Were you ever invited to visit someone’s home and you had little to no expectations for the architecture of the building or for the interior design, and then arrived at the address to find yourself in awe looking at one of those houses featured in the design catalogs?
Here we are on the road together with Dragoș (our photographer) towards the North exit from Bucharest, to the lakes area of Moara Vlăsiei, Ilfov, fishermen’s paradise, visiting the new residence of a young and energetic couple, Andreea and Ionuț. We say “energetic couple” with a double meaning because they both work within the same energy company, one of the main distributors and suppliers of energy and natural gas in Romania.
Their house is located in an alley along the shore of a lake. A slight hill lowers the plane to the lake and the perspective behind the house opens to the glistening water. From the street, the monoblock architecture of the house hides a white, low, ground floor-only building, designed in mid-century Californian modernist style.
We are welcomed by Andreea who’s enjoying the comfort of her house for a few days of working from home. We enter the ground floor lobby which is actually a walkway located above a huge living room at level -1, where the magic of the house happens. We go down the stairs to the living room and here we are in a large open space about 6 meters high, overlooking the lake through glass walls from top to bottom. The Wow effect is instant.
The kitchen integrates perfectly into the landscape.
The new kitchen is part of this generous open space, located a step back from the living room, in a space with a lower height than the large open space. The kitchen island is an open platform overlooking the living room. Through the glass opening to the lake, we can see a swimming pool that will be inaugurated with the arrival of summer. The swimming pool will also be accessible from the kitchen, so with the arrival of sunny days, the area becomes a summer kitchen.
What’s the story of the house, Andreea?
We’ve bought the house recently, in May 2021, it was already built and perfectly habitable. We didn’t do too much work in the living room, but the kitchen was already furnished and we wanted to change it completely. In the space between the living room and the kitchen we had glass doors that separated the space, but we eliminated them.
We moved into the new house after 6 months, during which time we tried to furnish certain strategic areas – the upper lobby dressing rooms, our bedroom, the new kitchen. We haven’t moved in completely, we still have personal things to bring, but we stay here as often as we can.
What was your creative brief for the new kitchen?
We wanted a central island that would be useful for cooking (even if we are not the biggest chefs in the world) and for hosting parties. We wanted furniture a continuous wall of furniture along the wall on the right to mask the niche and also be used for storage.
We wanted to find some high-tech materials that can define a modern spirit for the image of the kitchen and we found the black Fenix, and also Blunatech, the metallic-champagne material for the fronts. Regarding chromatics, I love the combination of black and gold, so I used this mix in a few strategic places.
The kitchen in all its splendor
★ Click to zoom.
We liked working with MyKitchen Studio because they came up with creative ideas and brought a personal touch to the kitchen ensemble. We received better project ideas than from other studios that basically wanted us do the project, MyKitchen brought the element of innovation we wanted. When you go to a design studio, you expect to receive ideas that you didn’t think of, and MyKitchen managed to read our wishes and motivations very well and translate them into design.
- Column fronts: Fenix Nero Ingo
- Worktops: Greco Nero Greco Opaco
- Island fronts: Bluna Tech Aluminum Champagne
- Wall cladding: Bluna Tech Aluminum Champagne
- Woodwork with shelves: Bilaminated Oak Burned Horizontal
What were the challenges of the project?
Although the kitchen space seems quite generous, the number of elements to be integrated was quite big, so all sorts of tricks were needed to integrate all the technology, including the sockets for countertop electronics or sockets. We created a niche behind the wall cladding that hides a technical space and sockets, including giving us extra space on the countertop for small appliances.
We chose a countertop absorption hood because we wanted to eliminate the hood above the island that would have required the construction of an air route and we would not have liked the aesthetics. We also took into account the space required for the transition areas, so the size of the island was designed smaller than we initially imagined to facilitate the movement in space.
The famous dining room table
The (mid-century modern) table in the center needs to be refurbished, it’s a bit scratched and weathered. It is impossible to move at the moment, it’s very heavy, but we are still thinking about solutions for the space between the kitchen and the living room, and for the moment we have decided to keep it.
Why did you choose this region of lakes?
We loved this area since 2019 when we were looking for a house with a yard somewhere in the suburbs of Bucharest, to enjoy the outdoors and openness to nature, also we wanted the road to the office in the city not to exceed an hour. I wanted a lake area, but the prices were a bit high. We really liked this house and got along very well with the former owner.
We left behind our small 2 rooms apartment where we had a terrace and we moved into a house with generous space, yard, and opening to the lake. Basically, we found everything we wanted, even more. Coming from conventional interiors in Bucharest, a very high space puts life in another perspective.
What was our approach to the project?
We designed a typical Italian cuisine from a technical point of view, working in synergy with Andreea and Ionuț. We used state-of-the-art materials, see the fronts of the island made of Bluna Tech (or Alutech, a glossy material), including Fenix NTM Nero Ingo or SlimTech ceramic countertops.
The group of columns is designed in line with the support pillar, with top-down height, and the idea of using a horizontal handle is designed to accentuate the horizontal.
We managed to create a concept that combines Italian technical culture with the idea of a glamorous, colorful environment, like in an Italian cafe of the last century. We really like the atmosphere created by the two, it is proof to our philosophy of kitchens with personality, kitchens that become personal for the hosts of the house.
→ Andrei Gângă, Art Director MyKitchen Studio
We want to know more about your line of expertise, Andreea. What’s happening in the energy field, given the Russia-Ukraine conflict, what can we expect for the future?
It is difficult to say how the energy market will develop in the future, we do not have a glass globe to see so far, but we can draw some conclusions from current information. These are complicated times in the energy sector due to the war in Ukraine and the dependence of EU states on Russian gas and energy resources.
In addition, new ordinances and regulations have been issued by the Bucharest government to cap energy and gas prices, and things are constantly changing. It is also a problem with large energy-consuming clients for whom we need fast solutions, not just future plans.
Another major problem is the lack of investment in the energy sector (new production units), so the future would have been problematic in our field anyway. We don’t have natural gas extraction at the level it should have been. We have not taken major steps towards green energy technology, and renewable energy, the situation is not exactly rosy.
In Romania we rely on domestic gas production, we import between 3-5% from Russia, and during peak periods, these imports can go up to 20-30%, but there are exceptions. Germany is much more dependent on Russian gas.
The energy market is currently undergoing a paradigm shift, both in terms of production, processing, import and export, and consumption. We are looking for alternatives to gas, “green”, renewable alternatives, alternatives that do not involve environmental issues that affect us in the medium to long term or diplomatic issues, the support of authoritarian regimes. Europe is noticing this and is accelerating the implementation of alternative measures after decades of energy dependence on its main supplier, Russia.
During the current period, the old production units were reopened – coal and hydropower plants. Some steps have been taken backward from this point of view, like measures to support consumers during the critical period.
The future “sounds” green, though. We have had the Green Deal agreement for 3 years, but no hasty steps are being taken in this direction, the implementation and transition require at least 10 years, on a national scale. If there is a direct interest, we rely on these sustainable strategies.