Design Scene: A playfully elegant Parisian hôtel particulier by Robert Couturier

W takes a tour through a playfully elegant Parisian hôtel particulier designed by Robert Couturier.


“[The color] is an instinctive choice. It’s very difficult to describe why you’ve done it. The whole suite of rooms are en feuillard, all face the garden, which is southwest. So it’s always full of light, full of sun. You are on the top floor of a hôtel particulier, and you know that part of Paris doesn’t have any [tall] buildings so you just see beautiful gardens and townhouses and it’s very magical. So for some reason the reflection from the light, the trees, the light reflecting on the red…it seemed logical to do a purple carpet.”


“The blue of the walls is actually a very difficult blue to get. It took us a long time to get it. It is sort of a Delft blue because Delft blue has a little bit of red in it. So it has a slight purple tinge to it, which you really need to have otherwise the blue becomes too sweet.”


“[The owner] had this beautiful 17th century tapestry, so we had it mounted as a headboard. So the bed sits in the middle of the room and faces the garden, faces southwest, which is so beautiful. It’s about comfort. We didn’t want to have too much stuff on the walls.”


“That’s a 17th century crewel work we bought with Cora Ginsburg. And the bed in the sitting room is actually a Jean-Michel Frank bed, which we bought at the Saint Laurent auction. It’s basically where [the owner] works when he is in Paris. He works lying down in the bed.”


“[His daughter’s room] faces the North, so I think we wanted to have it as joyous as possible and as clear and as clean and light with all of this fun Suzani fabric.”


“[The owner] likes bold ideas like the wallpaper. It makes it amusing. [The carpeting]—these apartments in Paris, the way these 18th century places are built are incredibly noisy. And carpeting ensures a bit of insulation. It’s an incredibly practical decision.”


“We decided on that contemporary kitchen because we went to look at all of the kitchen companies in Paris and everything was so incredibly boring. But when the kitchen arrived, we all looked at it and thought ‘oh God, that’s a little sharp.’ So the way to soften it was to use those antiques. It makes it a lot more pleasant and a lot more like the rest of the apartment.”