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Inside a retro-inspired Kyiv home filled with vintage finds and a classic spirit

Surrounded by circa-1940s Stalinka houses, this modern apartment combines the spirit of Soviet-era style with a contemporary flair

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By House & Garden South Africa | June 15, 2022 | Design

Dasha, the owner of the apartment, discovered the work of interior designer Yana Molodykh on Instagram and the pair began conceptualising the look and feel of the 75-square-metre apartment. ‘Dasha had a limited budget, which she specified from the very beginning,’ says Yana. ‘After some discussion, we came up with the concept of an apartment as if it would be designed using Dasha’s inheritance from her babushka. It’s like an old house with objects from her grandmother's youth, yet the home maintains a modern, uncluttered atmosphere reminiscent of Paris or Copenhagen.’

Photo by Yulia Yakubyshyna / Instagram: @jul.yakub

The interiors of the home capture the essence of a uniquely classic apartment that Dasha and Yana were looking to reimagine. The furniture and most of the decor was purchased in vintage markets and online in Ukraine and other parts of Europe. Some items were restored, while others were made to order – always keeping a retro aesthetic in mind. Design choices, such as the inclusion of parquet floors and gypsum cornices, add a rich sense of nostalgia that transports you to childhood days at grandmother’s house, in the best way possible.

Photo by Yulia Yakubyshyna / Instagram: @jul.yakub

For Yana, it was essential to feature a range of distinct furniture and artwork that recreate the spirit of the apartment, while still allowing for an open, smooth flow between the different spaces. The open-plan design of the home is perfect for modern, sociable living – the dining room and living room are only a few feet away – providing an intimate and comfortable setting for when Dasha has guests over. The living room keeps to the lighter tones with its oatmeal colour palette, modern lighting and furniture that’s heavier in texture than in form. Two vintage chairs upholstered in Dedar Milano bouclé work beautifully with a rug from Muuto and the custom coffee table by buro150. A striking piece of art by Ukrainian artist Darina Mikityuk on the wall adds a pop of colour to the room.

Photo by Yulia Yakubyshyna / Instagram: @jul.yakub

This decorative narrative continues in the bedroom with a vintage crystal chandelier from the Czech Republic, the first purchase for the home. ‘This beautiful vintage chandelier, among other pieces, gives character to the spaces’, adds Yana. ‘It was important to bring unique aspects to the home, from the high skirting boards and swing doors to the marble and granite tabletops.’ The kitchen makes use of Ukrainian granite for the countertops, an unorthodox decision as this kind of stone is usually used for stairs or outer cladding, but the combination of copper and the deep green colour of the stone worked so wonderfully together that it had to stay.

Photo by Yulia Yakubyshyna / Instagram: @jul.yakub

While the home is generally bright and open, the theatrical hallway painted in a rich, slightly dusty colour makes for an intriguing exception. This standout space is finished with doors in a blue blood tone and contemporary wall lights by Aromas del Campo.

‘When Dasha’s friends first saw her apartment, they told her that it reminded them of a Soviet intellectual’s home,’ says Yana. ‘It was the best compliment ever.’

Words by Shai Rama

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