As part of a whole house renovation, the lower level of this home was to become a spacious entertainment area. Providing some basic ideas, the homeowners wanted us to transform the stark white construction into the essence of Paris. The project required extensive research which included a 6-day "working vacation" to photograph details of architecture, parks, marketplaces, people, art and of course... pastry. With an arsenal of 870 shots, we began the task of integrating the many design elements with the existing structural features. With only paint, out-of -the-can textures, and the art of illusion, these once flat walls are now a stylistic recreation of the "City of Lights".
With details to enjoy, far too numerous to itemize, a leisurely stroll through this Parisian playland could take the better part of a dozen croissants.
The main area is entered by either of two staircases, through two sets of French doors or from two connecting corridors. This presented the primary challenge: to design the perspective of the visuals to appear as natural as possible from multiple viewpoints and eye levels. The entire ceiling is finished with a wispy summer sky which cascades down the walls and provides a backdrop for a montage of the famous landmarks. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur Basilica and an Art Nouveau Metro Station are set in the colorful landscape. People, pets, and pigeons populate the park. Details rendered upon the balustrade wall behind an "actual table" give a feeling of activity. Hints of culinary delights including an opened bottle of wine, wedge of brie and a fresh baguette await you. Towering trees spread on to the ceiling adding to the dimensional effect. Opposite the park are two wine cellars (one real and one fake) and The Bistro. Various textured wall finishes replicate typical Parisian facades of concrete , stone, and brick.
In the bar area, we created the aged stucco walls, and finished the anaglyptic paper ceiling to look like a tin with a smoked patina. The surfaces capture the spirit of an old French cabaret. Two Tromp L'oeil (fool the eye) murals visually extend the space. The faux wine cellar entices you through a half-opened "wrought iron gate". The atmospheric lighting used in this mural casts a glow onto the barrels of the homeowners' "special vintage". A glass of sampled wine sits half empty on a shelf. Owner's quote: "It looks like you can walk right through the wall and pick that up." Through the rear "window", The Pont Alexandre beckons you to take a stroll across the Seine.
The corridor leading to the new addition is painted to recreate a typical narrow street in the Latin Quarter. Architectural flourishes and an abundance of greenery adorn the walls. The once white doors were wood grained and the top panels painted to appear as stained glass windows or decorative wrought iron. Brightly colored store fronts are nestled within the faux facades. Featured in the windows are highly detailed murals. Wine, Doll, Chocolate, Pastry and Book shops were designed with contents that had specific elements requested by the owners. Product labels, book titles, and signage required translation into French and were meticulously hand lettered. The Electrical closet doors were treated to look like old bronze and glass doors with a marble stairway leading into a hotel lobby... complete with a fully stocked bar.