Like so many things (style, hair, spoken word), French people just “have a way” with design. Meaning they make something incredible seem effortless to achieve, which is really the goal when it comes to decorating a home: You never want it to look like you tried too hard.
Parisian designer Dorothée Meilichzon’s interiors ooze this kind of je ne sais quoi but with a punchy twist. She and her firm, Czon, use a combination of bold colors, rounded silhouettes, and clashing prints and textures for (what have turned into) the city’s trendiest hotels and accompanying restaurants.
So, what’s the secret sauce and how can you get it? See some of the best learnings we can extract that may just do the trick in your own home:
Use Color-Blocking to Create Space
Every small space-dweller knows that optical illusions are your best friend. Dorothée’s use of color-blocking the walls with paint in the Hotel des Grands Boulevards not only delineates little corners as their own open “room,” it also adds a sense of architectural detail when there aren’t those flourishing crown moldings to work with.
Say Yes to Swinging Lamps
We recently sung the praises of swiveling lamps for small spaces because the adjustable arm allows one fixture to light many areas of the room. And if you get a super-sized swiveling lamp like Dorothée used here in the Hotel Paradis Paris, you can eliminate the need for both an overhead light and bedside light. (not to mention a cool-looking piece for above the bed!)
The Mini Home Office
OK, technically this hotel is in London, not Paris. But the Henrietta just landed on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Hot List, and since it’s the work of Dorothée and her firm, we’re including it. Carving out a surface to get things done is always a challenge when you can barely walk around the furniture. But the shallow ledges Dorothée used in the Henrietta can serve as a place to drop your keys, charge your phone, or pull up a chair and a laptop and crank out some emails.
Back to those optical illusions: Large mirrors in small spaces is always a good idea, but crafting a mirrored corner with two adjacent reflecting panels will add a new sense of depth to a tiny room. If you stick it in a place where you happen to get ready, you also get to see the back of your head, which is always cool or terrifying, no judgment. Pictured here in the Hotel Panache, the corner mirror also serves as a complementary shape to the rounded forms around the room.
Make a Canopy Bed Small Space–Compliant
The look of a canopy bed is 100-percent luxurious, but it can also look 100-percent ridiculous in a small space. But this genius half canopy Dorothée created in the Hotel des Grands Boulevards oozes the romance of the full thing, and takes up barely any space. Create your own version of this with a wire arch or two (like they use under flowers at weddings), tons of fabric, and some Mod Podge.
Put Basic Tiles to Work
Standard penny and subway tiles tend to be the most affordable option when it comes to covering a large surface. But when applied in an unusual fashion, the ubiquitous tiles can create some very interesting bathroom scapes (or kitchen backsplashes!). In the Hotel Bachaumont, Dorothée used penny tiles on the wall instead of on the floor where they’re typically seen, and subway tile was laid on a diagonal slant in a varying green and white pattern that looks anything but basic.