This Paris Life

Expert Insight, Breaking News, and Insider Stories on Real Estate in Paris

What do you mean by ‘Parisian apartment’?

Is it the crown moldings and chandeliers? Herringbone wooden floors? The iron balconies and French doors? The trick is combining the classical elements with modern amenities for a classy and livable result. The classic Parisian aesthetic will never go out of style – clean white walls contrasted with flowing silk curtains draped over glowing parquet de Versailles floors. But an apartment is only as good as its weakest link: if you can’t linger in the space, if there are no closets for your clothes, it won’t work as a modern living environment. And without tasteful, modern decoration and amenities, it can feel like Louis XIV in the Hall of Mirrors.

 “The key is to embrace the elegance of the space while creating a comfortable living environment,” says Betsy Kasha, founder and lead designer at AB Kasha Designs. Since 2004, the A+B Kasha team have overseen the renovation of over 70 properties in Paris and, most recently, a large country house in Normandy.“I prefer pairing comfortable, modern sofas and armchairs with older coffee and side tables that have character and patina.” The combination makes for a casual elegance that works well for apartments in historical buildings, she explains. A+B Kasha 13.12_091.cropThe contrast of old architectural details balanced by contemporary elements can be particularly appealing, and is the trend in Paris apartments over the last years. In the 90’s the “modernizing” approach was to remove marble fireplaces, add built-in dressers along a bedroom wall, and lay carpet over wood floors. Today, thoughtful architects and designers are changing floor plans to add spacious closets or more bathrooms, and still incorporate the apartment’s original design elements rather than cover them up.  An A+B Kasha overhaul will sometimes mean lifting the existing chevron wood flooring to even out the foundation, add soundproofing and hide electric cables or plumbing. Add to this “double-glazed windows and smartly hidden air conditioning, and the result is a high-functioning apartment that combines the best of the past and present – the combination of comfort and style that is the vision we help our clients to realize” says Kasha. The renovation costs can be substantial, but the results are impressive.

Kasha Kitchen

In a small apartment on Paris’ rue de Verneuil, a sleek, matte lacquered kitchen showcases the exposed original beams set into the plaster walls of the building.

Kasha Staircase

When high tech elements are hidden behind walls, placed inside built-in shelves, or laid underneath the floor, all the functionality and comfort demanded by modern living is concealed by the luxurious and classical dress of a Parisian apartment. Here, discreet, sleek lines along the stairs conceal a water-cooled air conditioning system.

Photo credits: A+B Kasha

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