It’s always refreshing to come across a Parisian hotel design like Maison Sémonville that defies both the perfection of the Haussmannian typology and the interior design sensibility of less is more. Maison Sémonville is a 17th century “hôtel particulier” built at the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV, eclectically refurbished by interior design practice CM Studio Paris in celebration of the building’s architectural heritage and the life of its original occupant, Charles Louis Huguet, the Marquis de Sémonville.
Founded by John Coury and Florent Maillard who share a passion for architecture, history, and antiques, CM Studio Paris is drawn to projects involving historic buildings, creating interior designs in perfect harmony with their architectural heritage. In the case of this project, more than anything, the duo was inspired by the life of the eponymous marquis de Sémonville, Charles-Louis Huguet de Montaran, specifically his tenure as France’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
Also drawing from the baroque heritage of the centuries-old mansion, Coury and Maillard have completely redesigned and restructured the building’s interior and yet ingeniously the rooms appear as if they have always been like this. Suspended in time, the antique-filled, richly layered interiors espouse an eclectic aesthetic that not so much rejects modernity but seems unaware of its existence.
Undoubtedly, the most impressive space is the double-height drawing room which features massive, timber roof beams with hand-carved ornamentations, a monumental stone fireplace inscribed with Old French words, and a beautifully shaped, wooden balustrade on the mezzanine level.
Rather than being humbled by the imposing architecture, the designers have approached the interior design of the space with the same kind of maximalist sensibility by introducing, among other things, two large, imposing paintings by Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Vicentino. The paintings not only enliven the room with vibrant colors, echoed by the sumptuously upholstered sofas, armchairs, and ottomans, but they also subtly conjure the presence of the Marquis de Sémonville by depicting the meeting of Ottoman and Venetian ambassadors.