Parisian stylish meets New York glamor in Susan Gutfreund’s Left Financial institution house

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

From the porch

Updated on December 21, 2020: Auction paddle ready! Christie’s will host a series of net sales months to display the furniture and art objects that once decorated Mr. and Mrs. John H. Gutfreund’s New York apartment on Fifth Avenue. Design lovers are invited to discover the cherished dinner, the famous Chanel jewels and fine English furniture in personal and online auctions from January 14th to 29th.

In 2011 Susan Gutfreund VERANDA opened the doors of her chic Parisian apartment. Read on to get a glimpse of Gutfreund’s impeccable taste and decorative eye.

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

After Louis XIV moved the French royal court to Versailles in 1682, the noblesse of Paris left the Marais district and built magnificent villas in Faubourg Saint-Germain on what was then the western edge of the city. In one of these eighteenth-century architectural gems, the Left Bank landmark, the Hôtel de Bauffremont, American financier John Gutfreund and his wife Susan transformed a grand piano into the ultimate Parisian pied-à-terre in what is now the Seventh Arrondissement, the city’s most aristocratic district .

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

Heavy wooden doors open from the street to a gravel courtyard that leads to the building’s foyer. A large stone staircase leads to the entrance of the apartment on the second floor, the European aristocracy. In her second collaboration with the late, legendary French decorator Henri Samuel, who remodeled the couple’s New York maisonette, Susan Gutfreund created a five-story townhouse-style residence with some of the most seductive interiors in all of Paris.

First renovations were carried out by the architect Alain Raynaud, who raised the ceiling of the master suite, reconfigured the bedrooms and added bathrooms, a modern kitchen and an elevator. Then Samuel suggested a lighter decorative theme from the late 18th century to mingle with Gutfreund’s desire for a more rural feel.

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

The living room is irresistible: beam of light with high ceilings, windows made of silk taffeta and boi series in a creamy palette that ranges from pure white in bright sunlight to pale trianon gray on a cloudy day. This room is furnished with elegantly comfortable seating and decorated with items ranging from a black-lacquered Chinese scholar’s table to an embroidered silk wall hanging supposedly made for Versailles

The story goes on

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

Like the entire apartment, it shows Samuel’s concept of a quality base mixed with his client’s passion for collecting and decorative joie de vivre. Gutfreund compares Samuel’s concept with a little black haute couture dress. You add the accessories and make it personal. But the black dress has to be perfect: curtains, soft goods and upholstery made perfectly, color made perfectly, boiseries perfectly installed. So if the room were empty you would see the perfect details. “

She remembers Samuel sitting in the rooms at different times of the day to judge the custom paint color in the changing light. His techniques have been honed over a seventy year career, including restoring Grand Tri-Anon rooms at Versailles, designing the Wrightsmangalleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and taking on assignments such as Rothschild castles.

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

“Working with Henri was a masterclass,” says Gutfreund, now a decorator for her own customers. “He was like the opera star who sang all the bestarias in the best opera houses.” She interprets the findings: “Brightening up by dressing up, making silk patterns out of cotton and using slip covers to unify a room and change the mood for the season.”

Photo credit: Alexandre Bailhache

From the library’s trompe l’oeil bookshelves that Tony Duquette made for the Duchess of Windsor, to a sofa inspired by a model for Louis XIV’s brother, to antique fabrics from Gutfreund’s own treasure trove, the apartment sizzles with their unique collections.

“I don’t think a room will work unless some things are wrong. When everything is prescribed, it doesn’t have the same charm or comfort. Henri showed me that I am not afraid to add personal details. “

This feature was originally published in the January / February 2011 issue of VERANDA. Interior design by Henri Samuel and Susan Gutfreund; Architectural renovation by Alain Rayaud; Photography by Alexandre Bailhache; Produced by Carolyn Englefield; Text by Jean Bond Rafferty.

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