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Home visit: making a minimal, modern loft retreat

The idea was to create a home that felt like a studio, planned to feel as open and spacious as possible. The result is a modern, relaxing apartment for a hard-working couple to come home to. Take a look.

A black kitchen in an open-plan space with white beams across the ceiling and dark wooden floors.
A black kitchen in an open-plan space with white beams across the ceiling and dark wooden floors.

Be bold with a black kitchen

Two years ago, Katarzyna and Mikolaj moved to this apartment. ‘It was a wreck, but I saw possibilities.’ Central to her plan was a black kitchen, and the dark-coloured KUNGSBACKA units are a perfect fit. ‘We balance it out with white and lots of light.’ An island unit was also on the wishlist. ‘It’s a “do everything” spot – share coffee, work, cook with friends, eat together.’

I wanted the black of the kitchen to dominate, it’s like an anchor in the centre of our home.


Make yourself at home

The couple wanted to make their home open-plan. ‘We don’t have many walls,’ says Katarzyna. Instead, furniture zones the space. The living area is pulled together around relaxed seating, and portable pieces that create a sense of fluid living, making it easy to do what you want where you want.

I used to be messy, but when I moved here I decided that my home would be tidy and I’ve kept to it! What I’ve learned is that I need a place for everything. Storage helps.


Make a mix and match display

‘I lived in a few different apartments before this one and always kept things packed in boxes,’ says Katarzyna. ‘Here I wanted to create an atmosphere that everything could be out and I was home. A feeling of permanence.’

My one tip? Use your lights! I direct the space with light. Think about how you spend your time. If you like to read or listen to jazz, adjust your lighting to those needs.


Room to recharge

The bed and bathroom in this apartment are much-loved spaces. ‘I can work 12-hour days so I need a place to relax,’ says Katarzyna. In the bedroom, objects are stripped back to the minimum, leaving little to distract from the business of unwinding. ‘Just nice bedding, nice pictures, and a place to keep a few books – I want this to be like an island we can retreat to.’

I take a bath every day after work – it’s the perfect way to unwind. I like it to be calm in here so everything has its place. I display what looks great and put the rest away.


Let the outdoors in

Plants add colour throughout the apartment and help bring the outdoors in. ‘I was inspired by the plant craze on Instagram, but it took me a while to learn how to keep them alive!’ To let in as much natural light as possible, Katarzyna decided to fit roller blinds rather than curtains, ‘I didn’t want to cover up any of the windows – and besides, the cats would ruin them!’

An open plan

Katarzyna’s job as an architect meant she wasn’t scared by the derelict state of this flat. ‘It was a wreck. My dad is an engineer – when he first saw it he said: “Oh baby, what have you done?” But what friends and family thought was a risk, I didn’t doubt.’ Now it’s home to the couple and the abandoned cats they rescue. ‘It’s worked out as I planned! There’s nothing we need to change. But I have started adding colour. I painted the hall turquoise the other day – I got moody!’

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior stylist: Katie Phillips
Photographer: Nato Welton
Follow Katarzyna on Instagram: @loft_na_poddaszu