Event planner Darya Kopp found her dream Parisian apartment just a couple months before giving birth to her first child. After years living in cramped quarters, she and her husband moved in and made it their own, filled with rich color and dinner parties with friends. Here’s a peek inside…
On finding the apartment: In Paris, it can be difficult to find a rental apartment, and of course you can’t make any real modifications as a renter. But the first time I saw this one, I was in love! The parquet, the moldings — a classic Haussmannian Paris building. Our place is in the 10th arrondissement, near the Canal Saint-Martin. It’s a wonderful area but not one of the ‘cool’ ones. There are lots of restaurants and bars, and it’s central so everything is walkable.
Butterfly chair: Maisons de Monde.
On a vivid color palette: When I was younger, I wasn’t confident about mixing and matching colors and wound up with mostly white and black. This time I thought, ‘Now I just want color,’ especially because the apartment is so white. Decorating this place taught me how to combine them. I love pink and gold, and I try to stick to those primarily and use other colors as accents. Another good tip I learned: Don’t hesitate to ask the store if you can take home a sample to try!
On a cozy accent:The first thing I did was put candles in the fireplace. The place was so empty, and it gave it a cozy atmosphere. It was also the easiest and cheapest part, because they’re from Ikea. I’ll light them when we have friends over.
On a velvet sofa: I love this sofa. It’s comfortable, and velvet is great for kids, too. The baby even threw up on it, and it was really easy to clean!
On combining tastes (a little): When we first moved in, my husband said the only thing he wanted was a big bookshelf, which we put in the dining room. But it turned out he did have some opinions. He bought the round blue pillow for the sofa — and we literally had no other blue in the house. But since it was the one thing he chose, I worked with it and brought in some complimentary vases and pillows.
On the joys of hosting: The dining room is my favorite place in the apartment. Most people go out to eat in Paris, but I’ve always dreamed of being able to host big dinner parties. I try to keep the place clean and ready, so that if someone calls me up, I can say, ‘Come over for dinner!’ We always start in the living room, and I make a big, big apéro [drinks and bites]. For dinner, it’s usually some kind of fish with Swedish potatoes, or pasta with burrata.
On honoring heritage: My parents are Iranian, and they came here during the revolution in 1979. My husband is French, and we have maps in the dining room of both Marseilles, where my husband’s family is from, and Tabridz, the city where my parents were born. When our son was born we decided to give him a Persian name: Cyrus. It’s important to us that he knows he’s half Persian and half French.
On a favorite chair: I actually found this chair on Le Bon Coin (which is like Craigslist) the day I delivered my son. I had been looking for a comfortable chair for feeding the baby, and as soon as I saw this one, I thought, ‘It’s perfect!’ I had to have it, but I was already in labor and I didn’t know what to do! So, I emailed the guy between contractions and told him ‘I can’t come today, but can you please hold it until tomorrow?’ The baby was born, and the next day my husband went to pick up the chair. He dropped it in the dining room, because there was space on the floor there, and we wound up leaving it. It turned out my cat loved the chair, too. Now it’s his chair.
On a tricky kitchen: The first time I saw the kitchen, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what is that?!’ Everything was bright orange, even the floor. I’ve warmed up to it now. Because it’s a rental, I wasn’t able to paint, but I was allowed to put in some simple gray tiling, which helped.
On family heirlooms: The baby’s room is full of vintage stuff inherited from my husband’s family. Both of his parents are teachers, so the little school desk and chair are from them (my husband used them when he was a kid). The red and black rocking horse was brought by his grandparents from Russia — by train! The white horse came from his late aunt’s office. She was a pediatrician and had a little menagerie in her waiting room. I like knowing that so many children have enjoyed it.
On the lion theme: I love lions. Actually, it’s my astrological sign (I’m a Leo). Everyone who knows me knows I love lions and I put them everywhere. Whenever I come across a lion toy, I have to buy it.
On a sleep-conducive bedroom: As much as we like to have dinner parties, since the baby arrived, sleep is my priority. We’re often up late with him, so as soon as he goes to bed, I go to bed. Our bedroom is in the back of the building, so it’s quiet and doesn’t get much light — which is great. I hung the string lights because they’re soft and warm. I just wanted to make this room cozy.
On a favorite staple: You can get these baskets, in all sizes, everywhere in France, and I have them in every room. These I mostly got at Monoprix, which is a French chain store that has everything — clothes, home goods, baby stuff.
On a dream bathroom: When the real estate agent showed me this apartment, he stopped before opening the bathroom door and said, ‘I’m so sorry about the color. This part is very retro.’ Then he opened the door and I was like, ‘No, no, I love it!’ I’d always wanted a pink bathroom. He thought it was the downside to the apartment, but for me it was actually a selling point.
On letting go of perfection: The key is to decorate step by step and wait for pieces you really love (and if you prefer vintage, like me, that requires patience). There are some designers I adore, but just can’t afford, like India Mahdavi. So, I kept her work in mind while looking for furniture, and tried to find stuff in the same spirit. I don’t think it’s necessary to have everything perfectly matched. I think if you fill the home with pieces you truly love, and that show your personality, then it’ll all match somehow.
Thank you so much, Darya! Your home is beautiful.
(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo.)