May 30, 2024

There are no boundaries between my work and private life,” says architect and interior designer Claude Cartier. This is why her Lyon home is strategically located next to her own studio and shop. The two-bedroom apartment even doubles up as a showroom at times.

When Claude bought the property she knew that she’d have to draw on her 40 years of industry experience to realise her vision to rework the entire layout. “One of the few quirks of the apartment that I really liked and have kept is a crescent-shaped niche by the entrance,” she explains. The rest of the house needed a complete overhaul, from top to bottom, but that space has been reflected throughout the scheme.

Light touch: dramatic art in the dining area. Photograph: Guillaume Grassett/Inside Living

“We cut an arch shape into the ceiling that leads from the hallway into the living room and the arched form is mirrored in the placement of the black and white tiles on the floor beneath,” Claude explains. On entry the space feels rich, yet subdued. “I wanted the hallway to be very monochrome and sombre,” she adds. “Then when you turn left you see a southern influence in the use of colours and materials. I love the south and wanted to inject some of this into the apartment using joyful Mediterranean accents.”

There is something particularly cheerful about each individual space, whether it’s the colour or playful shapes that she’s integrated through cushions and textiles or artwork. In the hallway, Claude has cleverly sited a large mirror that tricks the eye into thinking there’s a double archway. “This apartment isn’t as big as it looks,” she says. “I used to live in one that was twice the size, but when people come to visit they don’t notice. This is because I’ve created a succession of room sets and it gives the impression of being a bigger space.”

Ahead of the curve: Claude Cartier reclining in the hall niche. Photograph: Guillaume Grassett/Inside Living

Curtains have been employed to create a soft delineation within the living area; Claude has used an aquamarine velour set to encase an entire wall, which can be pulled back to reveal her collection of books. Textiles are essential to the space, adding colour, while elements such as the CC-Tapis rugs (designed by Claude) bring comfort underfoot. Each piece of furniture she has chosen has often been customised – take the Julep sofa by Tacchini, for example, which has been upholstered in fabric by Créations Métaphores.

Luxury materials continue to add drama: a minimal silk painting by artist Justin Morin drapes in the doorway separating the living area from the bedroom. In this main bedroom, Claude pays homage to Gio Ponti with yellow stripes on the ceiling reminiscent of the architect’s apartment in Milan. Art and furniture blend in the curated haven that serves as a space to relax in. “I fell in love with the multidisciplinary design collective Uchronia and have its Sunny 1 and 2 chairs in my bedroom as well as the living area and hallway, and the Rosie side table is in here, too.

Making an entrance: the visually stunning hallway. Photograph: Guillaume Grassett/Inside Living

“In the guest room, we built wardrobes on either side of the bed with niches, and we used a rug from my collection as a headboard.” It’s the only room where they were able to keep the original terrazzo flooring. “I’m passionate about furniture, I went past the limits that I usually place on other projects. There are common threads of colours throughout the schemes, but I’ve also built contrasts of materials with, for example, tiled walls and a silver leaf ceiling,” she says.

In the dining area, Cristina Celestino’s terracotta Acanti tiles help bring Claude’s Mediterranean aesthetic to life.

Sunny delight: the bedroom with Gio Ponti yellow ceiling stripes. Photograph: Guillaume Grassett/Inside Living

A sober Bulthaup kitchen contrasts with the imaginative scenes that Claude has set. “I wanted something to contrast the fantasy,” she says. Open shelving and artwork help soften this space, while the Studio Pepe tiles on the walls add design interest. “The challenge was to make a bold colour scenario that suited me, dark colours that were a bit dramatic, like the entrance,” she continues.

Claude has even been able to make the bathroom a scene of interest and instead of hiding the WC, she sourced a joyful unit from French company Trone.

“The apartment is a true laboratory of ideas for me. It is, first of all, my private bubble where I like to recharge my batteries, listen to music and host friends. But it is also a scenario I like to share.”


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