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Apartment with Charisma by Between the Walls

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A charismatic personality usually combines several traits that could seemingly belong to entirely different people. It is the same with this interior – in its small area, it combines several different styles without any buffer zones or smooth transitions, coexisting in a shared space and shaping a unique harmony. There is a place for vintage carpets, a green kitchen cupboard, concrete ceilings, and the vibe of a “grandmother’s house.”

The one-bedroom apartment is on the 16th floor of an 18-story building in the modern Comfort Town complex on the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kyiv.

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When the apartment’s owner approached the designers, she had several wishes. Most were not about aesthetics but technical solutions that determine the quality of life. The client maintains a healthy lifestyle, practices mindfulness, and professes hedonism. She devotes a lot of time to sports, travels off-the-beaten-path routes, and is one of the founders of the Ukrainian radical feminist activist group Femen.

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While discussing references, the client chose the boldest solutions. For this lack of fear and trust in professionalism, I like to work with creative people, – says Victoria Kareva, chief designer at Between the Walls.

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The client’s fundamental requirement was the highest quality water purification system, a premium washer and dryer to care for branded items, and a projector that broadcasts the highest quality image on the wall in the living room. At the same time, some of the usual attributes of comfort were categorically unnecessary. For example, the apartment does not have air conditioning or a dishwasher. There is also no underfloor heating, as the client believes that her feet need to be hardened by cool surfaces.

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Among the aesthetic wishes was a bright green color, reflecting the client’s unbridled energy. It was embodied in the facade of a large kitchen cabinet that hides a built-in refrigerator, storage areas, and a wine fridge. The kitchen table and shelves on the wall are a tribute to the American minimalist Donald Judd.

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The centerpiece of the minimalist living room is a velvet pale pink sofa with a projector suspended above it. The wall opposite is covered with a special paint that ensures perfect image reproduction.

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Another stylistic wish of the client was “Grandma’s vibe” in the bedroom. It was manifested through warm-colored herringbone parquet, a rattan chair, rounded shapes of lamps, two vintage carpets, and a vintage mirror in the adjacent dressing area. A sizeable wooden propeller on the bedroom ceiling above the bed works also as a lamp. The concrete ceiling, which seems to violate the laws of the genre, emphasizes that this is not one hundred percent hygge, but an elegant stylization. “A concrete ceiling is a solution that successfully combines plane and texture. It is one of my favorite techniques, and in my own apartment, the ceiling is also concrete. I like to look at its “natural” patterns before going to bed,” says Victoria Kareva, co-founder of the studio.

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The bathroom, which belongs to the master bedroom, is raised on a podium and separated by a terracotta curtain. The combination of traditional turquoise tiles, stone on the countertop and an antique-styled mirror makes the aesthetics of this space close to the classics.

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The project was scheduled to start in February 2022, but it was then that the Russian invasion took place, and the war broke out in Ukraine. As a result, the situation was uncertain, and for a while, all projects stopped. However, six months later, in the summer, the client told the designers that she wanted to avoid putting her life on hold and was ready to start renovating her new apartment.

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At that time, Kyiv experienced frequent power outages, air raid sirens sounded several times a week, and Russian missiles or drones flew overhead from time to time. Kyiv was just learning how to live and remain productive during the war. Logistics chains were also disrupted – many international companies stopped working in Ukraine, and the market for designer products became poorer. That’s why some of the items for this project were bought and brought from France, where the studio’s chief designer and co-founder, Victoria Kareva was staying at the time.

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Creating new projects at such a time is a kind of manifesto of faith in the future. No matter how long the war lasts, this is no reason to stop or lower the professional bar. In these conditions, hedonism becomes a superpower, and the desire to live every day consciously and fully inspires great respect.

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Brands in the project: Asiatic, &TRADITION, Alias, Normann Copenhagen, AYTM, Zambelis, Estiluz, Epson, Irsap, Aet Italia, Marazzi;

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Design: Between The Walls; Area: 67 m2 / 14 727 ft2; Location: Kyiv, Ukraine; Year: 2023; Photo: Andrey Bezuglov;

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