Painterly florals soften the feel of this industrial apartment in Paris

Stylist Laura Gauthier Petit transformed this former printing works using botanical fabrics

living room parisian apartment
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside

There’s an intriguing contrast that comes from mixing industrial fittings with painterly florals – for stylist Laura Gauthier Petit, these prints were a way to make a former workspace feel more homely. They turn this top floor of an old printing works in the Chinese garment district of Le Marais, Paris, into a relaxing environment for her and her family.

floral sofas parisian apartment
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside

When Laura first saw it, the building was ‘just a large, dirty space with no roof ’. But when she climbed on top of some boxes and saw the sweeping panorama of the Paris skyline stretching out before her she immediately fell in love. The apartment, however, didn’t lend itself easily to domesticity – it had been purchased by an estate firm that usually works in commercial construction, and this was their first residential project. So, once the work was finished, Laura was left in a cavernous space with high, sloping ceilings and iron pillars. The place needed to be softened.

Floral patterns turn the top floor of an old printing works into a relaxing environment

bedroom with floral wallpapers parisian apartment
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside

‘If you want to be different, or revolutionary, you have to break the rules,’ Laura says, when asked why she thought flowery motifs might work here. So, this iconoclast decided to decorate with marble, mosaic tiles, screen prints of country scenes and florals with bright jolts of pink. ‘I wanted to create a safe, dreamy place. A protected world that’s an escape from reality,’ she says. This dreaminess comes from increasing the number of soft fabrics, plump cushions and botanical flourishes. The trick to keeping these designs feeling contemporary, however, is the white areas that separate them. ‘Beautiful things need a liberal space in which to come to life,’ she explains.

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration April 2018

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