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Colorful and Romantic Paris Apartment

A fashion designer's beautiful Paris apartment

Written and produced by Jenny Bradley
  • Francis Hammond

    Just a year ago, Thuy (pronounced Twee) Tranthi Rieder relocated to Paris, but already she exudes the chic, effortless style for which the city is known.

    Perhaps that is due in part to her rather glamorous upbringing. The daughter of a diplomat, she was born in Saigon and counts cities such as Rome, Athens, and Paris as childhood homes. Or maybe it has something to do with her 18-year career in fashion. She’s held positions at Céline and Chloé, and is currently the global vice president of marketing and communication at Lancel, a luxury accessories brand based in Paris.

    Regardless of its origin, her understated elegance applies not only to her personal style but also to the fashionable apartment she shares with her husband and 8-year-old daughter, Arielle. “I looked at so many apartments,” says Thuy. “When I walked into this one, I was struck by the height of the ceilings and the beautiful light. It’s a typical Parisian apartment—very chic with elegant details.”

    Gorgeous light and high ceilings aside, the apartment was missing one thing—furnishings. In need of a cozy family home in just three weeks, Thuy called her friend (and decorator) Eric Lysdahl.

    “We worked together on their Connecticut house, and we just clicked,” says Lysdahl. “When Thuy called about this apartment, I came running. It is Paris, after all.”

    Lysdahl hit the ground running. Literally. “It was rather manic,” he laughs. “I came for two weeks over the holidays and started hunting and gathering on the streets of Paris.”

    Falling back on one of his favorite Parisian sources, he scoured the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market for antiques and accessories, and then picked up more modern necessities and objets d’art at one of the largest department stores in the city, Bazaar de l’Hotel de Ville.

    “The bones of this apartment speak a very strong language,” says Lysdahl. “The plasterwork, the built-in mirrors, the flamboyant mantelpiece, the patterned floor—they’re all very strong. To compete with that, you either have to go full-on Louis XV or you have to be very spare. We didn’t want this space to be too serious, so we went with a hip, young vibe.”

    In the living room, that meant balancing the ornate friezes, wood floors laid in a herringbone pattern, and gilt mirrors with sleeker, more whimsical elements and vibrant color.

    Furnishings were left relatively sparse. Matching gray sofas flank the fireplace. Lucite tables float above a zebra rug painted in metallic silver. Vintage chairs found at the flea market were updated with a painted stripe down the center—an homage to 20th-century style icon and fashion designer Pauline de Roth-schild. For a touch of the unexpected, a silver bulldog that Lysdahl lugged home from the Marais district on a crowded Metro train amid curious stares holds court under an antique console table.

    Thuy initially intended for the apartment’s palette to be starkly monochromatic, but Lysdahl persuaded her to take a more vivacious route: color. Not just any color, but a no-holds-barred, eye-popping, in-your-face fuchsia. Used on the throw pillows and draperies, it single-handedly gives a lively, fresh take to the living room’s traditional bones and stark white walls. “I refer to it as la vie en rose,” laughs Lysdahl.

    In the adjoining dining room, Lysdahl complemented the living room’s warm palette with a cooler hue—choosing the same floral fabric for the draperies but opting for blue as a counterpoint to the fuchsia. Equal parts Coco Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier, the space conveys the perfect mix of classic and modern.

    A sleek dining table with a white embossed top plus an orbit-like floor lamp make modern statements against the classical architecture, herringbone-patterned floors, and an overscale gilt mirror.

    “This is a very formal apartment in a formal neighborhood,” says Thuy. “And because the details are so ornate, we wanted to bring in a modern, clean-lined feel. We wanted the space to be more urban and whimsical.”

    Overlooking the building’s courtyard, the master bedroom takes a more neutral turn. Gray paint on the walls was left untouched; it offers a soft yet chic foil to the crisp white of the wainscoting and moldings.

    Elegant pieces—a white leather Mies van der Rohe daybed and an antique chest crowned with a black-and-white photograph taken by a friend of the family—only enhance the room’s fashion-forward yet serene and ever-so-Parisian feel.

