French pied-à-terre that maximises space with poetic elegance

There’s a lightness of touch in this romantic Parisian garret, imparted by pale woods, strips of mirror and a cosy take on charm

contemporary living room
Photography Jerome Galland

Imagine the classic Parisian apartment. Parquet flooring, full-height windows, a front door that opens right onto the Marais and all of the romance and poetry that goes with this particularly fanciful dream. Of course, all of this also comes with one drawback: the size. For these evocatively-located apartments are small, the light from internal-facing courtyards is dim, and the ceilings are relatively low. That’s what Flora de Gastines and Anne Geistdoerfer, founders of French design agency Double G, discovered when they were commissioned to work on this 90-square-metre space near the Bastille.

contemporary dining table
Photography Jerome Galland

‘With its rooms measuring only 280-centimetres high, its main windows all north-facing and some areas without windows entirely, the atmosphere could be pretty stifling,’ says Flora. ‘The owners had chosen it more for its charm than for its floor space.’

The way to approach this small home, Double G decided, was to treat it less as a tiny apartment and more like a mini suite, removing as many partitions as possible to let the light reach in as far as it could. The kitchen and bathroom were built to be unobstructive – they are installed in two boxes inside the living area, shielded by shutters that can be drawn as needed, and connected from the back by a concealed corridor.

contemporary kitchen paris home
Photography Jerome Galland

The sense of warmth throughout was provided by Double G’s use of materials, from natural woods patinated to an inviting gleam to white shutters, brushed oak and aged Versailles parquet. The palette is comforting, with ‘Slaked Lime’ by Little Greene on the walls.

To create the illusion of an enlarged space, the window’s surrounds are covered in strips of mirror, reflecting daylight into every corner of the home. The overall effect is far from the poky Parisian garret that every would-be tortured writer dreams of – instead, it’s a vision of roominess and elegance, offering a more modern and practical way of life.

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration March 2018

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