For two Canadians living in Paris, a sign of a good night has a few components: a messy table, dirty napkins, and half consumed bottles of your chosen libation. For John Gerhardt and Boris Masip, a gracefully destroyed living room happens more often than not.
Gerhardt, global creative director at Moët Hennessy, and his husband, Masip, a fintech entrepreneur and the cofounder of FlowTracker Analytics, played global hide-and-seek for a full year before their first IRL encounter. “At the time, I was doing international banking and working primarily in the Caribbean and in Central America,” Masip says. “John was always traveling, so we physically couldn’t meet, which is why we talked for a year,” he says. “I was working at the Canadian department store Holt Renfrew and was traveling from Iceland to Tokyo and everywhere in between,” Gerhardt laments. “So, while we’ve been together for 16 years, I do believe that we’ve spent previous lifetimes together as well.”
Today, the couple have been living in their Parisian abode for about two years. “Originally, when we sat down to discuss where we wanted to live, we listed all these different neighborhoods that we would be happy settling down in. This [area] wasn’t on the list, but everything changed the minute we walked inside” Masip says.
The space, for Gerhardt at least, is emblematic of three components that have turned their house into a home. “For starters, the bones. It’s outstandingly beautiful from an architectural standpoint. We love things that are extreme in terms of housing—we’ve lived in Victorian houses and high-rises in Hong Kong. There’s something extreme about the moldings, the carvings, and the ornateness,” he says. The second factor comes down to quality of light. “We get incredible afternoon light. It’s beautifully dappled and, at times, there’s this [stunning] cast light as well,” Masip explains. Last but not least? “It’s all about the energy.”
The apartment, which didn’t require any structural work, underwent some light cosmetic updates. “We wanted to preserve the structure and the integrity of the home. We see ourselves as custodians of history,” Gerhardt emphasizes. But as is true in any relationship, Gerhardt and Masip have their differing opinions about the dwelling’s best features. Gerhardt is partial to the dining area: “We love to cook and we love to entertain. Nothing is better than when the dining room is a complete disaster after a meal and there’s food remnants and half-drunk bottles of champagne and people are immersed in conversation and carefree. To me, that’s a good night.”
“For me, it’s the den,” Masip says of his favorite space. “It’s where I work and read and create and strategize. The best part is that I can take a call and be speaking with someone in North America, yet I have the most spectacular views. It’s such a magical room and probably the smallest—it’s just like a cocoon,” he says.
Something both men see eye to eye on is how they want their guests to react upon walking through their front door. “We just want them to feel included and part of the apartment,” Gerhardt says. “It’s important that they feel like they’re being treated nicely in our space. At the end of the day, we want it to feel as friendly as we are,” Masip says.
Though the couple didn’t work with a decorator, they’ve thought deeply about their own interiors ethos. “We don’t buy by brand or designer or price point, but instead we buy based on what we love,” Gerhardt says. As Masip adds: “We read a quote some years back by a designer who said something along the lines of ‘buy what you love and you will always find a place to fit it in,’ and that has been our approach. We purchase through emotion, but we always feel like we can make it work.”