Interior design inspiration direct from Paris

Words: Alice Duriez Photos: Alice Duriez
Photo Essay

Take an up-close look at the creations of some of the city’s trendiest young designers.

Nancy Geernaert

Nancy Geernaert is our design crush of the moment. Belgian by nationality and from a family of architects, she set up her own design studio, Just-in, in 2008 and is profoundly influenced by nordic culture.

My style? A mix of the timeless and the unplanned. Total originality isn’t what I’m looking for because, for me, something becomes personal when you mix together different influences. An apartment with an overall look soon becomes boring and hard on the eye. To feel good in an interior space you need some original elements but also some familiar things to help you find your bearings. That’s especially true in rental apartments. They have to have something universal about them, they can’t be too idiosyncratic.” N. Geernaert

2 bedrooms 88 m2 – Quai de Jemmapes – Paris’s 10th arrondissement

Studio 30 m2 – Rue du Bois de Boulogne – Neuilly-sur-Seine

Cristina Vélani

An interior designer who trained at the highly-regarded Boulle school of fine arts and crafts in Paris, Cristina specialises in the interior layout and design of smaller spaces both for individual clients and for hotels and restaurants.

Cristina Velani: “My sources of inspiration are nature and fine materials and fabrics, anything that has a calming effect and makes us feel good.
I think that the main thing in a living space is a sense of well-being and relaxation that you feel as soon as you come through the door. You create that ambiance through a harmony between positive and negative volumes, colours, shadows and light, and an openess that allows for movement.

Studio 25 m2 – Rue de Rivoli – Paris’s 1st arrondissement

Olivia Cognet

Olivia, the young creative director for Apologie shoes, says she long dreamed of buying a townhouse to renovate according to her own taste. Now she’s succeeded !

Olivia Cognet: “When my husband and I decided to buy an apartment, I’d really had enough of central Paris…
We wanted somewhere green, we wanted a terrace, a house, and a neighbourhood with some warmth and charm that would remind us of the towns in the south of France where we grew up.
It was a big challenge finding something with character and a terrace in central Paris…
We were the first people to view this house when it went on sale and we fell in love with it immediately. That said, we had to redo the whole house, but we enjoyed the process!
We created the terrace from what had been a parking space on the street and redecorated the whole place from floor to ceiling, starting with a blank slate, which is the perfect way of doing it.

House – 2 bedrooms – Rue Georges Lardennois – Paris’s 19th arrondissement

Inès le Stradic

A design enthusiast and the owner of several apartments in Paris, Inès le Stradic loves looking for furniture at Paris’s Saint-Ouen flea market.

Inès: “I wanted more of a vintage style than in my previous apartments, something more in line with the feel of the neighbourhood. I think the bedroom works really well: wallpaper always makes rooms more inviting and I love the mix of contemporary and Fifties furniture. My favourite things? The dressing table in the bedroom, the wicker chairs, and the decorative objects from Les Puces [the Parisian flea market].

1 bedroom – 55 m2 – Rue Saint Honoré – Paris’s 1st arrondissement

François Millot

A freelance architect since 2004, François Millot specialises in the renovation of apartments in Paris and particularly in the design and layout of smaller spaces. Understated without being a minimalist, Millot consistently shows a respect for existing space and materials and retains a feel for a building’s history no matter how resolutely contemporary his design.

On the subject of the apartment in the Avenue de Suffren: “Connecting three former staff bedrooms created a charming studio in the eaves. The bedroom space is separated from the sitting room by a range of closets, which also allows for a small desk at one end. In spite of its size, the kitchen still has a dining area beneath a large window which floods the apartment with light.
To make the apartment even brighter, we used light tones when it came to choosing fabrics and materials so as not to break up the space with too much visual information. We also used the sloping roof to discretely add storage space. Enlarging the bay between the kitchen and the sitting room created a nice flow between the two spaces and made them both seem larger.

1 bedroom 30m2 – Avenue de Suffren – Paris’s 15th arrondissement

Sarah Lavoine

Sarah Lavoine’s style is refined and timeless and it has made her one of Paris’s most fashionable interior designers. Her trademark is the duck-egg blue that seems to feature in all her designs, whether for hotels, luxury boutiques or the apartments of various celebrities.

Studio 20 m2 – Rue du Dragon – Paris’s 6th arrondissement

Pierre Frey

The Pierre Frey brand, founded in 1935 for the manufacture of fabrics and wallpaper, is an institution in the realm of luxury interiors and design.
Elegance, modernity and authenticity are the hallmarks of this family concern which continues to offer the world a flavour of French life and style.

2 bedrooms 138 m2 – Rue Sainte-Anne – Paris’s 2nd arrondissement

Joséphine Gintzburger

Joséphine Gintzburger is an interior designer with a unique talent. Having worked for couturiers such as Christian Dior and Chanel, she embarked on a second career in interior design.
As these two apartments show, her style is playful and eclectic and instantly recognisable.

2 bedrooms – Rue Montmartre – Paris’s 2nd arrondissement

1 bedroom 60m2 – Rue Saint-Bon – Paris’s 4th arrondissement


Designers to know

Joséphine Interior Design
Joséphine Gintzburger
30 rue montmartre, 75001
06 85 57 05 65

Sarah Lavoine
9 rue Saint Roch 75001
01 42 60 60 40

Pierre Frey
47 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001

Cristina Velani
61 rue de Rivoli, 75001
06 03 92 32 30

Just-in
Nancy Geernaert
11 bis avenue de Madrid, 92 200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
06 60 95 77 57

Lo Architectes
François Millot
4 rue de Trétaigne, 75018
06 08 72 61 16

Home Conception
Christophe Alves
8 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 75001
01 84 88 09 77

Cyril Rheims
43 rue de la mare, 75020
06 21 02 95 11