A 678-Square-Foot Paris Apartment Is Cozy, Minimal, Stylish, and Wheelchair Accessible
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Name: Marina Carlos
Location: Paris, France
Size: 678 square feet
Type of home: Apartment
Years lived in: 5 years, owned
After working for five years in the social media field, Marina Carlos now focuses on advocating for disabled people’s rights, writing French and English language content about ableism, which is “the oppression of people with disabilities,” she explains. “In July 2020, I self-published my book, ‘I’ll figure it out: How ableism impacts disabled people’s lives,’ which brings to light the reality of being disabled in France and around the world.” When it came to designing her 678-square-foot apartment located in Paris’ 11th arrondissement she purchased five years ago, she had to find one that was laid out in a way that was accessible (something she says is difficult to find in Paris), as well as decorate and arrange it so that it would be both comfortable, functional, cozy, and stylish!
“To create my wheelchair-accessible home, I had three keywords in mind: autonomy, safety, and practicality so that I could live in the most serene way,” Marina describes. “First, I started to do some research for kitchen custom designers who specialize in wheelchair accessible homes but quickly found out that it was way too much money for what they offered and figured out a cheaper and still accessible way to make my kitchen functional: I looked for ‘designed kitchen kits’ that I could adapt to my needs — mine is from Schmidt but you can find some even cheaper at places like IKEA. For example, I put the countertop lower and some equipment (fridge, oven) higher so that moving within the kitchen is less tiring and more practical. I also put up some shelves with condiments and spices right near the stove to have them at hand while cooking and chose a “Slide & Hide” oven from the brand Neff, which makes cooking easy and safe as it has a retractable door!”
Marina customized every room for her needs. “As for my bedroom, I put the bed this way to be able to “stick” my wheelchair between the wall and the bed so that my “transfers” — the movement of going from my wheelchair to my bed or vice versa — are safer for me to do,” she describes. “Finally, I declutter as much as I can to always have a nice clean space that is easy to navigate around and which makes me feel more peaceful!”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Minimalist, colorful, warm, and cozy!
Favorite Element: I love that my home has numerous windows that let so much light in: In the morning, my living room will be bathed in it and it will be my bedroom’s turn in the afternoon to be warmed with sunshine!
Biggest Challenge: As a wheelchair user, I had to find a space that could be as accessible to my needs as possible. This apartment was perfectly laid out (not an easy criteria to find in Paris), didn’t need a lot of renovation work, and just seemed made for me, as I could instantly see myself living there!
Biggest Indulgence: The next one ahah! Indeed, I’ve been doing ceramics at home and I’m truly loving it so I’m currently doing some research regarding how I can create a small pottery studio in my house that will suit my needs and I’m truly excited about this project!
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? One of my favorite items is my white table in the living room. I used to have a wooden round one but changed it a few months ago and it makes the space so much bigger and brighter! I just love to hang out there doing some work, being creative, drinking some tea, and having the sunlight coming from the windows in front of me and on my right side!
Finally, any advice for creating a home you love? I love when spaces reflect the person’s personality so I would just advise to stay true to your style when decorating your home!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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