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Kitchen of the Week: A Salon-Style Kitchen/Dining Room for a Historic Paris Apartment

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Kitchen of the Week: A Salon-Style Kitchen/Dining Room for a Historic Paris Apartment

January 25, 2024

If most kitchens are dressed in the design equivalent of everyday wear, Philippe Harden’s T1 project qualifies as black tie. The Paris architect was commissioned by an old friend to update his childhood home in a stately turn-of-the-19th-century apartment building in the Marais, original details worse for wear but intact.

Wanting a sympathetic top-to-bottom refresh, Harden’s clients—he has a web agency, she works for the French ministry—asked Harden to rethink the layout, opening up spaces and creating “fluid new connections and perspectives.” In response, Harden created a combination cook space/dining area as the center of the action in what had been a very grand bedroom—and turned the original kitchen into a bedroom.

The space gracefully combines new cabinetry and appliances amid the existing carvings and ceiling friezes. Harden also cast the room in a surprisingly dark and glamorous palette.

Is it time for us all to consider shades of brown, black, and white in our kitchens? See what you think.

Photography courtesy of Philippe Harden Architecture.

an island divides the kitchen from the dining area in the front. &#8\2\20;m 12
Above: An island divides the kitchen from the dining area in the front. “Most of original details have been preserved but the accesses to the room changed,” explains Harden. “The original entry is now the fridge and coffee niche [shown left].”
To make the kitchen more salon-like, Harden avoided over-the-counter cabinets, inserted a picture rail, and paired the induction cooktop with an out-of-sight downdraft vent.  architect philippe harden project t1 marais apartment kitchen/dining room. 13Above: The cabinet fronts and gallery shelf are American elm with a dark stain and “a very resistant finish,” supplied by French brand Oberflex. The veined countertops are Brazilian Breccia Imperiale Quarzite from Antolini,  “harder wearing than marble and ideal for kitchens,” says Harden. 

The architect also had a hand in the styling: The framed photographs are his own, taken at the Teatro Reggio in Torinom Italy. We like seeing art and table lamps in the kitchen: check out The New Art Gallery

harden artfully transformed the aforementioned original entry into the fridge a 14
Above: Harden artfully transformed the aforementioned original entry into the fridge and coffee station—while preserving the intricately carved doorframe and surrounding wainscotting. The kitchen has all mod cons: a microwave is hidden on the sink side of the island.
harden says the room was originally entirely dark—too dark, so it took s 15
Above: Harden says the room was originally entirely dark—too dark, so it took some convincing for his clients to come around to his proposed moody scheme: to accentuate the warmth of the historic detailing, he painted the walls brown (RAL 9003/Gris Erevan) offset by a white ceiling (Little Greene’s Attic II) and pale floor, “to reflect daylight and make a contrast.”

The existing floor had been parquet that was beyond rescuing. Harden campaigned for an easy-to-clean stone floor, but went with more affordable tiles from Cotto D’este in “a really realistic Italian ceramic that looks like real stone.” The paneled door, a new addition, leads to a bedroom that was originally the kitchen; there’s a large courtyard outside the French doors.

in the dining area, a silas table à manger by dutch workshop woood is surr 16
Above: In the dining area, a Silas Table à Manger by Dutch workshop Woood is surrounded by vintage Galvanitas chairs (€133.33 each from Paris midcentury dealer Cartel de Belleville). The hanging lights are Gubi brass Multi-Lite Pendants by Louis Weisdorf. in the dining area, a silas table à manger by dutch workshop woood is surr 17Above: Original paneled doors lead to the front hall. The stool is a Harden prototype.

The room originally had stained glass windows that were in bad condition. “They were the price we had to pay,” says Harden. “It was essential to be able to see the outside and preserve the room from the cold.”

a serax papier mâché flower pot holds bay leaf branches—see mo 18
Above: A Serax Papier Mâché Flower Pot holds bay leaf branches—see more of the Serax line in our Trend Alert: Papier Mâché in Shades of Pale.
the front hall opens to the living room on the left and the kitchen/dining area 19
Above: The front hall opens to the living room on the left and the kitchen/dining area. The Wever & Ducré Brass Sconce is a favorite of Harden’s; it’s a midcentury Belgian design from Light and City Paris; €496.

“I always try to design fluid spaces with different ways to enter a room and perspectives on the other rooms,” says Harden. Here are three more of his projects:

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