We left off our last Paris blog talking about some of the surprise challenges that we encountered renovating the Vivant apartment in Paris long-distance during a pandemic, and promised to take you through a full before and after.
I love before and after’s, but I’m always a little uncomfortable showing a before that's not our own. After all, someone else lived there happily before and we just made it different, after. On one of the prettiest streets in Paris, with a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower, this Vivant apartment had been lived in comfortably by an elderly couple for over forty years. Our needs were different: We wanted 2 bathrooms, an open kitchen and air conditioning, so we reconfigured the apartment completely and updated all the systems. It’s not to say that it wasn’t fine before; it just suits us better after.
Typical of Parisian Haussmann style apartments, the kitchen was in the back facing the courtyard. We knew that a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower was too precious a commodity to pass up, so our first rule of thumb was to confirm that we could move the kitchen. Luckily for us, there was a bathroom at the end of the hall, so it made the plumbing a much easier task.
With the bathroom plumbing sharing a wall to the living room, on the left, we could safely move the kitchen out front.
Above, the previous kitchen was small and efficient.
We turned it into an extra bathroom, a real luxury for a one bedroom apartment!
We moved the kitchen to the wall behind the red sofa, above,
and opened up the room to the living room.
It took some heavy duty refiguring on the wall above ...
to accommodate everything we needed in the brand new kitchen!
We shifted the dining room to the kitchen area, and opened up the space to a larger living room.
As the first thing you see when you enter the room, aside from the pretty view outside, the space between the windows was key for setting the tone to the apartment.
That's where we put our piece de resistance: A beautiful painting by Sarah Robertson
of Notre Dame and a gorgeous 19th C. Louis XVI style walnut commode that we sourced in the South of France.
We also found a nook between the mantel and the window to tuck everyone's favorite necessity:
A little desk with USB ports and pretty paintings by our abstract artist Ellen Rolli
mounted in antique frames that we bought in France, shipped to the U.S. in a previous container and then hand carried back to France!
The bedroom had a fabulous feature that we absolutely fawned over:
A window nook facing a pretty courtyard out back. Of course we converted it into a comfy window seat that double as storage. Painting below by gallery artist, Geri Eubanks.
Due to some finagling of walls, we extended the wall in the bedroom.
This enabled us to create a closet on the bedroom side, and a nook for the sink in the bathroom.
Take a look at the configuration of the walls in the bathroom below, and see how challenging it was to fit around it!
The picked clean, marbleized ceramic tile for the bathroom walls, with a dark accent floor
And that niche that we carved out of the bedroom for the sink:
The original toilet below was cut in half lengthwise to accommodate the HVAC units and water heater behind it (and accessible from the master bath)
Our head designer, Trudy,
had a twinkle in her eye when she found this wallpaper for the powder room. We knew it would make a small room grand!
Below, the master bath which is now ensuite to the bedroom, and cleverly conceals some of the inner workings of the apartment
Sometimes we like to save the wooden floors in our renovations,
but not this time!
Pulling this apartment together during the pandemic, with delayed orders, lost shipments, out-of-stocks and travel bans, was a huge challenge that actually made the result even sweeter. As we were pulling together the final touches, I thought about how I could happily move in here for the rest of my life! But unfortunately the marketing folks at Paris Perfect did their job too well and sold it to 13 lucky shareholders within 48 hours of announcing it (darn them!).
Luckily, there's another apartment peeking around the corner that we may be able to talk about soon ... so if you're like me, and you want to see more, stay tuned!
P.S. If you're interested in being the first to know when the next apartment comes on the market, sign up for Paris Perfect's newsletter or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course you can tell them we sent you :-) Merci!