Before & After: A Once-Cluttered Paris Apartment’s Now an Incredibly Chic, Classic Home

updated Mar 4, 2020

Before & After: A Once-Cluttered Paris Apartment’s Now an Incredibly Chic, Classic Home

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Name: Jackie Kai Ellis of APT La Fayette
Location: 10th arrondissement in Paris, France
Size: 810 square feet
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, owned

Jackie Kai Ellis wears many hats. Once a creative director and founder at a design firm, she left the design field to pursue pastry studies at Paris’ École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, eventually founding Beaucoup Bakery & Café in Vancouver in 2012. The bakery was a rousing success (and still is, even after Jackie passed ownership to two long-time bakery employees in 2017), but Paris never quite left her thoughts.

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“After I had made a radical life change, leaving a career as a creative design director to study pastry in Paris, I knew deep down I would return… just not in the way I had expected,” admits Jackie. “During the time I was learning how to make (and eat) the perfect croissant, I remember daydreaming of stepping on old hardwood floors beside marble fireplaces, scouring flea markets, and imagining how I would reupholster that old chair or what I would serve on that old set of china.”

Credit: Joann Pai

During her time as pastry chef and bakery owner, Jackie found herself making excuses to be in Paris, “moonlighting as a travel food journalist, taking research trips, and eventually writing a bestselling memoir about my love affair with the city. I spent increasingly more months there until one day I dared myself to peek at an apartment.”

The apartment she ended up purchasing (the third one she looked at) is a two-bedroom unit by Canal Saint Martin. Though its enviable architectural bones—marble fireplaces, chevron hardwood flooring—were intact, they were buried under a previous owner’s accumulated furnishings, a fact that Jackie thinks scared off many potential buyers. “After so many years, I hadn’t expected to be in Paris, let alone find an apartment with those very floors, marble fireplaces, and pretty antique rose mouldings trimming the ceilings. Though when I saw it, I saw the potential it had despite the condition of it; it was desperate,” says Jackie.

Originally only planned to be her pied-a-terre and a space she would rent out, after Jackie renovated this apartment—clearing out the clutter, knocking down a few walls, bringing the architectural elements back to the forefront, and adding in “all the details and touches I’ve always daydreamed of”—this apartment is now Jackie’s permanent home. It’s also a big part of the inspiration for her website, APT La Fayette.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: It’s generally classic contemporary, very textural, a bit quirky, and a mix of found and new objects… things that make me smile. Above all, I believe a space must be inviting, warm, and livable.

Inspiration: Joseph Dirand, colors and textures, and details of Paris whether they be architectural, design throughout its history, or just the plethora of beautiful things you can find at a local flea market.

Credit: Joann Pai

Favorite Element: The chevron hardwood floors. Prior to moving to Paris, I had always dreamt of having old, squeaky chevron floors with a lot of history, dents here and a board kicking up there. This apartment was the third place I saw, the madame living here was an old collector, but I saw the mouldings, fireplaces, and these chevron floors peeking out from under her things and I fell in love.

Biggest Challenge: The apartment hadn’t been renovated for about 80 years and many older apartments were cobbled together without a proper layout that would suit modern living. The bathroom was in a narrow hallway, where one would have to walk through the shower to get to the guest room. There was no room for a refrigerator in the kitchen (the madame had used the ancient “garde manger” to keep things cool) so the entire space needed to be reimagined. I decided to put in an “American-style” open kitchen so that the existing kitchen could be turned into a proper bathroom, and with removing all non-essential walls, the flow of the space came together.

Credit: Joann Pai

Proudest DIY: It’s not quite yet done, but I am currently dusting off my old fine arts college skills and painting my own chinoiserie on the walls of the guest bedroom, which I have dubbed the “rose room” for its pink walls. (Rose is “pink” in French.) I originally wanted classic De Gournay papier peint in that room but thought it might be a fun project to do it myself.

Biggest Indulgence: My Lacanche stove. Lacanche has one of the most beautiful and powerful ranges that satisfied both the pastry chef and designer in me.

Best Advice: Try your best to only include things in your home that make you smile or thrill you in some way. No matter the design or what others think, as long as your space makes you happy, that’s what true style is in my opinion.


Credit: Joann Pai


  • Paint colour — Just the white primer of a French brand. I liked it so left it.
  • Marble backsplash/island — Quartzite granite custom-made “macaubas white adouci”
  • Copper pots + white handled bowl (top shelf) — White bowls are from flea markets around Paris; the big copper pot was a gift from a friend bought from a brocante; little copper pots are from Beaune at a flea market.
  • Dishware, lion head, flatware (2nd shelf) — Dishes are from IKEA, Janaki Larsen, Astier de Villate, brocantes in Paris and Provence, and Michelle Nguyen (an amazing artist who shows with Bau-Xi Gallery and also does ceramics. She also used to work at Beaucoup). Leopard head is a mug I bought in Copenhagen by Quail. Flatware is from a flea market in Paris.
  • Glassware + Astier de Villatte mug (bottom shelf) — All glassware are vintage crystal collected from flea markets and brocantes.
  • White fruit bowl — An old soup tureen from a flea market in Paris
  • Cutting boards — From La Trésorerie, one is a gift from FF Aperatif (a store specializing in the art of the aperatif, sourcing only French foods and wines), and E. Dehillerin (where Julia Child used to buy her kitchen wares)
  • Kitchen faucet — Margot, a French brand that’s been around since 1912.
  • Range — Lacanche, a french brand, still family-owned near Beaune.
  • Cabinet pulls — Brass pulls found off Etsy. It was just some dude that made brass things and I can’t remember his name. Sorry!
  • Copper kettle — Brocante in Beaune
  • Green tea cups and saucers — From La Tresorerie by Apilco.
Credit: Joann Pai


  • Paint colour — Just the white primer of a French brand. I liked it so left it.
  • Couch — La Redoute AM.PM
  • Coffee table — Pink and green marble with brass base vintage from Le Bon Coin (like Craigslist for France)
  • Basket — Farmers markets in Beaune
  • Vase — l’Astier de Villate
  • Lighting fixture — Gervasoni – brass 95
  • Fireplace decoration — Coral from Parisian flea market, candle from Buly, candle from Byredo, magazines, book, crystals, Japanese urishi botanical candle.
  • Wall appliques — Le Bon Coin
  • Chair — Vintage Scandinavian design, Modus armchair by Illum Wikkelsøe
  • Rug — Antique from southeast Turkey
Credit: Joann Pai


  • Paint colour — Farrow & Ball “Studio Green”
  • Shower head — Badolymp
  • Bathtub — Antique bought off Le Bon Coin
  • Sink is re-purposed from the old existing sink in the bathroom
  • Floor tiles are custom-designed marble and extend into the library hallway
  • Sink faucet — Herbeau – Melangeur Verseuse Pompadour Laiton Brillant
  • Brass mirror — Old vitrine frame from a brocante with mirror replacing the glass
Credit: Joann Pai


  • Paint colour — “Shaded White” by Farrow & Ball
  • Bed is an antique from Le Bon Coin
  • Linens — Flax Sleep
  • Little desk — Le Bon Coin
  • Fireplace — Assorted cosmetics, perfumes and crystals
  • Chair — Old vintage schoolhouse folding chairs from Le Bon Coin
Credit: Joann Pai


  • Paint colour — Farrow & Ball “Setting Plaster”
  • Curtains —
  • Linens — Flax Sleep
  • Lighting — Vintage crystal chandeliers and wall appliques are off Le Bon Coin
  • Artwork — Antique and vintage from markets and shops

Thanks Jackie!