A Fashion Designer’s Parisian Apartment Gets a Cheerful Update—and a Rainbow Floor
The home of a young fashion designer, this top-floor apartment in a 19th-century building in Paris’s Montmartre district reflects the owner’s upbeat, creative personality. She originally approached architect Alexandre Delaunay, founder of New York– and Paris–based practice SABO Project, with a simple request: remove a ladder leading from the main level of the apartment to the mezzanine. After discussing the potential for something better, however, she decided to stage a full renovation.
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Delaunay transformed the space into a bright, modern, 775-square-foot home featuring splashes of sunflower yellow; a kitchen with whimsical, rainbow-colored floors and a dynamic, vertical green wall; and a cozy loft bedroom that draws natural light down to the living areas.
All non-load-bearing partitions were removed, and a thick, white, multifunctional wall that contains the stairs, office, and storage spaces was introduced.
"We took advantage of the nook and crannies to meticulously create a multitude of integrated storage," says Delaunay.
The white vertical panels of the multifunctional wall open to real a full workstation. The green recess in the wall unit conceals an LED strip that complements the living room lighting with a diffused color accent.
A glass panel inserted within a niche in the wall allows natural light from two skylights to flow down towards the living area and workstation.
The original kitchen was very impractical and inefficient. "Being on the top floor of a 19th-century building, all flues from lower chimneys meet and form many dark nooks and crannies. Those convoluted walls needed to become less chaotic, more calm," says Delaunay, who incorporated a mini vertical garden with aromatic herbs along a section of the kitchen wall near the window.
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A steel work surface with a custom-integrated drainer was welded in place to stretch seamlessly over the length of the kitchen counter. The bright, rainbow-like kitchen floor is composed of 25 strips of eco-friendly, durable, waterproof natural rubber in 14 different colors.
"We were interested in a different kitchen space where the cabinets are not necessarily the focus," says Delaunay. "We wanted it to be very efficient, but with a certain sense of brash. The owner deals with color swatches on a daily basis and was immediately on board with the idea of a colorful floor."
"The rubber was available in large sheets that can be cut to any size. It also offered a wide range of 80 colors that allowed us to be very particular with the selection. We actually looked at 38 different combinations before choosing the final 14," he says.
A vertical garden made out of 26 ceramic pots mounted on a custom panel was also incorporated to bring a little nature into the kitchen. These potted plants enjoy natural light from the window, and artificial light from a special fluorescent lamp recessed into the cabinet above. Each pot is equipped with a back reservoir and can be easily removed from the wall for refills, and the pots can be rotated when needed so that the plants grow evenly in all directions.
"We tried to keep and celebrate as much as possible of the existing 19th-century structure—the exposed wood beams, mezzanine floor structure, etc.—while radically transforming the space with light, built-in furniture and cabinets," says Delaunay. "The kitchen cabinet doors are off-the-shelf, standard modules. The budget was fairly low, so we worked towards good design using inexpensive materials and the existing historic elements."