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January 6, 2019

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Modern, warm and chic in a classical Art Deco habitat

A slick blending of contemporary designs and bold artworks has produced a one-of-a-kind setting for a Parisian family in an Art Deco house built in the 1940s.

Beatrice Mouleyre-Degueldre and her husband Xavier’s three-floor garden house is located in the Neuilly area in Paris. It overlooks the River Seine and gives way to a view of the Eiffel Tower on one side and Montmartre on the other.

Surrounded by a large garden bordered by 12 chestnut trees, the house was built under the guidance of a well-known architect Maurice Berthier and interior decorator Rene Drouet.

“Right away we saw the potential it was offering back in 2005,” Beatrice said. “Its structure was such that my husband Xavier had the possibility to recreate the space, and we loved the large sunny bow windows.”

The couple had no pre-conceived ideas whether buying a house or an apartment. They wanted a luminous, quiet place in a nice neighborhood and looked for big volumes in order to have reception rooms. Besides, high ceilings and abundant natural light and enough space for the family are necessary.

“When you collect artworks you know that an art piece chooses you and not the contrary, then you feel you have to have it. It’s a magnetic experience. It’s hard to explain why and the same goes for a house,” Beatrice said, who runs a strategic advisor agency in the luxury, fragrance and cosmetics industry.

Artist and designer Xavier, with a strong passion for beautiful houses and objects, was keen on transforming the existing structure into a family house showcasing their artistic sensibilities.

He has changed everything from floor to ceiling and redefined the volumes of space in order to use all the possibilities the house was offering.

“I totally reorganized the first floor in order to have a reception floor which was completely in line with the Art Deco constructions of the 1930s. In order to do so I completely opened the living room and deconstructed the original dining room,” Xavier said.

The original wooden panels were re-organized to create a new open space yet keeping with the style of the house. The dining room was created in what was formerly the master suite. The first floor is now composed of two open living rooms on different levels, a dining room, an office and a very large and modern kitchen. Xavier created the second floor of 200 square meters where he realized three rooms: a master bedroom with an open bathroom and two other rooms with luxurious bathrooms. He finally reshuffled the ground floor, which was originally composed of service rooms, and replaced by a huge family room with an exit on the garden.

“My intention was to maybe create, in the future, an extension for an internal swimming pool,” he said.

Together, the couple have created a modern chic atmosphere while keeping the warm, emotional and elegant aspects of the original Art Deco style. They moved into the house with their new born baby Maximilien in 2006 after a year of renovation.

“To have created large open spaces as described before, brought modernity to the house but with wooden panels, the library, oak wood flooring, fireplace, windows and the heaters covers are all testimonials of the Art Deco period,” Xavier said.

The first floor living rooms are the center of the house. The extremely enlightened and luminous grand salon is welcoming and comfortable with different corners one can sit and chill and each of them has its own atmosphere.

The original wooden panels of the house that were in natural oak were painted in a taupe color in order to reinforce the warm and modern aspect of the living room.

“Generally speaking, all of our reception rooms are a melt of Art Deco signs and modernity: the Rene Drouet wrought iron radiators screens, upon which a marble top was laid, were originally light green. I wanted to turn the radiators to a dark brown color and the wrought iron in a shining silver in order to reveal their amazing beauty,” he said.

Xavier chose the color code of the house in the shades of brown, chocolate and taupe.

“I chose to use these colors because with the oak wood parquet floor it creates a frame that enables each object, each piece of art to be seen in its uniqueness.”

While keeping some of the furniture that had been created for the house in the 1940s, their own furniture was added with a mixture of modern classics and vintage, hunted at flea markets. Both of them have an artist’s eye for the daily surroundings, rearranging, mixing and matching their collections.

However, they chose to place a few highlight pieces instead of grouping too much furniture in the rooms.

“We don’t want an overwhelming feel. The eye should be able to stop and stare at some specific objects that are just simply beautiful to look at,” Xavier said.

The selected furniture includes a coach designed by Philippe Stark from Cassina, the chaise lounge of Charles & Ray Eames customized by an artist, two Egg armchairs from the 1960s, by the Danish designer H.W.Klein, and Kart armchairs Xavier created for his brand Kart by Degueldre, which produces a line of chairs and armchairs made from discarded shopping carts.

Mixing his passion for design and a wish for a better planet, he has realized this little miracle: to create from the most impersonal object of consumption to a desirable, sustainable and design object.

Q: What’s the best thing about living in Paris?

A: Paris remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Wherever you look, you see beauty. It is a constant source of inspiration.


Q: Describe your home in three words.

A: Luminous, space, joy.


Q: How do you unwind?

A: We unwind through art: creating, drawing, art exhibitions…


Q: Where do you spend most of the time at home?

A: In the living room.


Q: What’s the view outside your window?

A: We are lucky to have a view on Paris and moreover on the Eiffel Tower at night when it glitters.


Q: What’s your favorite object at home?

A: Kart Barcelona Tribute armchair.


Q: Where do you source furniture?

A: We hunt in the flea market very often. We have lots of friends there that call me when they have discovered special rare objects.


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