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WS House by Men Bureau


When a married couple found their charming old house not far from Kyiv, they only ever intended it to be a country retreat, a place to escape to and from the city on the weekends. Then, when the pandemic hit, the couple discovered a taste for country life and ended up spending most of their time there. This newfound connection to nature became the starting point for the redesign which has been carried by Kyiv based interior design studio Men Bureau. Drawing from the unique terrain surrounding the house, the interior features a warm earthy palette that blends in with the environment. The rooms are designed to bring in natural light and maximise the outside view while staying connected to one another.

For the studio, it’s important that they get to know the house they are working with, and this resulted in some of the rooms being moved to better suit the flow and usage. But they add that it’s also important for it not to feel like a museum. “ This house might have been built 50 years ago, but we live in 2021. We have to balance preserving the history of the house with making it habitable and adapting it to fit the way our clients want to live. After all, that’s what interior design is for - improving people’s lives.”

This approach led to several changes to the interior including the introduction of rounded corners, and a large number of circles and arcs. The subdued colour palette brings a warm neutrality to the home, evoking a sense of calm and tranquillity throughout. 

The living room features the eye-catching Bocci 57 pendant light and timeless furniture pieces including the Bardot armchairs by Baxter and the Ghost 20 sofa by Gervasoni. The Metrica Bookshelf by Mogg is punctuated by iron rods fixed at different intervals on an openly rigorous structure within which the books and the inserted objects complete the shape, with ever-changing compositions. The Roy Lettera floor lamp by Mario Nanni is by Italian lighting brand Viabizzuno and the Cylinder Downlight is by New York-based design studio Apparatus.

The omission of electronics is a deliberate choice to help create a quiet space, where the strong focus on natural materials and texture can truly resonate. The floorboards are European Oak,  meticulously finished on-site with a black resin used to fill the knots.

The owner, who is an art collector, has artworks from all over the world, along with Ukrainian works by Faina. Informed by the Wabi-Sabi style, with a contrast of raw and glazed ceramics, the objects share a certain roughness, simplicity, and uniqueness that makes them beautiful, despite their imperfect shape and texture. The abstract painting over the fireplace is by Ricky Hunt.

The natural palette continues in the kitchen with the use of dark timber, chosen for its striking colour and beautiful grain. Sleek marble adds contrast and texture, punctuated by brass hardware and lighting fixtures.

The home, needing to deliver a slower rhythm and tune in with the environment, required the careful planning of spaces, their volumes or lack thereof, the degree of exposure to light and view, and all sensory elements. In the bedroom, the Brutus lounge chair by 101 Copenhagen creates a unique surface texture and emphasises the fine balance between soft architectural lines and organic curves. The Column Sconce in oxidized oak is designed by New York-based design studio Workstead.

Swathed in a muted material palette of marble and hand-brushed plaster, the wardrobe is a place of serenity and reflection. Once again taking inspiration from the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic, grey travertine and timber boards - oiled, not sealed - will patina and become more complex with age. 

The bathroom offers a rustic warmth, tranquillity, and natural aesthetic. Like the rest of the apartment, it is both beautiful and functional. All taps and mixers in the house are designed by John Pawson for Cocoon. The Slim wall sconce is by Articolo.

Equipped with contemporary amenities that guarantee a comfortable lifestyle for its inhabitants, WS House showcases understated elegance and contemporary minimalism where everything is seamlessly integrated into the building fabric and where bold geometries are combined with materials in their natural unfinished state.

For more from Men Bureau, take a look at another recently featured project, JP Residence.  

Images courtesy of Men Bureau

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