Cover Notable pieces in the living area include the Minotaure armchair from French studio Pierre Augustin Rose, a floor lamp and pedestal table by Philippe Hiquily, and a pair of coffee tables by Yves Klein

Crafted by Stéphanie Coutas, a stunning botanical mural is one of the many beautiful features of this artistic abode in Paris

French interior designer Stéphanie Coutas creates homes that are not only plush and warm, but also spectacularly good-looking. Her most recent project, a 3,552sqft apartment located in a classical Haussmann building in Paris’ Right Bank, is the perfect embodiment of this. Coutas transformed the abode, which is owned by a French couple who are notable art collectors, into an ethereal home that lets its occupants show off their prized pieces and entertain friends with panache.

“My clients wanted a space that would showcase their extensive collection of beautiful artworks, while maintaining the atmosphere of a comfortable family home,” says Coutas, who designed the interiors to evoke the mood of a soulful, history-rich museum with a story to tell.

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The owners’ art collection was the starting point of the project. Once Coutas and her clients had decided on the placement of their art, the designer developed her plan for furnishings around these installations while creating a setting that was conducive to parties.

“With each room, I identified what we wanted to have as the centrepiece—the most eye-catching painting or sculpture,” she says. “I then established the layout of the rooms based on the size of the artworks and positioned them where they would receive the right amount of natural light.”

As is typical of Haussmann buildings, the lofty apartment features large windows that let in plenty of sunlight. This is ideal for illuminating the art in the day, so Coutas only needed to include subtle lighting fixtures around the paintings to highlight them at night.

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The floor plan includes a corridor and entrance hallway, main living room, lounge area, kitchen and dining room, study, master bedroom, and children’s bedroom. The corridor and hallway feature lighting by Tom Dixon and a custom-made side table, along with a bespoke armchair designed by Coutas’ firm, SC Edition.

Throughout this hallway, the designer used marble floors with a backlit natural oak skirting and bronze trimmings to create a calming ambience. A wall, which showcases a painting by South Korean artist Lee Ufan, was used to seamlessly conceal the access point from the hallways to the office and dressing room.

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The main living room is a stylish tableau incorporating iconic designs and contemporary pieces: it’s furnished with a sofa by American furniture designer Vladimir Kagan, Minotaure armchair by Pierre Augustin Rose, a pair of coffee tables by Yves Klein, a bespoke Tai Ping carpet, as well as a floor lamp and pedestal table by French artist and designer Philippe Hiquily.

On one of the walls in this main living area, Coutas crafted a relief of olive trees from a combination of plaster and marble powder. “This relief was developed from an idea that came to me when I collaborated with a sculptor friend three years ago; I thought it would be excellent for this project,” she says. Coutas also included a table by Ado Chale and a custom-made marble fireplace within this space.

Coutas employed various shades of white in a matte or glossy finish, matched with light oak wood flooring, to create an understated backdrop for the striking furnishings and art. “I used a variety of different materials including plaster sculpture, wool, and tactile fabrics. This provided us with a simple yet layered foundation to contrast and enhance the artworks,” she adds.

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“This project required much consideration and imagination; the apartment is huge, which rendered the unfurnished space a little soulless, so I included large wooden and bronze skirting to add more character to the rooms,” says Coutas. “Through the careful positioning of the artworks, and by selecting the right furnishings and finishes, we could bring plenty of soul into the space.”

She adds: “This is (why) the neutral palette and soft textures really work, because they allow the artworks to stand out visually, and also create enough physical and psychological space for people to sit comfortably and reflect on the works before them.”

In the lounge area, a custom rug by JD Staron and a sofa by Flexform were used to create a calming space for reading, relaxing or chatting with friends. The designer fitted the kitchen and dining area with Fior di Bosco marble flooring and luxurious Calacatta Oro Borghini marble countertops, and included a round Chahan Minassian travertine marble table with bronze legs.

In the master suite, a neutral colour scheme enables the warm tones of the marble and sculptures to shine. The master bathroom is fitted in onyx, white marble and selenite, which work together to fill the space with textural sumptuousness. The children’s bedroom is adorned with chic yet playful furniture to create a calm and welcoming environment.

“The overall mood created with this space is one of serenity, elegance, and comfort,” says Coutas. “I believe that a house full of art should not just be about displaying the art, but it should also feel good when you’re sitting down to enjoy it.”

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