It sounded almost impossible: designing a 300-square-foot apartment that could comfortably seat six people in the heart of Paris’s 7th Arrondissement. But for French-Israeli designer and interior architect Emmanuelle Simon, who founded her own firm in 2017, the solution was simple but challenging. “The smaller the space is, the more precise we have to be,” she says. And so she decided to approach the space almost as if it were a hotel suite, where everything would be bespoke but streamlined, cohesive yet multifunctional. The L-shaped studio apartment contains a small but impactful kitchen that Emmanuelle describes as “a central piece, visible from every corner of the apartment.” Facing the kitchen is a dining area with a U-shaped built-in sofa that hugs walls and windows, wrapping around a table whose carefully curved edges avoid sharp, accident-prone corners.
For the kitchen in particular, Emmanuelle decided to mix neutrals with more dramatic materials. “The principal idea and inspiration was to make the kitchen a jewelry box,” she says. She clad the countertop, backsplash, and underside of the upper cabinets with sheets of polished brass and selected a matching faucet and sink to create a continuity of finishes. Small but striking, the kitchen’s reflective surfaces and metallic finishes are reminiscent of a box’s bedazzled contents.
The material’s mirror-like effect also brings depth to the space and makes it feel larger, and the champagne-hued tone of the brass gives it “préciosité”—preciousness, she says. Keeping it streamlined are recessed light fixtures built into the underside of the upper cabinets, which have a metallic trim to match the polished brass. The three-sided niche created by the countertop, backsplash, and cabinet underside make “a soft and luminous way to reflect depth and light,” she explains.
For the cabinets themselves, she opted for limestone-colored waxed concrete panels to create a matte backdrop that would allow the backsplash to (literally!) shine. The cabinet doors are simple and rectilinear but curve around a corner to create an L-shaped kitchen and optimize on extra storage space—“essential in a space that’s only 300 square feet!” she says. The cabinetry’s pared-down detailing, with only the simplest of discreet pulls where necessary, helps reduce visual clutter. Even the electric cook top is minimalist and picks up the gold tones of the backsplash with its glassy surface.
Emmanuelle created a space that establishes a color palette (and surface treatment) that ranges from subtly textured matte to sleek and shiny metallic finishes.