Renovating the attic: Examples from a Parisian duplex

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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A great way to gain a few extra square meters in your home is by making use of the attic. Before you jump into a full remodel, you should check the technical feasibility of the project (including the slope of your roof) and any administrative formalities, like a building permit or work authorization, that may be required. An architect can help you in all stages of this very adaptable expansion project. Depending on your needs and constraints, you can get an extra room, install a suspended office, create a lounge… anything goes!

For inspiration and ideas, have a look at the renovation by architect Solenne Brugiroux of this duplex in the Parisian rooftops.

Ceiling heights

Located in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, this duplex was in very bad condition. Among other issues, it was very short on space and light. A complete renovation was undertaken, which included fitting the attic with skylights to bring light into the rooms of the upper floors. For this, it was necessary to begin by reviewing the ceiling heights, as often the first step in a loft conversion. Indeed, depending on the slope of the roof and the height of the ridge, it may be necessary to raise the frame. Here, Brugiroux adjusted the height of the ceiling to save space on the top floor.

The layout

The lower part of the duplex holds a living room with a south-facing balcony, a large kitchen overlooking the living room and an optimized but spacious bathroom. In the renovation of the loft, the layout was planned in order to make the most of the space available.

Stylish stairs

Saving space also allows you to add style to your home. Here a magnificent staircase with contrasting black steps grants access to the upper part of the duplex and also serves as closet and storage space. These tones are within the colour composition of the apartment; from the dark granite for the kitchen to the solid oak floors and slate antique tiles, the colours of the general atmosphere are different shades of light and dark grey.

Cosy work area

The first floor has been converted into different areas: a work area with library and office, a sleeping area and a bathroom with large skylight. As we can see from this photo, part of the structure remained apparent, and revealing the old wooden beams, which have been painted black, gives special character to the whole floor. Three skylights were installed on the floor to add to the existing window. Together they offer the area plenty of natural light, making it quite pleasant during the day. 

If you refinish your attic, you will see that this area can be particularly cosy, like a cocoon. It can make a wonderful space for an office or library, somewhere that is a little removed from the rest of the house. In this photo, we can see how the furniture should take the slope into account. Here the bookcase has been custom made to optimize space.

The bedroom

For the same reason, a bedroom is perfectly suited to these kind of spaces. However, take care to adapt the furniture: place the highest furniture under the ridge, with the bed under the slope. In addition, if you put the bed under a newly created skylight, as done here, you will be able to fall asleep under the stars!

Lovely bathroom

Do you need an excuse to install a tub or Jacuzzi in your home? Here's one! Indeed, the structure of water pipes can often require installation of a bath rather than a shower in your attic. Also, since it requires less ceiling height, the tub is one of the best allies of the attic.

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