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How to introduce a full-size stair that’s both unobtrusive and artful? Presented with two floors in an 1830s Paris building that needed to be knit together, architects Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann of Heju came up with the idea of elevating the steps above the kitchen—with a counter that extends out to become the stair landing.
The spaces called for such derring-do: each floor is 50 square meters (538 square feet) and there was a lot to fit in. The downstairs had always been used as living quarters and was last updated in the 1970s; the upstairs remained an unfinished garret, once a carpentry workshop, accessed by the building’s communal stair—scroll to the end for a glimpse of what was.
Heju was tasked with updating both levels for a newly married couple in their fifties. The transformation required “a huge amount of structural work,” say the architects, whose playful take on minimalism we’ve been following just about since they graduated from the National School of Architecture in Strasbourg in 2015 (Heju is a combination of their two names). Join us for a look at the craftsmanship and cohesion they introduced both upstairs and down.
Photography courtesy of Heju.
Lower Level: The Living Quarters
The metal-framed windows are new additions that look like the originals but are high performing. The radiator cover is tinted ash, a material that reappears as the stair railing, and the floor is polished concrete.
The lacquered wood cabinets in the back conceal the fridge and pantry and serve as a divider—behind them is the entryway, closet, and powder room, with room to circulate on both sides.
The long-armed light over the sofa is a Charlotte Perriand design from Nemo Lighting.
The Attic: Bedrooms and Baths
More projects by Heju: