Name: Libby Gravatt and Tim Caws
Location: 4th arrondissement (Le Marais); Paris, France
Size: 60 square m (645 square feet) plus 14 square m terrace (150 square feet)
Years lived in: 6 months
This mid-sized apartment merges Old World French and modern aesthetics perfectly. It’s hard not to fall in love with this space, with its big French windows, marble fireplaces, and hard woods. Libby and Tim found a way to illuminate the magic of Parisian architecture while incorporating their modern, natural style.
Libby and Tim are newlyweds who moved to Paris from Houston, Texas, in the winter of 2014. They didn’t waste time in finding a place, even with two very busy work schedules as engineers for the French-based Technip. As most expats do, Libby and Tim had a list of must-haves to accommodate their new Parisian lifestyle, and living in a cool part of town was first on the list.
The apartment is nestled in a cute little courtyard in The Marais, one of liveliest neighborhoods in Paris, and the first floor walk-up has all the makings of a Parisian dream apartment. The unit came partially-furnished with an updated bathroom and kitchen, as well as a large terrace located off the kitchen, perfect for drinking a glass of rosé in the evening or having a late brunch on the weekends.
Libby only brought a few items from the U.S. with her, so she essentially started from scratch, with the added challenge of working around some of the key pieces that were included in the apartment. Switching from a more modern, industrial style (like the loft that they own in Houston), Libby knew that she would have to tailor her taste to fit in with an older Parisian apartment. The result is wonderfully executed, incorporating neutral colors, earthy fabrics, and a little bit of glamour.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Minimal, natural, neutral, global. I simultaneously love vintage industrial and California natural.
Inspiration: Moving to Paris was a dream of mine, and I definitely had a ‘dream Parisian’ apartment ideal in my brain. When we found this apartment, I wanted to furnish it in a way that was complementary of the details and respectful of the space. I bought the Restoration Hardware chairs in Houston a few years ago, knowing at the time that they would work as well in our converted icehouse loft as they would a tiny Parisian apartment. I anchored the living room around them and filled in as I went, trying to create a cohesive, functional, comfortable space.
Favorite Element: The moldings and the marble fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: Working with such a small space, particularly in the bedrooms. Luckily we did not have big closets in Houston (surprising, I know) so the transition wasn’t too hard, but storage is definitely becoming an issue in the master bedroom because we are both shoe hounds. The guest bedroom loses a lot of real estate to the double bed, and I haven’t given enough thought to a creative storage solution there. Also, laundry. We are really fortunate to have a washer/dryer in our apartment, but the dryer function leaves a lot to be desired, so laundry day has our place covered in clothes and sheets drying everywhere.
What Friends Say: Can we come visit?
Biggest Embarrassment: The guest bedroom is a little beige and sad-looking. I’m not thrilled by the Ikea table that currently houses our media mess. And the terrace desperately needs attention!
Proudest DIY: We actually changed the hinges on the refrigerator door – it opened away from the kitchen so I constantly had to double-handle everything! I love to cook, and this made a world of difference in the functionality of the space. As an added bonus, you can also open the fridge while seated at the kitchen table, which means the rosé is always cold.
Biggest Indulgence: Do purses count? Honestly, this is so boring, but we bought a Dyson Air Multiplier for the bedroom. I’m from Austin, he’s from Sydney – we’re warm-blooded and used to the AC!
Best Advice: Do your research, don’t settle for less than what you want, and always phone a friend (or two) whose taste and judgment you trust to be a sounding board for ideas, guidance, and inspiration.
Dream Sources: Restoration Hardware, Installations Antiques, Heath Ceramics, La Tresorerie, Merci.
- Sacred Heart: Tesoros Trading Company, Austin, TX
- Scented oil diffuser: Jo Malone
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