Commissioned to renovate a light-filled apartment in a Pre–World War I tenement building in Warsaw, interior designer Magdalena Romanowska complemented the property’s fin de siècle character—think high ceilings, herringbone parquet and elegant window woodwork—with an aura of mid-century modernism. Working in close collaboration with the owner, an art and architecture loving graphic designer, Romanowska applied a minimalist design language of clean-cut lines and simple geometries underpinned by noble materials such as Carrara marble, oiled oak wood and brass to imbue the apartment with understated sophistication. Add in a selection of iconic modernist furniture pieces and the owner’s vibrant collection of artworks and decorative objects, and you have a characterful home of impeccable design.
An oak panelled vestibule leads into the open-plan dining room and kitchen which is connected to a separate living room through wood-framed glass doors. White-painted walls, herringbone parquet and built-in minimalist oak bookcases and cabinets add a sense of nostalgic elegance to both rooms further underscored by the handpicked selection of mid-century modern furnishings.
In the dining room, a large oak table on a steel base is complemented with Marcel Breuer’s iconic Cesca chairs in ebonized beech frame and a trio of mouth-blown glass VL45 light pendants by Louis Poulsen, originally designed by Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen in the 1940s. In the living room, a light grey minimalist sofa is paired with an oak Gueridon table designed by Jean Prouvé in the late 1940s and two Capitol Complex armchairs produced by Cassina as a homage to Pierre Jeanneret. Along with a wall painted in cerulean blue, the two armchairs, which are upholstered in red ochre and "vert anglaise” green, inject the living room’s muted palette of earthy tones with elegant splashes of colour in reference to Le Corbusier’s “Les Couleurs” masterful colour scheme.
Built-in shelving in both the dining and living room offer plenty of display space for the owner’s eclectic collection of antique, traditional and contemporary decorative objects sourced from around the world, including a bespoke oak and marble console running the length of the spaces underneath large windows overlooking a beautiful inner garden in the building’s courtyard. Other custom-designed elements that Romanowska thoughtfully created in relation to the property’s original geometry include the mirror-clad kitchen cupboards that enhance the sense of spaciousness and the oak wardrobe/cupboard that separates the vestibule from the dining/kitchen area.#
Bespoke oak furnishings can also be found in the bedroom, balanced with the softness of cotton and natural linen fabrics while numerous artworks by the likes of Teresa Pągowska, Józef Pankiewicz and Matthieu Cosse add playful touches into the otherwise minimalist-designed room. Finally, in the bathroom, Romanowska has combined white square mosaic tiling, matt black fittings and mirror-clad cabinets with a custom-made monolithic Bianco Carrara marble washbasin in a gesture of geometric minimalism.