Before & After: A Renovated Artist's Studio Is Now an Airy, Efficient Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In Paris, a painter's granddaughter turns to Atelier Wilda to transform a 484-square-foot studio into a minimalist family home that abounds with smart storage and integrated furniture.

Originally built in the 1950s, a 484-square-foot garage in the 14th arrondissement of Paris was converted into a work studio with a kitchen, sleeping area, and bathroom for the French painter Pierre Lemaire in 1970.

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The space served as French painter Pierre Lemaire's workshop in the 1970s.

The space served as French painter Pierre Lemaire's workshop in the 1970s.

Before the renovation, the home was a Parisian pied-à-terre.

Before the renovation, the home was a Parisian pied-à-terre.

The entrance to the apartment faces the street.

The entrance to the apartment faces the street.

Plenty of light enters the living area through a peaceful backyard garden.

Plenty of light enters the living area through a peaceful backyard garden.

In 2014, Pierre's granddaughter Christine inherited the studio and hired architect Willy Durieu of Atelier Wilda to renovate the space. The transformation, completed in 2017, has resulted in a bright, minimalist loft with an open-plan living area, a master bedroom, a clever guest room with a moveable partition, and a bathroom. 

Windows and skylights from the eastern façade bring in an abundance of light throughout the day.

Windows and skylights from the eastern façade bring in an abundance of light throughout the day.

Durieu demolished the existing interior walls of the studio, keeping only the original roof and load-bearing walls, and added large windows and skylights. 

Four aluminum-framed skylights were created on the building's original roof.

Four aluminum-framed skylights were created on the building's original roof.

He designated the largest volume of approximately 280 square feet to the open-plan living, kitchen, and dining area. 

The white cabinetry with beech wood details adds a touch of Zen to the kitchen.

The white cabinetry with beech wood details adds a touch of Zen to the kitchen.

Kitchen appliances and storage were fully integrated into a built-in system along the wall, contributing to a feeling of spaciousness. 

The studio's original wooden beams were left intact.

The studio's original wooden beams were left intact.

A discreet, built-in wardrobe outfits the bedroom.

A discreet, built-in wardrobe outfits the bedroom.

Ninety-seven square feet were set aside for the bedroom, whose wardrobe and cabinets are also built into the walls to conserve space. An interior window visually connects the bedroom with the living space. 

A narrow window creates a visual connection between the bedroom and kitchen.

A narrow window creates a visual connection between the bedroom and kitchen.

Despite the small size of the studio, Christine and her husband wanted an extra room, so Durieu designed a bright cabin perched above the bedroom volume, which offers a bird’s eye view of the living spaces below. 

A skylight illuminates the retractable desk in the lofted workspace.

A skylight illuminates the retractable desk in the lofted workspace.

The desk can be folded away when the space is used as a guest room.

The desk can be folded away when the space is used as a guest room.

Accessible via a Japanese tansu-style staircase that ascends from the living area, this cabin-like space has a workstation with a retractable desk and storage, and a large, elevated guest bed with a skylight above it. 

Japanese tansu stairs boast storage compartments underneath the treads.

Japanese tansu stairs boast storage compartments underneath the treads.

A simple material palette of bamboo flooring, graphite tiles, white walls, and beech wood details was used to keep colors pure and simple, amplifying the sense of space. All the furniture was customized and integrated to optimize storage capacity and flexibility. 

The bathroom has an elevated shower area with frosted glass windows that look out to a quiet alley.

The bathroom has an elevated shower area with frosted glass windows that look out to a quiet alley.

Cross sectional plans

Cross sectional plans

Floor plans

Floor plans


Project Credits: 

Architecture: Atelier Wilda

Builder: ProARt 

Photographer: David Foessel