This 450-Square-Foot Kyiv Apartment Is Exceptionally Designed for Humans (and Cats)

This 450-Square-Foot Kyiv Apartment Is Exceptionally Designed for Humans (and Cats)

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It was actually Victoria Karieva‘s realtor husband, Volodymyr, who found this apartment for sale two years ago, but they each had to assess its pros and cons. The main pro was the location in the greenest district of Kyiv; the apartment’s balcony actually overlooks a forest. And there was a lot of potential to create a hardworking layout. The biggest con? It’s teeny, around 450 square feet. But the small size was just a challenge to work with, not a deal-breaker, particularly for Victoria Karieva, who is the lead architect and cofounder of Between the Walls.

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“In general, this apartment shows that even a small area can be transformed into an interesting and comfortable place for living. Not only for a young couple, but also for two wonderful fluffy cats,” writes Between the Walls co-founder, Andrii Anisimov.

To make the most of the small space, they swapped the original layout, turning the old kitchen into a bedroom and old bedroom into the new kitchen. “Originally the bedroom had access to a balcony, and the kitchen was small. For us the bedroom was a place to rest and sleep, and the kitchen-living room was a gathering place for us and friends. When you enter the apartment, you immediately enter the kitchen-living room without a hallway,” Victoria explains.

“There are no corridors here, so there is much more usable space, although the apartment itself is about 40m2,” writes Andrii. “The main space here is the kitchen combined with the living room, which contains a large number of interesting objects: a 150-year-old restored cabinet, a 200-year-old icon (both of which are family heirlooms of Victoria’s husband), and ’70s vintage leather chairs. Next to the marble round table you can see two chairs bought at a flea market — one of them is Alias Spaghetti, which is considered a design icon. Also, a handmade wool lamp made by Ukrainian artist Nicholas Moon is suspended above the table. Victoria’s love for art can be seen in various things, but especially in two paintings by Ukrainian artist Anton Sayenko, which stand out against the background of the light space.”

There are a few clever, hidden elements that were built into the design. The bed is made of plywood, and there is a burrow for cats, Pius and Ivanovich. And would you believe there’s an entire sauna hidden in a closet? Something that Victoria and Volodymyr use often. But they weren’t able to fit everything they need in the apartment, despite all the great design; they needed extra storage for all their sports equipment and bicycles, as they’re so close to nature. “[W]e also have a storage room in the basement where we store all the equipment (now it is also used as a shelter from bombardment),” Victoria admits.




  • Sofa — West Elm
  • Pillow — IKEA
  • Pillow — CB2
  • The column and chairs are vintage.
  • Storage — IKEA


  • Alias spaghetti and no-name chairs — all purchased from a vintage website


  • IKEA + local furniture companies


  • IKEA + local furniture companies

Thanks, Victoria, Volodymyr, and Andrii!

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