Hilary Swank is nothing if not resilient. Though the romance that originally brought her to Paris had evaporated, she quickly found herself caught up in the whirlwind of a new courtship: The city itself swept her off her feet. “I fell in love with Paris,” says the Academy Award–winning actress and nascent fashion entrepreneur—she recently launched Mission Statement, an athluxury line that marries sleek silhouettes with high-performance materials—rhapsodizing about its beauty, its light, its architecture, and its pastries with the enthusiasm usually reserved for a lover. “It’s more beauty than your eyes can even imagine, every which way you look.” So she did what any woman in love would do—she began to set down roots.
To cement the seriousness of her new relationship, Swank, who also has homes in Los Angeles and New York, purchased an apartment in a historic building on the Left Bank. With its soaring ceilings, polished herringbone floors, intricate moldings, marble fireplaces, and large windows, the apartment has the beautiful bones and soft filtered light that herald the European capital’s best spaces. To help make the apartment her own, Swank turned to Axel Huynh, founder of event-planning agency CrazyBaby and creative director of the 150-year-old French furniture company Henryot & Cie. While the original plan was for Huynh to design a piece of furniture for the home, his role quickly morphed into that of an interior designer. “He has this joie de vivre that I instantly gravitated toward,” says Swank.
Naturally, Huynh channeled that exuberance into a collection of custom, handcrafted pieces by Henryot & Cie that echo the stateliness of the home’s architecture and surroundings. A sensuously shaped green marble desk in an office off the living room has become one of Swank’s favorite furnishings, combining stone sourced from Solid Nature in the Netherlands and a base painstakingly inlaid with marquetry. “They just don’t make them the way they used to,” says Swank, who appreciates even the smallest details of traditional construction. But there’s also a sense of midcentury flair and modern edge throughout the apartment. Retro daybeds with sleek, geometric profiles punctuate the living space, and in the dining room, the legs of cane-back round side chairs are sheathed in a blue lacquer.
A contemporary feel also comes by way of moody jewel-inspired colors. “Hilary likes an organic touch,” says Huynh. “Wood, stones, and she loves everything related to the sea.” Hence Ginger and Jagger’s oysterlike wall lamps in Carrara and Nero Marquina marble in the dining room and the sapphire and emerald hues that appear throughout the space. In the living room, the daybeds are covered in cobalt and aquamarine silk velvets, while azure curtains hang at the windows; a rich turquoise coats the dining room walls. “We played with a palette of blue and also brought in some yellows,” Huynh says. “It’s a bit inspired by Saul Bass, a graphic designer from the ‘60s, so monochrome tones mixed with bright colors, and the combination is a little bit vintage.”
But if the rest of the home is meant to catch the eye, Swank’s bedroom is a study in restraint. A photograph by Javier Gomez and a cadre of butterflies are the sole moments of color amid the room’s exquisite couture-level details, including custom-made linens, a headboard based on a model Henryot & Cie created for the Ritz Hotel, and curtains trimmed in supple grosgrain ribbons. The subtlety underscores what’s most important to Swank, who favors a comfortable, cozy space above all and whose favorite way to unwind is curled up in front of a fire with her dogs and a good book. “We wanted to create something really lively and fun yet where you could instantly feel at home,” says Huynh.
But Swank isn’t expecting too much downtime. This year she’ll star with Helena Bonham Carter in 55 Steps, the story of a schizophrenic woman’s fight against the medical establishment, and Steven Soderbergh’s highly anticipated heist flick Lucky Logan, as well as The One Percent, a buzzy television drama by Alejandro González Iñárritu for Starz. And, after all, she’s got a new city to explore.