For Parisians Rime Arodaky, a wedding gown designer, and Greg Finck, a photographer, picking a creative project gave them focus amid the many lockdowns in France.

During the initial coronavirus lockdown last year, Rime Arodaky, a wedding gown designer, and Greg Finck, a wedding photographer, spent six weeks in a friend’s country home in Provence, France. There they home-schooled their son, Andrea, 3, and Mr. Finck’s daughter from a previous marriage, Juliette, 9. They slowed down from their hectic life in Paris, where they jointly ran Ms. Arodaky’s namesake bridal gown company and Mr. Finck managed his wedding photography business. The Provence house was a refreshing escape from their two-bedroom apartment in Paris. They had country air, farm-to-table food, local wine, and plenty of tractors to excite their toddler.

Soon they found themselves embarking on a new project. They scoped out a property next door, an 18th-century farmhouse with an English-style garden. It was close to their friends and appeared to have sturdy bones. But they couldn’t see the interior. The owners were locked down at home in Britain, and curtains covered the windows. Mr. Finck figured that it couldn’t be too bad, and they made an offer.

Turns out, a lot can go wrong. The inside of the home was “the worst-case scenario,” Mr. Finck, 40, said. It would need a gut renovation. The couple laughed. Wasn’t that a metaphor for life right now?

When you look at Mr. Finck’s Instagram account, it seems like life is perfect for this picturesque family of four: an apartment in Paris with stunning minimalist interior design, two successful companies and a loving relationship. But like any couple, the life you don’t show online is the one that’s often messier and full of challenges, especially during a pandemic. The couple said it was a tense year full of questioning themselves, managing the multiple lockdowns and curfews in France, postponing their Bali wedding, and celebrating the joys amid it all.

“I was afraid at first — concerned and doubting because it was, and still is, so unknown,” Ms. Arodaky, 39, said. “But this past year has just proved to


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