One morning, French decorator Anne-Sophie Pailleret received a surprising email with a simple subject line: Help!
The owner of an apartment in Paris had hired two other interior designers, but neither had worked out. Then, she came across a publication on Anne-Sophie’s own apartment – and it was a case of love at first sight. It was chic, serene and harmonious, the owner recalls.
Anne-Sophie (pictured above) arrived at her current profession via a slightly circuitous route. She initially worked in marketing for Cartier, and then got a job creating ephemeral decor for a Parisian catering firm; she worked on events such as the 60th anniversary of the Christian Dior fashion house and the wedding of a member of the Qatari royal family. Following that, she studied interior design at the prestigious École Boulle in Paris and worked for top French decorator Jean-Louis Deniot before setting up her own firm.
Among Anne-Sophie’s aesthetic influences are the art deco movement, the slightly crazy, over-the-top design of the 1970s, and designer Jean Royère. For her client, a Florence-based artist, this 1,800sqft apartment serves as a pied-à-terre and a midway meeting point with her husband, who works in finance in London. The couple were attracted by the typically Haussmannian building and its architectural mouldings. Yet they were also put off by a very eerie corridor that was long, high, narrow and extremely dark, according to the client.
Anne-Sophie remedied that by enlarging part of the corridor and transforming it into a stylish dressing room, and by adding an oval window, painted with an iris-like pattern by decorative artist Florence Girette. The designer also made other changes to the layout, including switching the kitchen and master bathroom, and turning the former dining room into a second bedroom for the owners’ teenage son.
Anne-Sophie also opted for a more subdued palette in harmony with the grey roofs of Paris. Still, there are a number of constants in her work. She often favours fabrics that could also be used for clothing — ergo, the chenille fabric on the daybed in the sitting room, reminiscent of a Chanel suit. Anne-Sophie also loves the graphic effect of black-and-white prints, especially in passageways.
One of Anne-Sophie’s obsessions is gold. I love the idea of a raw nugget extracted from the earth, which becomes very precious, she says. Here, she’s used it in order to reflect the abundant natural light and has also employed numerous textured finishes to the same effect. The surface of the gold cabinet in the entry hall almost looks like intertwining locks of hair, while a wall in the master bedroom looks like metallic tree bark.
The scratched black-matte cupboards in the kitchen, meanwhile, are a nod to the paintings of French artist Pierre Soulages.
The client requested the copper tub and the onyx plaque in the bathroom, which were the starting points for the pinkish-coral tones of the master suite. She also insisted on integrating a couple of family pieces – including the Louis XVI-style sideboard and table in the dining room. Anne-Sophie made the latter a little less imposing by covering the top with a sheet of glass, back-painted by Girette with a marble motif.
Working with Anne-Sophie is really fun and playful, says the owner. She doesn’t like things that are too obvious or conventional. She really wants to surprise. Adds Anne-Sophie: Interiors must have a soul – and in order to achieve that, there must be something whimsical and a little unexpected.
For more interior inspiration, browse our Homes section.
A version of this article originally appeared in our April 2018 issue.