A gorgeous ornately-tiled 17th century townhouse in Paris that was abandoned for the past 70 years has been given a 21st century update. Architect Anne Rolland fused Old World charm and contemporary design with sleek new storage spaces and custom build-outs that meet the original limestone walls. Beneath the apartment floor is perhaps the most surprising feature of this renovation. A secret stone chamber once used as a “slurry pit” full of animal waste is now used as a sound-proof practice room for playing guitar.
For centuries, the abandoned ground floor space was used as a corridor connecting a large apartment to the grounds’ gardens. Faced with the disused, crumbling structure, Holland decided to turn the forgotten space into a modern open-plan studio apartment. Removing existing walls built throughout the years to reveal the original limestone masonry, the open space was divided into a semi-private sleeping chamber and a welcoming living room.
A custom storage system, made from sustainable birch-plywood, functions both as furniture and storage, as well as a divider. The slightly raised sleeping area is accessible up pine steps, while the living space and kitchen remain on the “ground.” New patterned tiles were laid on the floor to evoke Parisian bars of the past, while modern veneers anchor the present.
An added bonus to the unique space is a lower antechamber, accessible through a mechanical trapdoor. Wooden stairs lead down to the stone room that once held animal feces and garbage from the property’s farmers of centuries past. Rolland connected the subterranean space to the rest of the spacewith a skylight in the floor of the apartment.