This 410-Square-Foot Apartment Uses Glass Block in an Incredibly Smart and Stylish Way

published Mar 24, 2023

This 410-Square-Foot Apartment Uses Glass Block in an Incredibly Smart and Stylish Way

published Mar 24, 2023
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Square feet
Sq ft

Homeowner: A young woman working from home and her cat, or the other way around
Design professional: Serafima Gavrilenko, of SeraphimDSGN
Photo stylist: Anna Krutolevich
Photographer: Ivan Sorokin
Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Size: 410 square feet
Type of home: 2-bedroom apartment with no bathroom turned 2-level studio
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

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“I fell for the old building itself, so the interior partly kept its beautiful, authentic, 100-year-old bricks,” says interior designer Serafima Gavrilenko, founder of SeraphimDSGN, who outfitted this apartment for a young woman and her cat. Beyond the stunning architectural details of the historic building, there were a lot of other benefits to the small space.

Originally a two-bedroom home with no real bathroom, the apartment luckily didn’t have any load-bearing partitions, so Serafima was able to dismantle most of the apartment to make the small layout much more efficient.

The apartment had three windows within its 410 square feet, an abundance for sure, so the designer was able to sacrifice one in order to create a bathroom. The relatively high ceilings meant Serafima was also able to create a sleeping loft on a second level, and then use the first-floor area under the loft as a walk-in closet. (Don’t worry, the owner is 5’5″, so Serafima made sure that there was four more inches of ceiling height so the owner could comfortably walk into the closet, even wearing heels!)

Credit: Ivan Sorokin

“We used natural materials, but only faux-fur carpets. I never use real fur or leather in my projects — it is a very important part of my design philosophy. The apartment is visually divided on a diagonal, with color representing active pastimes and white representing relaxation for rest,” explains Serafima. “For safety reasons in the sleeping area, we handmade wood strips, painted them white, framed them with ceiling cornice on both sides, and put a built-in LED strip inside.”

Credit: Ivan Sorokin

Apartment Therapy Survey

My style: Always eclecticism. For this specific apartment, there are elements of Scandinavian, boho, loft, classicism, industrial, and Mediterranean.

Credit: Ivan Sorokin

Biggest challenge: The budget was indeed super small. The size of it was also, but we managed to make every inch of it functional. The apartment has the following:

Credit: Ivan Sorokin
  • A super spacious walk-in closet where every piece has its own place.
  • Extra room for seasonal clothes and items (plus a “third level” of storage that’s just under the ceiling).
  • A bathroom with a shower cabin, bidet, window, and washing/drying corner in the wall recess, and also authentic wine boxes to store everything a bathroom needs.
  • A kitchen with compact dishwasher and a waste-sorting unit.
Credit: Ivan Sorokin
  • A bar counter.
  • Space for watching movies via a projector and reading books.
  • A spacious place to work.
  • A place for sleeping.
  • Storage for home appliances, cleaning products, and miscellaneous items that’s hidden in the wall recess.
Credit: Ivan Sorokin

Proudest DIY and product hacks, which were made by my father and colored by me:

  • Wooden window blinds in the bathroom (colored with my favorite Varathane wood stain).
  • A wooden sink cabinet in the bathroom (burned by Japanese technique Shou Sugi Ban with a Varathane wood stain).
  • A table under the windowsill that acts as a working area (wood slab + epoxide + Varathane wood stain).
  • Kitchen racks (wood slab + Varathane wood stain).
Credit: Ivan Sorokin

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Wine boxes for bathroom storage. Glass bricks in the kitchen instead of tiles, which also provide additional light both in the bathroom (glass bricks were integrated in the wall between these two rooms). And to separate the workplace from the main area a little, we made a hedge out of a tall flower box with tapestries fixed to the ceiling.

Credit: Ivan Sorokin

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small-space maximizing, cleaning, or organizing tips you have: Always put ergonomics first. Make two lists: One with all of the actions taking place in every room or part of your apartment (even the smallest ones), and another for all of the stuff you need in every room or part of your apartment (including furniture, decor, accessories, and electronics.)

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Mix the unmixable.


Credit: Ivan Sorokin


  • Wood Shutter Doors — Little Greene “LG140, Tuscan Red”
  • Wood Shutter Doors, Bathroom Walls, Hidden Racks — Paint Library “554, STABLE GREEN”
  • Bar Counter — Paint and Paper Library “Kigali 678 “
  • Cat House-Tray — Little Greene “LG13, Mischief”
  • Bathroom Walls — Paint Library “372, GRENACHE”
  • For some other furniture we mixed Varathane’s palette
  • Floor tiling — Francisco Segarra Peronda FS Artisan
Credit: Ivan Sorokin


  • Blue Cabinets — IKEA
Credit: Ivan Sorokin


  • Toilet — Cezares royal palace
  • Bidet — Azzura
  • Sink — Mira

Thanks interior designer Serafima Gavrilenko, photo stylist Anna Krutolevich, and photographer Ivan Sorokin!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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