Judy Fayard | January 01, 2013
Laurent Vassilian, a French 30-something TV writer, knew exactly what he wanted. After a multiyear search, he’d finally found the right apartment on a particular Paris street: a 750-square-foot fixer-upper under the slanting mansard roof of a 17th-century building. But its warren of tiny rooms needed to be replaced, he told his architect, Marie Deroudilhe, and suggested a renovation in the style of the city’s mid 19th–century makeover by civic planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann.
But the Agence Marie Deroudilhe principal thought Second Empire frou-frou would contradict the apartment’s historic bohemian charm, namely its high ceilings and elegant moldings. The solution was a serendipitous meeting of the minds: a contemporary loft like look with a free standing Haussmannian black volume enclosing the bedroom.The apartment was gutted, the original oak support beams exposed, and the dilapidated flooring replaced with oak herringbone parquet. Lined with white ceramic tile, the long, narrow bathroom now flaunts fixtures by Philippe Starck, a mirror he designed entirely covering the door leading to the small laundry room.
Intended for a man-about-town who doesn’t cook much but keeps the refrigerayor stocked with champagne, the kitchen runs along one side of the new volume. The wall and lengthy island, which doubles as a dining area, are also faced in white tile—here outlined in dramatic black grout. The sink and garbage chute are built into the island; other appliances are tucked discreetly into a niche on the exterior of the bedroom box. At the kitchen’s far end, a cushioned seat beneath a window was Vassilian’s special request: a perch for enjoying the view of the 11th-century Saint-Germain-des-Prés bell tower.