In many older cities in Europe, small living spaces can be quite common, especially in cities as old and as dense as Paris, France. Over the years, we have enjoyed a number of interesting small space renovations and quirky conversions in the City of Lights, ranging from a former doorman’s residence, a bathroom turned into a micro-apartment, to a former garage. transformed into a house for a family of four. And as anyone who has lived in a small apartment will tell you, a lot of creativity and attention to detail is required to maximize the available space and to make all the various rooms work.
In renovating a small 193 square foot studio in an old building dating from the 1970s, French interior designer Sabrina Julien de Beau Faire Studio (previously) took a measured and subtle approach.
Located on the 14th floor of a 15th century building in Paris arrondissement, the existing Apartment Rue Falguière had a rectangular layout, with a partition separating the entrance hallway and bathroom from the main living space.
The kitchen – placed in the corner of the main living space – was incredibly small. There was no storage space, nor designated areas for sleeping or sitting, leading the client to use a sofa bed as a temporary solution.
To begin with, Julien dismantled the partition and the door separating the entrance hall from the main room. This instantly brought more light deeper into the apartment and helped establish better circulation between the spaces. In addition, more storage has been inserted in the form of built-in shelves, now occupying the space behind the old door, like a new crown topping the white painted radiator.
The woven rose decor was handmade by a French textile artist Melanie Clénet, and perfectly matches the color scheme in the rest of the apartment.
One of the main design moves here has been to create a dedicated sleeping space without building a mezzanine, which can be difficult to get in and out of. This was done by installing a queen bed on a raised platform, which creates additional space below for storage drawers and even a nifty sliding table. This saves space by allowing the customer to put things away when not needed.
The sleeping area is defined by a frame of birch plywood, which has been covered with a barely noticeable wire mesh. As Julien explains on House side:
“Instead of creating a partition that would have blocked the volume, we worked with an expanded metal mesh that allows air and light to pass through. The bedroom therefore has its own “universe”, but retains a view of the entire space. ”
Moving on to the adjoining kitchen, the new scheme significantly enlarged the puny kitchen by adding more counter space, an additional open shelving unit, and cabinets above and to the side.
Like the rest of the apartment, the color scheme remains neutral with pale wood tones offset by pale blush pinks and grays, creating a much more modern and functional space that feels like a breath of fresh air.
Julien further explains why birch wood was chosen as the main material in the renovation:
“We chose birch plywood for its aesthetic qualities: it is a light wood, slightly pinkish, with a beautiful grain. All the fittings have been shaped, in order to keep the unit in a small space. nuances and materials are quickly found with a messy result. ”
The bathroom has also been redone by adding two hinged doors which have metal mesh top halves (a bit risky maybe!) But Julien says that:
“As the room lacked light, we changed the solid door to a double door. We made it out of birch plywood, with the same metal mesh as the sleeping area.”
The dated bathroom walls have been replaced with bolder gray graphic tiling. The old tub is gone, replaced by a freestanding tub with rounded corners, adding a touch of luxury to the otherwise small bathroom.
As we have said many times already, preserving and rehabilitating the existing housing stock in cities is more environmentally friendly than demolishing and rebuilding it. Here, the results speak for themselves: Julien’s intelligent and creative eye has transformed what was once a sad little studio into a cozy urban haven, right in the heart of a beautiful city.