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This 645-Square-Foot Paris Apartment Maximizes Space With Reflective Details

LUDOVIC BALAY

French designers Kim Haddou and Florent Dufourcq of Studio Haddou Dufourcq have an impressive CV—from winning the grand prize in France’s 2018 Toulon Design Parade to renovating the flagship Hermès in Saint-Tropez. And yet when it came to designing their own home in Paris, they faced a new set of challenges. First off they knew it had to be in Le Marais. “We used to live nearby on another tiny street in Le Marais for several years and we loved it,” says Kim. “It’s the most vibrant neighborhood in the city and if you are a bit curious and with a creative mind, this is definitely the place to be for its mix of old city vibes and its fresh look and energy. Not to mention, the proximity to the Seine when we need a bit of fresh air.”

A bright space with soft materials and some vintage furniture in contrast. The space is enlarged with a bespoke sofa covered in Casamance fabric. The large mirrors add some light and depth to the space. The floor lamp is by Harco Loor and the armchair is by Vico Magistretti.

Before moving in, the pair fell in love with the apartment because of the atypical architecture of the building and apartment’s typology. “It is pretty uncommon to find a late ’60s building in the center of Paris as everything is preserved in terms of monuments and urban landscape,” says Florent. “It instantly gave us the feeling of being in another place or time period and we love that feeling.”

The stairs in the background lead up to the private spaces, while the travertine on the wall continues from the kitchen to the living room.
The stairs in the background lead up to the private spaces, while the travertine on the wall continues from the kitchen to the living room.
LUDOVIC BALAY

Kim and Florent wanted to create a safe, tranquil atmosphere within their home to offset the hustle and bustle of living in the center of Paris. They articulated this idea through their use of warm wood furniture and decor, and white and neutral hues, blending seamlessly with the original parquet floors from the ’60s. “It’s important to find the right balance between contemporary creation and the legacy of the space itself,” Kim muses. She adds that they especially loved the pink marble bathroom that had existed since the building was built, and after finding some unused marble tiles in the basement—ready to replace the few old ones that were broken and stained—they decided to leave the bathroom untouched.

The stainless-steel kitchen elements add more light to the space. The travertine tiles used as a backsplash continue into the living room to make a link between the different functions of this space.
The stainless-steel kitchen elements add more light to the space. The travertine tiles used as a backsplash continue into the living room to make a link between the different functions of this space.
LUDOVIC BALAY
The vintage wood dining table by Afra & Tobia Scarpa adds some contrast and warmth to the space, while the Giovanni Salvarani chairs mirror the shiny kitchen cabinetry.

Working with clear lines that enhance the original design, the pair were tasked to determine how the light would come through the space depending on the time of day, which they solved by adding reflective materials and neutral tones that would instantly brighten and enlarge the home. The square footage itself was another challenge given that living quarters in Paris are notoriously small (this abode measures roughly 645 square feet). “The apartment was a bit like a dollhouse at the beginning with a succession of small rooms trapping the light,” Florent explains. So in order to create the illusion of space, they decided to play with the use of reflections, from expansive mirrors in the office, living room, and bedroom, to stainless steel furniture in the kitchen. Matte tones, such as the white carpet and rough travertine on the walls, also contributed to brightening the space.

The bedroom has been designed as a sanctuary with soft and light materials used throughout—from the curtains to the carpet to the sheets and headboard. The chair is from Arrben and the blanket is by Pierre Frey.
The original pink marble bathroom was primarily preserved, with minor changes made to add a little more comfort.
The original pink marble bathroom was primarily preserved, with minor changes made to add a little more comfort.
LUDOVIC BALAY

In an effort to make the most of the small square footage, Kim and Florent like to keep their home relatively minimal and clean—spared from clutter and an abundance of stuff. “We carefully choose all the furniture—mainly vintage to infuse some contrast and character,” says Kim. “We like to be surrounded by only a few pieces, but they have to come with their own story that adds something to the space itself and the way we live.”

The home office upstairs is a calm room where the custom made shelves have been designed to fit in the space perfectly and the original parquet floor has been preserved.
The home office upstairs is a calm room where the custom made shelves have been designed to fit in the space perfectly and the original parquet floor has been preserved.
LUDOVIC BALAY
Another view of the home office with all its calming light. The chair is by Gijs Bakker for Castelijn.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest


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