The Grand Tour

A 646-Square-Foot Parisian Apartment Exudes a Quiet Elegance

A bold yet classic renovation transforms this Montmartre home
living room with vintage ikea armchairs a low wood credenza and graphic carpet
Vintage IKEA armchairs complement a low credenza in this Paris apartment.Photo: Alice Mesguich

“I love this project because the owner was immediately open to my suggestions and trusted me with everything,” says interior designer Lauranne Élise Schmitt. “He works in finance and has lived in London and Frankfurt, so he’s used to hushed, subdued atmospheres, like that found in a private English club. That’s what inspired me.” Before Lauranne Élise could redesign this 646-square-foot space on rue Lamarck, in Montmartre, she demolished much of the existing unit. On the side facing the street, a partition was removed to create a living-dining-kitchen area. On the interior, courtyard side, a clean slate was also created. The corridor, which was taking up too much space, was reconfigured, and the old kitchen became a bedroom—or rather a principal suite—with two sliding glass doors on either side of the headboard that open onto the bathroom.

Haussmannian style gets a contemporary update in the kitchen area. The walls and ceiling are painted in Calcaire (Argile Peinture) and the parquet floor is oak. Lauranne Élise combined the mahogany cabinet fronts with a worktop and credenza in Rose des Sables waxed concrete (Marius Aurenti). Around the ochre Bisel glass table designed by Patricia Urquiola (Glas Italia), Scandinavian chairs in teak by Niels O. Møller. Above, a yellow resin Aura suspension lamp by Sabine Marcelis (Established & Sons).

In this project with no real constraints on the designer, Lauranne Élise was able to give free rein to her vision. In the living room, bespoke distressed mirrors frame antique wardrobes to create a sense of depth while preserving the Haussmannian spirit of the space. She also indulged her love of beautiful wood. “Dark wood is something of a signature for me,” Lauranne Élise says. “When it is lightly varnished, there’s nothing more chic. The antique wardrobe matches the vintage IKEA armchairs, which I think are beautiful with their leather and dark wood.” A carpet with a backgammon and checkerboard motif is a highlight of the living room and provides a graphic nod to the work of designer Andrée Putman. The playful touch is in keeping with the owner’s lifestyle—he is always ready to go out, or stay in, with friends.

According to Lauranne Élise, “Architectural lines define the spaces and give them a visual focus; they make an interior legible.” Here, the two openings leading to the bedroom on the left and the study on the right are perfectly symmetrical, as are the two armchairs in solid pine and vintage leather. Above, the mahogany oak bookcase was designed by the interior designer. On one of the shelves, a desk lamp by Jean Prouvé for Vitra. In the hallway in the background, a vintage Art Deco lamp.

Everything has been carefully planned in the apartment, like the wall-mounted bookcase between the two openings in the living room. This piece of furniture was designed by the interior designer, as were the wall and base units in the kitchen. Like the walk-in wardrobes in the bedroom, they are made of mahogany. The window in the dining room has been left unobstructed so that the space is not visually overloaded. Patricia Urquiola’s glass table, with its subtle ochre tones and layers, adds a touch of lightness to the kitchen’s matte mahogany elements. The backsplash is in a waxed concrete that matches that of the vanity unit in the bathroom—a good choice for a small space where too many materials could undermine the apartment’s coherent look. Above the table, a yellow resin pendant by Sabine Marcelis creates a play of transparencies between its warm tones and the browns of the wood.

The warm tones of ochre and mahogany are matched by cognac-colored corduroy curtains. The window in the dining room is unobstructed so that the space isn’t overloaded with visual elements that would be distracting. The utensils and other kitchen items are secondhand. The flowers are from Muse Montmartre.

This club-like atmosphere found in other parts of the apartment continues in the bedroom, with its dark ochre walls and ceiling, and in the bathroom, with its deeper burgundy color contrasting with shiny ceramic tiles. The floor is waxed concrete, as is the vanity unit (which is in the same tan tone as the kitchen backsplash), creating a dialogue of matte-gloss materials with the mahogany of the dressing room, which runs from the bathroom to the bedroom in a range of brown and earthy colors. The cornices on the ceilings have been retained—and new ones added in the suite. “The idea was to preserve the vestiges of the past, such as the location of an old Prussian stove hidden by a beveled cornice that creates an interesting geometric accident—an asymmetry in this skillfully crafted symmetry,” says Lauranne Élise with a laugh. She concludes by adding, “This refined box can be explained by my taste for warm, sophisticated interiors. My dream is to create spaces that are all wood and dark colors, and mahogany is such a beautiful wood.”

In the bedroom, designed to feel like a suite, sliding doors with burgundy steel frames are on both sides of the headboard and lead into the bathroom. The walls and ceiling are painted in Clair de Lune (Ressource Peinture). Yellow wall light by Charlotte Perriand. Old bronze light switches from the Confidence collection (Modelec).

The cornices in the bedroom are new. Lauranne Élise added them to create a look consistent with the other areas of the flat.

A view of the bedroom from the bathroom. The satin-finish mahogany wardrobes and Rio rosewood handles run seamlessly from one room to the next. The bathroom floor is Palace waxed concrete (Mercadier), while the bespoke vanity unit is Rose des Sables waxed concrete (Marius Aurenti). The basin mirror features a sculpture by Laurent Dufour (Aurélien Gendras) and the bedroom has a Modulation floor lamp in yellow lacquered steel (Axel Chay).

Above the bath, burgundy glazed ceramic tiles match the tones of the Riviera waxed concrete used for the bath (Marius Aurenti), Aubergine della Robbia paint was used (Ressource Peinture) for the walls and Palace waxed concrete (Mercadier) for the floor.

Above the double washbasin in waxed concrete, a plaster shell wall light (Axel Chay) sits atop the mirrored wall.