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    Tuckernuck IRL: Ajiri Aki

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    Meet Ajiri Aki, founder of Madame de la Maison, a rental company and online boutique for people who want to create tabletops that are both memorable and joyful. According to Ajiri, celebration is “in her DNA.” Originally from Nigeria, Ajiri comes from a family who loves a good party, full of food, music, and good company.
    After graduating from the University of Texas Austin, Ajiri worked as a stylist in New York City. She then moved to Paris, married, and started a family. It was there that she realized she lacked a sense of community, which inspired her to create Madame de la Maison, put the spotlight back on her table, and encourage others to do the same.

    Through stylish antiques, gorgeous linens and sustainable materials, Ajiri helps you bring your vision to life and create moments and memories that will stay with you forever. Ajiri’s advice to you: “Gather around the table and celebrate life with beautiful things whenever possible. Life is short. Joie de vivre starts today.”


    Ajiri's Inspiration

    I have a continually expanding collection of art and lifestyle books that I turn to for inspiration. I love my books and love getting lost in them for ideas, information and inspiration.


    Ajiri's Decorating

    I love to set out little decorative moments and candles so the house feels festive. Small touches go a long way. For example, I like to make a runner of pine cones, or little vases with festive seasonal flowers, set a wreath down as a centerpiece, or use velvet ribbon to tie napkins. Holiday hosting tip: I try to set the table the night before a dinner so you are not running around doing finishing touches when guests arrive.


    Ajiri Finds the Fun

    Finding fun in life is being seated at a table with people you enjoy and no rush or rules to restrict these moments. At the end of the day it's about the people we surround ourselves with that bring us joy. Cheers!

    How would you describe your personal style?
    Who are your personal style icons?

    Dorothy Dandridge is a style icon of mine. I am inspired by women and looks from the 1930's to the 1950's so I tend to love caftans, long dresses, full skirts and dramatic jewelry. I love the dresses from Madame Grès and Christian Dior’s New Look.
    “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” - Yves Saint Laurent

    Three things I never tire of:
    1. Tying my napkins with different types of string from my box of wrapping items.
    2. Sprinkling flowers or petals on a table.
    3. Keeping my centerpieces low so I can actually see the people across the table.

    What are some of your favorite holiday traditions or activities you do with your kids and family?
    On the night we decorate the tree, I make a special meal then we turn up the music and have a small family party. We get to eat, dance and decorate! Also, going to see holiday shows and we enjoy opening advent calendars.

    Favorite holiday meal, dessert, or cocktail?
    We decided two years ago to embrace the French tradition of seafood such as oysters, crab, and lobster for New Years Eve and on Christmas Day we follow my husband’s Swiss tradition of Fondue Chinoise, also known as a hot pot in English. I have enjoyed embracing that with a glass of Ruinart champagne in my hand. Cheers!

    What is your favorite thing about living in Paris this time of year? Do you ever miss your time in NY or Austin?

    In Paris I love the Marche de Noel (Christmas markets) and drinking vin chaud (warm wine). I miss the snow in New York and driving around to see all the lights on houses in Austin.