A Florist’s Minimal Ukraine Apartment Utilizes Gray in a Modern Way
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Editor’s note: It has been 187 days since Russia invaded Ukraine. PR professional Nadia Sheikina, who coordinated this home tour with me, shared updates about the renters and the designer. Andrii Oliinyk stayed in Kyiv in their apartment and reports it is undamaged, as is the neighborhood. Oksana Oliinyk and her daughter moved to Canada to be in a safer place during the war. Designer Elena Petresku volunteered in Italy helping Ukrainian refugees for a time, and now temporarily lives in Portugal. But while they are safe for now, many others continue to need help, and there’s no shortage of ways that you can support Ukraine and Ukrainians. Nadia recommends SupportUkraineNow.org.
When floral designer and event decorator Oksana Oliinyk and partner Andrii were looking for a home in Kyiv, Ukraine, they took their time deciding exactly what they wanted. “We realized that we like old houses,” Oliinyk says. “They have their own special charm, history, high ceilings, and big windows. Such houses are located mainly in the city center. We really liked the Pechersk district, many parks and low-rise buildings make it very cozy.” Their other main criteria included lots of daylight, a spacious layout, a living room, and two bedrooms. The couple spent about a year finding the right property, and finally settled on an apartment in the historical center of Kyiv, built in 1917 and renovated in the ’80s.
They called on interior designer Elena Petresku, who started the project remotely from Mexico. Initially, she was worried that the distance would make designing difficult, but luckily, “the clients took the project very seriously, as a conscious step in their life, she says, and they’re “aware of the history of design.” Oksana and Andrii described their dream home as “white and gray apartment with no superfluous elements,” pulling inspiration from the Swedish design firm, Alvhem. Oksana also made a list of their ideal pieces for the space, including Thonet chairs, a Carl Hansen & Son armchair, and Louis Poulsen table lamp. “The client is a professional florist,” Petresku points out, so “for her, it was also crucial to have a large dining table where she could make a bouquet. All the plants in the interior also were placed by her.”
“Minor renovations were needed to zone the apartment more functionally,” Petresku says, and “we united the kitchen with the living room and enlarged the space by removing the corridor.” The apartment now has a roomy kitchen and living room that lead to the bedroom and a kid’s room, as well as a small balcony with a seating area. “The project conforms to the canons of Nordic design,” Petresku says, with natural materials, a white and gray color palette, natural shades of light timber, and very minimal decor. Above all, Petesku says, “When you come into the apartment, you feel peaceful.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Homeowner’s Style: We live in a megapolis oversaturated with visual information and noise, so at home we want to minimize it. We like daylight — each room has a minimum of two windows. “Oksana likes gray,” adds Petresku, “as it has a wide variety of shades and tones. We combined it with warm natural color of wood and other rich textures to add the depth to the interior.”
Homeowner’s Inspiration: Inspiration was taken from Alvhem Instagram profile — bright and spacious rooms furnished with simple, Scandinavian style furniture made a great impression, while high ceilings and wooden floors captured our hearts.
Design professional’s Inspiration: When the client sent me a photo of the interiors created by the Swedish Alvhem agency, I realized that we were on the same page. I’m a big fan of Nordic design.
Homeowner’s Favorite Element: Light. We have a big variety of lower-level lighting to help create the right ambience. Linen curtains. The color and texture of the sofa fabric.
Design professional’s Favorite Element: My favorite element in the interior is actually a Panthella table lamp, designed by architect Verner Panton with Louis Poulsen in 1971. It’s like the first page in a great design story, when you realize that you are touching a beautiful piece of the past.
Design professional’s Biggest Challenge: We started working remotely on this project. I was very worried that without live communication I would not be able to convey all my ideas on the project, that they would not see calmness and relaxation in the gray tones.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We have wooden floors and nobody in our family use slippers because we like to feel the wooden texture beneath our feet.
Design professional’s best home secret or decorating advice: The world is changing everyday, and the world mirrors people. Modern trends in design are needed for comfort, aesthetics, functionality, but there are no clear boundaries or straightforward direction with trends. So I like to create interiors for people that are simply comfortable and pleasant to stay and live.
- Light — And Tradition
- Shelf — Muuto
- Sofa — Sits
- Armchair — Carl Hansen
- Light — Gubi
- Table — New Works
- Coffee Table — Chudov
- Painting “Shade” — Yaroslav Prysyazhnyk
- Chairs — BauHaus
- Light — And Tradition
- Vintage Table — France
- Bed Whisper — Interia
- Light — Nemo Lighting
- Table Lamp — Louis Poulsen
- Lamp — Eq3
- Bedside table — Ivan Chudov
- Photo — Оleg Dimov, printed on canvas
- Sofa — Interia
- Carpet — Hay
- Poster — Olga Fradina
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form