Just a year ago, Thuy (pronounced Twee) Tranthi Rieder relocated to Paris, but already she exudes the chic, effortless style for which the city is known. Her understated elegance applies not only to her personal style but also to the fashionable apartment she shares with her husband and 8-year-old daughter, Arielle.
"It’s a typical Parisian apartment—very chic with elegant details,” she says. Gorgeous light and high ceilings aside, her apartment was missing one thing—furnishings. In need of a cozy family home in just three weeks, Thuy called her friend (and decorator) Eric Lysdahl.
Falling back on one of his favorite Parisian sources, Lysdahl scoured the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market for antiques and accessories, and then picked up more modern necessities and objets d’art at one of the largest department stores in the city, Bazaar de l’Hotel de Ville.
“The bones of this apartment speak a very strong language,” says Lysdahl. “The plasterwork, the built-in mirrors, the flamboyant mantelpiece, the patterned floor—they’re all very strong. To compete with that, you either have to go full-on Louis XV or you have to be very spare. We didn’t want this space to be too serious, so we went with a hip, young vibe.”
Thuy initially intended for the apartment’s palette to be starkly monochromatic, but Lysdahl persuaded her to take a more vivacious route: color. Not just any color, but a no-holds-barred, eye-popping, in-your-face fuchsia. Used on the throw pillows and draperies, it single-handedly gives a lively, fresh take to the living room’s traditional bones and stark white walls. “I refer to it as la vie en rose,” laughs Lysdahl.
Furnishings were left relatively sparse. Matching gray sofas flank the fireplace. Lucite tables float above a zebra rug painted in metallic silver. Vintage chairs found at the flea market were updated with a painted stripe down the center—an homage to 20th-century style icon and fashion designer Pauline de Roth-schild.
For a touch of the unexpected, a silver bulldog that Lysdahl lugged home from the Marais district on a crowded Metro train amid curious stares holds court under an antique console table.
In the adjoining dining room, Lysdahl complemented the living room’s warm palette with a cooler hue—choosing the same floral fabric for the draperies but opting for blue as a counterpoint to the fuchsia. Equal parts Coco Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier, the space conveys the perfect mix of classic and modern.
A sleek dining table with a white embossed top plus an orbit-like floor lamp make modern statements against the classical architecture, herringbone-patterned floors, and an overscale gilt mirror.
A diplomat’s daughter who lived in Paris as a child, Thuy Tranthi Rieder was drawn back to the city by the irresistible offer of a top position at Lancel, the luxury accessories brand. The company was born in 1876, when Angéle Lancel opened her first shop in a bustling neighborhood near the Opéra Garnier. Initially selling pouches and small bags for smoking items, the company quickly found its true calling—creating women’s accessories and decorative objects.
In 1927, the iconic bucket bag (rechristened the “Elsa by Lancel” in 1987 and the “Premier Flirt” in 2006) was born, becoming an instant classic that has since enchanted such Parisian femmes fatales as Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, and Brigitte Bardot. Today, more than 135 years since the firm’s inception, Lancel’s craftsmanship and elegant magnetism remain evident in every alluring handbag.