A Renovation of a Historical Apartment in Kyiv by Rina Lovko and Daryna Shpuryk
The apartment is located on the 4th floor of a residential house, which was built in 1905, in the historical area of Kyiv. The space is luminous: all the windows overlook a quiet green park, and the light freely streams through them. Because of the state of the building, a massive renovation of the flat was required. The process of dismantling revealed rotten slabs and large cracks in the walls and that flooring replacement is needed.
The Client’s Vision
The client is a young woman, a fashion insider with a strong vision. This project is all about aesthetics, so it was entirely designed to meet her requirements and standards of beauty. The client is fascinated with Paris, so the designers’ target was to recreate a flair of a vintage apartment. Their solution was not to copy the ‘Parisian chic’ tricks, avoiding the ornamental plaster and other obvious elements of direct quotation of this style. The team shifted the focus to natural textures — a combination of softness and determined details, an overall airiness, and nuanced sophistication instead.
The state of the structure of the building made us renovate the apartment and enhance the slabs and the walls. The old wooden inner walls were damaged by humidity and wood pests, so the team had to remove them. They also disassembled the original parquet and upgraded the floor with a welded structure poured with concrete. Furthermore, the designers enhanced the balcony and strengthened the walls with special ties to pull together the frame.
The team opted for the time-tested scheme of the space arrangement, which is an enfilade. Given that the apartment is one-sided, they decided to design a long and functional hallway containing an entrance wardrobe, a guest restroom, and a laundry area. The kitchen is located near the living room entrance, and a cabinet with a refrigerator and an oven is a stand-alone element of this space. The designers managed to eschew the standardized modern solutions for the kitchen area while all the elements are built-in wall units. You can see the bedroom through the double door from the living room. Also, the team separated the bedroom and bathroom by a glass partition. There is always a private zone at the end of an enfilade, and this time the bathroom fulfills this role. Consequently, the whole living area turned out to be bright and roomy, and the enfilade principle opens one area to another, creating a coherent space. The airiness visually extends the apartment.
The walls were painted on top of plaster, with the deep texture being left as it is. The angle between walls and ceiling was smoothed out — this was a popular solution for the old flats in Kyiv.
The designers had to disassemble the original parquet, but a wooden floor still was an essential part of this interior. They found an authentic alternative, namely an oak parquet, which is about 100 years old. The team did the restoration part at their facility and assembled the herringbone pattern in the apartment. They did the toning part in the flat right away. Their goal was to achieve a particular shade and to highlight the naturalness and antiqueness of the parquet, leaving its marks of time — the imperfections — unaltered.
The bathroom turned out to be a special place in this apartment. The designers picked marble for the shower walls with precision, while the sink was manufactured from the same marble, and the cabinet was made to measure. The mirror above the sink was also designed at the designers’ studio and produced according to their drawings. The window in the bathroom was one of the special requests from the client. The cabinet is placed right in front of the mirror so the client can do her morning beauty routine with a view. Another big mirror, produced by craftsmen from Lviv, is placed above the bath. The bathroom is separated from the bedroom with a glass partition and a soft tulle, creating a continuous space. The walls and the floor in the bathroom are made from micro concrete.
The elongated window in a wardrobe is one of the details which recall the historical design schemes. There used to be light windows — the ones behind the inner rooms — in the houses back in the day. For this interior, the team reinterpreted and simplified the traditional design of the frame. The minimalist shape is perfectly doing its thing — creating extra light in the hallway.
The Wall Niche Above the Kitchen Sink
As the designers say, they always take full advantage of the space in their design process. While doing so, they ended up with a wall niche with streamlined angles, inspired by the process of smoothing out a cornice and a ceiling. Such angles make the room softer, adding to its special atmosphere. Apart from being an aesthetical solution, this wall niche is useful for storing glasses or home decor, as it is based just above the kitchen sink.
The cornices for the curtains were made to measure. Their minimalistic design rhymes with the idea of the smoothed angles between the ceiling and the walls.
The plaster on the ceiling above the bed is one of the most romantic details, which brings the vintage interiors to mind. It is the designers’ hint at the classic plaster, reimagined in terms of modern minimalism. This decorative element was produced by hand from gypsum, according to their 3D model.
Project by Rina Lovko, Daryna Shpuryk
Photography by Yevhenii Avramenko