Name: Pierre & Masa
Rent or own: Own
Size: 925 sq/ft
Years lived in: 2
Pierre and Masa live in a nondescript 1960s building with a panoramic view of Paris that you usually only see in the movies. "I'm claustrophobic," says Pierre, who rented an apartment in the building 15 years ago before moving back in two years ago. "I loved the view, so I moved back in. The whole point of living here is for the view."
They renovated the apartment from top to bottom, eliminating one of the bedrooms to make the living room/dining room space airy and open and take advantage of the view. They narrowed the large entryway, decreased the size of the still-spacious kitchen to add storage in the bedroom and improved circulation so that light would shine from both sides of the apartment.
They redid the floors, added small gray Moroccan tiles in the bathroom and installed an orange neon light in the bedroom.
But Pierre and Masa say that decorating has been a challenge. "We never agree on anything," Pierre says with a laugh. "It's true," Masa says. "His taste is more pop," continues Masa, who is from Hiroshima. "He likes things that are more colorful. But I like things that are more subtle. I'm Japanese, so..."
Masa likes old things, and Pierre likes things new. "I like modern because I've grown up in old buildings around old things," says Pierre. The apartment is a compromise of the modern and colorful -- like a deep blue Tom Dixon chaise poised in front of the windows or modern lighting from the Tools Galerie in the Marais -- and the old, like their giant dining room table found in the French countryside. "It took us 2 years to find a table we could agree on!" says Pierre.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. If you have an idea for a European house tour, please write kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com