Hungarian flea market flam
Under the 4-meter-high ceilings a sophisticated palette of neutral shades dialogues with vivid colors; a tailor-made vibe flows, telling of the excellence of craftsmanship and a meticulous attention to detail.
The vacation home of an Italian architect couple Paolo Giannelli and Giovanna Imbimbo, the founders of interior design company Area-17 Limited in Hong Kong, exudes a Hungarian vibe that the couple fell in love with immediately.
The 75-square-meter apartment lies in the Palace District area of Budapest, where historic buildings and stunning aristocratic palaces can be found at every turn.
“The rich, vintage cultural mood caught our attention the first time we visited,” Giannelli said.
“The eighth district, though a bit far from the central area, is an emerging neighborhood full of cafes and restaurants.”
When they first saw it, the apartment was old and tired but still had its own essence.
“The aristocratic atmosphere of the neighborhood inspired a renovation respectful of the original layout. We just needed some minor adjustments to make the place more functional according to the contemporary lifestyle,” the 42-year-old architect said.
The couple preserved the original Hungarian-style wooden flooring, old reclaimed wooden doors, large, bright windows and the 1950s-style grit tiles.
In order to have airy atmosphere and easier entertaining, they moved the kitchen into the living room and transformed the kitchen to a guest room.
In total, there are three cozy bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious living room with its open modern kitchen. An welcoming entrance opens into the airy living room flooded with natural light from the large windows on the Jozsef Boulevard.
“To keep the vintage vibe, we restored the existing materials and selected exclusive antique furniture. Some of them were brought carefully all the way from Italy and were patiently renovated by skilled craftsmen in Budapest,” Giannelli said.
The careful selection of furnishings is mixed with touches of contemporary design. The old wooden doors, original ethnic linens, furniture discovered in flea markets and international antique shops have been harmoniously blended with modern touches like the ultra-functional kitchen and custommade beds.
“We love this apartment and it reflects our minds pretty well. The color theme is based on a neutral palette. We decided to have the blue-pained skirting in most of the apartment just like the old style, and light gray for the walls.
“Natural light from the large windows facing onto Jozsef Boulevard floods the apartment beautifully, so we put a touch of creamy color on the doors and windows to create a warm and sophisticated atmosphere,” he said.
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