Restoring the lustre of classic interiors with a twist of modernity is the speciality of Bordeaux agency Lala Architecture. Commissioned with the renovation of a grand 18th-century apartment that had been occupied by thesame family since the 1970s, architect Elodie Lataste worked her magic to assist new owners Ludivine andGuillaume Bonnet to transform the dated property into a modern family home. The couple, a chemistry teacher and an engineer, originally from Bordeaux, moved back from Paris to be close to their families and the city they love. But when they bought the Haussmannian-style townhouse apartment, they knew it needed a complete facelift.
‘The décor was frozen in the 70s, not the pop version of the decade but drab bourgeoisie,’ says Elodie. ‘Furniture, wall hangings, heavy curtains and carpets - everything was dated but well maintained. Fortunately, the ornamentation and the floors had been updated, but there was plenty of scope to revamp to create a contemporary space suitable for small children.’ The use of the apartment’s 170 square metres was reviewed to adapt it for modern family life with two children. The existing spaces were preserved and some doorways that had been closed off were rediscovered.
‘The previous owners had used the living room as a bedroom. So we had the pleasant surprise of discovering a door under the wallpaper that opened into the dining room, which made sense as these were originally intended to be the reception rooms’, explains the architect. The common rooms now line up again, creating a beautiful living space with French windows opening onto a balcony overlooking the street. The kitchen was opened up to the dining room too. ‘It had been, as in all bourgeois buildings, relegated to the end of the corridor. There was even a bell for summoning servants’ recalls Elodie.
Once the flow from the living room to the dining room was restored to its original arrangement and the kitchen incorporated, a Trumeau mirror in the living room was hung to reflect the alignment of the pendant lighting through the reception rooms. The bedrooms sit at the back of the apartment with the childrens’ at the end of the corridor and the master bedroom near the entrance. Next to this, the former laundry room has been transformed into an attractive bathroom painted in blue, while custom-made furniture cleverly conceals the washing machine.
The key element of the renovation was the colour palette. Every surface has been refreshed. Walls, ceilings, woodwork and mouldings reveal a palette of refined tones, bringing out the classic volumes and ornamentation of the apartment in a rich colour scheme. In the living room, the brown shade on the walls extends to the architraves, whereas in the corridors and the bedrooms it is the opposite, the mouldings blending into the ceiling. Vibrant notes of pink, yellow and green create attractive and colourful contrasts to enliven the calmer wall shades of grey and beige in the common spaces. In the kitchen, the zellige tile (glazed Moroccan tiles with a subtle rippled texture and deep colour) splashback is especially striking, complemented by a strawberry sorbet shade of pink called Red Earth by Farrow & Ball.
In the children’s room, the wooden bunk bed from IKEA is painted in the same Ten Blue by Farrow & Ball as the wall, palyfully contrasted by a yellow ceiling. ‘I love how the English dare to mix colours in their interiors,’ says Elodie. ‘They are bolder than the French! Even in their classic castles they do not hesitate to juxtapose very bright colours’, she marvels. ‘It’s a source of inspiration. I really like it when it’s a bit quirky!”
THE OWNERS: Ludivine and Guillaume Bonnet live with their children Augustine (3) and Leonard (2).
THE HOME: This 18th century apartment in Bordeaux, France, was renovated with modern style and rejuvenating colours and adapted to suit a family with young children. French architect and designer Elodie Lataste of Bordeaux-based agency Lala Architecture was commissioned with the task.
Photography by Juilen Fernandez
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