Palace Intrigue

written by:
photos by:
January 16, 2009
Originally published in Homes With History
In the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, architect Rytis Mikulionis spent several years property hunting for his first nesting ground and finally ended up inside a former Soviet army barrack, which was, before that, a building on the grounds of a Baroque palace. The city’s astounding collage of architectural histories, compounded with a stimulating encounter between eastern and western aesthetics, make for a unique visiting experience.
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  The renovated façade of Mikulionis’s flat, seen beyond thin snow and bare trees from the grounds of the monastery.
    The renovated façade of Mikulionis’s flat, seen beyond thin snow and bare trees from the grounds of the monastery.
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  Sconces hang in front of the living room niche. The furnishings of the architect’s design are fully stocked with pillows made from exotic patterned fabrics.
    Sconces hang in front of the living room niche. The furnishings of the architect’s design are fully stocked with pillows made from exotic patterned fabrics.
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  Moby the cat sits on the windowsill, which the architect constructed by cutting a geometric pattern into a thick sheet of MDF, a fiberboard product that’s inexpensive, easy to machine, and unrecognizable when coated in white lacquer paint.
    Moby the cat sits on the windowsill, which the architect constructed by cutting a geometric pattern into a thick sheet of MDF, a fiberboard product that’s inexpensive, easy to machine, and unrecognizable when coated in white lacquer paint.
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  In the bathroom, which is tucked under the mezzanine, the toilet-bidet set from Pozzi Ginori boasts rounded rectangles with pleasingly deep but minimal basins. The wall sconces are from the Spanish lighting company Vibia, and fit neatly between brick-like rectangular tiles.
    In the bathroom, which is tucked under the mezzanine, the toilet-bidet set from Pozzi Ginori boasts rounded rectangles with pleasingly deep but minimal basins. The wall sconces are from the Spanish lighting company Vibia, and fit neatly between brick-like rectangular tiles.
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  A couple items of antique furniture from Mikulionis’s family add to the flat’s feeling of history. A painting by Augustinas Liatukas, subject unknown, hangs at the entrance to the mezzanine bedroom above a custom lightbox featuring the ubiquitous CNC-cut geometric pattern.
    A couple items of antique furniture from Mikulionis’s family add to the flat’s feeling of history. A painting by Augustinas Liatukas, subject unknown, hangs at the entrance to the mezzanine bedroom above a custom lightbox featuring the ubiquitous CNC-cut geometric pattern.
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  Mikulionis custom designed the white steel staircase that leads from the living area up to the bedroom platform.
    Mikulionis custom designed the white steel staircase that leads from the living area up to the bedroom platform.
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  Delicate detail punctuates the ceiling, which was once covered in Soviet army signatures.
    Delicate detail punctuates the ceiling, which was once covered in Soviet army signatures.
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  The bed, on the mezzanine, has a B.Lux “Nite” light at its side. The drapes, from Designers Guild, hide the wall closet.
    The bed, on the mezzanine, has a B.Lux “Nite” light at its side. The drapes, from Designers Guild, hide the wall closet.
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  The platform bed was designed by the architect. The pattern on the ceiling was drawn by Rasa Baradinskiene, a local designer, in colored pencil over the off-white paint. Mikulionis and Marcinkeviciute don’t worry about slipping through the rails to the living room level below.
    The platform bed was designed by the architect. The pattern on the ceiling was drawn by Rasa Baradinskiene, a local designer, in colored pencil over the off-white paint. Mikulionis and Marcinkeviciute don’t worry about slipping through the rails to the living room level below.
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  The kitchen fits neatly on one wall. The architect reads at a black Ligne Roset dining set, beneath a Col pendant lamp by Francisco Luján. The tublar steel mezzanine rails were designed by Mikulionis, who enjoyed being exempt from the safety concerns that a client would force on him.
    The kitchen fits neatly on one wall. The architect reads at a black Ligne Roset dining set, beneath a Col pendant lamp by Francisco Luján. The tublar steel mezzanine rails were designed by Mikulionis, who enjoyed being exempt from the safety concerns that a client would force on him.
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  The wood stove roars atop a table designed by the architect.
    The wood stove roars atop a table designed by the architect.
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  The architect looks toward the grounds of an 18th-century monastery, which accompanies the domed church. The large hi-fi system with Infinity acoustics is three centuries newer than the building behind it. The wall sconces are from Luzifer Lamps in Spain. Their pattern of triangular prisms is reminiscent of ceilings in the domes of the Alhambra, the ancient Moorish palace in Andalucia. The shelves are stocked with souvenirs from Mikulionis’s travels—throughout both Europe and former Soviet states like Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
    The architect looks toward the grounds of an 18th-century monastery, which accompanies the domed church. The large hi-fi system with Infinity acoustics is three centuries newer than the building behind it. The wall sconces are from Luzifer Lamps in Spain. Their pattern of triangular prisms is reminiscent of ceilings in the domes of the Alhambra, the ancient Moorish palace in Andalucia. The shelves are stocked with souvenirs from Mikulionis’s travels—throughout both Europe and former Soviet states like Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
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  Rytis Mikulionis relaxes on a sectional sofa of his design, below a monumental Bul reading lamp by Ligne Roset. He gazes at the winter haze streaming through a grand picture window, the flat’s only source of natural light.
    Rytis Mikulionis relaxes on a sectional sofa of his design, below a monumental Bul reading lamp by Ligne Roset. He gazes at the winter haze streaming through a grand picture window, the flat’s only source of natural light.
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