    “This is my sanctuary,” says Thuy. “I come here and can shut everything out.”

    Photography: Francis Hammond

    Interior Design: Eric Lysdahl, EricLysdahl Inc., 212/717-5121,

  • Francis Hammond

    Bright and Open Living Room

    The apartment’s high ceilings, natural light, and elegant details won the heart of Thuy Tranthi Rieder. Designer Eric Lysdahl opted for a patterned fuchsia fabric from Manuel Canovas for the windows. Vintage Louis XV fauteuils that Lysdahl found at Paris’s famed Marchés aux Puces flea market flank the ornate fireplace.

    See more of the living room on the following slides.

    Wall and ceiling paint (“China White”); wall accent paint (“Elephant Gray” #2109-50): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Decorative moldings; fireplace mantel: original to home.
    Mirror over mantel: antique.
    Large vase on floor in front of mantel (“Bubba Blanc”): Moia Gallery,
    Pair of chairs flanking mantel (vintage Louis XV fauteuils): Marché aux Puces Clignancourt.
    Chair fabric: existing.
    Drapery (“Charlotte”/Rose Indien #4764-04, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900,
    Drapery hardware (custom): BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Sofas (custom): Eric Lysdahl Inc., 212/717-5121,
    Sofa fabric (“Teddy Mohair”/Flint #26131-11): Kravet, 888/457-2838,
    White wool pillows: Flokati, 800/844-5345,
    Patterned pillows (silvered leather): Dovecote, 866/999-2241,
    Tribal-patterned pillows: Lelievre,
    Area rug (silver-printed natural cow hide): Dovecote, 866/999-2241,
    Coffee table and end tables (“Peekaboo” tables): CB2, 800/606-6252,
    Large round glass vase on coffee table (1930s Lalique): Marché aux Puces, Clignancourt.
    Tea service (“Loya,” design by Jean Puiforcat, c. 1927): available at Puiforcat, Paris, 011 33 1 4563 1010.
    Sculpture (antique): owner’s collection.
    Floor lamp (“Lamdadaire Giant” #81174922): BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Photograph behind sofa (by Stephane Kossmann): Stephane Kossmann,
    Convex mirror over photograph: Kaolin, 011 33 1 4271 5127.

  • Francis Hammond

    Rich Mantel Details

    A vignette of coral and seashells lend texture along stacks of books on the mantel.


    Lamps on mantel: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Coral collection (antique): from Marché aux Puces, Clignancourt.

  • Francis Hammond

    Antique Living Room Console

    A silver bulldog from Moia Gallery in the Marais district of Paris adds an element of surprise from its position beneath a 19th-century console.

    Console table; mirror over console: antique. 
    Lamp on console: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Silver bulldog: Moia Gallery, 011 33 1 4274 5510,
    Chairs flanking console (“White Nova Dining Chair”): Modani, 800/606-7319,
    Pillows (patchwork leather): BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),

  • Francis Hammond

    Elegant Molding Details

    Ornate plaster molding adorns the living room wall panels, which are painted “China White” from Benjamin Moore.

  • Francis Hammond


    Homeowner Thuy Tranthi Rieder.

  • Francis Hammond

    The City of Light—and Luxury

    A diplomat’s daughter who lived in Paris as a child, Thuy Tranthi Rieder was drawn back to the city by the irresistible offer of a top position at Lancel, the luxury accessories brand. The company was born in 1876, when Angéle Lancel opened her first shop in a bustling neighborhood near the Opéra Garnier. Initially selling pouches and small bags for smoking items, the company quickly found its true calling—creating women’s accessories and decorative objects.

    In 1927, the iconic bucket bag (rechristened the “Elsa by Lancel” in 1987 and the “Premier Flirt” in 2006) was born, becoming an instant classic that has since enchanted such Parisian femmes fatales as Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, and Brigitte Bardot. Today, more than 135 years since the firm’s inception, Lancel’s craftsmanship and elegant magnetism remain evident in every alluring handbag.

