Traditional French Style With a Modern Edge

by theartofbespoke in Interior designed homes

Everything in this beautiful Paris apartment was made bespoke – even the dinner service. No wonder it took four years to complete.

When interior designer Louis Henri set about overhauling this 3,500 square foot apartment in Paris’s ‘Golden Triangle’, it was a blank space.

‘The apartment was completely bare,’ says Henri.

This is hard to believe now that it’s filled with the kind of pieces that normally take a lifetime to acquire. Every one was custom-made for the space, from the freestanding stained-glass window in the entrance hall, to the marble pattern in the entrance hall – the exact same one used in the Hotel George V’s lobby.

‘We even designed the door handles,’ says Henri. ‘Everything we found was either very classic or Deco – nothing was quite the look we were going for.’

‘We very much control everything. I have more than a dozen files just of details, specs and samples.’

This was French style, but with a modern edge. ‘We wanted something that felt location-specific,’ he says. ‘The clients are international business people who love Paris and do business in France.’

Getting the look was more work than it sounds, involving near-constant travel. ‘I did about 170 trips to Paris, staying in a different hotel almost every time,’ says Henri. Indeed, this was a key part of his research. ‘If you want a Moroccan look, you can’t just look in a book – you have to go to Morocco,’ he says.

He also took care to use local craftsmen, using the very best people he could find. ‘The largest part of the project was finding the right people to do the work,’ he says. ‘Those who did the woodwork were fourth-generation carpenters. We used workshops in St Germain that have been there since Napoleon’s time.’

His diligence paid off – the craftsmen did a sterling job, particularly on the master bathroom. ‘The execution from the marble workers was more than I could have dreamed of,’ he says. ‘It took them about four months to install the marble.’

Which indicates the level of detail involved. ‘I love detail,’ says Henri. ‘The life is in the detail.’ As such, the chairs are upholstered in different fabrics, so you see the room differently depending on where you’re sitting. Pulling off this trick is no easy task – in amateur hands, the result could be messy. So there are certain rules. ‘I try to be tonal,’ says Henri. ‘So you’ll see the same blue, white and cream colours used in the dining room.’ He’s also a great believer in repetition. ‘If you use elements again and again, it’s quite calming,’ he says. 

And in a project like this, nothing is left to chance. ‘We very much control everything,’ says Henri. ‘I have more than a dozen files just of details, specs and samples. It was all very much tried and tested beforehand. We’ll make mock-ups and 3D models of things. You can’t order a £20k chandelier and find it doesn’t look right. It needs to be perfect.’

The result may be a masterclass in Parisian elegance, but this is very much a modern flat. ‘Behind the mirror in the drawing room is an HD plasma that’s controlled by the iPads on the tables, so you can change the lights and control the music in every room,’ he says.

Cutting-edge technology combined with time-honoured style – it doesn’t get better than that.

Louis Henri – www.louishenri.com


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