It all started with a piano and a chance encounter in Paris. “The apartment has been in the family since the end of the 1970s,” explains the Beirut woman about her home, located not far from the Arc de Triomphe. “The previous owner had this piano and said, ‘If you want the apartment, you have to take the piano,’ because he didn’t want to move it. It then became the starting point for everything [that followed]. “
A funny anecdote, yes, but one of two fortuitous origin stories that are essential to understanding how the apartment came to exist in its present form. When asked how he and his client first connected, French architect Benoit Dupuis responded with a smile: “It was about 10 years ago, and it all happened in a boutique that I designed for Christian Louboutin in Paris. One of the customers asked the saleswoman who designed the store and if she could meet with me. I happened to be [right] there! ”At the time, Dupuis’ future client had said that she might have a potential project for him. A few years later, they reconnected and started working on the redesign of the apartment.
“[It’s] in a Haussmannian building, ”explains Dupuis of the residence. “The place was a bit dark, but bourgeois and tasteful. The idea was to keep the historical elements, like the moldings, and to think about the art collection. The client, who now counts Dupuis as a personal friend, adds: “We have kept the integrity of the original space. [That’s] why I think it’s so lovely.
Above all, the duo took care to preserve the apartment’s keen eye for personal details. It’s packed with family memorabilia (the antique pieces originally belonged to the client’s aunt) and fun designs from the 1970s and 1980s. Many of these items date back to when the apartment was made in the originated by the Parisian decorator Jean-Dominique Bonhotal.
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“What we did was mix it all up with things that were really close to my heart,” explains the client, noting that they took care to keep the soul of the house intact while refreshing it a bit. . “We added mid-century pieces and Benoit designed the built-in closets. They have no feet so they seem to be floating. I wanted everything to be light and almost transparent.
Dupuis confirms that the specifications he received were to light up the space while keeping its circulation fluid. The four rooms are aligned in a way that is not unlike that of a hotel. Everything seems to disappear in the walls. Ultimately, the general feeling is one of cool and understated French modernism.
In the midst of this serene canvas, contemporary works of art easily appear. Most of the parts, which were bought all over Europe, had been in storage for a long time. “When we opened the checkouts, the most magical thing happened,” recalls the customer. “Everything was as if it had been bought especially for the apartment. It was a fantastic feeling. We placed every piece! Another example of French serendipity.