Historic features meet contemporary luxury in this lavish French apartment

This grand 19th-century Lyon apartment has been transformed into a liveable family home

contemporary and luxurious living room lyon house
Photography Felix Forest/Living Inside

This 380-square-metre five-bedroom, five-bathroom apartment sits on a square in the heart of Lyon’s prestigious Ainay District. It is home to Dominique Chevalier and her nine-year-old daughter Mathilde. When Dominique found the apartment, which dates back to 1851, it was run down and in need of love. She worked with Pierre Emmanuel Martin and Stéphane Garotin, the French duo behind design consultancy and interiors brand Maison Hand, to restore it to its former glory and, following a six-month renovation, moved in March 2014.

luxurious and contemporary living room lyon home
Photography Felix Forest/Living Inside

Luxurious in the grandest sense of the word, the apartment has vast rooms with high ceilings, tall French windows, intricate cornicing, wood panelling and beautiful parquet floors. ‘Everything here is oversized, from the dimensions of the rooms to the number of windows,’ says Pierre Emmanuel. ‘Nobody builds houses like this today.’

A monochrome palette and sumptuous materials add a modern touch to this period home

Despite the evident grandeur, Dominique and Maison Hand have eschewed formality to create a liveable, contemporary home. ‘Dominique wanted to create an interior
that felt bourgeois, but not too serious,’ says Pierre Emmanuel. ‘She wanted something
that was a bit relaxed.’

To achieve that brief, Maison Hand used sumptuous materials, including linen, marble and dark wood, and added modern touches, such as the largely monochrome palette and the dramatic curving steel staircase that leads from the bedroom to the en-suite.

contemporary kitchen lyon house
Photography Felix Forest/Living Inside

The layout was also adapted to make the space function more effectively for modern living. As the old kitchen was a small, windowless space, the former dining room was converted into a convivial eat-in kitchen. ‘I love it now, with its bespoke cabinetry and balance of dark and light marble,’ says Dominique.

Working with architect Michel Bessoud, Maison Hand also relocated the main bedroom to the front of the apartment to take advantage of the private balcony.

contemporary and luxurious bedroom lyon house
Photography Felix Forest/Living Inside

Although this is a very refined home, it is not a house for lavish entertaining. Dominique prefers small gatherings of friends and spending time with her daughter. ‘There’s an intimate spot to sit by the fireplace and a room for watching TV while remaining close to the inviting kitchen. We have a long dining table in the living room for larger sit-down dinners, but we don’t use it much – normally it’s just a place to display flowers,’ she says. Sometimes, the greatest luxury of all is a house that works perfectly for you. maison-hand.com

For the full house tour see Elle Decoration January 2018

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