Balbek Bureau carefully unites original and modern features in apartment in Kiev

Balbek Bureau carefully unites original and modern features in apartment in Kiev

A young single professional with a sophisticate taste asked architecture and interior design studio Balbek Bureau to design his new home in a listed building in Kiev, where he could enjoy his life either alone, or with a partner.

“Preliminary assessment of a two-level, 180-sq.m space in a listed building in Kiev revealed an original brickwork hidden under layers of plaster, old timber ceiling joists and sloped walls in the attic. When we work in a historically significant building, we always try to preserve, restore and use as many original features as possible. We believe they create a genuine authentic background while emphasizing, by contrast, the purity of modern forms, shapes and textures introduced by the architects. Finding the right balance between the old and the modern while preserving the integrity of the entire space was our first challenge. We decided to avoid bright colors, so our next challenge was to create a mixture of diverse architectural elements united by a monochrome palette. Finally, we wanted to come up with innovative architectural solutions that would sustain the passage of time. We started with bringing to light and restoring the old brickwork, ceiling joists and metal beams. The timber joists were cleaned and coated with lacquer. We were able to keep 90% of the original joists. We took time to handpick the replacement bricks for the walls and scuncheons, since we wanted to find the ones made around the same time as the building. To even out scuncheon and window lintel we expanded keystone and filled out scuncheon with newly found bricks. As a result, we created a warm and natural backdrop throughout the ground level that effortlessly incorporates both authentic features – such as the corner chimney that is original to the apartment, – and modern architectural elements including paneling and furniture. While the paneling that encompasses the entire 1stfloor serves mostly to unify and brighten the open space, the attic paneling is used to straighten its sloping walls. The attic is a modern loft devoid of historic features, but thanks to the same monochrome palette it feels like a natural extension of the ground floor. Walking through the apartment one cannot help but notice the vibrancy of muted tones reflected in the harmony of distinct textures. Among our more complex architectural solutions are in-built window blinds hidden in the panelled walls of the attic; multi-faceted hand-assembled metal staircase leading from the ground floor to the attic; and a completely soundproof thick bathroom box placed inside of an otherwise open ground floor. Other areas of the ground floor include kitchen and dining room, large living room with a film projector, walk-in closet and a pantry. The top floor is divided into three zones – master bedroom with master bathroom, office and a large walk-in closet; guest bedroom and bathroom, and a laundry room. Overall, the apartment is comfortable and inviting, modern and sophisticated, fresh and genuine; it is a place where ‘less is definitely more’,” explains Slava Balbek

  • Location: Kiev, Ukraine
  • Date completed: 2018
  • Size: 1,900 square feet
  • Design: Balbek Bureau
  • Architects: Slava Balbek, Evgeniya Dubrovskaya, Artem Beregnoy
  • Photos: Andrey Bezuglov, Yevhenii Avramenko
Dining room


Master bedroom
Study area
Master bathroom
Second bedroom