Making Paris Home, Again
Though I first moved to Paris in the autumn of 2016, this city still feels new to me…and I suspect it will continue to do so for a while. After 2 years of flying back and forth between the USA and France every 6 months, Will and I have recently moved into a new apartment in Paris! It’s the latest event in a series of non-stop changes (most of the time exhaustingly so) that I’ve learned to accept as a normal way of living. Stability is something I miss, yet haven’t found relevant to my lifestyle as of late, which is both nerve-wracking in the moment and exciting in hindsight.
This summer, our contractor completely gutted the place and did a 360° renovation. It was necessary–the walls were covered in a dull yellow fabric and several (unnecessary) walls prevented the light streaming in from the large living room windows from reaching other parts of the flat. We knocked them down to create an open kitchen / living room plan, and also replaced the guest bedroom wall with industrial-looking windows to let even more light through. Will used some cool design software to map out what the layout would look like before the work was done, and the final renovation results turned out very accurate to his mockups! I think it was very helpful to give the contractors a visual of exactly what we wanted, since we weren’t working with a third-party designer or architect for our project.
The Interior Design
I had the task of decorating and styling the place and I had so much fun doing so! We chose a base color theme of clean white walls, neutral wooden plank floors, an industrial black metal/dark wood kitchen, and touches of brassy gold through out the apartment. The atmosphere I wanted to create was a combination of different textures and themes that I love, which actually kind of contradict each other in some ways: earthy and minimalist, yet bohemian and colorful.
I’ve always been a fan of Japanese and Chinese/Taiwanese architecture and I knew I wanted to bring that into our new home. But since teenage-hood I’ve also been obsessed with the bohemian lifestyle and tropical prints bursting with colors. So I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and tried to find a way to tie these aesthetics together by using a bit of each of my favorite materials: ceramics (thanks to my grandparents!), natural woods, rustic metal, boho tiles, and cozy fabrics. And of course, LOTS of leafy green plants and succulents placed in between it all!🌿
Two rules I recommend while decorating:
- Don’t be afraid to mix your favorite aesthetics! It might seem like Japanese minimalism and colorful bohemian would clash–but it’s possible.
- Be picky with your purchases. I love little knick-knacks for decorating my cozy corners with, but there’s a fine line between cluttered and curated. Also even one piece of furniture that doesn’t match the overall theme can throw off the entire aesthetic.
Here are some photos of our new apartment as it is now and I’m excited to share more as it evolves! You can also follow our home decor journey here in my Instagram highlight.
[November 2020 UPDATE: We finally had tiles (carrelage, in French) added to our kitchen walls, since I’ve been cooking much more frequently with the COVID-19 lockdowns in France this year. We chose these really lovely white and sage green tiles from Leroy Merlin that have an uneven surface and reflect daylight beautifully. We used the white tiles throughout the kitchen except behind the stove top, where we went for an accent wall effect with the sage green tiles. I’m so happy with the final look, it really makes the kitchen look more complete than before! ]
~ end of November 2020 update ~
And if you’re curious to see the before pictures of our apartment…it was VERY different.😜