When Kiev–based architect Slava Balbek and interior designers Evgeniya Dubrovskaya and Artem Beregnoy first visited this two-story apartment in a heritage building in Kiev, Ukraine, they discovered beautiful original brickwork hidden under layers of plaster, an atmospheric attic with sloped walls, and old timber ceiling joists. Per the request of their client—a sophisticated, young bachelor—to preserve yet thoughtfully modernize, the historically significant structure, the team worked to retain, restore, and repurpose as many of the apartment’s original features as possible.
"Finding the right balance between the old and the modern, while preserving the integrity of the entire space was our first challenge," notes Balbek.
The team avoided loud colors, and instead unified the contemporary and historical details with a monochromatic palette throughout the home. They restored the old brickwork and metal beams, and also cleaned and lacquered the timber joists.
In the areas that were significantly damaged, they carefully selected replacement bricks for the walls, as well as scuncheons that were made around the same time as the building.
"To even out the scuncheon and window lintel, we expanded the keystone and filled out the scuncheon with newly found bricks," says Balbek.
The warm brick walls on the ground level now create a natural, almost rustic canvas, where the original historical features—such as the existing stucco and corner chimney—blend together harmoniously with the modern furniture and white wall-panels.
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On the lower floor, white wall-panels unify and brighten the open-plan living areas, yet on the attic level, the panels are used to straighten the sloping walls.
On the attic floor, built-in window blinds are hidden within the paneled walls to keep the space neat and streamlined.
The open-plan lower level includes the kitchen and dining area, a large living lounge with a film projector, a walk-in closet, a pantry, and a bathroom, which is contained within a thick, soundproof walled box.
The upper floor is divided into three zones: a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a study, and large walk-in closet; a guest bedroom with an ensuite; and a laundry room.
"We wanted to come up with innovative, architectural solutions that would sustain the passage of time. The apartment is comfortable and inviting, modern and sophisticated, fresh and genuine; it is a place where ‘less is definitely more’," says Balbek.
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