Dawidy is a village located in the Warmian-Masurian province. In the 15th century there was a small landed estate here, which in the 17th century came into the hands of the Dohn-Schlobitten(Slobity) family and was in their possession until 1945. In 1730-1731 a mansion with Dutch Baroque features was built here, designed by Johann Caspar Hindersin, which we can still admire today.
The mansion served as a hunting lodge, as evidenced by two smokehouses and a huge kitchen on the first floor of the mansion. After the war, the estate was inhabited by several families - exploitation and lack of renovations brought it almost to a state of disrepair. Since 1976, the mansion has been used as a guesthouse with a restaurant. Sound interesting? Read about its further fate, as told by current owner Jan Kozlowski.
Basia Hyjek: How did your adventure begin?
Jan Kozlowski: I acquired the mansion in Dawidy in 2008 from Mr. and Mrs. Matuszewicz, who bought it from the municipality in 1975 and with superhuman efforts restored it to life. Between 2009 and 2014, the mansion underwent a renewed renovation, combined with the replacement of the entire, still original, but unfortunately rotten wooden structure. This included the trusses, beams of the ground and second floor ceilings, roofing, all floors, window and door frames, and all installations.
Simple and economical interior design inspired by Provence
© Jan Kozlowski
Basia: What were the most difficult moments - the old house certainly threw up many challenges?
Jan: Yes, replacing the structural elements I initially did not consider - the visible elements were in good condition, unfortunately, after the whole structure was exposed, the decision was made to remove it. With the help of a local forestry supervisor, I acquired larch trees for the beams of the second floor ceiling - the original beams were 30 × 40 cm over a length of 10 m, the new ones were 28 × 55 over a length of 5.5 m. Only after some time I was able to meet good local professionals. A couple of teams approached the laying of the demolition towers and copper flashings, and only the first time they managed to do it right....
Basia: How do you want your guests to feel here? Where did you get the idea for such interior design?
Jan: The Baroque manor in its conception was built as a hunting mansion for one of the richest Prussian families - zu Dohna, who had their headquarters in nearby Slobity(Schlobitten). The manor had two kitchens - black and white - and a smokehouse stretching over three floors. Originally, the attic was windowless. It was probably used for storing meat for Slobice's table. I decided on a simple and streamlined interior design inspired by Provence and the interiors of southern Morocco, where I have been traveling for years. I jokingly call this style Morocco.
The mansion is located on a hill, in a park with a dozen monumental trees - oaks, beeches, lindens on the edge of a beautiful nature reserve. For guests, a stay in such surroundings can be a respite and a break from everyday affairs. In our place the most important things are not carpets, tiles and taps, but the atmosphere of the manor house, creaking floors and the surrounding nature.
The manor house is located on a hill, in a park with several monumental trees
© Jan Kozlowski
Basia: What was particularly important to you in creating this place?
Jan: Due to the long time of the renovation - 5 years, ideas came with time and usually differed from the original concepts. The result, I think, was a fairly consistent design. Important and basic was the use of natural materials like brick, lime, traditional Moroccan stucco tadelak to finish the bathrooms, traditional lime plaster without cement, wood and how to maintain it - lye, oiling. Besides, handmade glazed tiles from Morocco - zellige, glass (shower stalls made of reinforced glass and separating one bathroom with glass walls), natural fabrics like linen and cotton, and locally made furniture - tables, cabinets, various details.