Two-level apartment in a townhouse is located in the suburbs of St. Petersburg.
The apartment has two functional levels. The first floor is occupied by a kitchen / living room, there is also a small laundry / guest bathroom. On the second floor there is a master bathroom and a spacious bedroom, with the possibility of separating a guest sleeping area or a nursery (in the future).
People's desire to create, design, repair or improve something in their home after the collapse of the USSR and with the appearance in Russia of broad market of services for home repairs and finished furniture has significantly decreased. In the last few years there has been a boom of foreign DIY blogs, magazines and video instructions that tell you how to make original furniture, create decor items from old things and fill your home with comfort, without significant financial investment. In Russia, this movement is only gaining momentum.
This project is an experiment the purpose of which was to understand what can be done in the interior with one’s own hands, having zero skills in repairing and manufacturing furniture, with the help of simple tools.
Townhouse was bought without finishing, wiring or plumbing: only bare walls, concrete ceilings and interior partitions. Wiring and plumbing was carried out by the professionals. Metal cabinets, safety shields, shelves, stairs and a ladder were welded and painted in a workshop of a friendly auto repair shop nearby for a nominal fee. All the rest was done at the site independently: plastering and painting of the walls, cleaning and varnishing of the concrete ceiling, laying and painting of the floor, assembling of the under-the-ceiling loft bed, as well as furniture, lamps and décor production.
The model for plastering the walls was "mud huts" - traditional clay houses with uneven whitewashed walls, common in southern Russia and Ukraine. A similar visual effect was achieved by applying a thin layer of plaster (0.5 - 1.5 cm) by hand with a plaster trowel on the walls without alignment and subsequent painting in white with a brush. Both operations did not take much time and did not require special skills. Advantage of this technology – such plaster is very easy to restore locally if necessary.
The ceiling of the first floor in contrast to the walls was decided to leave concrete - it was simply cleaned and varnished. For connection of the ceiling spots open wiring was used - a flexible cable, covered with a gray textile braid. The cable is fixed to the ceiling with mini copper rings.
The floor is made of natural wood. Parquet flooring for this project was not considered due to the high cost of the material, the complexity of the preparation of the floor base and the laboriousness of laying such a coating. A cheaper and easier-to-install alternative was the grooved board made of larch, laid on logs. Larch - environmentally friendly, beautiful in texture and durable material. For the project 6m length boards were used. To reduce the risk of squealing, a layer of roofing material is laid between the lags and the board. To reduce noise and additional thermal insulation of the floor, the space between the lags was filled with stone wool slabs. As a finishing coat of the floor a hardwax-oil was used. This coating allows the wood to breathe, provides natural protection of wood, and it is resistant to wear, abrasion and dirt.
The staircase and most of the furniture in the apartment is made on the spot from pine furniture boards. Cutting of boards to the required dimensions was made on order in the wood workshop. Before assembly the boards were slightly adjusted to the required size if necessary and covered with furniture oil or paint. In total more than a dozen pieces of furniture were made from the furniture board: staircase, sofa, bed, dining table, countertops in the kitchen and laundry, shelves, bar and desk. Also the sliding doors, window sills, balcony thresholds and decorative window frame in the bathroom were made from the furniture boards.
The kitchen and laundry cabinets were bought in IKEA but since the palette of the facades is very limited there, the doors and kitchen handles were repainted on order in a dark green color.
An important task was to build an extra sleeping area on the second floor. The height of the ceiling made it possible to make a loft-bed, where you can place guests for the night, retire with a book, and in the future, redo this bedroom into an isolated children's room with a free zone for games. The loft-bed is assembled with the pine beams and plywood, painted together with the ceiling and walls in white. The construction is quite simple: the beams rest on one side of the supporting wall of the house, and on the other side on the interroom partition made of an aerated concrete, with an additional fixing of the structure to the third wall. To fix beams to porous aerated concrete special facade dowels were used. The fence and the stairs are welded from metal. The fence is securely fixed to the bearing reinforced concrete beam of the house, which additionally removes the load from the walls.
In the living room, the main storage element is the staircase, the lower span of which is a closed storage system: under the platform there is a built-in refrigerator and a wardrobe for clothes, behind the smaller doors there is a pace to store household appliances, different things for the apartment and some tableware.
The base under the sofa is designed with three drawers with covers, which store bed linens, documents and small items. In the pulled-out position the drawers are used as coffee tables near the sofa.
A variety of table- and cookware is displayed on the open shelves and in the metal cabinets under the windows.
In the laundry there is a whole wall of small cabinets for storing towels, cleaning tools, etc.
On the second floor, the clothes are stored under the bed, as well as on the open hanger under the loft-bed.
On the wall near the armchair there is a bookcase-bar, in which glasses and drinks are stored.
In this project there are quite a lot of vintage elements bought at auctions and flea markets. On the interior doors vintage handles from the 20-30’s are installed. They were found in different communal apartments in St. Petersburg. The armchair on the second floor was saved from the hands of street cleaners in the center of St. Petersburg, repainted and refurbished. Under it there is a Turkish kilim from the 70's. Instead of a bedside table a galvanized bucket with a lid brought from America is used. Among the vintage dishes and household items you can distinguish the old Danish bread cutter, English kitchen scales, French cans, Finnish porcelain plates, Scandinavian cutlery. The chairs in the dining area are also vintage. They differ in form and origin: two chairs with leather seats are European mid-century, and wooden Czech chairs are bought in a Moscow online store.