On-trend pale-toned oak creates a warm welcome in this Parisian home

Owner Charlotte Macaux Perelman, co-creative director of Hermès Maison, on why ethically and aesthetically, it’s the wisest choice for timber…

French interior designer Charlotte Macaux Perelman’s home in Paris, with its pale oak interior
Stephan Julliard/Tripod Agency

French interior designer Charlotte Macaux Perelman, the mastermind behind the inviting look of this Parisian home, believes that the current affection for blonde timber is down to much more than just a continued obsession with Scandinavian design. As she points out, there are ecological concerns that have led to this growing trend. ‘Darker woods, such as wenge and mahogany, have become much rarer in recent years, therefore it would be unethical to use them in large quantities today.’ When it comes to sustainable timber, the best choices are fast-growing soft woods, such as pine, or oak from European forests where harvesting is monitored.

French interior designer Charlotte Macaux Perelman’s home in Paris, with its pale oak interior
Stephan Julliard/Tripod Agency

‘There’s a soul to every home, something to preserve,’ says Charlotte, whose approach to design is always to respect the history of a space. There is, however, an exception to every rule, and what interested her about this 230-square-metre apartment, which overlooks Paris’s Parc Monceau, was precisely the fact that there was nothing to salvage. The former owner had lived here for 42 years and redecorated rooms at different times, each in the tastes and fashions of the specific period. ‘It was all over the place stylistically’, Charlotte recalls.

The design world’s affection for blonde timber is due to more than a love of the Scandinavian look

The project represents the most extensive demolition job the interior designer, who divides her time between her own studio and her role as co-creative director of Hermès Maison, has ever undertaken. ‘Nothing was left in place’, she says. Or rather, almost nothing. During the renovation, a ceiling with majestic mouldings – hidden for decades behind simple plaster panels – was revealed in the living room. Although it was painted brown and covered with dirt, Charlotte decided to celebrate this one original feature by modifying her initial plans. Instead of configuring several smaller reception rooms, she created one large open-plan living space, tailored to accentuate the ceiling’s dimensions.

French interior designer Charlotte Macaux Perelman’s home in Paris, with its pale oak interior
Stephan Julliard/Tripod Agency

‘There’s a soul to every home, something to preserve’

The apartment’s décor is typical of Charlotte’s style. She favours a rigorous architectural approach, with white walls, clean lines and natural materials – particularly wood and marble. The pale oak used for the flooring throughout was also used for the cabinetry, with Charlotte choosing to leave the timber untreated. ‘I wanted to preserve its natural honey tone’, she explains. Both of the apartment’s owners are art lovers (he is the grandson of an antique dealer; she formerly worked in the legal department of a well-known art foundation) and, for Charlotte, their collection brings a dose of fantasy to this home. It’s the ideal contrast to the elegant restraint of her design. studio-cmp.com

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration August 2019

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