written by:
January 27, 2012
Originally published in Less Is Modern

The budget was nearly as tight as the space in this cheerful renovation of a 516-square-foot flat in Bratislava.

modern kitchen renovation with blue countertops
Cabinet Level

The centerpiece of Lukáš Kordík’s new kitchen is the cabinetry surrounding the sink, a feat he managed by altering the facing and pulls of an off-the-rack Ikea system. The laminate offers a good punch of blue, and in modernist fashion, Kordík forwent door handles in favor of cutouts. “I wanted the kitchen to be one simple block of color without any additional design,” he says.

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modern kitchen with plywood dinnerware shelves
Top to Bottom

Though Kordík knocked down a few walls to open up the space, much of the architectural character comes from above and below. He exposed and cleaned the concrete ceiling to give the small flat a sense of unity and then installed a finished oak floor as a textural counterpoint to the craggy vaults overhead.

Shelf Help

The meat of the renovation focused on removing barriers, but Kordík did add a partition between the kitchen and the bathroom. The translucent glass wall does triple duty by delineating the space of the dining room, letting light into the bathroom, and backing bookshelves and culinary storage made from black film­–faced plywood.

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The rest of Kordík's small apartment is given over to an open-plan living and bedroom. The waves of the concrete ceiling offer a bit of overhead character while lounging on the couch or in bed.

The rest of Kordík's small apartment is given over to an open-plan living and bedroom. The waves of the concrete ceiling offer a bit of overhead character while lounging on the couch or in bed.

3 / 8
Small kitchen space with exposed dinnerware shelves

Kordík uses his cabinet system to store far more than just dishes. Food, kitchen appliances, and books also hold court in the dining area. We love that the three volumes of Julius Shulman: Modernism Rediscovered live right beneath jars of snacks.

4 / 8
Modern small space kitchen with neon blue cupboards

A green Dish Doctor by Marc Newson for Magis adds just a bit more color to the blue facing of the kitchen sink and cabinets.

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Stereo setup in Bratislava apartment

Much of the charm of this small, affordable space is its sense of careful clutter. The stereo, LPs, and CDs only add to the sense that this flat was designed for living, not as some airless showpiece.

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Living room with curved concrete ceiling

Here's a view from the bedroom toward the kitchen. Kordík knocked down a series of walls to open the space, but considerable light from the street and the clean white brick also help give it an expansive feel.

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Small space open kitchen and living room

When it comes to media storage in a small space, consider making the most of your nooks and crannies. The shelving at right here is smartly recessed into a cavity next to the window.

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modern kitchen renovation with blue countertops
Cabinet Level

The centerpiece of Lukáš Kordík’s new kitchen is the cabinetry surrounding the sink, a feat he managed by altering the facing and pulls of an off-the-rack Ikea system. The laminate offers a good punch of blue, and in modernist fashion, Kordík forwent door handles in favor of cutouts. “I wanted the kitchen to be one simple block of color without any additional design,” he says.

Project 
P13 Apartment
Architect 

“It was quite a sad place, with yellow painted walls and a strange atmosphere,” says architect Lukáš Kordík of his home in Bratislava. “But I had a feeling it could be easily turned into a cozy and open space.” And by removing a few walls and emphasizing the 1930s flat’s existing rough-hewn charm—exposed brick walls and a ceiling of undulating concrete vaults—he’s done just that.

Now, an architect sprucing up a small, dingy apartment for himself may not be news, but it’s how targeted this modern makeover is that makes Kordík’s reorganization of the space so remarkable. For just a little more than $23,000, he transformed his home from a thicket of small rooms into a continuous, light-filled abode. Busting through a few walls took up much of the scant budget, but Kordík—who works for the Bratislava firm Gut Gut—also managed to redo the electrical, pipes, sewage, and heating while imbuing the place with a hip, old-meets-new vibe.

Nowhere is the overhaul more keenly felt than in the kitchen and dining room. The sharp, boxy geometry of a modified Ikea cabinet system sets the aesthetic tone, with a wall of black shelving separating the bathroom from the rest of the house. Yet for all the low-cost splash of the dining room, Kordík’s aim was ultimately more about improving his home life than sparing his bank account. “It was not about saving money,” he says, “but about saving the space.”

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