    Drapery: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Daybed (“Barcelona Couch”/white leather, by Mies van der Rohe): Design Within Reach, 800/944-2233,
    Wool pillows: Flokati, 800/844-5345,
    Purse: Lancel,

  • Francis Hammond

    Contemporary White Dining Room

    The Manuel Canovas drapery fabric echoes the living room’s hot pink version of the window treatment, and its color adds a dash of cool to the sleek dining room décor.

    See more of the dining room on the following slide.

    Wall and ceiling paint (“China White”); wall accent paint (“Elephant Gray” #2109-50): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Drapery (“Charlotte”/Ciel #4764-03, by Manuel Canovas): Cowtan & Tout, 212 647-6900,
    Flooring: original to home.
    Dining table and chairs: Modani, 800/606-7319,
    Floor lamp: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Candelabra: Kaolin, 011 33 1 4271 5127.

  • Francis Hammond

    Dining Room Mantel

    A marble mantel, original to the home, is lined with a trio of bright blue vases that echo the tabletop’s nautical palette.

    Mantel: original to home.
    Mirror over mantel: antique.
    Painting to right of mantel (by Arielle Rieder); vases on mantel: owner’s collection.

  • Francis Hammond

    Textural Tabletop Details

    The dining table and chairs are from Modani. The china, a nod to Thuy’s love of sailing, is from Puiforcat.

    China (“Voiles,” by Puiforcat); flatware (“Chantaco,” by Puiforcat): Michael C. Fina, 800/289-3462,
    Crystal (“Celeste”): Ralph Lauren Home, 888/475-7674,
    Placemats: Chilewich, 888/851-7130,
    Tureen (antique); napkins; vases: owner’s collection. 

  • Francis Hammond

    Hardware Details

    Details throughout the apartment allude to its rich history and the timeless beauty of the city.

  • Francis Hammond

    Master Bedroom in Serene Neutrals

    In need of a piece of art to hang over the bed and with no time to find one, Lysdahl created a do-it-yourself tribute to artist Cy Twombly.

    See bedroom details on the following slides.

    Bed (“Cavana”): Modani, 800/606-7319,
    Bedspread and pillows (by DKNY): Bed Bath & Beyond,
    Painting above bed (Hommage a Cy Twombly, by Eric Lysdahl): Eric Lysdahl Inc., 212/717-5121,
    Chandelier: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Wall paint (“Whale Gray” #2134-40); ceiling and trim paint (“China White”): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Flooring: original to home. Bedside table (“Bureau Galuchat Gris”): Maison de Famille,

  • Francis Hammond

    Chic Antique Chest

    The mirror over the antique chest is from Kaolin in Paris.

    Chest of drawers: antique.
    Photo on chest (Parisian street scene by P.J. van Sandwijk): P.J.V.S. Photography,
    Mirror over chest: Kaolin, 011 33 1 4271 5127.
    Lamp: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Horn sculptures: flea market find.

  • Francis Hammond

    Bedroom Chest Details

    A black-and-white photo of a Parisian street scene adds a touch of romance behind a pair of horn sculptures and bouquet of fresh roses.

  • Francis Hammond

    Cheerful Child’s Bedroom

    Pink appears again in Arielle’s pattern-filled bedroom, where a mod fabric from BHV mixes playfully with stripes and florals on the bed.

    Wall paint (“Horizon Gray” #2141-50); ceiling and trim paint (“China White”): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Drapery and hardware: BHV (Bazar de L’Hôtel de Ville),
    Bed; armoire; desk: IKEA,
    Bedding; patterned pillows: owner’s collection.
    “Lips” pillow (“Lips Coussin”): BUT, 011 33 1 5381 1690.
    Lamb pelt rug: Overland Sheepskin, 800/683-7526,
    Pink trunk (“Flash Fuchsia Porte Manteau”): BUT, 011 33 1 5381 1690. Houses in front of window: LEGO,