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Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina

Olga Fradina uses dark colours and natural textures to create cosy Kyiv apartment

Interior designer Olga Fradina has reorganised the plan of this small apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, to incorporate a dark-hued, open-plan living area where the owner can host meditation and tea ceremonies.

The 45 square-metre flat is located on the top floor of a five-storey Soviet apartment building and belongs to a young fashion designer.

Dining table and home office with built-in storage in interior by Olga Fradina
The open-plan living space includes a home office and dining area

Its floor plan had to be completely redesigned in order to accommodate all of the client's requirements and make enough room for her various mindfulness practices.

"It was obvious that there had to be a replanning to make enough space for all the expected functional zones," said Fradina. "It was jigsawed together like a puzzle until every part was in its due place."

Open-plan living space with dining table, built-in storage and lounge in Kyiv apartment
Brickwork throughout the apartment is painted a deep blue

The location of the bedroom and kitchen were switched to create a large, open-plan living space complete with a dining area, home office, wardrobe and tea lounge.

The wall that divided the bathroom, entrance hall and living room was moved to fit in a full-sized shower unit and create room in the hallway to install a built-in storage system.

Coffee table for tee ceremonies in apartment designed by Olga Fradina
A low coffee table is used for tea ceremonies

Fradina balanced dark colours with natural textures to keep the multifunctional space from looking "overweight", with the brick walls painted a deep blue and the pinewood ceilings stained chocolate brown.

To create a more open, spacious feeling, all of the interior doors were removed and the bedroom can now be closed off with a curtain.

Open-plan lounge and kitchen in Kyiv apartment
Fradina stained the wooden ceilings to a dark, moody interior

Save for the sofa and dining chairs, Fradina designed all of the furniture for the apartment, using simple, geometric forms that recall classic mid-century designs.

These are contrasted against more traditional craft items such as Ukrainian hlechyky tableware, which according to Fradina are vessels designed specifically for milk and porridge. This set was made in collaboration with ceramicist 8 Komora.

Built-in storage in interior designed by Olga Fradina
Storage is built into the apartment

Throughout the apartment, the floor is finished in dark grey micro-cement, which the designer said creates a "perfect background" for the rough texture of the surrounding furniture and home objects.

This includes the low wooden tea table, custom made by local furniture maker Staritska Maysternya, the rattan lounge chairs, wooden shelves, bamboo shutters, sisal carpet and the wooden ceiling.

Dining area and built-in storage in Kyiv apartment
Save for these chairs, all of the furnishings were designed by Fradina

Moody interiors like this one can often be a response to "darker times", according to renowned Swedish interior stylist Lotta Agaton.

"During recent years of stability and safety, we have had bright white spaces that are open for exposure," she said in an interview with Dezeen. "But in darker times, when the political and economic climate gets more uncertain, you want to nest a little bit."

Photography is by ​Yevhenii Avramenko.

More images

Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina
Kyiv apartment by Olga Fradina