It’s in a seventeenth-century building on the southern bank of the Seine that we find out the fashion designer Veronica Toub’s flat. And what a flat! The L.A. based jewelry-and-fashion designer told Architectural Digest that everything was renovated, and it doesn’t left any single corner intact. She worked with the Paris-based architect Laurent Bourgois.
“Veronica is one of those people who can put quite different things together in a balanced way,” a friend explains to AD.
You would be surprise to know that Veronica has the ability to put together an Alexandra von Furstenberg acrylic console with a pair of shiny black boomerang-shaped cocktail tables.
But this only makes sense by knowing that the fashion and jewelry designer is a reflection of her wide-ranging passions, from Anglo-Indian furniture to Southeast Asian goods.
This flat wasn’t the first that she saw: she inspected countless properties before falling for the apartment that now serves as her home sweet home: a 3,800-square-foot flat in a 17th-century building on the Left Bank.
But what seduced the fashion designer? She was struck not only by the building’s majestic stone-and-iron central staircase but also by the 44-foot-long glazed corridor overlooking the courtyard at the rear of the apartment, a sunny stretch she calls the Hall of Windows.
But it was the overwelming view from the front of the home—straight across the Seine to the Musée du Louvre – that took her breath away. The three-bedroom residence was revamped by Toub with the help of architect Laurent Bourgois. Since elegant new cornices that replaced dilapidated originals to plaster walls stripped down and resurfaced, a lot of corners were renovated. Including a kitchen, a bedroom, and two small baths that were knocked together to create a capacious master bedroom and dressing areas.
The floors also needed reinforcing and leveling, since the building had settled over the years; even so, the herringbone parquet in the salon still slants a bit. As Bourgois notes, “There was not a square inch we didn’t touch.” The glass-ceilinged former conservatory off Toub’s dressing room was transformed into a light-filled bath after the government preservation group Architectes des Bâtiments de France refused permission to turn it into a terrace. Also landmarked is the stone floor in the entrance hall, which doubles as a glamorous formal dining room thanks to a sleek black-lacquer Jansen table, striking flea-market chairs, and Manuela Zervudachi bronze sconces in the shape of coiled serpents.
“Veronica is one of those people who can put quite different things together in a balanced way,” affirms Eric Philippe, the respected Paris dealer of 20th-century American and Scandinavian design, from whom Toub acquired prime furnishings by the likes of Paul László and Frits Henningsen. Consider the inviting salon, for instance. There, a vintage László sofa is harmoniously juxtaposed with an Alexandra von Furstenberg acrylic console striped with neon pink, a black-and-white Fornasetti screen, and a Turkish kilim patterned with large red, yellow, and blue diamonds. Nearby, brooding Renaissance Revival armchairs flank a grandly scaled Zhang Huan portrait of an Asian soldier made of ashes applied to canvas, and at the center of the salon are shining cocktail tables by Hubert le Gall, each one a boomerang of high-gloss black lacquer.
Eclectic combinations like that are indicative of Toub’s “incredible, ebullient” taste, says decorator Caroline Sarkozy, a longtime friend (and the sister of the former French president), adding, “It’s very representative of her travels, her lifestyle, and her curiosity.” Sarkozy is among the regular visitors when Toub is in the city, which is usually several times a year. Dinner parties for up to 70 are not uncommon, often featuring a menu of fragrant Persian dishes. “I’m very much a homebody when I’m here,” declares Toub, who also maintains a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. “I love it. All my old friends stop by.”
Another of the designer’s diverse decorative interests is Anglo-Indian furniture, evinced by an inlaid lounge chair in the family room and a lacy tripod table in a corner of the entrance hall. Toub also has an enthusiasm for intriguing cultural artifacts from Southeast Asia, where she frequently travels, for pleasure as well as inspiration. Golden Sumatran ceremonial sarongs are draped over the back of the salon’s sofa, and dramatic Indonesian carvings share the Hall of Windows with a vibrant green painting by Lebanese artist Huguette Caland and mother-of-pearl-inlaid Victorian side chairs (purchased from the legendary decorator-dealer Madeleine Castaing). In the sitting room hangs an antique sword from Borneo, which Toub slips from its sheath to admire; a moment later she drops it, narrowly missing one of her feet and making a dent in the centuries-old parquet. “The mark will add a bit of character!” she says, unfazed.
Accidents will happen, she shrugs—and in any case, Toub would much rather discuss the subtle touches she believes really make an interior successful. The study’s walls are paneled with sensuous nubuck, while the mosaic-tile wainscot that curves around the designer’s bath mimics button-tufted fabric. Much of the hardware used throughout the residence is custom made, including the master suite’s bronze closet knobs and bath hooks, which are in the shape of daisies, a cheerful motif that was favored by one of Toub’s aesthetic heroes, the Art Deco genius Armand Albert Rateau.
“Everything is really thought-out,” Toub says, conceding a certain perfectionism. “My style is all about the details.”
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