Studio JeanCharlesTomas Transforms a 19th-Century Flat in Paris’s Sixth Arrondissement
After years spent living in the French city of Lyon, a sixty-something couple decided to move back to Paris, their hometown. The pair’s house hunt dragged out for more than a year without success before they reached out to Studio JeanCharlesTomas for help. The interior designer was tasked with finding a two-bedroom flat in the Sixth Arrondissement—the only parameters given for the otherwise carte-blanche project. Seems Tomas had the magic touch: One month later, the clients purchased this classic 19th-century apartment at the designer’s urging.
A complete makeover ensued. The 1,830-square-foot floor plan lacked openness and required visitors to walk past the private quarters before arriving at the public rooms. Tomas flipped the layout to relocate sleeping spaces at the rear and removed several walls to flood the living areas with natural light. To honor the rich character of the space, he preserved historic features such as moldings and cornices, as well as parquet flooring that required removal, rehabilitation, and re-installation.
Given decorative free rein, Tomas channeled his own design sensibility, honed by a childhood spent antiquing with his grandmother and by his abiding fixation with nature. Tomas splits his time between New York and Nice, France, where his practice is based, and an oceanside cottage in Connemara, Ireland, that he likens to a spiritual retreat: “The wildness of the landscape—where W.B. Yeats wrote his poetry—is truly inspiring,” Tomas says. “The ever-changing light and hues influence my color palette.” Here, that translates to a neutral, mostly black-and-white color scheme emphasizing warm, noble finishes such as brass, wood, velvet, and marble—the latter used to graphic effect in the kitchen and the bathrooms. “Materials were chosen to complement each other and create a dialogue,” he says. Other choices reflecting Tomas’s twin passions include the living room’s branchlike Lindsey Adelman chandelier and classic furnishings by Jean Prouvé, Pierre Jeanneret, and Vico Magistretti. Furthering the poetic atmosphere are art and design pieces by Apparatus Studio, Alain Chevrette, and Tomas himself, among others.
In every nook, Tomas achieved both contrast and harmony, celebrating the apartment’s old-world spirit while giving it a whole new life.
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