In its initial state, the apartment seemed to be the perfect choice for before and after photos, as it preserved the sixty-year-old construction in almost every element, in an essentially intact condition. In six decades, only a few paintings, the renovation of the exterior doors and the air conditioner on the bedroom wall marked the passage of time – of course, in addition to the indoor wear and tear. However, what looks good and forms a spectacular contrast in the before and shots compiled after the renovation constituted a huge challenge for the professionals at the beginning of the work.
The main objective of the renovation was to make it easy for the owners to find tenants who were looking for an affordable, modern apartment of high standards. Thus, a complete remodelling was required, which even included the lines of the partitions as well as the layout of the rooms. The tiles, hardwood, floor covering, sanitary ware and all the other retro details from the sixties had to go, which made it necessary for us to rethink the entire interior. However, an enormous task can also be a great opportunity: we were free to dream of a new apartment within the “playground” that was limited by the retaining walls and the struts of the building. The only limit to our imagination was the fact that the owner expected cost-effective solutions from us, at the same time, however, did not want us to work with poor-quality materials. As a result, for our creative imagination the process of meeting all expectations became an exciting game with interior decoration and design.
There is a long way to go between dreams and reality. We sometimes even have to sit back at the design table to get back to the perspective of the starting point from which we can discover even new paths. This time that is exactly what was needed to be done, because after the completion of the first plans, it turned out that we were not able to move the wall of the bedroom, as it was the retaining wall. This case is a good example of the importance of one of the significant principles of home renovations: the best ideas can only be born and realized if we first map out the characteristics of the building – and within this, our own residential unit – in detail. Since in our case this important principle prevailed – due to external circumstances – only after the design, we had to unleash our imagination again. However, a clean slate is inspiring every time, the opportunity awakens the creative power over and over again, and our creativity never asks for a break: finally, the implementation began based on the second plan.
The space in the apartment was opened up thanks to the demolition of the partitions and the removal of the floor covering as well as the old bathroom. This newly acquired, larger spatial unit welcomes those who enter the apartment – because this is where the front door opens –, so it was extremely important for us to create a sense of spaciousness here, as it fundamentally determines the atmosphere of coming home and staying at home. At the same time, we opened the way for the natural light coming from the only window of the room, which can thus flow freely in the unified interior, creating cosiness and serenity. Due to the small floor area of the apartment, this was also an essential step. In this room we designed a work area – with a medium-sized desk – and a dining area – with comfortable seating for four people –, as well as a clean and practical kitchen – with a comfortable work desk and hidden fridge. Basically, it became one of the multifunctional communal spaces in the apartment, which can be a great place to work from home, study, cook, and have family or social gatherings. From here you can enter the bathroom – which was completely rebuilt on the site of the old kitchen, and which also houses the toilet – and you can also enter the bedroom from here. Since the large floor area of the room allowed it, we divided the space into two parts with the help of a barn door in the middle: this is how the living room and the bedroom, which can easily be separated or united, were created. The bedroom can also accommodate a comfortable double bed, bedside tables and a double chest of drawers, in a way that there is still enough space left to walk among them conveniently. Besides, the built-in wardrobe, which was upgraded with new doors as well as an internal shelving system, also became easily accessible, and is an important base of the apartment’s storage capacity. The living room was furnished with only a few pieces of furniture: just a comfortable sofa, two small coffee tables and a TV cabinet that also serves as a storage unit. However, the modesty in the number of furniture was not at the expense of the usability of the room, on the contrary, it increased and maintained the balance of the interior.
Once everything was in place, we equipped the apartment with small but crucial accessories. In the spirit of minimalist design, small shelves were placed on the white wall surfaces. We chose spherical, spectacular luminaires, and we made the dining room more exciting with black and white, non-figurative wallpaper that matches the colour scheme of the entire apartment. The furniture and other home furnishings – such as the mirrors that affect the experience of the space, the plants that were placed to create a friendlier atmosphere and even the modest-looking electric heaters – were selected to meet the needs of refined simplicity as well as aesthetic practicality. The former pantry, the area of which can be separated with a door, made it possible for us to hide both the electric water heater and the washing machine, so that the necessary but less aesthetic elements do not disrupt the style and inner harmony of the apartment. The wood grain floor as well as the raw wood-effect board on the kitchen counter made the rooms painted white – to ensure the brightness of the interiors – cosier.