How to design an apartment in the attic

The team of the bureau “Artforma” shows what a real honest loft can be.

A married couple with already adult children bought an apartment here on the attic floor and began to look for architects who would put it in order. Mutual acquaintances brought them together with Dmitry, who at that time worked in France, and he, in search of a Moscow bureau with which to pull such a project, went to Nina and her “Artforma”. They’ve been working together ever since; this apartment is their first, but not the only project. It’s just that the work here was so painstaking that it took several years.

Owners show photos of the room in the phone before the repair – the chipped walls look like after a massive shelling. “This is a bathhouse – temperature, humidity. The brick is destroyed,” explains Dmitry. A graduate of the Department of Restoration in Delft, he was at first horrified by the way they usually work with old masonry, but quite quickly fate sent him and Nina a dream master. “There was a man named Koss, very unusual – he looks like a hermit, bearded and always in black,” the authors of the project say. – He bought an old brick, cut “veneers” from it, and put them on lime mortar where it was necessary to “heal” the wall. For about two months, a red torch stood over Kadashi – dust from grinding and cutting bricks.”

The space of the apartment is very unusual – not only thanks to the initial data but also to the efforts of architects. “Two hundred and twenty-five meters, two floors, one bedroom,” Dmitry lists. “The height from seven meters in the ridge to ninety centimeters under the slopes of the roof is about forty square meters, where you can not stand in full growth.” No attempts to “save” meters by making built-in wardrobes in this dead zone – the interior is harsh but airy. The first floor is conditionally divided into “inside” (kitchen and dining room) and “outside” (living room with a porch leading to the second level, and tall plants in tubs, really giving this space a resemblance to a garden).

“This is the rare case where a loft is fully justified,” says Nina. — I often look at some projects: an apartment building, and in it, there is a brick wall, which historically should not be there. I think it’s an insult — the interior has to be appropriate.” The customers, as the authors say, gave them carte blanche in terms of the ideological side of the project, but immersed themselves in the details no less than the architects themselves. “We started by going with them to Amsterdam to see what lofts should look like,” Dmitry recalls. Then there was a trip to Belgium, from where they eventually brought antique wood for the ceiling (boards for ripening cheeses from some farm, preserving traces of cheese heads), and Florence, where Rozov and the customer bought doors for cabinets in the hallway. The slate coffee table was made in Belgium, together with customers marking the shape of the countertop with chalk. This degree of involvement requires emotional investments on both sides, but the result is excellent: the customer immersed in the project understands why the mirrors in the bookcase should be antique, and imperfect nodes need to be redone, although the imperfection is noticeable only to professionals.

Nina says that when she began to post photos of the project on her Instagram, many wrote in the comments: “How it is possible.” “It seems like a compliment, but I became a little offended – it turns out that if it is well done, then it is not possible,” she says. This project really borrows the best foreign practices – in terms of materials and, in general, an honest attitude to the quality of work. But the views from the windows will not allow you to make a mistake: we are in the heart of Moscow. “For many, lofts are welded structures with a square cross-section and luminous letters. There’s none of that here, but it’s also a loft. We wanted to show that it can be made elegant, beautiful, and expensive,” concludes Dmitry.

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