“I have the shortest commute ever,” Pierre Frey says of his weekday routine. “It’s a couple of seconds, and it’s beautiful.” Indeed, door-to-door, that trip takes him from his sixth-floor apartment to his third-floor office—all within the same 17th-century building where his grandfather started the namesake textiles company in 1935. The younger Frey and his wife, film director and lighting designer Émilie Cherpitel, recently redesigned their living quarters on the uppermost floors, imbuing them with the same inimitable style that defines the fabric firm.
Aside from a five-year stint spent working in New York City, Frey, the company’s communications director, has lived in the apartment since he was 21. “I was alone and was able to [make] a lot of noise and welcome friends and do a lot of dinners,” he recalls of those early days entertaining atop the otherwise corporate building. “There was never any issue, which was really fabulous.” In 2011, after returning to France from the States and shortly after meeting Cherpitel, he undertook the first major renovation of the home, combining a neighboring unit and the attic to create a full-floor duplex residence. Last summer, with their two sons, Georges (10) and Marin (five), a bit older and evolving aesthetic sensibilities, the couple decided it was once again time to make changes.
“We wanted more colors, and we wanted more carefree furniture,” Frey notes of the latest design brief, which he hoped would be “totally different” and incorporate an alluring mix of vintage items with new pieces from his company, as well as from Cherpitel’s own lighting business, Caneloupo. The family spends almost every weekend at their 19th-century classic French farmhouse in rural Normandy—a retreat as laid-back as it is leafy. That is partly why Frey wanted to celebrate their apartment’s distinctive setting in the 1st arrondissement, nestled between the Palais Garnier and the Louvre. “We wanted something much more urban than the house in the country,” Frey says. “It’s really in the heart of Paris.”
That metropolitan mandate translated into a heady palette of bold pinks, greens, and yellows in graphic patterns; slick, almost anthropomorphic furniture silhouettes; and punchy light fixtures from the likes of Apparatus Studio in the kitchen and above the dining table. Minimal structural work was done this time around, although Frey and Cherpitel were keen to tweak the flow of certain rooms, close an attic space to create a bedroom for one of their sons, and carve out a walk-in closet from a former corridor. They even added a working fireplace. The home’s exposed wood beams, all original to the building (which at one time housed the apprentices of Louis XIV’s famed composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, a next-door neighbor), were a critical decorative feature, so some architectural fortification in the roof was part of the six-month project.
Ultimately, living above the shop, as it were, feels like a tailor-made setup for Frey and his family. As with the company in the floors below, the abode continues to evolve, growing along with its occupants and reflecting their changing tastes and routines—but always with a nod to the past. “It’s ancient and modern at the same time, which I think is the hardest way to do an apartment,” Frey says, referencing the primary bedroom’s headboard, which was designed last year but was adapted from a 19th-century piece. “I wanted those feelings to work together.”