With hints of mid-cen­tury de­sign rip­pling through his 19th-cen­tury apart­ment, Xavier Charvet has seam­lessly cre­ated a home of out­stand­ing nat­u­ral beauty

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS -

Mid-cen­tury de­sign rip­ples through an ele­gant 19th-cen­tury apart­ment.

The hand­some Ber­lin home that French ar­chi­tect Xavier Charvet shares with his wife Co­line and their five-year-old son Gabriel is a masterclass in re­strained chic. Su­perbly nu­anced, the in­te­rior draws on its own­ers’ in­tu­itive ap­proach to beauty, as well as their predilec­tion for thought­ful, prac­ti­cal de­sign em­bel­lished with artis­tic flair.

The cou­ple bought the spa­cious apart­ment four years ago to ex­pe­ri­ence Ber­lin’s bur­geon­ing cre­ativ­ity first-hand. Al­though dated, the prop­erty was in fairly good condition, but struc­tural ad­just­ments were needed to im­prove its flow. “Like many late-nine­teenth-cen­tury prop­er­ties, it was a warren of nar­row pas­sage­ways with only one small bath­room,” says Xavier. “We sac­ri­ficed a bed­room for a bath­room and gen­tly ex­tended other ar­eas, such as the sit­ting room, by re­mov­ing un­nec­es­sary cor­ri­dors.” What Xavier calls the “back­bone” of the prop­erty is a cen­tral gallery pro­vid­ing ac­cess to many of the rooms. Clad with glossy rose­wood, which con­ceals ugly pipework, it ex­udes warmth with a dash of old-school drama.

Per­fect­ing a mix of Pe­riod styles

When it came to dec­o­ra­tive mat­ters, Xavier was keen to pre­serve traces of the apart­ment’s her­itage, while in­dulging his pen­chant for mid-cen­tury de­sign. With this in mind, new life was breathed into clas­si­cal wall stuc­cos and or­nate cor­nic­ing

in the draw­ing room, which Xavier paired with con­tem­po­rary sculp­ture and a beau­ti­fully sim­ple Rob­sjohn-gib­bings chair. Elsewhere, the sump­tu­ous curves of plump Vladimir Ka­gan Bar­rel chairs pro­vide a fluid coun­ter­point to the crisp, clean lines of the wood­work, while a pair of mag­nif­i­cent Ed­ward Worm­ley cab­i­nets take cen­tre stage in the sit­ting room. “The com­mon thread is crafts­man­ship,” ex­plains Xavier. “It’s one of the rea­sons I love de­sign­ing fur­ni­ture.”

Elsewhere, Xavier has em­braced a more min­i­mal­ist ap­proach. For in­stance, the econ­omy of the bath­room’s clean-cut mar­ble style is what Xavier calls “an il­lu­sion”. As he says, “Some­times it’s the sim­plest de­signs that re­quire the most com­plex de­ci­sions.”

Mak­ing the rooms fit for pur­pose

There is a room for ev­ery mo­ment of the day in the Charvet house­hold. The draw­ing room lends it­self to for­mal evening en­ter­tain­ing, while the more laid-back sit­ting room has been dec­o­rated with in­ti­mate gath­er­ings in mind. “The mu­ral en­hances the cosi­ness in this room. It’s a very peace­ful space, al­most med­i­ta­tive,” says Xavier. As elsewhere, his pas­sion for con­tem­po­rary art and ce­ram­ics in­forms the am­bi­ence of the scheme. Flecks of green in the mo­saic ta­ble com­ple­ment the warm glow of the mu­ral, while next door the coun­try-style kitchen is painted with flashes of ro­bust red. “The colour here was in­spired by a glass of red wine. Bor­deaux, I think.” How aptly French.

Some­times it’s the sim­plest de­signs that re­quire the most com­plex de­ci­sions.”

DRAW­ING ROOM This gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned space, rem­i­nis­cent of Parisian sa­lons of the 18th-cen­tury, has been brought up to date with stream­lined mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture, eye-catch­ing sculp­tures and a 12-seat sofa made to Xavier’s own de­sign. In­te­rior...

GALLERY Xavier used the repet­i­tive pat­tern of the par­quet floor­ing to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of length in the gallery (above left). Il­lu­mi­nat­ing the space with a soft glow is a light that was a chance vin­tage shop find. Vladimir Ka­gan Bar­rel arm­chair,...

MAIN BATH­ROOM Neat built-in mir­rors con­ceal valu­able stor­age space in the min­i­mal­ist bath­room (above), where Arabescato mar­ble cre­ates a lux­u­ri­ous feel. Cubo Bie­mis­sione lights, from £360 each, Vi­abiz­zuno at Cir­rus Light­ing, cir­rus­light­ For...

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