538 sq. ft. attic apartment renovated with industrial materials & cinematic flair

Camille Gharbi
© Camille Gharbi

We've featured a number of interesting renovations of older apartments in Paris before, ones that have converted garages, doorman's residences and even bathrooms into fully functioning small homes in the heart of the city.

In this renovation of a duplex attic apartment in an old wooden building dating back to 1830 in Paris' fifth arrondissement, architect Florent Chagny has transformed the interior to evince a more industrial aesthetic by combining elements of steel and wood together.

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

In updating the 538-square-foot (50-square-metre) space, the design for Sous Les Toits called for knocking down some of the existing partitions to open up the interior, in addition to removing an old spiral staircase from the 1990s and taking out a big, unused fireplace.

What might be most striking about the design is the abundant use of oriented strand board (OSB), an engineered wood. While it's often recommended to not to use exposed OSB in living areas, it appears that the OSB here has been carefully finished with some kind of protective coat on top, to seal it against moisture or off-gassing. The architects say:

The idea was to feature, to highlight the implementation. By choosing an industrial wood, a raw material (usually made to be hidden), we insist on all the little details that we had to draw. Architecture makes sense when the design explores each scale. In a way, we pay tribute to the "effort." To be simpler, with a cheap material, we tried to create a stylish interior. Moreover, OSB is quite warm. It makes a good com​bination with steel (such as the stairs and bookcase).

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

The modular kitchen combines the warmth and visual textures of the engineered wood, along with the contrast of the dark-coloured countertops. In a clever twist, one of these counters can be moved in order to create a dining space.

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Along one side of the apartment is the new metal staircase, which is airy and open to reduce visual barriers, and is efficiently combined with a metal shelving system.

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

In the living room, the highlight is the custom-built lighting element, which sits in the centre of the ceiling above, lending extra light and a cinematic quality to the space.

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Following the path up the stairs, we come to the bedroom loft which sits above the main spaces below, and is closed off by a sliding glass door and wall, which lets light in, but not sound.

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

Camille Gharbi© Camille Gharbi

It's a big change from what was once an old, partitioned-off space; by combining unlikely materials together, the design has succeeded in creating something different and quite refreshing. To see more, visit Florent Chagny Architecture.

538 sq. ft. attic apartment renovated with industrial materials & cinematic flair
This revamp of an 1830s apartment mixes modern materials to create a modern space.

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