Name: Adrienne and Benjamin and their children, Jeanne, Sacha and Rose
Location: Belleville — Paris, France
Size: 200 square meters (2,153 square feet)
Years lived in: 12 years; Owned
When they're not playing electro-Balkan music with their band, Djam Orkestar, Adrienne, a passionate socio-anthropologist, and Benjamin, a fashion-loving lawyer, keep the magic and fanfare going in the old printing factory they revamped into a multifaceted duplex. With their please-don't-stop-the-music approach to life, the offbeat couple leads a band of three free-spirited children and two lazy cats.
Once you enter through the red scarlet velvet curtains, there is no way back. No, it is not Versailles, but it offers the promise of a magic carpet ride, a caravan traveling furiously from the Southern Hemisphere to the Balkans with a few stops on the way. Meanwhile, art, furnishings, and souvenirs from Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Senegal transport us back to Adrienne's childhood in West Africa.
One of the pillars of the French couple's interior design philosophy is that there are plenty of treasures to be found or made. "It is much better to buy used things instead of buying brand-new and disposable stuff," says Adrienne. Among all the home's untitled styles jazzing up the status quo is the spirit of wabi-sabi—a Japanese concept about the beauty found in imperfection.
See before photos of the old printing factory → Before & After: An Old Parisian Printing Factory Becomes a Creative Family Home
The refreshing and unconventional display of these well-chosen objects, forgotten materials and DIY trophies makes one question and shake rules and theories about interior design: an Yves Klein-blue fishnet found on the beach proudly enjoying its new glory as a masterpiece on the wall, an unfinished handwoven tapestry hooked on a bamboo stick, a retired clock done ticking but still providing good company, a sleepy beauty of a French vintage butcher scale, some street-find pallets upcycled as a screen, an extra-large wooden cable reel reincarnated as as a fancy designer-like dining room table, a cut-out floor fitted with Plexiglas, and a rainbow of curtains made of reclaimed fabric.
In a way, this two-level open space is an extension of Adrienne and Benjamin's musical universe—an endless after-party. Let's subtitle this House Tour, "The Art of Having Uncompromising Tastes and Choices."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Brocante (Junk Shop and Fleas), Balkan
Inspiration: Travels, Balkan music, upcycling, recycling.
Favorite Element: Kitchen, living area.
Biggest Challenge: The renovations. Also keeping the space clutter-free when having kids.
What Friends Say: Atypical. Big space for Paris. They love the Plexiglas floor/ceiling.
Biggest Embarrassment: Trying to bring some light to the lower level.
Proudest DIY: Adornement, A.P.C (Atelier Pour Confection) on the lower level, patchwork pillows.
Biggest Indulgence: Playing the music loud.
Best Advice: Upcycle and recycle, rather than buying things and participate in an endless and disposable supply of new and updated products.
Dream Sources: Nepal.
- Curtains: DIY by Adrienne of reclaimed fabric
- Piano: Adrienne's well-loved instrument since she was a little girl
- Hall table: bought in Dakar from a Senegalese artisan
- Trunk: African find used for transportation by boat when Adrienne left Africa
- Lamp: travel find from India
- Lamp: a recycled can
- Coffee table: a handmade project made by Adrienne and her family while living in West Africa
- Couch: Benjamin's law office
- Chair: inherited from Benjamin's mother
- Stool: inherited from Benjamin's mother
- Dolls: handmade by Adrienne's aunt Maiha Brunet
- Pillows: handmade by Adrienne
- Sculptures: collection of African art pieces from Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger
- Mirror: flea market
- Terra cotta plate: South French artisans
- Round table: flea market
- Paper lamp: artist-artisan Olivier Courgibet
- Can lamp: DIY
- Hand woven tapestry installation: made by Adrienne's aunt Maiha Brunet
- Patchwork pillows: hand-sewn by Adrienne
- Stools: finds from Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania sold at Adrienne's former boutique founded with her sister and mother
- Pallets: street find
- Green small chair: gift from ZIG, a family friend, in honor of Jeanne's birth
- Sculpture: Senegalese artist Seyni Awa Camara, a family friend and the subject of Adrienne's mother's book, Solitude d'Argile by Michèle O'Deye-Finzi
- Bench seat: inherited
- Fishnet: found on a British beach
- Table (formerly used for heavy cables): street find cleaned up and scrubbed by Adrienne
- Chairs: from The Little Belleville bistro
- Curtains: made by Adrienne from reclaimed '60s fabric found at a flea market
- Dogon ladder: bought in Mali
- Vintage scale: Emmaüs (local Salvation Army)
- The Nudes painting: from Adrienne's uncle Michel Brunet
- The Goat painting: from friend Jacques Ostier
- Wooden bar counter: from the corner bistro The Little Belleville
- Kitchen tools and accessories: travel finds from Niger and East Europe
- Tabac shelves organizer: flea market
- Sheepskin throws: IKEA
- Bedcover: travel souvenir from India
- Rugs: Tunisia, Turkey
- Cabinet: brought back from Nepal
SACHA AND ROSE'S BEDROOM
- Loft: custom-made
- Baskets: Nepal
- Mirror: yard sale
- Wood accessories and counter: DIY made of reclaimed wood
BENJAMIN'S DRESSING ROOM
- Persian rugs: inherited from Benjamin's grandmother
- Chairs: street finds
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