Having been avid readers and frequent travellers all their lives, the homeowners of this pied-à-terre apartment had ample inspiration to draw from. It's little wonder, then, that the home is today every bit as dreamy as it is cosmopolitan. However, bringing together so many stylistic elements with such consideration and subtlety would require an experienced hand. As such, architect and interior designer Olimpiada Arefieva from Well Done Interiors was brought on board to bring the homeowners' vision to life.
“From the first moment I saw the apartment, I was very impressed by the spectacular height of the five-meter ceiling as it is not something you often see in city apartments, says Olimpiada. “I also immediately loved the floor-to-ceiling windows and the wood-burning fireplace."
The building itself also inspires Olimpiada: there is a noticeable incline on two of its four façades with several walls of the apartment inclined towards the centre of the rooms. 'It makes such a striking impact,' she says, 'and as an architect, I love working with complex spaces like this. Thad to consider the context of a modern building with a very strong architectural idea, and I wanted to create a design based on a complex mix of styles and eras - for me, it's the only way to bring one-of-a-kind interiors to life.'
To achieve this, Olimpiada started with a minor reconfiguration of the apartment; a mezzanine was installed at the centre of the home to accommodate two new rooms. Two staircases were built: one in the kitchen-dining area, leading to a study, and another in the main bedroom, leading to the main bath and a wardrobe.
Through this initial configuration, while staying true to the original spirit of the building, Olimpiada created a blank canvas on which to fuse different influences and styles. The apartment has an undeniable sense of industrial modernity but is softened by romantic Baroque aesthetics.
Drawing from her immediate sense of wonder in the building, Olimpiada set out to create an enveloping atmosphere in the apartment, where the homeowners and their daughter could indulge in their favourite pastimes - but still have a home that felt and functioned like a bold and artistic exhibition space.
'I was inspired by Dimorestudio, Renzo Mongiardino, and Studio Peregalli, who combine architectural heritage and master colour and light in their works,' says Olimpiada. 'Dimorestudio and their vintage aesthetic were the starting point for the colour palette of pinks, burgundy, sepia, blues, and greens.' From there, she opted for a bold mix of furniture and lighting pieces, along with fabrics and wall coverings, to create a setting that is at once classic and contemporary. Throughout the house, there are show-stopping moments as far as the furniture and art are concerned.
Some of the finest craftspeople, artists, and designers fill this home - Dimore Milano, Dornbracht, Dedar, Oluce, Pierre Frey, Loro Piana, Zoffany, and many others - making each room an exposition in classic and contemporary design.
And while the space exudes boldness from corner to corner, this is not to say that Olimpiada didn't use some measure of restraint during her design process; for her, it was about balancing the bold with the muted, and the audacious with the restrained. 'I put such a big focus on the architectural ceilings and the bold mix of fabrics that I decided to use very simple materials,' she says. 'So there are quite a few quiet moments throughout, like some of the painted walls and natural wood for the floors.'
In this balancing act, Olimpiada brought the lives of the dynamic homeowners into clear focus. And much like the books they have enjoyed all their lives, the apartment is filled with twists and turns, protagonists and intrigue, characters and climax.