before & after: parisian restaurant + jane’s ceramics

today’s next before & afters both come from across the pond. first up- designers mathilde and christine from studio ma+ chr, who recently redecorated the cafe/restaurant nambodaï in paris. the project was incredibly extensive and really gives the space a new life. i love that patterned stairway! great work, mathilde and christine! (click here for more images from the renovation on flickr)

[have a before & after you’d like to share on design*sponge? shoot me an email right here with your (low res please) images]


CLICK HERE for jane’s ceramic makeover and the rest of the parisian restaurant transformation after the jump!

[images above: the dining area, before and after]

[images above: the bar, before and after]

[images above: the bathrooms, before and after]

designer jane schouten of all the luck in the world recently made over these simple ceramic vessels. these vessels weren’t familiar to me, but in the netherlands they are used (though not as frequently anymore) to absorb excess heat and moisture as they hang on the side of radiators. jane decided to update a collection she found at a thrift store with paper maché and her own decorations. now they make for a colorful wall decoration! great work, jane!


  1. Kifus says:

    I like the new facade of the restaurant. It is simple but appealing. But I must say I find the before picutre of the staircase better than the after. The bathroom is way better, especially because they added a potted plant!

  2. d says:

    i actually prefer the before of this project, though a bathroom redo was needed.

  3. those steps are awesome. They add such a funky dimension to the look of the cafe. I want to go to there.

  4. margherita says:

    WOAH!!! AWESOME!!!! this made my day!!! :) a m a z i n g

  5. Nikko Moy says:

    I love how airy the space became!

    -Especially fond of the staircase!

  6. Jeni says:

    I really enjoy the colors Jane used on her wall pockets! They’re very pretty!

  7. Fun, brings me back to as how I used to watch about restaurant makeovers. Where did that show go?

    I love the Escher stairs as well and overall think that the lightened up space is such an improvement.

  8. Annie May says:

    The staircase is gorgeous!

  9. ana says:

    I LOVE the staircase!

  10. Dean says:

    Funny, I just walked by this the other night, and thought it was adorable! Nice to see a feature on it… It was charming in a way before the makeover, but then again, it was what every brasserie looks like in Paris, so they’ve set themselves apart with this much fresher look. I’m going to head here for soup soon.

  11. Tara says:

    Ooh! Le Bretagne! This was right around the corner from my university apartment! It is an improvement, but for sentimental reasons, I prefer the “classic” bar it was before…well, except for the bathroom. That was gross.

  12. I don’t think that’s quite right about the use of those containers — when I lived in Germany and France we had these hanging on our radiators not to absorb heat and moisture but to add moisture — we put water in them to help humidify the house during the winter. Nevertheless, a fantastic repurposing!

  13. Kristan says:

    I LOOOOVE the Parisian restaurant makeover! If I were still there (granted I only visited for like 2 days, lol) I would totally stop in for a bite!

  14. rebecca says:

    I like the Frenchness of the before interior – after looks too american (for me). I appreciate how much work went into this though. Also, as one who can trip over a painted line, taking the handrails off the staircase sort of gives me the wigglies. I really like the new signage.

  15. kelly says:

    A huge improvement. Congrats Mathilde and Christine! The new space feels fun and new. Great color choices and patterns.

  16. breeree says:

    To me, it’s one less classic (and admittedly grungy) brasserie, and yet another could-be-anywhere-in-the-modern-world cafe. A shame, really! I’m commenting on the state of things, not this particular design I suppose.
    (And I am sure there will be a railing in that staircase before long …)

  17. I’m not going to lie…I definitely like the before pictures of the Parisian restaurant….but I like the afters too! They’re both nice, just different styles! My favorite updates have to be the bathroom and the staircase…I think they’re both really well done.

  18. Kate says:

    Was this the restaurant in Emile? Looks just like it.

  19. Michelin says:

    I love how much brighter the place looks now. I have to say, some elements like the paper lamps seem to me a bit out of place for a Parisian cafe… so does the name and signage. Like the staircase too! The new cubic-pattern tiles are such a quirky touch! Well done.

  20. Kelly says:

    The first pair after the “jump” really bother me- the green wall looks ill purposed- the clock, panels and random shelf… Its awkward. Frankly, I think the ‘before’ looks more thoughtful.

  21. gaz says:

    looks good inside

    ruined outside, why why why do that to a classic Frenchfront

  22. Yeye says:

    @gaz: I feel the complete opposite — love the outside and kind of disappointed with the inside….. eyes of the beholder I guess!

  23. i am sam says:

    the place needed a tidy up but what a waste, from traditional paris to a copy of some williamsburg ideal.

    in england some might say “that’s well Barley” in regards to a certain tv show.

    it’s still nice, it’s lovely, don’t get me wrong, but a faux-beatnic like me ain’t gonna smoke a gallouise in there, might get some humous on my winkle-pickers or something horrific.

    1. grace says:


      so funny that you brought up gallouise and williamsburg in the same comment. gallouise cigarettes are a staple among the williamsburg hipsters i know…


  24. Jose Velasco says:

    Muy buen trabajo, y genial el album en flicker mostrando el proceso de trabajo. Enhorabuena.

    Very good work, and very nice idea to show us the work in progress in flicker. Congratulations!

  25. Chris in Asheville says:

    The geometric tile pattern is the smartest thing of all–picking up on this most ubiquitous of tile patterns covering floors throughout Southest Asia. This makes the place look authentically Viet Nam and Cambodia.

    Vachement bien!

  26. christine says:

    I just recently returned from a month in Paris and our apartment was one block from this restaurant! We ate there regularly as it was the most veggie friendly food we found in all of Paris. The amazing ladies that run it are adorable and the food is fantastic! And, they are open on Sundays! In Paris, a rare treat!

  27. Lauren says:

    I find the Paris restaurant much more charming before. Needing work, yes, but the renovation is incredibly unimaginative. :(

  28. Ellen says:

    Nope, nope, nope.
    Bretagne=Brittany is a province hundreds of miles west of Paris.
    This restaurant may be Parisian, but the name is Breton. The new name has an African vibe, however the decor is a new age hodge-podge! I’d like to see them add more art and heart to this place to lure in repeat customers. Decor and names are too confusing!

  29. kim says:

    Jill is right about the containers, they are to humidify the air, not the other way round (both my grans had these).
    The before of the restaurant just screams Paris to me, the result after is nice but could well be anywhere else in the world (San Fran? Berlin? anywhere)

  30. Nyree says:

    Hi ya from Kununurra, Western Australia
    i love the reno to the front of the cafe. I think the inside changes defiantly brings more light and space – but it would have been cool to see some leather chairs or leather details to bring a ‘comfy’ vibe.

  31. Deanne says:

    I thought the same thing, Katie. It has to be from Amelie – oui, non?

    Love this site – am spending way too much time on here (:


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