Nouveau Classique

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Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Russian AD

When Florence Grinda, Director of Development of European Affairs at Sotheby’s, went looking for a  new Paris pied-a-terre she called upon her longtime friend Pierre Passebon, the famous antiquaire and art collector, who has collaborated on several of his own residences with interior designer Jacques Grange. Passebon found the apartment close to the Esplanade des Invilides in the 7th arrondissement, telling Grinda “It’s the smallest and ugliest apartment, so it is naturally cheap, but not to worry, because together we will turn into a confection”. And that they did. Nearly daily the duo discussed the redesign, analyzing sketches and visiting galleries and flea markets, picking up furniture and decorative items as they went along. Grinda’s vision was to recreate the 18th-century in terms of scale, color and atmosphere, combined with the spirit of a collector. The results are coolly elegant and highly personal rooms washed in shades of blue, aqua, celadon, turquoise and sepia. Eclectic collections and objets de curiosité fill the apartment and lend the spaces a sense of creative mystery. One part grand dame, the other grande bohème, Grinda and Passebon have created a confection that will surely arouse the senses of the fashionable set for decades to come.
Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

The mantel was created from tiles Florence collected in Madeira. The stained glass screen was made by Géraldine Ensminger.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Russian AD

In the entrance hall Entrance Hall is an exuberant bronze mirror topped with palm fronds. The celestial globe is 18th-century.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

A portrait of Florence by Andy Warhol hangs between the apartment’s original bookcases.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

A bronze tree based on a drawing by Géraldine Ensminger serves as a stand for the bird collection of glass and porcelain.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

The kitchen was converted from a bedroom. When her collection of ceramic plates outgrew wall space Florence had them hung on the ceiling.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

Dining one evening at the house of the sculptor Claude Lalanne Florence discovered a child’s bed adorned with water lillies. She wanted her own, to her taste, for her new apartment. This particular bed is the the only version that Lalanne has created. During the remodeling of the apartment parquet de menuiserie from the 1760’s was discovered beneath old wall-to-wall carpet.

Florence Grinda-Paris Apt-Pierre Passebon-Russian AD

The guest bath, formerly a bedroom, is filled with treasures collected from nearby flea markets.


From the October, 2008, issue of Russian AD. Photography by Pedro D’Orey.


2 Responses to Nouveau Classique

  1. Brenda S. Moore
    August 13, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    You never cease to amaze me with the photographs that you post. The verbiage is personal and leaves me with a feeling of almost being there. I absolutely love the charming pug sitting in the big blue and white dish. THAT made me smile.

    Thank you for what you do.


  2. Cristopher
    August 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you for your encouraging comments! I am thrilled to share my love of design and the meaning of the places we inhabit with passionate people such as yourself. It makes this endeavor of blogging all worth while. And, yes – that pug! He stole my heart too … I happen to have one of my own!
    With great appreciation,