Historic Paris apartment gets wrapped in soft minimalism

Architect Saba Ghorbanalinejad reworks the historic architecture of this Le Marais apartment for the 21st century 

White and neutral Le Marais apartment designed by Saba Ghorbanalinejad
(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

This Parisian apartment interior design delicately adds a layer of minimalism to a historical structure, courtesy of the studio of architect Saba Ghorbanalinejad. The renovation, which transforms the first floor of a typical period building in the neighbourhood of Le Marais, refreshes, while also extending, the family home. 

The project centres on the complete redesign of an existing 140 sq m unit. Each room has been stripped back and finished in contemporary materials, allowing a clean, uncluttered aesthetic to prevail. White plastered walls, clearly defined surfaces and plenty of natural light underpin a parred down approach; one, however, that feels soft and homely.

Historical elements, such as the existing large windows and a stone fireplace, were maintained and gently incorporated into the new design as appropriate. The ceiling's wooden beams, for example, are left exposed; although they have been painted white to blend with the background in the bedroom, while left in their natural, deep brown tone in the living area. 

Interior view of Le Marais apartment by Saba Ghorbanalinejad with red curtains and wood floors

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

A new structure was inserted into one of the original rooms, which has now become the kitchen. The steel construction creates a discrete space for food preparation, complete with extra-wide stainless steel worktops, while gently contrasting the rest of the apartment interior with its modern feel. This move also allowed the architect to carve out space for a conservatory garden next to it, planted and lit from above, bringing a glimpse of the outdoors in. 

Bespoke details, such as rounded corners on some of the wall and kitchen worktop edges, customised door knobs and a reflective, sliding aluminium door that divides the living spaces from the bedrooms, reflect the attention to detail this relatively small but perfectly formed interior received. Light, neutral colours throughout enhance the sense of space and lightness - with the exception of an accent red curtain and cabinetry in the entrance hall, which provides an unexpected twist to the rule. 

While it it may be relatively small in size and fairly restraint in its interventions, the apartment interior packs quite a punch. Now encompassing three en-suite double bedrooms, a generous-feeling open plan living space, the brand new kitchen structure and the enclosed patio, it has been brought firmly into the 21st century.

Kitchen with cream cupboards and red handles of Le Marais apartment by Saba Ghorbanalinejad

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

Living room with black chairs, a fireplace and large windows of the Le Marais apartment by Saba Ghorbanalinejad

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

View of corridor with a mirror and art of the Le Marais apartment by Saba Ghorbanalinejad

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

Study with desk, a lamp mounted to the wall and orange curtains in the Le Marais apartment

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)

White bedroom with wood floors in the Le Marais apartment

(Image credit: Maxime Verret)



Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

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