Interview at Penthouse Saint-Germain: authentic yet atypical charm

Nestled in the heart of Paris, Penthouse Saint-Germain provides an authentic Parisian experience within a unique framework. Let the owner and architect walk you through this extraordinary home.
Interview at Penthouse Saint-Germain: authentic yet atypical charm
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Paris: a fabled world capital. With its long history, timeless depictions in art and literature, and unwavering allure, it can be hard to imagine that this city has any tricks left up its sleeve. Though rest assured: it does

Step inside the Penthouse Saint-Germain with its owner and architect to discover how Parisians are imbuing originality into their properties without renouncing the city’s charms. This property meshes vintage decor and traditional Parisian lifestyles within an unexpected and inventive framework.

FINDING THE HIDDEN GEM

Though a Toulouse native, Penthouse Saint-Germain’s owner has a long history in Paris. He spent over 40 years working there in communications and media within the finance industry. Newly retired, he wanted a home of his own in the city, moving in from the suburbs.

When visiting available properties, the owner found himself led to many seemingly identical buildings. Though they all bore the traditional Haussmanian style that gives Paris so much of its charm, he became disenchanted by how standard each one appeared and his desire for an atypical and unique home cemented.

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This penthouse proved to be just what he was after. Nestled in the Saint-Germain des Prés area, this property promised a lively and stimulating lifestyle surrounded by the best Paris has to offer: restaurants, galleries, and beautiful spaces spill out of this youthful district. Meanwhile, his building proposed a different architectural style, though perhaps initially less manicured than his other options had been.

Originally built in the 18th century and not renovated since the 1980s, it was in need of freshening up. It afforded the owner more freedom to create the unique home he was after, where could live a one-of-a-kind experience without sacrificing any of the traditional Parisian appeal.

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To truly fulfil his vision, the owner enlisted the help of architect Monika Kappel, who has an illustrious background renovating hotels. What specifically attracted her to this project was the prospect of uncovering the building’s personality, which had been lost in the centuries since it was first built.

Her renovation of Penthouse Saint-Germain sought to put heart and soul back into the concrete walls, bringing the exterior Parisian charm into the home’s interior for a vintage and soulful penthouse.

 

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BRINGING THE OUTSIDE SPIRIT IN

Saint-Germain des Prés is a uniquely spirited sector of Paris, which is why the owner felt so at home here. Several of the city’s most storied and popular eateries are located here, like his favourites La Palette, Procope (which opened before the French revolution!), or Brasserie LippBeyond serving delicious meals, the owner appreciates the life and history they breathe into the area.

Looking for other places to eat out in the city? See our roundup of the best Michelin star restaurants in Pars.

The district also houses Rue de Seine, which holds dozens of art galleries and studios with a rotating cast of artists, perfect for cultural excursions. In the evening, you can find the owner at Place de Furstemberg, one of the most romantic squares in the city, nestled at the heart of the neighborhood. 

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Located in such a precious and traditional area, Penthouse Saint-Germain needed to reflect and incorporate the city’s heritage. One of the main ways this was achieved involves the terrace, which offers views over some notable institutions like the Académie Française, église Saint-Germain des Prés, église Saint Sulpice, la Samaritaine, the Hôtel de la Monnaie, and even a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

This terrace allows you to gaze over Parisian landmarks from a quiet perch for a unique yet deeply authentic experience. It grants an isolated and privileged vantage point over the City of Lights in full tranquillity, shielded from bustling streets.

Looking for more extraordinary homes with unique offerings in the heart of Paris? Browse through the stars of our Parisian design collection

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Mirroring the area’s warm atmosphere, a stone fireplace was added to the penthouse with care that it would feel like a timeless piece of the property’s history and not a recent addition. With its carved stone, the fireplace gives the impression of always having been a part of the space. It carries an authentic and vintage feeling while adding warmth to the home—both literally and figuratively! 

Decoration and building materials were chosen to enhance the home’s natural attributes and create a timeless feeling in the home. It was a fine balance: the oak wood used for window frames, beams, and closets needed to create a feeling of warmth and tradition while feeling neither like a chalet nor too modern. 

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ATYPICAL CHARM IN TRADITIONAL SETTINGS

While care was taken to maintain the shapings of a traditional Parisian home, the owner was nevertheless able to infuse his penthouse with the originality he sought.

A main focal point of the renovations was the staircase. Originally taking up too much space and blocking a window, it was clear to the owner that it needed addressing. He had only one request: that the new staircase be one he could still safely climb at 85 with a flute of champagne in each hand. Monika Kappel’s expertise created the unique yet perfectly harmonious staircase now seated in the corner of the penthouse, elegant and practical.

 

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Another unexpected and uncommon feature is the secret wing of the penthouse. Hidden behind a concealed door, a secret hallway gives access to additional rooms: a bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room sit covertly behind the closed door. Almost like a secret passage, this feature is reminiscent of the obfuscated hallways in French chateaux that connected rooms and allowed clandestine meetings. When you come to stay, you’ll feel privy to a slice of history.

This apartment, though unique, bears tradition nonetheless. Many attractions in the Saint-Germain des Prés area are institutions: handed down from generation to generation and with a shifting client base through the years, they remain Parisian cornerstones.

Penthouse Saint-Germain aspires to be just that. Located in a building with a rich history, having once been the home of Romantic author George Sand, the home brings its own touch of singularity and adds a one-of-a-kind attraction to the city while harmoniously blending into its traditions.

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