Before & After: This Former Garage Is Now a Functional, Colorful Flat With Bubbly Built-Ins
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Before & After: This Former Garage Is Now a Functional, Colorful Flat With Bubbly Built-Ins

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A colorful conversion adds storage and brightens this petite first-floor French flat.

The owners of this cozy two-bedroom apartment in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine knew exactly which elements of their home were in need of updating—because they had rented the unit prior to purchasing it. Now, as homeowners, they had a laundry list of "all the defects" to be remedied. Once a garage, the first floor flat had been converted into an apartment before they had originally moved in, and the tight 807-square-foot floor plan was missing several crucial elements of a livable home as a result. There was only one bathroom and the second bedroom was very small—just 75 square feet—in addition, the living space lacked natural light, and there wasn't any built-in storage space. 

The highlight of Atelier Pierre Louis Gerlier's renovation is the living room wall, which discretely hides storage cabinets and features four circular built-ins. One serves as a cozy reading nook. 

To tackle these concerns, the family tapped Atelier Pierre-Louis Gerlier, led by architect Pierre Louis Gerlier, who worked in collaboration with interior designer Eleonore Satger to completely transform the apartment. Giving the space "color to compensate for the lack of light", the renovation added a sunny yellow kitchen, revamped the bathroom, and provided the unit with additional storage in the form of a standout wall of cabinetry with circular nooks. The nooks are designed to fit speakers and a computer desk, but the pièce de résistance is the oversized round nook  large enough for someone to curl up inside. 

"I think we made a smart plan. We reduced the living spaces in favor of a larger bedroom, added more storage space, and renovated the bathrooms," shares architect Pierre-Louis Gerlier. "And I'm very flattered when their kid tells me he loves to settle in 'his bubble'." 

Before: The Living Room

The living room has only one source of natural light and no built-in storage. 

After: The Living Room

Atelier Pierre Louise Gerlier took advantage of the layout, lining the wall of cabinetry up with an original structural beam. 

Mirroring the opposite wall helped to increase the overall sense of space. The minty green floors are made of colorful waxed concrete. 

"The client wanted nook for the speakers and a desk," explains Gerlier. Adding that in order to use the computer nook as a desk, it is necessary to open the set of doors underneath. Gerlier also added an additional oversized nook that serves as a comfortable reading nook. 

Before: The Kitchen and Living Room

Before, the apartment had been converted from a garage, but not much had been done to transform it into a functional living space. 

After: The Kitchen and Living Room

Gerlier chose to recycle the original Ikea kitchen by simply repainting the laminate fronts bright yellow and adding a wood countertop. The sunny shade was chosen to brighten the space and "add cheerfulness to a sometimes very dark room".

Furniture was chosen by the homeowners, with Gerlier and Satger choosing fabrics to match the home's pale pink and mint green color palette. 

A small dining nook was inserted into the open-plan living space. Additional storage cabinets were squeezed in wherever space allowed. 

The bright, colorful floors add a bit of whimsy. 

The bathroom was updated with retro-looking pink tiles, which were unconventionally paired with a red vanity and floors. 

A built-in wardrobe and a built-in desk were set in the corner with shelves and a small cabinet, which proved to be a sensible solution for the small second bedroom. 

The floor plan before the renovation.

The floor plan after the renovation.

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