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Marais apartment gets a meaningful make-over

When Matt and Leonard first started working with to find their pied-a-terre in , the Australian couple had a fairly general brief: two bedrooms + two baths in the Marais with “something special about it.” This is often the case with second-home buyers – they’ll know it when they see it. Along the way, we try to find a property that offers exceptional value, while creating some sense of magic for our client. In this case we succeeded on all fronts.

 

Photos below of the main living areas before and after:

After a week of intensive looking, the apartment they ultimately selected was one of the first that they visited. Recently remodeled and in good condition, the property was on the rue Rambuteau, their ‘dream’ street near the Pompidou art museum. For Matt and Leonard, the apartment’s special something was the view from the master bedroom overlooking the Anne Frank memorial park and its chestnut tree, grown from a cutting taken from the original tree Anne Frank wrote about in her diary:

Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs, from my favourite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy.

With careers that center around human rights and charitable endeavors, the view is a powerful reminder to the pair of what is important to them, and a connection between their lives in and Australia. The interior design of the apartment has similar echoes that connect their two homes: contemporary art from their collection in Australia decorates the walls, and a hidden door in a paneled wall conceals the master bedroom suite in a poignant nod to Anne Frank.

 

As is often the case in apartments, the purchase process revealed surprises: this time, that the deed included the area of an unused staircase adjacent to the property. The minor renovation they planned ultimately became a complete restructuring that transformed that bonus space into a much larger bath and laundry space, and a small terrace. The apartment was transformed.

When we think back on the entire process – which was actually pretty quick, less than 6 months from first contact to having the keys to our very own apartment – what we remember most are the fun times of going from apartment to apartment, laughing about the bad ones and debating the merits of the good ones; the excitement of finding “the one”; and the sense of confidence that came from knowing we were in safe hands.

This team knows their stuff – how to take care of all the little things that a foreigner would find perplexing and frustrating.   

– Matt and Leonard

The apartment is actually two lots in two separate buildings. The front, main part of the property, which houses most of the apartment, dates from the early 1800s. Part of the rear of the property, including the rear bedroom, is about 150 years older, constructed during the reign of Louis XIV (1638–1715) and as originally the stables for an adjacent hôtel particulier, or private mansion.

 

The interior design, furnishings and décor are a collaboration between the owners and interior designer Monte Laster. The result is an approachable but elegant blend of traditional and modern, French and Australian. Part of the fun in this project was restoring the apartment to its former glory down to the most meticulous details, with craftsmen painstakingly duplicating the elaborate moldings in the living room in the adjacent dining space. Each rosette was handcrafted and applied to create plaster moldings indistinguishable from the originals. The newly gained space in the laundry / master bath was partially covered with a glass and steel enclosure similar to the one that covered the annexed stairway space. One last critical touch: a grand fireplace, restored to its rightful position in the living room.

The finished apartment is both chic and comfortable, making it the perfect place to celebrate after a day spent wandering the lively streets of the Marais.

Contact to learn more about buying or selling property in .

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