Before / After A successful renovation of a 247 square-feet furnished studio

Words: BAF Photos: Margaux Crouzier
Photo Essay

After purchasing this property close to the town hall of the 17th arrondissement in Paris, the owner decided to carry out the renovations herself. The idea was to completely renovate this studio, with a floor area of 247 square feet, to prepare it for rental. This is Marine Delègue’s first foray into renovating, and she elegantly created a bright, welcoming and functional apartment, suitable for furnished rental.

Surface area: 247 square feet
Duration of renovation work : 4 months
Architect : Marine Delègue @marinedelegue_interieurs

When was the property purchased? How long did the refurbishment take?

We bought this studio in January 2018. It’s a rental investment.
From the date of purchase to the date it was rented, 11 months passed, even though it’s only 247 square feet. The renovation itself lasted four months.

Who was in charge of decorating the apartment?

We had already signed the studio’s sale agreement when I found out I had been accepted to the Ecole Boulle art and design school for an interior design course. I was an account manager in a public relations agency for more than 15 years, and I’d been dreaming of this change. The course, which I started in February 2018, was a true revelation. And the transformation of the studio was my first trial run, from the plans to monitoring the renovation work and including the layout.

Why did you choose this apartment? What are its best features?

This studio corresponded exactly to our criteria:
– ideal location on the town hall square of the Batignolles neighbourhood, with its cafés and outdoor terraces;
– an old building, for its charm;
– a nice view;
– two big windows and sunlight;
– planned restoration of the courtyard and street side façades;
– and most of all, nothing that had to be kept, which made the project more fun; it was more than just a renovation, it was a real transformation.

What were the main challenges you had during the renovation? What type of unexpected problems did you have to deal with?

From the first day of the renovations, when we were knocking down the partitions, we saw that the ceiling was moving. The timber load-bearing beams were crumbling. That was obviously not good news.
Since the building’s structure is the responsibility of the property management, we had to handle the entire restoration of the ceiling with them. In terms of efficiency, budget and also schedule, it was better to remove the ceiling/floor between our studio and the one above, and rebuild from scratch.
The tenant on the 4th floor therefore had to move out (paid for by the property management) so that we could start work in September.
In the end, there weren’t too many problems with that. The property management were very efficient and the owners were all very nice and understanding.

Have you any stories to tell us about the apartment?

The whole building is made up of small properties. They were originally nuns’ quarters, which I thought was amusing. I love places that have a history.

The building is made up of small properties - Paris Batignolles neighbourhood

Have you any advice for an owner that wants to redesign their Parisian studio? Any decorating tips?

You need to be extremely precise when you’re redesigning the layout of a small space. Every centimetre counts. You have to think of everything in advance, there are no little corners to hide things like the vacuum cleaner or the ironing board. You need to find a place for everything before drawing the plans. You need to be clever about creating as much storage space as possible, without overstepping into the living space. That’s what we did with the bed, raised on a podium which is actually a cupboard and drawers.

You also have to take advantage of the property’s best features. For example, to make sure the bathroom also bathed in the studio’s natural light, I inserted a window between the kitchen and the bathroom, which is also a cute touch.
You have to prioritise with your budget. I wanted a Zellige tile backboard from Mosaic del Sur. For other elements, we went with simpler options.
Ultimately, I think the most important thing is to create a studio that you’d like to live in yourself. If you would, then there’s a good likelihood other people will too!

Apartment available to rent

Marine Delègue’s favourite spots in the neighbourhood

Mamma Primi
A restaurant in the Big Mamma chain
71 rue des Dames, 75017
01 47 42 33 31

Les Françaises
Small plates for sharing, all in a baby-pink environment
87 rue Legendre, 75017
09 83 64 09 10

Gare au Gorille
Bistronomic restaurant
68 rue des Dames, 75017
01 42 94 24 02

Scoop Me a Cookie
The best cookies in the world ;-)
72 rue Legendre, 75017
01 71 72 91 65

Marché bio des Batignolles
Saturday mornings
34 boulevard des Batignolles, 75017
01 45 11 71 11

Vintage lighting and furniture store
108 rue Legendre, 75017
01 58 59 10 01

Kann Design
1950s furniture designer
8 rue des Moines, 75017
09 51 64 50 13

Interior design and decoration concept store (three locations)
rue Legendre (97 et 99) et 20 rue des Dames, 75017
09 53 04 67 53 / 09 52 14 73 04

Concept store
61 rue Legendre, 75017
01 42 47 16 15

French fashion brand for women and girls
75 rue Legendre, 75017
09 53 56 02 23

Leon & harper
Chic, relaxed fashion
77 rue Legendre, 75017
01 45 65 27 74

Atelier de Production et de Création
75 Place du Dr Félix Lobligeois, 75017
01 70 38 26 67