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.

1 / 8
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.

2 / 8
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.

5 / 8
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.

6 / 8
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.

7 / 8
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.

8 / 8
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.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016
Nendo's collection of objects inspired by Star Wars
In a galaxy not so far away, Japanese studio Nendo has released a versatile collection of objects inspired by classic Star Wars characters.
February 02, 2016
Monti catered to his mother’s love of cooking by giving her ample storage areas along the 70-foot long walnut wall-slash-cabinet. The refrigerator, kitchen items and other goods easily disappear into the wall when not in use. The nonporous, stain-, scratc
Sometimes the earthy colors and vivid grain of a wood like walnut is all you need to make a space.
February 02, 2016
renovated modern home in Austin interior kitchen
From California to Connecticut, these midcentury interiors still shine through thanks to the careful attention of architects and residents alike.
February 02, 2016
Outdoor dining area at a Saigon home.
A city home honors the local culture with communal outdoor space and reclaimed materials.
February 02, 2016
Affordable Portland home upper floor wrapped in black corrugated steel
These homes revel in both nature and city life.
February 01, 2016
London bedroom with exposed beams.
These homes show their bones to great effect.
February 01, 2016
Bar in an Amsterdam loft.
Bend an elbow with us at these very local watering holes.
February 01, 2016