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A play of light and shadow. Unusual apartment in a block of apartments in Bialystok

12 of March '21

Architect Malgorzata Bartoszczyk of {tag:pracownie} has a great appreciation for natural materials, objects with history that she can give a second life to, and dim and unobvious hues in interiors. Accentuated with the right, not too intense lighting, they bring to mind Vermeer's paintings. Such, too, is her small apartment in a block of apartments in Bialystok. We invite you to come inside!

A cozy apartment in a block of apartments in Bialystok has quite a small area - 46 square meters, so its owner, architect Malgorzata Bartoszczyk decided to open up the space by knocking down the walls, which allowed her more design freedom and definitely better lighting of the interior.

Wejście do

The built-ins were planned in detail and made to measure. In the kitchen even the plinths are very capacious drawers

Photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

Opposite the front door are eastern windows with an expansive view, and although the apartment is on a busy street, the view of the sunrise splashing on the stately dome of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church compensates for everything. This apartment is a bit of a disenchantment with dark colors in small interiors. The dark palette introduces an unusual mood and play of chiaroscuro," adds the architect.

the way to a small apartment

With a small area, every centimeter counts, which is why the kitchen side of the building was planned in detail and made to measure. In the kitchen even the pedestals are very capacious drawers. The lower cabinets were unusually deepened to gain additional working space. The wall separating the kitchen from the children's room, on the other hand, creates a kind of utility and dressing room riser, crowned from the entrance side with a sizeable sheet of mirror. The heart of the kitchen is a massive oak table. It is on it that all the work lands when baking together with the children.

Wejście do
mieszkania Duży stół w kuchni

The apartment is a disenchantment of dark colors in small interiors

Photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

The table will probably stay with us forever, this is where all family life takes place - stories, plans, shared meals. I like such things that do not pass away, do not have an expiration date, seasonality and there is no risk that they will end up in the trash. It is on such a basis and thought that at the end of last year I established my natural design studio Jeno. In the studio I implement projects in the field of interior design, promoting the rational and conscious use of materials that the market offers us, as well as nature itself (which we often forget)," says Malgorzata Bartoszczyk.

nature first and foremost

On the opposite side of the kitchen riser, the wall in the children's room is formed by a spacious wardrobe closet. Currently, the children's room is just before the renovation, it must be prepared for the next educational stage of the daughter.

Wnętrze salonu

The interior design is mainly second-hand elements

Photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

Shelves and a desk made of pine board have already been developed, which we will protect ourselves with natural tung oil, and on the walls we will test the safest of paints - clay paint. These are such simple things given to us by nature itself, healthy for humans and non-polluting to the Earth. So many people now suffer from various types of allergies. People spend years looking for the cause, and that cause can be, among other things, the materials with which we finish our homes. Just as health is very negatively affected by processed food, highly processed materials, paints, waterproofing containing toxic volatile compounds are also negatively affected. I am constantly learning more and searching for good, safe materials. Chemicals can't be eliminated completely, but it's worth minimizing their use for your own health! It is a good idea to surround yourself with plants that purify the air, popular ficus or winged flowers, for example, do a great job with this job.

New life for old objects

Quite a few of the furnishings and decorations have been given a new life. The architect used second-hand objects or... herbs and flowers found in the meadow. Dried, they make a beautiful decoration, and together with Margaret's original paintings and her husband's guitar, they create an artistic atmosphere. The large sofa, thanks to the upholsterer's work, was transformed into a stylistically sophisticated piece of furniture in shades of distressed blue.

Ciemny salon

The oak coffee bench was found in a second-hand store

Photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

At antique fairs, consignment shops or online auctions you can find real design treasures. The oak coffee bench is our gem, which we are delighted with, found in a local second-hand store. This store is my discovery - you can scrounge up real rarities and support a worthy cause. Funds from the store's operations go to the operation of the Bialystok-Eindhoven Association, which helps people at risk of social exclusion. Many people affected by mental illness work in the store, and here they have their tasks and can feel needed," says the architect.

recycling and natural materials

Is designing with recycled objects and natural materials, more difficult than where everything, is new and factory-made?

It's not a simple matter to base a project on second-hand items, for the basic reason such items are in single copies, you can't fully plan, dress them up in manufacturer's code and put them on the product list for the investor. Quick decisions are important, and these are not always possible. At the same time, it is also a great pleasure. The feeling of finding a unique item, which for someone has already become an unnecessary gadget, in a properly composed interior takes on a whole new luster and delights. It's nice if at least some of the furnishings can be saved from the trash and breathe life into them, then I feel satisfaction.

Wnętrze łazienki Odnowione krzesło

Subdued colors and twilight bring to mind the atmosphere from the paintings of the Dutch masters

photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

back to the roots

Natural materials are difficult in that while we are familiar with them, we are unaware of the possibilities and benefits they offer us.

We are afraid and mistakenly associate them only with ancient or antique construction, while, after all, walls lined with clay or lime plaster, for example, are not a cottage from the old days, but the home of a very health-conscious, health-conscious person! (For those interested, I recommend a closer look at the Clayworks realization, where modern minimalism is perfectly intertwined with the aforementioned clay plaster). No one talks about the fact that lime can help fight mold and mildew on the walls, and going further (because it's not only about the walls here) realistically affects our health. It's like a web of connections. Store shelves are strewn with products full of "magical" possibilities of abrasiveness, washability, and such as clay paint, for example, is not washable, but has something else, something actually more important - it is devoid of any chemicals. You can with confidence initiate the game of painting a room together with your child - he will be delighted!

w Białymstoku

The way to a healthy interior are also air-purifying plants

Photo: Malgorzata Bartoszczyk

For the so-called scrubby products for walls there is also an alternative - silicate paints. These products have been known for years, but sit modestly in a niche market. I want to change that. There has to be something vibrating, but not necessarily technologically forward, rather we should go back to our roots in some issues. There are so many gifts of the Earth, but to use them to the fullest, we need to possess not only knowledge, but also patience, moderation. Acquire a certain internal buffer and slackness, give some permission to the natural aging processes of materials. Care for them as we care for our skin, and at some point give acceptance to aging, to wrinkles, to a different visual quality, maybe even (surprisingly) a better one. Technological development is our power(i.e. humanity thinks so) and destruction at the same time. What a paradox! - concludes Margaret.

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