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.