Hun­gar­ian flea mar­ket flam

Shanghai Daily - - HOME & DESIGN - Patsy Yang

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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