The kitchen project for Dana and Alex R. (founder of KULTTÜR) came wrapped up with a life story, a story that unfolded like a bow when you open a gift. Have you noticed how gifts are always beautifully wrapped, and when you receive them, you tear the package right open, with no regard for the bow, so to find that surprise inside? This is how interior design works.
When you view a photo gallery with a beautifully made interior, what you don’t see are the efforts behind the project, the difficulties, the problems and the technical solutions, the time invested, the work teams, the money invested. These are just the packaging, part of the backstage story of the project you admire, but as you know, it’s the packaging that makes for the gift experience.
A story in three: Dana, Alex and Lara
For the hosts, Alex and Dana, together with their daughter, Lara (6 years old), the project to move to a house in the suburbs of Bucharest (Pipera-Voluntari) was a gift to benefit their personal lives, the next step in the evolution of their family, a welcome change in their lives.
They have lived in the center of Bucharest ever since they met and did not imagine living in a house in a residential neighborhood during their professional youth, they had pushed this thought for a time when they’ll retire, when they will “have time”.
The motivation to take the major step came from several directions that converted to a single constant – the need to focus on the family, the child, above personal life.
There was a time in a 6-month period when we switched from the idea – “we won’t leave the city of Bucharest, we can’t make it to the office in an hour” – to the idea of buying a house in a quiet residential complex and change our lifestyle. We analyzed our habits and came to the conclusion that we only see each other in the evening anyway, all our activities are work-related, and then we meet at the end of the day when fatigue has already kicked in. It didn’t make sense to deceive ourselves that a central location in Bucharest would have been more appropriate for what we wanted.
→ Dana R
After several months of research, the two discovered a residential complex for young families with small children in Pipera-Voluntari, a children’s paradise.
They fell in love with the house and the neighborhood on the spot, and the decision to buy came instantly. The house was already built, so they had the opportunity to intervene exactly as they wanted.
Alex insisted on taking care of all the details – electrical cables, plumbing, doors, windows, floors, lighting, finishes, because he works in the field of custom design, and this is his passion, so I knew what to do I expect.
Alex founded and works at KULTTÜR – importing custom-made interior and exterior doors, windows and flooring from Germany and Austria. The architect we worked with gave us a general direction for the arrangement, then Alex took care of everything, as he does for the company projects.
For the kitchen, we came to MyKitchen Studio, I knew that a concept for the interior design starts with the kitchen. We visited a number of kitchen showrooms, but the process was difficult and we didn’t get what we wanted, it was either too expensive or unimaginative. Alex met Andrei from MyKitchen Studio 2 years ago and the two have intersected on various design projects over time.
Andrei redesigned our original project to win more space for the kitchen and living room, an idea which we really liked, it came with a fresh vision. I am very satisfied with the configuration, materials, partitioning, pocket-closing systems, design, delivery and assembly.
The open space kitchen
The L-shaped kitchen setup includes columns with pocket doors and a shelf system that connects the kitchen area to the dining area. The setup continues to the living room via a low-rise TV console to keep the stylistic line for the entire ground floor space.
Materials and finishings
- Base units: Fenix NTM “Nero Ingo”, thickness 20 mm, straight edge
- Column: AluTech “Brunito”, thickness 20 mm
- Worktop: Ceramic “Nero Calce”, thickness 12 mm
- Special element: Pocket Doors Column with worktop and backsplash in ceramic „Nero Calce”, 2 backlit shelfs with LED strip, LED lighting for worktop, 4 Schuko positions socket, 3 interior drawers
- Falmec – Ceiling hood Model Nuvola, perimeter absorption, LED lighting (white backlit glass), with external motor of 950 m3 / h, super quiet
- AEG – Induction hob 60 cm, 4 zones (2 flexible zones), countertop mounting
- Binova – “FILO INOX” type Stainless steel sink integrated in the countertop, 1 bowl
- Barazza – B_Free, Stainless steel tap with side control
- Electrolux – Multifunctional electric oven with convection and steam supply
- Electrolux – Dishwasher, 3 drawers, automatic opening at the end of the program (sliding opening system)
- Whirlpool – Built-in refrigerator XXL width 75 cm – volume 400 liters
What inspired the chromatics?
We lived in 2 other apartments where everything was white (with light /dark gray variations) and we wanted a change of perspective, a more mature approach to interior design, with touches of color that have personality, darker colors, modern textures. I especially wanted an anti-fingerprint material (Fenix) because I like cleanliness, and Alex was looking for a modern material (AluTech Brunito metal finish), and together we decided on the ceramic for the worktop.
How about the design process?
The experience with MyKitchen Studio was a success. Regarding the interior design works, I came to the understand that everything is a process for which you must have the right expectations, adapted to the reality of the game. Delays will not always be due to the supplier, even the supplier may have delays from partner suppliers. Synchronizing teams is quite difficult, dividing the project into working stages is an art in itself.
The design process cannot be 100% smooth and hassle-free. Maybe before I met Alex and understood how a renovation process goes, I would have had different expectations, but now I see how things work – I came to understand how many people are involved, how much work is involved, how many deadlines, teams and suppliers need to be managed.
After a while you get to know the inside of the field and you understand that everyone does everything they can, and if there are problems, you simply need extra patience and they will be solved. It is a field of beauty, and beauty is not always quick or easy, difficulties will arise, but that makes it even more beautiful.
We really liked the realistic perspective of the owners for the interior design.
According to Dana, being dissatisfied with suppliers and providers is very simple, but there are too few things in life that are in our direct sphere of control, while most are completely out of control, so it is not logical to have unrealistic expectations.
Dana is currently in her sabbatical year, a decision she made out of a need for change, after working for over 10 years in the same company.
The lifestyle at home no longer matched with the company. It’s hard to get out of work if you don’t make sure you have a pillow to land on, and I was missing the exercise for change. It is very difficult to make a change as the years go by and you become comfortable in your lifestyle. We have about the same habits, the same holiday destinations, the same restaurants.
I look at Alex and admire him for his entrepreneurial tenacity, including his family involvement. When you have a business like KULTTÜR, you don’t close at 18:00, the job becomes second nature, it continues for the rest of the day. I also relied on Alex if I had a situation with the child, being very busy with my professional life. It does make sense to me for a family that both people work with the same intensity in the professional field because someone will suffer, and most of the time it will be the child.
I chose the sabbatical option to reconnect with my family, my child, my home environment. All people have this domestic instinct to create a pleasant atmosphere at home, with all the necessary comfort, art and beautiful objects, but we “live” 70% of the time at the office. We don’t enjoy home at all, our personal life, we come home tired and we don’t have time for anything, much less family. Something had to change, we needed this restructuring of family responsibilities and now we are doing much better, we are much more united.
Alex, from your point of view, have you gotten where you want to be with your home and family situation?
Yes, absolutely, but not only did I get there, I think we went a bit further, which was also the idea. Our initial vision was simpler, with fewer details, but once you get into the project, the eye for detail becomes much more comprehensive.
We enjoy this new lifestyle and we have adapted to the new conditions quite quickly.