We should all be challenged the way architect Francis D’Haene was recently.
Sought out by clients in Paris to redesign their 18th-century apartment in Saint Germain, the New York designer was forced to split his time between Manhattan and the Left Bank.
For six months. With a once-a-month flight to Paris. All to create something new out of something old, for a couple, their son and a family dog.
Luckily, he had a good contractor – one who understood how to bring order and openness to three centuries of gravitational pull.
“I was trying to do a very symmetrical design in a building with crooked walls,” he says. “None of the lines were open. It was structurally difficult on the second floor, because it was under a mansard roof.”
The residence is now a 2,800 square-foot, combined duplex that runs from the entrance at the street to a courtyard in the rear. D’Haene wanted to open it up so that there’s a clear view from front to back, the vistas reaching through arches and doors.
“It’s a very simple space within an old building, with minimal details,” he says. “Still, I wanted to give it warmth and space for the clients’ art, objects and furniture.”
Serious collectors, the owners count among their holdings chairs by Fernando and Humberto Campana, a pendant by the Bouroullec Brothers, an Andy Warhol silk screen and a pair of Cindy Sherman photos.
But still, Paris in the spring holds the high cards here.
For more on D’Haene’s work, go to http://www.dapostrophe.com