Abandoned for 70 years, this half-forgotten, stone-walled space beneath a former hotel is now a bright and spacious Parisian apartment. Not only has architect Anne Rolland created a captivating space that contrasts the historic charm of the original surfaces with modern built-in elements made of wood, she’s also found a creative use for what used to be a trash and slurry pit accessible by a trap door in the kitchen floor.
For decades, the entire apartment was no more than a little-used corridor between a larger apartment upstairs and the gardens outside. Originally built in the 17th century, the townhouse in one of Paris’ oldest neighborhoods was closed-up and dark, full of partitioning walls. Rolland knocked down these dividers for a bright, spacious open-plan residence.
Standing at the center of the apartment is a birch-plywood storage system that offers built-in furniture as well as a room divider separating the sleeping quarters from the rest of the apartment. Contained within it are a desk, dresser, drawers and cupboards. Once hidden behind plaster, the original stone walls are now the highlight of the space, and the architect sticks to the Parisian vernacular with graphic-patterned tiles like those found in the city’s old bars.
The barrel-ceilinged pit, once full of animal waste, can now be reached via a set of wooden stairs plunging through a mechanical trap door. Naturally soundproof, the space is perfectly utilized as a music studio and home cinema for the guitar-playing owner.