When the architects Pierre and Francois Voirin came on board to renovate a quirky 500 square foot apartment in the Parisian district of Charonne-Bastille, it was actually two separate apartments. The spaces were not only small in square footage, but also in height, leaving a feeling of claustrophobia even when the two separate apartments were combined. The owner of the property bought it not knowing what might be found above the ceiling, but luckily it ended up being the saving grace of the space. The false ceiling has been removed, an additional five feet of height has been revealed.
“With its sloping roof, the space on the top floor of this building from the circa 1900s is magnificent and very usable”, explain the architects in charge of the renovation. This extra space on the top floor was a pleasant surprise for the brothers, who immediately seized the opportunity to “do something very, very beautiful”. They started by installing skylights to bring in plenty of light, and regarding the floor plan, they restructured the space with a bookcase partition that separates the bedroom and bathroom from the living room.
The architects’ objective was to place the living room, study, dining room and kitchen in the rectangular plan in one piece, preserving the beautiful wooden structure and other elements such as the floor tiles of origin. “The distribution was clear for us and the recess in the wall was perfect to accommodate the kitchen and the bathroom, and it also allowed us to create symmetry with the two doors that immediately define the space”, explain the architects. “The library was born from the idea of separation. The library wall plays on the idea of a hidden room, doors in shelves, not hidden but almost. Placing the bedroom, the dressing room and the bathroom bath behind this partition was for them an eminently architectural gesture, a study of transitions, the common thread of this apartment which recalls the multifunctional furniture designed by the architect Pierre Chareau in the 1920s.