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Interiorssneak peeks

In Paris, an Apartment Drenched in Wallpaper is a Dream Realized

by Kelli Kehler

For designer Aude Christin, the dream has always been to live in Paris — and sometimes that dream meant making some sacrifices. A textile and interior designer, Aude and her husband Philippe and 12-year-old son Léopold moved to Paris three years ago, but at the time they couldn’t find the right apartment for their family. They wanted to leave behind the southern suburbs of Paris, near Versailles, to position themselves closer to the lively and captivating city center.

The family ended up living in a tiny, two-room apartment for two years while they kept their eye on the Paris rental market, forfeiting the small space’s only bedroom to their son — “My husband [and I] had to sleep in the living room like students,” Aude remembers. “It was our choice to return to Paris, and before finding this beautiful apartment [where we now live], we took our risk [renting] a place too small. So I am happy to finally have a beautiful and large room with a real bed!”

At roughly 635 square feet, their new two-bedroom apartment, built just before World War 1 in 1913, feels like a spacious upgrade from their formerly tight quarters. “It is a typical Parisian and Haussmannian style apartment; wooden floor, ceiling moldings, two old fireplaces and two small balconies,” Aude shares. She lucked out on realizing this Parisian dream (in a Haussmann-style building, no less, a strong preference of Aude’s) when a former client of hers moved out of their now current apartment. “A stroke of luck,” Aude recalls. “It was all painted in white, with a well-appointed kitchen and a new shower room… AND then the Parisian style with beautiful fireplaces and beautiful moldings on the ceiling: [a rare pearl]! In addition it is placed in a very charming place with a church and trees [like those found in] the countryside — the dream in Paris.”

Finally with her hands on her new space, Aude got to work crafting her apartment by sourcing items only from independent craftsmen and small business owners/makers, a slow process that’s unfolded over the last 10 months since they moved in. “I absolutely did not want to use mass [produced items]. So I was patient and I worked on the parts I wanted little by little.”

This eye for detail and deep concern for the decor’s origins resulted in a carefully curated space. Renting presented Aude with the challenge to add depth and interest to a place she cannot change structurally. To achieve her signature style of pairing sumptuous textiles together — a layering upon layering of decor that is both restrained and liberal — she’s leaned heavily on the power of wallpaper. “I have a very small budget so I am extremely creative,” Aude says. After all, her motto is this: having less means the freedom to have more ideas. —Kelli

Photography by Aude Christin

Image above: The living room in the apartment of Aude, her husband Philippe, their son Léopold and cats Domino and Furby. “I wanted an arty and very cozy spirit: deep colors, a Berber carpet, a velvet sofa, lots of shimmering cushions and some vintage pieces,” Aude shares.

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In the living room, Aude creates a bold statement and adds depth to a small space by placing a large mirror atop the fireplace mantel and covering the walls in a dramatic wallpaper.

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Small brass pieces pop against the graphic wallpaper.

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To the right of the fireplace, yet another moment in which Aude has used a wall covering to transform the room.

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“For the decoration of this apartment, I wanted to give it a lot of character,” Aude shares. “In the living room, I put on the wall a wallpaper from LE MONDE SAUVAGE with a very intense black pattern, a very chic Boho style that finally guided the rest.”

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A true designer at heart, Aude is always changing her apartment around: moving a vase here or there, switching pillows out from one room to the next, resulting in an ever-evolving space. “The important thing when decorating a place is to listen to it,” she notes.

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“The biggest challenge was to revamp the white IKEA kitchen in [a shabby chic style]. With stickers [mimicking] cement tiles, wallpaper and a green paint I transformed the place.”

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Aude used vinyl tile stickers from Beija Flor World to create a truly beautiful and unique backsplash in her IKEA kitchen.

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Aude and Philippe’s breathtakingly beautiful bedroom is a serious upgrade from their past apartment where they slept in the living room.

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Panoramic wallpaper in a gorgeous floral pattern by Au fil des Couleurs sets the stage for linen bedding in shades of pink and green. In signature Aude style, drama is added to drama by pairing this sculptural light fixture with the bold wallpaper.

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Linens by Le Monde Sauvage add a relaxed yet lovely touch to the bedroom.

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Léopold’s bedroom is a dark and cozy place featuring enchanting wallpaper by Isidore LeRoy.

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Aude’s decorating advice for others is to not listen too much to trends or what everyone else is doing, but instead listen to your own identity. To really feel at home is essential, she says, and that’s best achieved by decorating how you really want.

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Aude is over the moon to have this space in Paris, in a neighborhood where she knows many people and feels a sense of community. She adds, “And as we love this style of Parisian apartment in sublime buildings, Haussmann was the dream for us.”

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Aude’s (and her family’s, and the cats’!) slice of Paris. “I know a lot of people and [I’ve] made friends with neighbors. It’s so rare not to feel lost in a big city.”

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Comments

  • This is lovely! My family lived in Paris for a time when I was a teenager, and I still miss our ~19th century apartment with its beautiful high ceilings, tall windows, and wee balconies overlooking the Latin Quarter. I’ll live vicariously through Aude’s beautiful space.

  • what a lovely home! I love everything about it – the colors, the bits of gold, and linen everywhere. wholly my dream!

  • I too would love to know where the ceiling light in the bedroom is from, it looks like petals in the best, best way. This whole apartment is kind of #dreamhome for me–Paris, charm, wallpaper, flowers, plants, galore! Oh my, what a beautiful home that was worth the wait for.

  • If this apartment were mine I would never leave! Truly inspirational.Where is the ceiling light from?

  • The wallpaper in Aude’s bedroom, above the original wood paneling, is divine. I absolutely love her eclectic mix of bed linens and pillow covers too. What a serene and beautiful bedroom. Swoon!

  • As someone who has been moving from one apartment to another in different countries, I envy Aude’s courage to put so much effort into a transitory space (or maybe it’s not so transitory after all).

    And those beautiful maranta plants go so well with the wallpaper. So much color and joy in this apartment.

  • What a lovely home! Can you please give a source the living room, “hand-blocked” looking wallpaper.
    Thanks so much! Judi

  • Inspiring and so, so beautiful. I love the stick on tiles on the kitchen splash back. I’m definitely going to look into those!

  • Ooooh, YEEEEESSSSSS! Four different friends sent me the link for this beautiful space…and each time I looked at it (more than once) I let out a happy yelp! Absolutely terrific job, Aude! And thank you for the great wallpaper introductions. Enjoy this terrific and layered home.

  • Oh, and quick question: how are the sticker tiles holding up on the backsplash and floor. I’m curious to know if there’s a lot of foot traffic – my one hesitation with using these is that they will get destroyed quickly because of the young creatures who live in the house :) Thanks!

  • Can we talk for three seconds about the sheer PERFECTION of the bedroom? I let out an audible moan/wow/Ican’tEven in disbelief that something so perfect exists. Thank you for that!

  • Not a big fan of wallpaper but I can see how it totally works for this apartment. Its totally personalised and every corner is beautiful.

  • I absolutely love it, and totally agree with her philosophy. Her color and patterns are inspiring. As a vintage and antiques dealer, I am constantly bringing amazing items in and out of my pad, so I also follow no rules. I just display what I love, and paint furniture whatever color I feel like. It works. My place is bohemian and welcoming, just like this beautiful Paris abode.

  • Wow. Just wow. The wallpaper in the living room. The faux tiling in the kitchen. The bed linens. So many creative details. Truly inspiring. Thanks!!!

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