There is something unmistakably French about this pied-à-terre for two — other than the fact that it is located in the heart of, well, Paris, of course! Designers Kelli Wilde and Laurent Champeau have given this 1,500 sqft two-bedroom-hall-kitchen apartment a distinct edge with their careful curation of Parisian flea market finds, custom-built accessories and everything in between.
There is an air of romance in the interiors that is almost palpable, and it seems to come alive with the juxtaposition of old and new design elements. “We wanted to create an ambience that respected what this place would have been like in the 19th century, while making it our own,” says Wilde. Making few structural changes to the original apartment, the designers have created gracefully proportionate living spaces that are distinctly tinged with modernity without losing out on the romanticism of vintage French sensibility. There is a swish to every line, a flair to every form and poetry in almost every molding of the apartment.
The art in the living room is one of the incredulous aspects of the designers’ thought process, as it lends itself almost delicately to the setting. There is a sculpted wool painting by Alfred Haberpointner, busts in glazed earthenware representing two of the four seasons, a ceramic coffee table from Galerie Stephane Olivier, a porcelain sculpture ‘Ondulation’ from the Karry Gallery, wood vessels on the fireplace mantel sourced from Galerie Mouvements Modern, a blue vase by Carl Henry Stalhane ca. 1965 Galerie Stephane Olivier, ‘Forme Violette’ placed near the fireplace and a stunning collage by Anna Shanon placed between windows.
Within this quintessentially traditional pied-à-terre, there is a clear contemporary interlacing of bold patterns, textures and forms with beautifully restored and some even gloriously reproduced pieces like the Madeline Castaing repro bench in the living room. While almost all of the art here is modern, including abstract collages created by the French painter Francis Montanier, sourced from Paris itself, a custom designed leopard-pattern carpet stretching from wall to wallholds the space together with its remarkedly eclectic presence. Large, floor to ceiling casement windows, create an air of effortless elegance, throwing the heavily folded walls into fresh relief. A trio of old maps — one of which is an 1817 plan of Paris — works wonders for the guest room and turns out to be one of the most interesting pieces of art in the apartment, speaking volumes above the stunning chest of drawers from Moissonnier, Paris.
Tailoring the residence to the owners’ brief and requirements, Champeau and Wilde have culled out the third bedroom and tastefully transformed it into a spacious bath with an adjoining walk-in closet. A pocket door came next for the guest bath, so that the toilet can be cleverly partitioned off and used independently as a powder room as and when required.
It is interesting to note how the designers have added a number of smart new architectural details, all very much in keeping with French tradition. We love how the antique console and barometer in the foyer draw you in with a poignant sense of expectation as you step inside and onto the cabochon flooring.