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A Glamorous Pre-War Flat in Poland, Courtesy of Colombe Design (and eBay)

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A Glamorous Pre-War Flat in Poland, Courtesy of Colombe Design (and eBay)

January 18, 2019

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast,” Hemingway famously wrote.

He was commenting, of course, on how the city—and the memories made there—can leave an indelible mark on those who’ve lived there, a sentiment that all Francophiles would agree with. But what if memories aren’t enough? To be safe, the owner of this one-bedroom apartment in Warsaw decided to bring the glamour and drama of classic French interiors with him when he relocated from the City of Lights to the capital of Poland.

He tasked Marta Chrapka, founder of Colombe Design, with creating a Parisian-inspired flat. Chrapka was a little dubious. “I was not convinced. The Parisian style idea, that was my client’s recommendation,” she says. “I was not sure that it would not be pretentious. We didn’t have the proper height or good windows”—not to mention the apartment had been stripped entirely of period charm. Still, Chrapka knew there was potential, as the space was housed in a historic 1930s building. She set out to return the home to its original pre-war layout, then added the basics of any good Parisian apartment—French doors, elegant molding, classic wood flooring in “Hungarian point” (chevron).

After Chrapka layered in sumptuous drapery; added statement-making, oversized lighting; and furnished the flat with eclectic pieces, many of of them scored on eBay, her client finally got his wish—a little bit of Paris, all the way in Poland. A moveable feast, indeed.

Photography courtesy of Colombe Design.

A peek, from the entry, into the dining room. Before Chrapka even thinks about the interior design, she focuses on the layout and fundamentals. &#8
Above: A peek, from the entry, into the dining room. Before Chrapka even thinks about the interior design, she focuses on the layout and fundamentals. “I try to keep or recreate the original layout always when it’s possible. That gives the feeling of a classical interior. I usually find the original plans from  the ’20s or ’30s and try to adapt it to modern needs.” she says. The brass Citadel chandelier is from Quasar.
&#8
Above: “The moldings are not original,” says Chrapka. “I added them, but they were made in the oldest factory in Warsaw in accordance with traditional methods.” Just beyond this space, a Cole & Son malachite wallpaper packs a visual punch.
Chrapka and her team designed the dining table, flanked by plywood Vitra chairs, and the sideboard. Much of the art in this room is from eBay. Note the antique armchair, at left, that was cleverly converted into a dog bed.
Above: Chrapka and her team designed the dining table, flanked by plywood Vitra chairs, and the sideboard. Much of the art in this room is from eBay. Note the antique armchair, at left, that was cleverly converted into a dog bed.
Floor-to-ceiling drapes were made from Fadini Borghi linen by Pierre Frey, the iconic French maker of fabrics and wall coverings. Green is the owner&#8
Above: Floor-to-ceiling drapes were made from Fadini Borghi linen by Pierre Frey, the iconic French maker of fabrics and wall coverings. Green is the owner’s favorite color and shows up throughout the home. A modern ceiling light by Serge Mouilles hangs above the table; the sculptural floor lamp (left) was an eBay score.
Chrapka designed the folding doors between the dining and living rooms. &#8
Above: Chrapka designed the folding doors between the dining and living rooms. “Traditional pieces are usually the fixed ones such as doors, handles, and molding, but I think there is no rule when it comes to [the furniture]. The only key is aesthetics,” she says.
Hovering above the living room is the Vertigo chandelier by Petite Friture. The other showstopper in the room is the round metallic artwork by Polish architect and designer Oskar Ziet.
Above: Hovering above the living room is the Vertigo chandelier by Petite Friture. The other showstopper in the room is the round metallic artwork by Polish architect and designer Oskar Ziet.
The antique daybed is another eBay find. Both the &#8
Above: The antique daybed is another eBay find. Both the “panthère” wall fabric and the yellow velvet on the cushions are from Pierre Frey.
Chrapka custom-mixed her own white for the walls. &#8
Above: Chrapka custom-mixed her own white for the walls. “I was searching for the color of plaster,” she says. “The first choice, All White from Farrow & Ball, was too sharp, especially on the parts with the moldings, so I added some colors with umbra to give it a soft, shadow effect.” Sitting atop the larger raw-edge table (both are custom-made) is a lamp sourced from eBay.
To add much-needed storage in the bedroom, Chrapka designed a wall of built-ins, painted in Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: To add much-needed storage in the bedroom, Chrapka designed a wall of built-ins, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue. The antique sconces are from eBay.
The oak flooring in the rest of the home is laid in Hungarian point, but Chrapka chose an etoile pattern for the kitchen.
Above: The oak flooring in the rest of the home is laid in Hungarian point, but Chrapka chose an etoile pattern for the kitchen.
Her client&#8
Above: Her client’s favorite room post-renovation is this kitchen, which is ironic since he doesn’t like to cook. This room was inspired by the Orangerie in Versailles, she says. The bold wallpaper is from Pierre Frey.

For more inspired one-bedroom apartments, see:

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