By the point Megan Grehl lastly met Côme Ménage, it felt as if their relationship was meant to be. Each had studied structure and concrete design internationally, and when Ms. Grehl landed in Shanghai in 2009 to work on the design agency Neri&Hu, she heard tales about Mr. Ménage, who had simply left.
“We missed one another by a month,” mentioned Ms. Grehl, 37, who now runs her personal interior design studio. “Our pals have been like, ‘Oh, it’s too unhealthy. You simply missed Côme. He went to New York, and also you guys would have gotten alongside so effectively.’”
Ms. Grehl didn’t assume a lot of it on the time, however 5 years later, after she’d moved to New York, she and Mr. Ménage started following one another on Instagram. When she posted a photograph of the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, brownstone the place she had rented an house, Mr. Ménage received in contact. It turned out they have been next-door neighbors.
They grew to become quick pals, after which a pair, marrying in 2017. Ultimately, they moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the place they now reside with their kids, Yves, 5, and Ren, 1.
However when Ms. Grehl married Mr. Ménage, she received greater than only a husband and a household — she received a house within the coronary heart of Paris.
Mr. Ménage, 39, who grew up in France, lived a peripatetic life for years. However when he moved to New York, he determined he needed to keep up a foothold in Paris. “I took an house that I might trip to, and that a few of my members of the family might typically use,” mentioned Mr. Ménage, an architect who based the agency Re-A.D, which works in america and France.
The house within the Ninth Arrondissement was a rental, “and it was a deal,” he mentioned, “as a result of the entire constructing needed to be renovated.” Initially, he was paying about 3,500 euros (about $3,900) a month, however the hire has since elevated to about 4,000 euros (about $4,500).
Earlier than he met Ms. Grehl, Mr. Ménage made some primary adjustments. “It was your typical Paris Haussmann-style house, with a grand salon,” he mentioned, that had loads of ornate Nineteenth-century particulars, and a again hall resulting in a cramped kitchen and toilet. To make these again areas really feel bigger, Mr. Ménage knocked down one wall of the previous kitchen and hid a again stairwell to create space for a powder room and a bigger toilet.
“It was really fairly easy,” he mentioned. “However as soon as Megan got here into my life, I introduced her right here and she or he was impressed, and that spurred the concept to do extra.”
Ms. Grehl additionally met Mr. Ménage’s mom, Odile Vilain, a massage therapist who typically invited shoppers to the house, and the pair hit it off. Earlier than lengthy, the household deliberate to offer the house a major ornamental enhance, mixing up to date artwork and design, finds from Parisian flea markets and Asian-inspired components, in a nod to Ms. Grehl’s background (her mom is Taiwanese and she or he grew up in Asia).
In the lounge, or grand salon, they maintained the unique plaster particulars, however gave the room an eclectic look by furnishing it with trendy items, together with a classic Artichoke pendant lamp by Poul Henningsen, a bulbous Culbuto chair by Marc Held and a graffiti-style portray by an artist pal who goes by the title Chanoir.
Within the eating room, they took a extra daring strategy, portray the unique paneled partitions black and gold, and letting the gold fade towards the highest, “to attract the attention as much as the ceiling,” Ms. Grehl mentioned, “as a result of it’s so lovely.”
Impressed by the Japanese artist Hokusai, they ordered customized wallpaper that includes waves and figures from the artist’s work; the graphic sample now covers some kitchen partitions. Then they put in Ikea cupboards, a wooden countertop and backsplash, Gaggenau home equipment and a painted tablecloth depicting fish that they repurposed as a wall-mounted art work.
They gave their bed room a recent therapy with easy white material and a pedant lamp from Merci with a material shade, then remodeled the second bed room right into a spa for Ms. Vilain, inserting a console by Philippe Starck over a miniature backyard of dried moss, grasses and flowers.
The outcome: an 1,800-square-foot house the place every room evokes a selected feeling.
“It’s good to have completely different ideas for various rooms,” Mr. Ménage mentioned. “As you discover extra items, you’re not tied down, making an attempt to be coherent throughout the entire areas.”
He added: “It permits for extra experimentation and provides us extra freedom” to buy the flea markets.
Mr. Ménage estimated that they spent about 120,000 euros (or $134,000) updating the house. They inquired about shopping for it, however the proprietor wasn’t , so for the foreseeable future they are going to proceed renting.
“The concept is to have it for a really very long time,” Mr. Ménage mentioned. And due to that, investing in updates “simply is smart, for the consolation of all people.”
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