This apartment’s interior was created for a young woman who loves traveling and art.
The owner likes decorativeness in interiors, but she did not want emphasized luxury or abundance of details. We also had to stay clear of glamour, sentimentally feminine interior, faceless ‘café’ interior, and styles that would demand perfect order and cleanness. Since the owner likes art and sculpture, we had to make space for pictures and statuettes, but avoid making the apartment an exhibition.
When we started working on this interior we defined the desired atmosphere as light, ironic, urban and timeless. Our goal was to create a space fusing together associations and pleasant memories from the owner’s favorite countries and cities. This is how New York, Chicago, Asia, Paris and ‘British style mix’ found their way into the apartment.
New York brought an association with brick and sandstone, lofts and tiny but spacious-feeling apartments. Paris offered the idea of a four-poster bedroom and sculpture as decoration, Chicago - glass walls, Asia – whimsical and complex patterns. We were also inspired by early James Bond movies and the style of singer Lana del Ray.
The apartment is a game of citations from various styles, sometimes unexpected and controversial. The owner was ready to face lack of friends’ appreciation for her new home, but found out that friends with different tastes happily spend time at her place.
The project is not an exact reference to loft style, which implies refurbishing industrial premises into residences, but a softer and cozier space, which brought about the name ‘romantic loft’.
One of the principles we used for creating the interior was backstage atmosphere – an interior turned inside out, where functional and technical details are displayed openly, like in a restaurant kitchen or behind a theatre stage. This approach is used, in particular, with respect to lighting fixtures. There is no central chandelier in the living room, the light comes mainly from a rectangular rail resembling stage lighting. Most of other lighting fixtures are simply shaped, like regular incandescent bulbs.
The walls consist of vertical stripes – changing from bricks to plastered walls, and creating a theatre-curtain perspective. The stage and the central element of the apartment is the living room zone with a bay-window, emphasized by symmetrical sofas and doors leading to the bedroom and the study.
Loft style usually implies open brick walls, i.e. brick is used as a construction material and decoration at the same time. For this apartment we chose handmade bricks with rough powder-like texture. In order to introduce brick walls into the interior more naturally, we decided to stick to straightforward practical approach – all the walls that we had to build for the desired layout were made of brick. Since we did not want to go too far into industrial aesthetics with open electrical wiring, concrete elements, etc., we had to apply a number of complex technical solutions to hide utility systems, place switchers and sockets, ensure smooth attachment of door casings.
The apartment is located in a new residential building and initially had a ‘free layout’, which could be tweaked to the taste of the owner. The challenge was that there were only 3 windows in the apartment, but we were asked to find place for 4 different rooms (living room, kitchen, bedroom and study/children’s room).
As we developed the layout, we merged the living room with the kitchen (total size of the area – 40 sq.m.), and placed the kitchen farther from the window across the living room. The kitchen is visually separated from the living room by an ‘island’ with built-in stove and working surface (all kitchen furniture was custom-made according to our drawings).
The living room gets most of the daylight from the large bay-window. All the windows face east and in the summer the apartment easily gets overheated, so we had to install a powerful air conditioning system. We managed to hide it without lowering the ceiling in the living room. Part of the daylight reaches the kitchen which does not have its own window. In order to compensate lack of daylight in the kitchen, we installed powerful lighting there.
When developing the layout, we paid special attention to location of utility rooms in order to maximize the size of living areas through efficient use of the space. As a result, the apartment which has 95 sq.m. in total accommodates a living room with adjoined kitchen (40 sq.m.), a bedroom and a study (16 sq.m. each), 2 fully equipped bathrooms, a walk-in closet, a laundry room and a storage room.
The layout is centered around the bay-window in the living room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The main rooms are aligned, so that the bedroom and the study are placed symmetrically on the sides of the living room and create an enfilade. Double KEOMA sofas in slightly different hues emphasize the symmetrical layout. Unlike the living room, both bedroom and study have chandeliers creating sculptural lighting accents. The chandeliers create an axis and complete the symmetry.
When we started working on the project, the apartment had a beautiful view on the center of Moscow. The skyline visible from the bay-window was to become one of the focal points of the apartment. The construction company confirmed that there were no plans to build other tall buildings in the neighborhood. Nevertheless, shortly afterwards the apartment was facing the backside of a huge red brick block and was deprived of the front view. So our task was to shift focus from the opposite building and make use of the 2 diagonal views at the park.
This way we arrived at the idea of a screen consisting of vertical rotating mirror stripes which would hide the opposite building and reflect the nicer diagonal views. We had almost ordered a custom-made screen when we stumbled upon a ready item by FRATELLI BARRI and purchased it. Considering the difficulties with the front view and to prevent overheating in summer we chose light-colored blinds for the bedroom and the study (bamboo blinds for the bedroom, and roll-up Mirage blinds for the study).
Materials, colors and items
Since we used different materials for the walls, we had to find a solution for accurate attachment of different sections. At the same time we had to avoid overloading the apartment with moldings to preserve the contemporary vibe. Walls are separated from the ceiling and the floor by a small gap which creates a light and neat impression from the change of material.
The color palette is subdued, natural and ‘powdered’. Expressiveness is reached by a combination of textures, resembling a coconut – rough and dark colored surfaces neighboring light-colored mattes.
The floor in the living room is clad with beige and brown Ariostea wood look tiles. In the closet and the attached bathroom we used Betonage tiles, and in the guest bathroom - gray-white TAU Ceramica Onice Gris sea wave tiles.
The kitchen is made of white wood and Laminam (thin white ceramic granite). White kitchen appliances by Küppersbusch appear light although they are actually rather large. We installed white wooden doors by Legnoform in all the rooms, including identical glazed double doors leading to the bedroom and the study.
The accent colors are greenish blue and violet – such as the patterns on the tiles of the kitchen island (BayKer Batik Base Gesso), wall tiles in the blue bathroom (Elios Wine Сountry Rosemary), sofa cushions and paintings in the living room.
Beside the brick walls, some of the walls are covered with linen-like plastering (the technology for application of the plastering was specially developed to imitate the texture and color of linen). In the bedroom and the study side walls are covered with wallpaper.
Special attention was paid to furniture and decorative objects. The apartment features many eccentric and unusual furniture items: bird-legged table by KARE DESIGN in the study, double coffee table by BOCONCEPT in the living room, twisted FRATELLI BARRI side table in the blue bathroom, PIERMARIA hanger chair in the closet.
In the bedroom a four-poser bed by FRATELLI BARRI takes center stage, surrounded by minimalist white side tables by KARE DESIGN. The reading corner is dominated by a FRATELLI BARRI bookcase accompanied by the famous BARCELONA chair (designed by Mies van der Rohe back in 1929).
For the study we chose a white scruffy-effect leather sofa by HALO EST 1976, mirror and side-tables by FRATELLI BARRI.
The apartment features many eccentric and unusual objects, such as ‘Jumping Atlant’ in the living room, ceramic deers over the bed, abstract paintings ‘Conversation’ and ‘No words’ in the living room.