Monday Sep 25, 2023

A Bland Ukrainian Apartment Now Bursts With Colorful Energy

Interior designers Christina Vlasova and Nikita Vlasov of Faino Decor Studio didn’t know who they were working for. When they were hired to rethink an apartment in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, all they could be sure of was the general vibe of their client. “She’s a woman with good taste, and the apartment is in a quite prestigious residential complex,” Christina says. “It’s right next to a metro station and close to nature.”

The truth is that the owner didn’t know who they were designing for either, since she bought the place in order to rent it out for a yet-to-be-discovered tenant. The one-bedroom spread was part of a recently constructed high-rise complete with 26 floors, in which the exterior blends in with surrounding historical architecture, but the interior leans much more modern. “This is a very common practice in Ukrainian construction,” Nikita notes. “There was nothing special about the apartment. It was just empty space.”

A Woodsoft bed is flanked by tables from IKEA and LaForma Home. A vintage armchair was restored by Fabik Studio, and the art is by Taras Kovach. “The original kitchen was in this space, but we determined that the bedroom only needed one window,” Christina notes. “It also made it possible to put a nook by the windows in the living room.”

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The upside to these mysteriously vague yet simultaneously nondescript circumstances is that Christina and Nikita were free to let their imaginations fill the void. The owner simply asked for them “to tell a story,” and they got to decide what that entailed. “She wanted us to have a ‘wow factor’ with a lot of colors and details that would make it a unique listing when it went on the market,” Nikita continues. “We started to work on it last December, and it was completely bare inside. There was no electricity, plumbing, or finishing materials, just concrete walls and flooring.”

The pair took two months to craft something that could make a lasting impression, and they seized on the fact that the property had been as unfinished as it was. They opted to swap the kitchen with the bedroom, which allowed the adjoining living space to have panoramic windows. “This switch gave one window to the bedroom, and then we figured that its entrance could be through swinging glass doors,” Christina says. “The bedroom has a separate dressing area, and from the side of the corridor, a full-fledged laundry was carved out of the former living room.” And, although they made the hallway smaller, they did so to make the bathroom bigger, concluding that such a move would be worth it.

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