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Interiors full of light. Transformation of an apartment in Krakow's Kazimierz district

18 of August '23
Technical data
Name: Apartment on Mostowa Street in Krakow
Investor: private
Location: Poland, Kraków
Studio: One Desk
Design team: Mikolaj Iwańczuk, Katarzyna Iwańczuk, Patrycja Badura
Photos: Almond studio
Area: 74m2


  • design
  • realization


Just as the architects from One Desk studio used to do, we now take a look at the interior of an apartment located in a tenement on Mostowa Street in Cracow's Kazimierz district. To open up and illuminate the living area, the designers decided to demolish a section of the wall and introduce glazing. The result? An interior full of natural light, color and multiple view plans.

Architekci stworzyli dwa łukowate przejścia

The architects created two arched passageways

Photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

A young investor couple approached architects from One Desk studio with a request for an interior design for an apartment in a Kraków tenement. Its pluses were a beautiful neighborhood and high ceilings, reaching over three meters. The downsides? Lack of adequate lighting in the living area, view openings and a non-functional room layout. To remedy this, architects Mikołaj Iwańczuk, Katarzyna Iwańczuk and Patrycja Badura decided to knock out an additional opening between the living room and bedroom—in place of the niche where the tiled stove once stood.

W całym mieszkaniu na podłogę zdobi dębowy parkiet

The floor of the apartment is decorated with oak parquet flooring

Photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

Both the old and newly created passageway were topped with an arch, alluding to historical vaults. Meanwhile, they separated the living room connected to the kitchen from the hallway and bathroom with a large glass wall with sliding doors, clearly separating the two functional zones of the apartment, while maintaining access to light coming from the west.

Mieszkanie przy ul. Mostowej, rzut

apartment on Mostowa Street, projection

© One Desk

Interview with Katarzyna Iwańczuk and Mikołaj Iwańczuk

Dobrawa Bies: We are talking about an apartment with a story attached to it. Before you took up designing, you knew it from walking around. How does it feel to design a place that you yourself once dreamed of? Have you realized some of your ideas for this interior?

Katarzyna Iwańczuk: By sight we knew only a single frame of the apartment, as much as the previous owners decided to show to passers-by, revealing the curtains. A huge, ceiling-length bookcase caught our eye, and as big book lovers we actually fantasized more than once about how wonderful it would be to see the rest of the apartment. We never even suspected that we might be lucky enough to design it, and when such an opportunity presented itself, we were greatly surprised by a preternatural twist of fate. As is often the case, our vague ideas of what might be hidden in the depths of the apartment, when confronted with reality, brought a bit of disappointment. The layout of the apartment turned out to be quite afunctional, and thinking about design solutions actually began only after the inventory and conversation with the investors.

Mieszkanie ma wysoki sufit

The apartment has a high ceiling

Photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

Dobrawa: What requirements did the investors come to you with? Did they have any suggestions, or hints of what they definitely don't want?

Mikołaj Iwańczuk: The investors, with whom we were able to establish a partnership right away, gave us practically a free hand in the design. The space of the apartment before the renovation was heavily cluttered, with partition walls, and some of the rooms were quite underexposed. Therefore, one of the demands of the investors was to enlarge the living area. The investors were familiar with our previous projects, so we understood each other in half-words on stylistic issues. The rest was forged during joint meetings.

Kobaltowy korytarz W łazience znajduję się czarno-białe płytki

Cobalt entrance with a closet, and a bathroom on the opposite side

Photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

Dobrawa: Tell us, please, about the design solutions and the color scheme used. What kind of atmosphere did you want to create? The cobalt corridor, for example, catches the eye. Where did this decision come from?

Mikołaj I.: Probably the most significant design decision was to merge two rooms in order to create an adequately illuminated and spacious living area. We also reduced the two huge bedrooms at the expense of a completely new space that included a pantry, a large closet and a workstation. It was between the living room and this newly created, multifunctional hall that two arched vaulted passageways appeared, perhaps the most distinctive element of the project. Thanks to the new penetrations, we were able to create an intriguing viewing relationship and let in additional daylight where it was most needed. We also decided to separate the entrance hall from the living room with kitchenette. Again, due to the scarcity of daylight, we designed a transparent wall, the form of which we intended to rhyme with the divisions of the historic porches in which Kraków's outbuildings still abound today.

Najistotniejszą decyzją projektową było scalenie dwóch pomieszczeń i stworzenie doświetlonej i przestronnej strefy dziennej

The most important design decision was to merge two rooms and create a light and spacious living area

photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

The apartment, thanks to its high ceiling, large windows with beautiful views of Kraków's Kazimierz, had a great atmosphere from the beginning—we focused on not spoiling it. We added details in the form of the aforementioned arched passageways, oak parquet flooring and stylized double doors to the bedroom—the rest is just a discreet complement. We tried to operate sparingly with color, although in fact, where it was used, we wanted to maximize its potential. Such as, for example, in the recalled cobalt entrance to the apartment. This is basically an entrance through the closet, resulting from very mundane reasons, but we hope that thanks to the color scheme used, it gives the occupants a sense of the extraordinary every time they pass through the magical portal.

 Stojąc na osi każdego z dwóch łuków, widzimy co najmniej dwa pomieszczenia  Część dzienna została oddzielona od przedpokoju i łazienki dużą przeszkloną ścianą z przesuwnymi drzwiami

Standing on the axis of each of the two arches, we see at least two rooms

Photo: Migdał studio © One Desk

Dobrawa: Your favorite place in the apartment is?

Katarzyna I.: We really like the multiplanarity of this apartment, standing on the axis of each of the two arches, we can see at least two rooms, the windows facing the street and the tenements on the other side of the street. At the same time, when the situation calls for it, you can reduce the amount of stimuli at any time by simply closing the double doors. Also, the aforementioned multifunctional hallway was, in our opinion, an apt design decision, which opened up a lot of new possibilities in an apartment that is, after all, limited in terms of square footage.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed: Dobrawa Bies

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