As a general rule, French interior designer Charlotte Macaux Perelman tries to respect the history of the spaces she transforms. “There’s always a soul, something to preserve,” she explains. “I like to take inspiration from what I find.” There is, however, an exception to every rule, and what interested her in this 2,500sqft apartment (which directly overlooks Paris’s Parc Monceau) was precisely the fact that there was nothing to salvage. “It was so contorted that I was certain everything had to be demolished,” recalls Macaux Perelman. The former owner had lived there for 42 years and had redecorated different rooms at different times, each in the tastes and fashions of the specific period. “It was all over the place stylistically—a real hotchpotch,” remarks Macaux Perelman.
For the designer, the project represented the biggest demolition job she has ever carried out. “Nothing was left in place,” she asserts. “Not a floor, not a wall, not a ceiling.” Rather, almost nothing—a ceiling with majestic mouldings was uncovered in the living room after the removal of simple plaster panels, which had concealed it for decades. Although it had been painted brown and was covered with dirt, Macaux Perelman decided to celebrate it and to modify her original plan, which had been for a number of smaller reception rooms. In their place, she created a large open living space, tailored specifically to the ceiling’s dimensions.
The sitting area at one end is separated from the graphic sculptural kitchen at the other by a pair of oak shelving units (as seen above), which are something of a technical prowess—each incorporates a door that slides back and forth without the aid of a rail. “There is an incredibly complex mechanism hidden inside,” she points out. “There are few craftsmen who could have created them."
Over the past 20 years, Macaux Perelman has developed a career on both sides of the Atlantic. She initially worked for Philippe Starck and hospitality guru André Balazs before setting up her own firm in 2005. Among her first solo projects was the renovation of the Royalton Hotel in New York. Three years ago, she was also appointed co-artistic director of Hermès Maison, Puiforcat and Saint-Louis. “She has a sharp eye and tends towards a very pared-down aesthetic,” notes the French luxury house’s group artistic director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas.
Macaux Perelman’s style is certainly recognisable; she favours white walls, clean lines, a rigorous architectural approach and natural materials, especially oak and marble. “She is the queen of details, which are often imperceptible but make all the difference,” says the owner of this apartment. “There is a sense of perfection in everything she does.”
Styling: Sarah De Beaumont
Photography: Stephan Julliard
This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes February-March 2018.