We will always be novices in the art of living.
This quote, visible on the sliding glass panel that separates the kitchen from the dining room, very well defines the atmosphere of relaxed elegance in the apartment of Bogdan and Dana N, a young, modern, and lively couple. After 12 years of living together in the former apartment, the two decided it was time for a residential upgrade, both in terms of space and lifestyle.
They bought the new apartment of almost 200 sqm (160 sqm of interior space, 40 sqm in 2 terraces) at the beginning of 2021, following long research and countless visits to all kinds of apartments in various central locations in Bucharest.
Bogdan and Dana are legal practitioners, Bogdan is a lawyer and Dana is a judge, so the pleadings of the two included long lists of criteria, arguments, wishes, needs, and preferences that found fulfillment (as well as a compromise) in choosing the apartment, in interior design, in the design of custom furniture.
The main challenge with the interior design was to get functionality, thus aesthetics came second. We were looking for a balanced mix between how the space works for us, how it looks, and obviously how much each design detail costs.
The interior design project was managed under the coordination of Eduard Năstăsoiu from Voxx Design, and the kitchen furniture was designed by Andrei Gângă from MyKitchen Studio.
It’s the first time we’ve been working with interior designers and it seems I had a wrong view of the process. I had all kinds of ideas and pretensions that did not take into account the banal reality of things, the daily practice.
The design must work, rather than look good. The design must accommodate, not exclude, it must compromise, not give an unilateral verdict, it must develop an intimate place for two, yet make room for a larger family.
What were the work themes for the designers?
Bogdan wanted a formalist design, an apart-hotel concept, where everything is orderly arranged and serves a function, but it gives enough space for rest, relaxation, disconnection.
Dana wanted a flexible space that would combine residential comfort with the structure of a home office, as well as an environment that allows hosting social gatherings with friends. They both like monochrome tones, neutral, reserved shades, with some color accents.
The people inside make the house work like it should. We moved from 80 sqm to 200 sqm and we have exactly the same way of life – we are still sitting at the kitchen table. From here we start our day, here we meet at dinner, here we talk to friends and have a drink.
Argument for a kitchen
★ Click the photos to see a larger version.
I like the kitchen the most in the whole house, even if it sounds like advertising for MyKitchen Studio. Obviously, Bogdan wanted structure and order, not to see anything on the counter, everything to be hidden, arranged in its place. From my point of view, I love the Fenix material for column fronts and I like all the simple opening and sliding mechanisms.
The positioning of the functionalities in the kitchen is ideal – we perfectly combined the useful with the pleasant. The sink is placed next to the refrigerator (built into the column), followed by the work space on the counter, followed by the hob that sits great next to the window.
The wooden table fits perfectly with the wooden fronts of the bases, and the stone countertop is gorgeous and invites us to keep it clean. In terms of technology, the washing machine is a miracle of modern society, and the freezer built into the first column on the left is the best friend for a stand-alone refrigerator.
Since we have the new kitchen we have cooked more than we have cooked in the last 5 years in the former apartment. When everything works simply and pleasantly, you are more than welcome to put your imagination to work and prepare some new recipes, along with the classic ones.
- Column fronts: Fenix NTM “Grigio London”, thickness 20 mm
- Base fronts: “Rovere Carbone”, thickness 20 mm, veneer
- Worktop: Quartz Santamargerita “Aosta” glossy finish, thickness 20 mm
The possibility of an island
Although I initially rejected the idea, I have been thinking for some time that I would like an island instead of a small kitchen table. An island with semi-bar chairs, to be able to host parties, to make the kitchen a less comfortable place and a little more formal, more mature. The idea remains on the table for the future.
For Bogdan, interior design is still work in progress.
No one has the absolute truth in design, neither the designer, nor the owner of the space, nor a guest, their intakes are just points of view and arguments of varying degrees of importance. It is important to listen to the opinion of specialists, it is just as important to trust your personal aesthetic sense.
Nothing is fixed, absolute, final, definitive, but at some point after months of work you just want to stop, to simply enjoy what you have achieved. Some days I think I can rearrange the whole living room, but the main goal is to enjoy the comfort of home, and comfort cannot be relative, it must be absolute – it is ultra-personal.
Comfort for me is a matter of logic.
Everything is practical, everything has a place now. If you work only with the idea of an aesthetically pleasing design, you will lose the practical dimension. When you try to combine the two, you will reach a rational compromise that is less impressive than you expected, but at least it is correct. That is, it defines your lifestyle in a healthy way. You live with the mind, you live logically.
The mediation between parts
What was the lesson you learned from the interior design process?
As Law specialists, we have come to find the value of compromise. The virtue of reaching a common denominator, the negotiation, understanding the other. Flexibility with the needs of the other is a testament to evolution. We have found a middle ground and we are happy with the result.
If you find answers to such questions as – what’s my normal way of living in the house? – you will find all kinds of creative solutions to create your perfect living environment.
Sometimes I don’t want to go to work anymore and I can’t wait to go home. I have my own feng shui here, I befriended the atmosphere, I already feel at home.
Dana and Bogdan are absolutely delicious in the context of any discussion, but as gentle as they are, they are very rational and strictly organized decision-wise. The important thing is that we went through all the possibilities of the project together and they made a very balanced and refined choice. Moreover, they left some room to develop the project together further.
→ Andrei Gângă, Art Director MyKitchen Studio