Decorating & Design
August 5, 2013
Pagoda View In Paris
Paris’ Parc Monceau has always been home to some architectural oddities; the original layout had a Roman-style colonnade, Egyptian-style pyramid, Turkish-inspired tent, Dutch-style windmill and a Chinese-style bridge. Apparently, the follies have spread through the neighbourhood. Not only is this apartment just five minutes from the park, it’s across the street from a pagoda.
The apartment building itself is decidedly not a folly, with Haussmanian features dating to 1890. The listing promises an elevator — the apartment is on the fourth floor — but it also looks like it could be from the turn of the 20th century. Far more convenient is the location, in the ritzy 8th arrondissement, and that bus stop practically at the doorstep.
The interiors are as dignified as you’d expect, with parquet floors and moulding aplenty. I love the dark, moody shades of smoky grey-green, oxblood and charcoal, glammed up with large mirrors and gold trim. Apparently the current owners weren’t afraid when it came to painting, hanging art or using leopard print.
Here’s the view from that living room. Originally one of Paris’ thousands of hôtels particuliers, the building was transformed into a pagoda in the 1920s after being purchased by an Asian art and antiques dealer. Today, its preserved interiors are home to an event space and art gallery. I think the view would be a nice daily reminder that in Paris, you just never know what you’ll see next.
The dining room could be summed up as ‘shiny,’ from the glossy walls and metallic moulding to the mirrored tabletop. But the vaguely Art Deco paintings and sassy open-backed chairs help add depth to all those gleaming surfaces.
I’m guessing this is the entrance, from the keys in the door and the umbrella stand in the corner. And the red Barcelona chairs — obviously, we all have those in the foyer for fiddling with shoes. There’s a separate (and probably far less glamorous) service entrance elsewhere, plus a self-contained studio apartment that could be rented out.
The centre of the apartment is a large reading room with a giant south-facing stained-glass window. (I’ll pause while we all sigh with envy.) Okay, now I’ll point out how perfect that secretary in the corner looks for setting up a laptop. You could even pull the screen around for a little office nook.
Rounding out the apartment are a North American-style eat-in kitchen with lacquered red cabinets, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two wine cellars. For this much space — and character — in the heart of Paris, $5.5 million doesn’t seem so bad.
What do you think? Would you buy this space for the interiors, the view or both?
If you like the 8th arrondissement but not the style of this home, check out a more traditional, grandly proportioned apartment that’s also near the Parc Monceau.