A Vibrant Retrofit Breathes New Life Into a Dilapidated 19th-Century House in Paris

A lively color palette, graphic tiles, and custom woodwork enhance the Parisian charm of this one-of-a-kind residence.

A recently married young couple preparing to start a family lucked into a rare find—a 19th-century, three-story, single-family home in the heart of Paris. The charming home had good bones, but it was in need of a major renovation including structural repairs—so they hired Atelier Pierre-Louis Gerlier after seeing the home that the firm designed for a close relative. The firm gave the residence a striking retrofit that involved streamlining the floor plan, organizing the living spaces, and integrating custom-made furniture and woodwork.

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The first order of business was to renovate the roof and change all the joists in the living room while reinforcing various beams that had been "eaten away by insects" over the years. Next, the firm set out to reorganize the floor plan. The couple decided to reserve the entire lower level of the home as a space for children—adding two bedrooms, a bathroom, a separate toilet, and a laundry room all accented by a sunny shade of yellow.

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The level above houses the home’s public areas, including an open-plan living/dining room that leads to a narrow kitchen with graphic, green tiles on the floor. The living room showcases the firm’s bespoke carpentry work  with a beautiful, mossy-green built-in bookcase that frames a new fireplace, and a staircase surrounded by arched doorways that hold hidden storage. Generously sized windows fill the space with natural light, while cornices and wooden battens on the ceiling add texture to the room.

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Upstairs, the attic has been transformed into a very large primary bedroom with a green-and-white bathroom suite. A ladder leads to a currently unused upper alcove that the couple hopes to enjoy some day soon. 

"We wanted to create a kind of central core that frames the stairwell, around which one circulates, hence the idea of rounding the corners," explains Pierre-Louis Gerlier.  "Also, we created various visual breakthroughs in order to connect the different spaces—the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The rounded arches are there to help magnify these visual breakthroughs."

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The playful yellow-and-green color palette plays throughout the house. The firm brought these colors into the bathroom, adding some additional pizzazz with contemporary cement tiles handcrafted in Morocco. "The project we have imagined was born from a dialogue between this house and the needs of the customers. We could not have imagined such a place for another house and for another client," concludes Gerlier.

Lower-Level Floor Plan Before & After

Lower-Level Floor Plan Before & After

Ground-level Floor Plan Before & After

Ground-level Floor Plan Before & After

Upper-level Floor Plan Before & After

Upper-level Floor Plan Before & After

More from Atelier Pierre-Louis Gerlier:

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

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Atelier Pierre-Louis Gerlier / @pierrelouisgerlier

Structural Engineer: Bet-ossature

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