A Cinephile Upgrades His Small Parisian Rental — House Call

Name: Mathieu
Location: Paris, France
The basics: 1o years, rented — 495 square feet

Mathieu’s career and passion is film, so his charming Paris rental is basically a shrine to the cinema. With a little help from his design minded sister, he transformed his small rental space into a home that has more than enough room for the things he loves.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Well, I’ve had some friends stay on my couch in and out, but for the most part, it’s all mine ! I work in movies in Paris, but long before that, I was already obsessed with them. So my home has always been first and foremost a big movie theatre. When I moved in 10 years ago, everything was pretty bare, I was in film school and not exactly rolling in money, so I let it sit for a while as is, I got some secondhand furniture while I put all my money in DVDs and vinyls. A few years later my little sister attended an interior designer school and begged me to update even a little (it really was pretty awful, stained beige carpets and all), so we installed some hardwood floors, painted a few walls, and it was a already a pretty big step ! But as much as I liked it at the time, the theme was the TV show ‘Rome’, I hadn’t changed the furniture and within 5 years it was looking very dated (red walls, brown ikea sofa, yikes !) Last year, I had a bit more money, so I decided to do it right. We started over, and with the ok from my landlord we tore down the half wall between a very sad kitchen and my great living room. My sister and I worked on the plans for a few months and then, adding a friend to the mix, we did all the work ourselves. Plumbing, kitchen installation, furniture making, painting. We managed to do the whole thing pretty fast and without spending to much money (around 4000$ for the whole room). Later I invested in some new furniture, in particular a much needed new couch, and now my home feels completely different, and finally feels like it reflects where I am in life. I’m in my thirties now, and this place definitely feels more adult. I absolutely love it! The problem is now I can’t stop, so the bathroom is going to be next !

What is your favorite room and why? I could say the living room because it was just redone, but it’s always been my favorite room, which is why I decided it needed an update so badly. As you can tell from the giant screen, this is an amazing place to watch movies, and the whole room is geared toward that. So whether I’m watching tv or movies by myself or having viewing parties and movie nights, I spend almost all of my time here. It’s perfect for that, but also just reading and listening to music with a great sound system.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? Well, the bathroom is very problematic, so thankfully you can’t see it here, but I’m working on improving that too. As far as the living room is concerned, the only thing I wish I could change is having neighbours ! When you’re watching, say, a war movie in there, it can get pretty loud, and I wish I didn’t have to be careful not to bother anyone with it. But that’s life in a big city, so there’s not much I can do. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing !

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? I think Rob Gordon from High Fidelity would totally feel at home here. The sound system is amazing, I’ve got tons of books (mostly in my room right now since I’m running out of space for them!), and thousands of movies. I think we’d get along just fine.

Mathieu’s words of wisdom: I was very lucky to be able to tear down the wall that was bugging me to really make the space my own, I know as a renter you don’t always get that chance. But I had been there for 10 years, and I’m hoping to buy the place, so the landlord definitely saw it as an opportunity to improve. I put in some money too, so if I leave that’s my loss, but at the end of the day this is my home, and I needed to feel good in it. I don’t think it’s a secret : surround yourself with things you love and you can’t go wrong. As much as I like thumbing through magazines, and seeing cool new stuff in design, I don’t follow trends. I intend to make this new look last so I wanted to make sure I’ll still love it in 10 years ! Also, I’m not gonna lie, having a sister who knows her stuff is a bonus !

Thanks, Mathieu !

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