“Living in this apartment is living a double history, first in a real forgotten city, then in a dreamed history through French author Émile Zola’s imagination,” explains interior designer Sébastien Caron, who read Zola’s “Au Bonheur des Dames” (The Ladies’ Delight, 1883) a few times. “À la Paix was one of the lost stores I discovered in that book,” he reveals.
In the 19th century, the world’s well-to-do flocked to the rue de la Paix to purchase couture from Charles Frederick Worth and Boué Soeurs, and jewels from Cartier. It is also the name of the priciest property in French Monopoly.
Hidden secrets slowly came to life. Caron says this space was first transformed into an apartment in the 1950s.
As part of the store building, the space had expansive showrooms to display fabrics and haberdashery. “Our road map was to return it to its majesty while making a residential space,” notes Caron. He added contemporary partitions and restored the moldings and friezes.
He added a new rosace to the living room ceiling. “There was nothing there. I thought something was missing,” he claims. In the bedroom pictured (it is one of four), the lamp is an antique market find. “We just needed to clean it,” adds Caron, who is pictured in front of a portrait by South Korean painter Gil Seong.
Then he selected a striking Riverside sectional sofa from Rubelli and re-covered it in what Caron calls an “orange-red- Fauve mix” velour – a tip of the beret to early-20th-century French artists who used vivid colors for contrast. The ceramic Soleil coffee table is vintage Roger Capron – a perfect touch for Parisian panache.
Photography by Xavier Bejot.
For more like Sébastien Caron’s apartment, be sure to check out this grand home in the heart of France.
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