Can truth and fantasy co-exist in the same space? Can an apartment resident simultaneously feel the cosiness of home and the refreshing freedom of a dream world?
This was the challenge that we faced as we were called to design the renovation of a top floor apartment on the east side of Thessaloniki; the project that we would eventually come to name as “The Mulholland Household”!
“Mulholland Drive” is one of the most important films of director David Lynch, who is famous for using fantastic realism in his work and usually depicts it surrealistically in his cinematography. In this particular film, the use of colors is almost exclusively symbolic: throughout the movie, changes in color signal transitions from the real to the dream world and vice versa.
Our job was to take a residential apartment with a last-century, retro aesthetic and transfer it to the “now”, while at the same time “sprinkle” around the space the vague feeling of fantasy that meets with reality.
At 80m², this 4th floor apartment initially looked like a typical flat made in the 80s. It was clear from the start that the biggest asset of this home was the undivided kitchen with living/dining area. Bright, airy and with big openings overlooking the street, the open-plan space immediately got our attention.
For the largest part of the apartment, we picked green (#3630-126 / Dark Emerald Green) and cool white for the walls, together with warm wood for the floors. This color choice was deliberate, as green is famous for its mental associations with wellness and vitality; sentiments that we wanted to enliven in our residents. So, we created a balanced -yet dynamic- color synthesis, which we carried through up to the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bathroom.
The loudness of the old mosaic floors in the living/dining room areas was replaced with the calmness of wood floors in pastel hues. Our idea of pairing the inviting simplicity of wood with the passionate wakefulness of the green on the walls, was aimed to create a clean canvas, ready to host the residents’ colorful activities!
The accent in colors that was made the protagonist of the open-plan area is interrupted as we enter the bedrooms. This move was intentional, because we see interior design like a storyline: when we design, we tell a story and that story needs to change as we move from the common rooms to the private areas of the home! In fact, these “plot twists” are vital parts of our interior design technique - and we love using them.
For the sleeping areas, we selected an off-white color palette. Our aim was to develop an atmosphere of calmness and give a feel of an empty stage that is to be filled by the residents’ luscious dreams.
We picked a color contrast for the bathroom, as we combined black and white floor tiles with pale grey tones on the walls. Our vision was to form an echo of the dynamic accent used in the largest part of the apartment, but -again- with a “twist”!
The Kitchen Area
The dark green/white synthesis used in the open-plan space was continued in the kitchen. We also added a white marble backsplash, which we accented by concealed linear lighting; thus, adding a warm undertone to the kitchen area.
The Final Impression
Our objective was to construct a new and modern apartment that allows the residents to lead a pleasant daily life, while also inspiring them to dream and create.
We were happy: the home that had once belonged to a century gone by had given way to a bright and contemporary apartment, leaving no trace of the old era on its trail.
Using color alterations as our primary tool, we constructed a residence that resonates liveliness and arouses the imagination, without withdrawing the necessary feel of serenity.
Looking at our completed work for the first time, only one name came to mind: Mulholland - where anything is possible!
Copy: Valia Giannarou