Cover The living room is brought to life with cheerful accent pieces, photos and art

French designer Frédéric Crouzet crafts a spirited Parisian abode with vibrant hues, clever cabinetry and irreverent style

“It is important to respect the history of the place, and if possible, to incorporate existing and emblematic elements into the project’s design,” says interior designer Frédéric Crouzet. As the co-founder of Crouzet-Sorbac & Associés, Crouzet is known for creating remarkable spaces. Trained at the Gemological Institute of Santa Monica in California after graduating from Beaux-Arts de Paris, he wields a keen attention to detail and striking combinations of vibrant hues and shapes to stunning effect.

A good showcase of his creative flair is this Rue La Boétie apartment, located in the prestigious eighth arrondissement of Paris. Crouzet not only restored original classical details such as ceiling mouldings and cornices, but also enlivened the historic Haussmann-style shell with the considered use of colour and pattern. 

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It was particularly important that this 2,691sqft apartment is both functional and restful, as the client, a psychologist, wanted her home to double as an office where clients could visit for consultations. “It was necessary to create a soothing and protective space, without ostentatious or overly contemporary elements that might be too cold or that one could get tired of, enveloped by softness to break with the tumult of the city,” says Crouzet.

The foyer is a fine introduction to the rest of the home’s lively palette. It is anchored by a red-lacquered aluminium sculpture named Wings of Desire, designed by Crouzet and framed by blush-toned curtains and teal cabinetry. Sinuous patterns on the carpet designed by Réda Amalou echo the sculpture’s organic lines. The mirror’s oak frame hints at the use of the material in other parts of the home. 

 

It was necessary to create a soothing and protective space, without ostentatious or overly contemporary elements that might be too cold or that one could get tired of, enveloped by softness to break with the tumult of the city.
French designer Frédéric Crouzet, co-founder of Crouzet-Sorbac & Associés

While many want to let joinery blend into the backdrop, Crouzet makes it the star. “Too much wood can become oppressive, I like to proceed by adding (surprising) touches as these help the materials live harmoniously (together). I assemble them without the profusion of one material to the detriment of another, always seeking to favour balance and refinement, and to produce a feeling of lightness and fluidity,” says the designer. 

One example is the living room’s graphic shelves, which integrate a TV and a gas fireplace. “In order to animate the different elements of this very large woodwork, the cupboards in the lower part were designed asymmetrically in order to break the monotony of an alignment that might be too rigorous and repetitive,” he explains.

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A bookcase and lounge seating at the opposite end continue this playful composition. The two walls bordering this corner feature coloured glass inserts—blue for the wall facing the foyer and orange for the wall shared with the kitchen and living room.

“I like the lounge’s intimate and convivial feel, which is inspired by artist Piet Mondrian’s paintings. It adds dynamism, creates transparency and is a play of light that evokes stained glass,” says Crouzet. The apertures are a motif employed throughout the home to create a feeling of spaciousness and links the various spaces. They resurface in a niche between the foyer and kitchen, and tall, narrow windows between the walk-in wardrobe and master bathroom.

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The living room’s architectural elements and upholstery feature cobalt shades while the master bedroom, ensuite and walk-in wardrobe taper to a calmer celadon green. These pop against a monochromatic backdrop of white walls and ceilings, and black architectural light fixtures and door ironwork. 

The designer created a small office from a former bedroom, accessible via a door opposite the main entrance, to separate the owner’s private and professional lives. Two guestrooms were also renovated for the client’s daughters when they visit.

Thoughtfully designed tableaux define each room, harmonised throughout the apartment with quirky cabinetry details. “Sobriety and naturalness communicate the atmosphere I sought for the flat. I chose bright shades close to the natural world,” says Crouzet.

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The light oak that Crouzet uses freely for the joinery evokes an almost Japanese spirit. He uses it in two ways—painted or natural and unembellished. Solid parquet flooring in bleached and rough finishes provide contrasting tactility.

In the walk-in wardrobe, timber handles run up and down against white-lacquered doors. It leads to the spa-like master bathroom clad in Portuguese stone; a tranquil conclusion to an interesting sequence of spaces in this unique abode.