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A Charming 200-Square-Foot Apartment on Paris’s Left Bank

You might assume that a 200-square-foot apartment would be the home of a student on a budget or maybe a short-term rental for travelers. This apartment, however, belongs to a successful businesswoman who lives outside of Paris and was in need of a small pied-à-terre in the capital. Pauline Lorenzi-Boisrond was commissioned to renovate the studio on the rue du Cherche-Midi. “She comes to Paris regularly for work but she had grown tired of impersonal hotel rooms where she can’t leave her things from one visit to the next,” Pauline, the interior designer and founder of Studio Ett Hem, explains. “She wanted her own little suite in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area.” Ett hem means “house” in Swedish. It is indeed a fitting name for a designer tasked with overcoming the limitations of the space to bring out its homey charms.

A wooden partition separates the combo entryway and kitchen from the sleeping area, with storage integrated into both sides. Countertops are Black Saint Laurent marble with gold veins via Cristal Marbre and brass details link the two spaces. Wall lights via Vanity Boum. 

The left wall is lined with doors hiding both storage and access to the bathroom. It is painted in light blue hues (Argile Peinture and Farrow and Ball) that complement the colored fabric benches (Elitis). The table is fixed to the floor, a pragmatic decision.

Following the goal of creating the feel of a hotel suite, Studio Ett Hem created a small, multi-functional entrance hallway that also solves the constraint created by the slanted load-bearing wall. The wall, which runs along one side of the space, includes a series of closet doors—some are decorative, others functional. One set, however, leads into the apartment’s bathroom. On the right, an elegant but discreet kitchen sits to one side of the sleeping area, separated by a wood-and-glass partition.

The efficient kitchen includes a refrigerator, a two-burner cooktop, a small sink, a hidden microwave, and storage. “In small spaces, we are often afraid to create zones, but differentiating functions and installing circulation counter-intuitively expands the space,” Pauline says. The wood-and-glass divider defines the dual entrance-kitchen area and separates it from the quieter part of the room, but its rounded shapes also soften this border. Since spaces in small apartments must often fulfill multiple functions, this dining area is placed under a window where the natural light is also handy when it plays its other role, as an office.

The beautiful 19th-century floor tiles and the fireplace were original to the building. Throughout the loft, discreetly integrated storage is present, sometimes highlighted with bronzed brass details.

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