Cover A sliding door connects the living area to the master bedroom

It's made to be dog-friendly, too—see how this designer couple brought together a wide variety of decor styles, materials and textures in their stylish home in Paris

It was happenstance that brought Kelli Wilde and Laurent Champeau together—the couple met while working at the Paris office of the prestigious Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi interior design agency. Wilde, an American art historian and interior designer, and Champeau, a French-British architect and designer, founded their own interior design studio, Champeau & Wilde, in 2011.

Since then, the dynamic duo have worked on luxury homes in both the US and France. Their unique design approach combines revitalised, classical French sophistication with contemporary comfort—and the couple’s signature style is exemplified in their recently completed new home, a two-bedroom apartment in the culturally vibrant Nouvelle Athènes district in Paris.

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The 1,600 sqft property hadn’t been altered since 1956, but the couple were particularly impressed with its full-length balcony and the light and space distribution. They spent nine months renovating and furnishing the space to transform it into their dream home.

“The idea was to mix styles, like the contemporary fireplace that we designed, juxtaposed with an 18th-century cornice,” explains Champeau, who redesigned the interiors to accentuate the 3.2m-high ceilings and the balcony. “This is peculiar to Parisian apartments; they can be historic yet modern.” They retained the classical aesthetics of the original space, but reconfigured the layout so the interiors resemble a large loft while reflecting elements of a hallmark French period home. The new floor plan enabled more expansive living and dining spaces with room for a double-hearth fireplace.

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“The idea was to mix styles, like the contemporary fireplace that we designed, juxtaposed with an 18th-century cornice,” explains Champeau, who redesigned the interiors to accentuate the 3.2m-high ceilings and the balcony. “This is peculiar to Parisian apartments; they can be historic yet modern.” They retained the classical aesthetics of the original space, but reconfigured the layout so the interiors resemble a large loft while reflecting elements of a hallmark French period home. The new floor plan enabled more expansive living and dining spaces with room for a double-hearth fireplace.

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The couple preserved and restored the original hardwood floors, ceiling mouldings, doors and jambs in the dining room, and the marble fireplace in the living room. The original floors were stained in a more contemporary chocolate colour, and the walls were painted a subtle, creamy white to update the classical architectural details. The entryway was furnished with Portuguese stone flooring and a vintage wall lamp. The living room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom form an enfilade—a suite of rooms formally aligned with each other, which were a common feature of grand European houses from the Baroque period onwards.

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Most of the furniture was sourced from Galerie XX, a store in Los Angeles that specialises in 20th-century decorative arts and furniture, or the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris. Some of the items are contemporary, while others are pre-owned vintage pieces. “Two hanging lights by the artist Robert Lemariey have a strong presence in the dining and living rooms,” says Wilde. “Although both are very different in style, the one in the dining room anchors the design concept, and the one in the living room has a more subtle poetic presence.”

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Notable pieces in the living room include a mixture of design elements from different eras such as the Roche Bobois lacquer coffee tables from the 1970s, a ’50s antique gilt ironwork table, a late 19th-century Austrian antique chair upholstered in Veraseta silk-velvet leopard print fabric, and a Maison Dutruc Rosset floor lamp with a pleated silk shade from the 1990s.

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As a nod to the dining room’s original gothic theme, Wilde and Champeau incorporated dragon-detailed handles on the windows in this space. They also included an illuminated bookcase, a mid-century dining table with a Saint-Gobain glass top, and Warren Platner-designed Knoll chairs to give the dining space a touch of sultry glamour. Lacquer cabinets with Remy Garnier decorative hardware, Danish vintage pendant lights, and geometric print curtain fabric were used in the kitchen.

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In the master bedroom, which looks out to a planted courtyard, is a headboard and nightstand designed by Champeau & Wilde, a velvet side chair that’s a 1980s prototype from Liaigre, and a metal sun sculpture by artisan metalwork brand Curtis Jere.

Wilde used mirrors to enlarge and brighten the rooms and to create a sense of symmetry throughout. She enhanced the diverse furniture styles with antique pieces, flea market finds, metalwork, artworks, as well as custom-made pieces. “We used a diverse mix of materials throughout the apartment—a glass dining table, a metal hanging lamp, lacquer coffee tables, and a plaster chandelier, for example,” says Champeau.

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From the fine-veined marble fireplace mantel to the banana-leaf print rug by Les Manufactures Catry, the rippling Seascapes aluminium alloy artwork by Gregory Ryan in the living room to the varied textiles—in leopard, geometric, floral and striped patterns—this home is an eclectic and skilfully composed symphony of colours, materials and textures.

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“A home should be a place to live; not a cold space or an art gallery,” says Wilde. “It should be a well-designed, inviting and discretely luxurious place where one feels comfortable living and entertaining.” Indeed, the couple certainly succeeded in bringing this philosophy to life in their Parisian abode. 

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