Modernity in Outer Paris: Refurbishment of a 1910 House in Île-de-France by Mudo Architecture

We recently discovered the work of architects Nicolas Mussche and Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche of Paris-based Mudo through photographer Mary Gaudin who shot their latest project in Gentilly, an inner suburb just south of Paris.

Located on a former working class street where factories have been replaced with offices and residences, the house has been lived in for several years  by the client, a landscaper who contacted Nicolas and Elodie about the refurbishment. “The building was in pretty bad shape at the time, with leaks and moisture issues, and a few cracks related to the underground quarries below (they’re very frequent in that side of Paris),” Nicolas explains. It was time for an update. The gut renovation kept most of the concrete and cinderblock structure, built around 1910, in tact. “We proposed a very sober and clear architecture, working on some archetypal Parisian pavilion traits while bringing a touch of modernity,” says Nicolas.

Photography by Mary Gaudin.

mudo worked to keep as much ground space in the front yard as possible. the exi 17
Above: Mudo worked to keep as much ground space in the front yard as possible. The existing enclosed carport was replaced with a wooden pergola. The fence was replaced with steel frames and perforated panels finished with zinc plating.

The house is just 75 square meters (about 800 square feet) and includes two bedrooms and one bathroom in addition to a basement floor. “The building was deteriorating, mostly the roof and the existing lean-to,” says Nicolas. “The lean-to was too dilapidated to be preserved, so we had to rebuild it with a timber frame extension, on top of a concrete raft due to the quarries geotechnical constraints.” The roof was rebuilt to create more space on the second floor and the house was “wrapped” in a wood fiber insulation.

the wood cladding on the exterior is douglas fir that mudo chose for its durabi 18
Above: The wood cladding on the exterior is Douglas fir that Mudo chose for its durability. The sliding doors and all windows are framed in spruce to match the interior. The initial proposal was entirely in Douglas fir but due to inflation of cost during the project, the architects opted for a more affordable option.

Having both studied at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and worked at firms in Paris and Montreal, Elodie and Nicolas founded Mudo in 2020. The duo appreciates architectural solutions that are pragmatic and poetic in equal measure, with sustainability top of mind. In the Gentilly refurbishment, the architects worked to achieve ecological objectives by preserving as much of the existing layout as possible (to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction as well as to preserve heritage). They used a limited range of materials and kept construction as light as possible. Finally, they “wrapped” the house in wood fiber insulation to limit cold bridges.

sliding glass doors open into the kitchen. 19
Above: Sliding glass doors open into the kitchen.
the countertop is a grey romanian marble with deep shades of blue veining, brou 20
Above: The countertop is a grey Romanian marble with deep shades of blue veining, brought to Mudo by the contractor’s acquaintance who owns a quarry in Romania. In keeping within budget constraints, the appliances are all Ikea.
the custom kitchen is built out of 3 ply spruce panels coated with a clear sati 21
Above: The custom kitchen is built out of 3-ply spruce panels coated with a clear satin varnish.