x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Design classics and clever use of space in a Paris flat

With mid-century Scandinavian pieces and statement chandeliers, the shoe designer Maloles Nira has turned her apartment into a truly original home.

Neutrally coloured living room furnishings, including side tables by India Mahdavi, retain Maloles's funky style, while bright accents create warmth. Benjamin Mamet / Gap Interiors
Neutrally coloured living room furnishings, including side tables by India Mahdavi, retain Maloles's funky style, while bright accents create warmth. Benjamin Mamet / Gap Interiors

When the shoe designer Maloles Nira and her husband David first set eyes on their apartment in Paris less than two years ago, it was in dire need of love and attention. Far from being the spacious and bright home that it is now, the apartment, which is set in the heart of the city, consisted of small and compartmentalised rooms that were in keeping with its original 19th-century Haussmann style. But Maloles was determined to turn it into her dream home.

Spanish by birth, Maloles grew up in Alicante and has a feel for bold colours and patterns that is evident in her shoe designs. Another of her trademarks is playing with proportions - hence the huge cup and saucer that serve as a fruit bowl in the dining room, and the bookcase shaped like an oversized suitcase.

But there was a lot of building work to be done to the apartment before Maloles could have fun choosing the finishing touches. The now spacious sitting room used to be two small rooms, so the dividing wall had to be knocked down. Maloles then used a combination of beige and white paint shades to emphasise the beautiful chimney breast and panelled walls. Bright accents of colour lighten the neutral tones and lend a welcoming feel to the whole room.

The couple opted to move the kitchen from the end of the corridor to a space in the centre of the apartment that used to be a bedroom. "It is the heart of the house; it's where we have dinner together, where I sit to do some work if I ever bring some home, or have a drink with friends to unwind. I feel comfortable in it."

Various shades of grey were used to complement the intense blue of the splashback, making the kitchen an original, contemporary but also comfortable space. Maloles loves the combination of wallpaper, contemporary glass walls and furniture that she has owned for years. "I found the paper first, then I needed the right colour of glass to go with it. I was lucky to find it because there was no way I was giving up the wallpaper."

With a taste for originality and a keen eye for good finds, Maloles likes to hunt for bargains in antiques markets, particularly pieces that she can reupholster or renovate. She is also a big fan of Scandinavian furniture and vintage design from the 1930s to the 1960s, and is the proud owner of armchairs by Hans Wegner and Mies van der Rohe, and lamps from Gino Sarfatti and Ingo Maurer. She combines these treasured icons with contemporary design elements such as feminine pieces by India Mahdavi. In the dining room, the rich wood of the vintage dining table and chairs by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen fits perfectly with the polished floorboards.

In the main bedroom, Maloles focused on creating a luxurious space that opens onto a generous bathroom with a large walk-in shower. The combination of wood in the bedroom and shimmering glass mosaics and concrete in the bathroom creates a distinctly glamorous feel. On the other hand, where the design needs to be practical, it is. In the children's room, painted stripes were used as an original and easy-to-achieve decoration for the walls, while hangings on the right-hand side of the bed cleverly conceal a shower and sink.

Because Maloles travels a lot for her work, she also brings back souvenirs from the various places she visits, which include Russia, Japan, Canada and Hong Kong. The two statues in her sitting room, for example, are traditionally given as wedding presents in Indonesia, and are symbols of a long and happy marriage.

Ultimately, Maloles wanted her home to look like the shoes that she so lovingly creates: funky and childlike. "I don't take myself seriously when I decorate or create," she says.