A French Apartment Renovation with Australian Details

Buying an apartment in Paris might just be everyone’s dream. For AMA Studio Interiors founder, Agathe and her husband, it’s a reality with an inspiring transformation story. The Parisian apartment marked the first time Agathe was her own client, which luckily gave her creative freedom within the space. With Australian details, handmade tiles, and structural curves, the apartment that once lacked character is now a reflection of what the couple know and love. Come with us as we take a quick trip to Europe to explore the Parisian apartment and find out why Australian décor and suppliers were a must.

Congratulations on creating such a beautiful space. How did this project begin?

My husband and I purchased this apartment in 2018 as an investment property that we were renting out. As we were already living in Sydney at that time, we didn’t even see the property in person and my dad did the inspection for us. We first saw it in person in 2019 when visiting our families in France, we said to each other, “That’s a great investment property but I’m happy we don’t have to live here!”.

It was originally laid out as student accommodation, and definitely did not work for us as a couple, I found the space a little depressing. We had no idea we would be living in this apartment a few years later! Late 2021, we got the opportunity to go back to France for some time and decided it was a good time to tackle a project I had wanted to do for a while; our own renovation! 

After working on lots of projects for clients, I was very excited to be my own client this time and have total freedom in what I could do with the space. I started working on the layout and mood boards remotely from Australia and we were ready to kick off the renovation as soon as we arrived in France.

Mood board credit by AMA Studio Interiors, on Style Sourcebook, view mood board here.

Apart from some electrical work that required an electrician, my husband and I did the entire renovation ourselves. It’s been quite challenging juggling between work, the renovation and planning our wedding. It meant we had to sleep in the kitchen for nearly two months but we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved. 

I’ve learnt so much along the way and having built walls, tiled a kitchen, installed floorboard and built custom cabinetry myself, I feel a lot more confident dealing with trades for client projects.

Mood board credit by AMA Studio Interiors, on Style Sourcebook, view mood board here.

We love that you used Australian brands on this project! What was your inspiration for taking some home-grown items overseas?

I studied interior design in Sydney which is where I grew as a designer. I absolutely love the Australian style and have built a great relationship with the suppliers. For me it made sense to use products from suppliers I loved and trusted. I also wanted this apartment to be a true reflection of me and my aesthetics so it was just logical for it to be a blend of French and Australian products, such as McMullin & Co, Cultiver, Pampa, Inartisan and Papaya.

It would not have been practical and cost effective to import large pieces of furniture from Australia to France but it was possible with smaller pieces such as baskets, candles, vases, pendants and cabinetry hardware. All the handles in our kitchen and bathroom cabinetry come from The Society Inc for instance. The large print above our couch is also from an Australian photographer. I’ve also found that some Australian retailers such as The Dharma Door have warehouses in Europe.

What were some of your non-negotiables when renovating the space?

There were a few things I knew from the beginning that I wanted to incorporate in the design of our apartment. I’m a huge fan of zellige tiles and having beautiful real handmade tiles in our kitchen and bathroom was one of them.

“I always say a home should feel like it’s giving you a big hug each time you come home and to me one of the ways to create this feeling is with curves.”
- Agathe Touguet, Founder
AMA Studio Interiors

While you can always introduce curves with furniture and accessories, I wanted them to be part of the structure of the apartment. I designed a curved wall between the living room and bedroom as well as arches in the kitchen and bedroom. Everyone tried to convince me to give up on those as they were a lot more complicated to build than just standard walls. But I knew they would add a lot of personality and softness to the space and I’m really glad I didn’t give up! I’m super proud that we were able to make them happen without the help of anyone else.

Another non-negotiable was the quality of the finishes. Although we were doing everything ourselves and this was our first renovation, I didn’t want to cut any corners and wanted the finishes to be perfect even though it meant taking three times longer to accomplish. To me the quality of a design is in the details and I wanted this apartment to have a sense of luxury, even though the renovation was done on a budget.

What is your favourite feature in the space?

It’s hard to pick one as every square metre of this apartment has been thoughtfully planned and is a true reflection of everything I love. If I have to choose, I would say I have two favourites: our curved wall and the built-in shelves in the dining area. 

The curved wall really makes our apartment feel more unique and maximises the use of the space in both the living room and bedroom. As this is a tiny 50 sqm apartment, it was really important to carefully consider every square metre. The built-in shelves make a real statement in the open plan living/dining area and allow me to display all of my favourite décor items. Those were made using IKEA Billy bookcases that we’ve hacked into custom built-in shelves. I also love that we were able to add a large built-in robe in this space, I had always wanted to have one and I don’t think many 50qsm apartments have one!

So, if this apartment hasn’t got you dreaming of adding a little Australian décor to your home, we don’t know what will. Why not check out our mood board tool here to help plan out your newest ideas.