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Beds Take a Bow: The New Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris

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Beds Take a Bow: The New Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris

January 31, 2018

Dorothée Meilichzon is still in her early 30s and already has six hotel designs to her credit. Five are in Paris, where Meilichzon runs her own firm, Chzon, and one is in London; we’d gladly check in to any of them (scroll to the end for a sampling).

Meilichzon is a designer who never repeats herself, but her work has certain things in common: She loves to pick a historic period and riff on it, treats building materials as playthings, has a weakness for potent colors, and always styles beds with derring-do. Her latest project is the Experimental Group’s newly opened Hotel des Grands Boulevards in an 18th-century building in Paris’s Second Arrondissement (closest Métro stop: Poissonnière). The structure went up on the grounds of a garden just before the French revolution, so here Meilichzon took the opportunity to tip her hat to Louis XVI style. Allons y.

Photography by Karel Balas, courtesy of Chzon.

Set back from the street, the hotel—formerly used as an office building—is entered through a broad courtyard surrounded by plantings.
Above: Set back from the street, the hotel—formerly used as an office building—is entered through a broad courtyard surrounded by plantings.
The courtyard&#8
Above: The courtyard’s herringbone brick is continued in the interior parquet of end-grain wood. Aside from the ground-floor’s 16-foot ceilings and “a few plaster decorative elements,” the details are all new. The slatted dining chairs are by Slovenian architect Niko Kralj.
Chef Giovanni Passerini&#8
Above: Chef Giovanni Passerini’s French-Italian Grand Restaurant is on the ground floor, as is The Shell, a moody cocktail bar, shown here. The chairs are 1960s designs by Italian architect Eugenio Gerli, which Meilichzon sent back in time by upholstering them in a flame stitch and carmine-red velvet.
The hallway carpeting mimics the old brickwork on the exterior of the building.
Above: The hallway carpeting mimics the old brickwork on the exterior of the building.
Each of the 50 guest rooms has lime plaster walls and custom-dyed linen draperies: materials and colors that reference the late th century and Marie Antoinette&#8
Above: Each of the 50 guest rooms has lime plaster walls and custom-dyed linen draperies: materials and colors that reference the late 18th century and Marie Antoinette’s high-low tastes in particular.

The lime plaster appears in three custom-mixed period colors: dark blue, light gray-blue, and off-white/pale pink. (Read about lime plaster in Remodeling 101: Modern Plaster Walls, Six Ways. And for a simpler alternative, see DIY: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times.)

The wool-velvet headboards and cascading canopies are a play on classic French baldachin designs. &#8
Above: The wool-velvet headboards and cascading canopies are a play on classic French baldachin designs. “The idea is to make the bed the hero of the room,” says Meilichzon. “After all, people are here to sleep.”
A nod to Marie Antoinette&#8
Above: A nod to Marie Antoinette’s fantasy farm at Versailles: Rustic stools serve as bedside tables. Admiring the brass light switch? See The World’s Most Beautiful Light Switches, By Way of France. Also note the Chateau de Versailles parquet carpeting: “another wink to our old king.”
Meilichzon chose a rough linen for the canopies—&#8
Above: Meilichzon chose a rough linen for the canopies—”so it looks old.” It was custom stained by French fabric house Nobilis in dark green, light green, bright pink, and “the blue of the Parisian roofs.”
A compact room is fitted with a curtained backdrop. To make the tight space work, Meilichzon inset the bedside storage and used sconces and overhead lighting.
Above: A compact room is fitted with a curtained backdrop. To make the tight space work, Meilichzon inset the bedside storage and used sconces and overhead lighting.
A scalloped console table holds the vintage-looking princess telephone, radio, and a cluster of bright potions from the bar. The figuration vase is by British ceramic artist Stella Baggott of Atelier Stella.
Above: A scalloped console table holds the vintage-looking princess telephone, radio, and a cluster of bright potions from the bar. The figuration vase is by British ceramic artist Stella Baggott of Atelier Stella.
In most cases, Meilichzon matched the headboard and curtain color.
Above: In most cases, Meilichzon matched the headboard and curtain color.
Marbre corail, a red marble synonymous with Louis XVI (and sourced from Spain), appears throughout the hotel, here as a corner table that serves as the coffee station.
Above: Marbre corail, a red marble synonymous with Louis XVI (and sourced from Spain), appears throughout the hotel, here as a corner table that serves as the coffee station.
A small scalloped shelf is the perfect place for the room key. The cast-iron pot, Ferm Living&#8
Above: A small scalloped shelf is the perfect place for the room key. The cast-iron pot, Ferm Living’s Buckle Jar, is for storing accessories (and also appears in the bathrooms).
The bathroom&#8
Above: The bathroom’s fanciful tiles were handmade for the hotel by Céramiques du Beaujolais, near Lyon.
Meilichzon alternated the colors used in the basket-weave pattern on the floor and applied a trellis design to the side of the tub.
Above: Meilichzon alternated the colors used in the basket-weave pattern on the floor and applied a trellis design to the side of the tub.
A Meilichzon-designed banquette in one of the large guest rooms.
Above: A Meilichzon-designed banquette in one of the large guest rooms.
The designer in a rare moment of repose. Go to Hotel des Grands Boulevards for more details.
Above: The designer in a rare moment of repose. Go to Hotel des Grands Boulevards for more details.

Heading to Paris or London? Or looking for an inventive headboard design? Take a look at more of Meilichzon’s work:

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