AT Europe: Paris – Chez Nicolas et Sophie
“I’m an accumulator,” says Nicolas, leading the way into the 1860 Napoleon III style apartment near Bastille where he lives with his wife Sophie, a television producer, and their two children, Hugo, 8, and Lauriane, 13…
Nicolas is an award-winning set designer for the theater, and the rented apartment where he has lived since 1989 is filled to the brim with a carefully curated collection of sculpture, paintings and objects. “I love to go bargain-hunting,” he says, particularly in flea markets and brocantes outside of Paris, where the prices tend to be lower. Favorite pieces of furniture and accessories used to decorate theater sets invariably make their way into his own apartment once the curtain closes on a production. He has turned his gracious but rather uselessly large Parisian entry into a rotating gallery to display his collection of Chinese sculpture. On the wall of the living room is a 1928 Josephine Baker portrait found in the trash in Montparnasse 20 years ago.
The fluid, circular original layout of the 116-square-meter (1248 square foot) second floor apartment means that rooms have multiple entry points. To make the space more functional, and rooms more private, they turned short connecting corridors into walk-in closets and a mini computer room by closing off extra doors. The 19th-century warming oven in the master bedroom is a charming reminder of the room’s original function as a formal dining room.
Nicolas designs exquisite maquettes of upcoming theater productions in an atelier located in the same building, which he can access from an interior staircase or a separate entrance on the other side of the building. Originally from Burgundy, he has also built an impressive basement wine cellar with 900 bottles of wine from the 70s to the present day, including commemorative Chablis he had bottled when his children were born, which he plans to drink with them once they turn 18.
– Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com