclusive club where one can meet new people, such as Lisa Buros-Hutchins, a very self-confident private travel consultant who runs her own exclusive Paris tour company from the south of England ( She seems to know her way around the French capital.

Sunday passed by en famille, trying to get over the torture of watching Roger Federer losing (in Paris again) against Nadal… Time to wake up.

Creative Monday is the theme of the day, which started the morning with a very good meeting with Jane, one of our many nice clients who has a very interesting way of working with us, which is: to come along with her own “mood boards”. This is excellent. Just like shopping for others with “emotional regulators”, as opposed to the FSA watching over your shoulder. I think I will encourage other clients to do the same, but only for those who have time.

Suddenly it was 3pm and no food since my two-biscuit breakfast! The meeting is finished. I rush to Itsu on Walton Street for a small bowl of rice and a phone catch-up with my wife, Ghada, as we do every half an hour on the phone, especially when we don’t have anything to say to each other. It is not (only) love; it is a very good mobile phone deal that I find useless and very limiting. There should be a better way than having an electronic relationship with one’s close entourage. So I insisted that Ghada keep the nanny for the evening in order for us to go out and have a face-to-face catch-up which we did not have over the weekend.

We went to Assaggi in Notting Hill, my equal-favourite Italian restaurant in London (the other one is Lucio). To get a table there is like a Monday: make or break. Either you have it at the last minute or you have to reserve months in advance. We made it that night.

We have been taken care of by Paola, the maître d’, and maître of everyone there: from the cook to the Lord and Lady client as well as my wife and me. Paola was exceptionally charming with a constant smile. I have complemented her on her new looks (meaning attitude) and beauty and she was even more charming. She has found love and is cycling every day to work. I am her new amore and I am sure I will not have to wait months before getting a table next time.

The wisdom of the day: “Full house? What full house? There is always a table in a restaurant and a room in a hotel. It is the way one asks for it that matters.”

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