A Run-Down Farmhouse Becomes a Sleek Modern Retreat

By Laura C. Mallonee / Published by Dwell

Jacek Kolasiński took on a massive renovation project in his dream neighborhood.

When a dilapidated farmhouse went up for sale in Jacek Kolasiński’s dream neighborhood in Szczecin, Poland, he didn’t hesitate to buy it. "I had been looking for a place here for a very long time," the interior designer explains of the urban area, which retains the countryside charm it had before World War II. "I’ve liked it since I was a child."

The house’s new lime plaster walls, seen here in the courtyard, contrast with the old brick wall that divides the house from Kolasiński’s adjoining carpentry shop. Though the house itself is small, the outdoor spaces and furniture studio bring its total square footage to nearly 11,000 square feet.

Sitting on the edge of a vast forest, the building had once served as housing for seasonal workers in the surrounding fruit gardens, as well as a forge. It had deteriorated so badly that it was nearly impossible to renovate. "I like challenges, so it was perfect for me," Kolasiński says.

Kolasiński got rid of half the ceiling, letting it soar up to 23 feet. "My biggest aim was to create an open space and make the house look bigger," he says.

He brought the 1,500-square-foot structure back to life by tearing down light blocking walls and cramped ceilings and salvaging unique features like columns and old brickwork. Its reconstructed bones were then bathed in white and sparsely furnished with décor that seems transported from a Parisian loft. Somehow, in the rustic space Kolasiński now shares with his wife and daughter, it feels right at home. 

The designer took his inspiration for the minimal staircase from traditional Polish "duck stairs." Since they’re narrow, they’re ideal for smaller spaces. The couch was purchased from BoConcept.

White paint with just a hint of gray dominates the farmhouse, reflecting Kolasiński’s love of bright spaces. The pine wooden floors were also enameled in a white oil imported from Denmark.

Even the family’s old magazines are turned inward on the shelf to preserve the house’s monochrome palette. Playful details, like this little monkey, add visual surprise.

The dwelling showcases the designer’s collection of Danish chairs and loungers from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s — including pieces designed by Kofod Larsen, J.L Moller, Harry Ostergaard, Bruno Mathsson, and Hans J. Wegner.

In the kitchen, an exposed brick wall stands out against the milky smoothness of the marble tile floors. "I wanted the house to be raw and interesting," Kolasiński explains. The large cupboard was designed by his company. Appliances are by Smeg and the stove hood is by Elica.

A bright corner in the kitchen houses an Electra coffee maker and a quirky pendant lamp by Lightyears.

For the bedroom, the designer selected a bed by Muji and floor lamps by Lightyears.

A door leads out from the romantic courtyard, lush with plants. "Although we live in a big city, it doesn’t feel like it," Kolasiński says. "The neighborhood and the nature are very relaxing and quiet."

Laura C. Mallonee is a New York-based writer. Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Paris…


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