Design-Forward City Apartment Mixes Materials and Textures

A study in textures and an experiment in materials, this Bucharest apartment highlights the juxtaposition of wood and metal. Together, these contrasting materials create a design-forward and comfortable living space in an urban location.

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A rough-hewn wood plank floor forms the foundation for the modern design by Studio 1408 and provides a basis of warmth for the use of more austere materials elsewhere in the space. Doses of texture in the form of accessories contribute to the contrasts throughout the home and soften the otherwise industrial vibe.

The sofa by Lema offers up a pop of color in the living area. Named “Cloud,” the fabric sectional was designed by Francesco Rota to be freely rearranged, mixed and matched thanks to its organic shapes. It comes in eleven types of sections, that can be combined in endless changing arrangements. The sofa’s plump silhouette also adds a touch of pliancy to the rigid surfaces that dominate the room. Behind the sofa, the 265 design Wall Lamp from Flos. the pewter-coated steel fixture provides direct lighting and the adjustable arm makes it extra functional for the entire sofa area.

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Across from the sofa is a striking section of wall that is paneled in Bluesteel. This material is made by heating and tempering metal sheets in special industrial ovens. Bringing the steel to 200 degrees Celsius, cases the metal to progressively change its color in shades of yellow and red, then around 300 degrees, purple and blue tones. Interestingly, this technique is the same technique that watch makers use for tempering watch parts.

The bluesteel paneling turns the otherwise stark wall into a feature element, perfect for serving as a media center in this modern space. The long and low built-in cabinet is crucial for stowing away electronics and keeping the space clean and uncluttered. The Taccia table lamp from Flos resembles an industrial spotlight and is the perfect accessory to go with the industrial bluesteel wall. Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, it provides indirect and reflected light and is dimmable.

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The open floor plan of the living space was designed by the Studio to give the homeowners maximum function with a minimum of visual obstacles. This provides ideal flow for the space, which is arranged to meet the clients’ day-to-day needs. Spaces are fluid and the transitions are defined by the arrangement of furnishings. A variety of lighting, from the lamps featured in the living area to the recessed fixtures in the kitchen, supplement the ample natural light in the home. All are arranged to highlight and enhance the space and its moods.

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The kitchen is devoid of handles and hardware, which helps maintain a sleek and modern design. The cooktop ventilation hood is also of a minimalist style. Additional wood, which is used for the attached dining table and the over-sink area, adds texture and an organic element. Mixed hairpin leg chairs provide plenty of seating and the use of the all-metal chairs at the end of the table keep the space flowing visually.

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The same bluesteel from the living area is used as a backsplash in the sink area. Not only does this add an industrial element to the kitchen, it unifies the open space by repeating the material. The color of the steel is also a good contrast for the dominant gray tones in the kitchen cabinetry, countertop and chairs.

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In the bedroom, the same muted color palette forms the basis of the decor. Texture once again provides the interest in the space, this time via the feature wall surface. A ridged design formed by a deliberate curved troweling pattern eliminated the need for any further wall decoration and make an otherwise monochrome wall more enticing. The use of wall lamps instead of a  table style makes them more of a decor element and frees up space on the nightstand for a few accessories. Dark gray pillow shams add depth the bed, which has an off-white padded headboard.

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In the bathroom, color is front and center. A vivid aqua shelf on the bottom of the vanity plays off the mottled turquoise wall panels. The contrast of metal and stone is a repeat of the concept in the rest of the home, where wood is played off of metal. The modern feel is emphasized through the choice of bathroom fixtures. Not only is the vanity colorful, but it is a modern stand style rather than a built-in variety. The wall-mounted sink appears to float above the vanity and has a rounded rectangular shape that is very current.

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The mirror and light wall sconce are minimalist but also act as an artistic element when reflected in the mirrored panels on the opposite wall.  The reflection seems to repeat infinitely.

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A trendy soaking tub is placed in an alcove that is highlighted by the closed wall panels. A minimalist wall-mounted faucet arrangement and spare tub-side table complete the functional bathroom set-up.

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A second bathroom also features the same mottled wall tiles but in a deeper blue color. Here again, the vanity is done in wood to contrast against the minimalist design and starkness of the other surfaces. An avant-garde basin style dominates the vanity with its extra height and faucet mounted on the mirror.

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Even in the shower, the wall hardware has a sleek profile, allowing the dark, industrial wall time to remain the focus. That does not mean the shower does not have all the functions you would want: the hand-held sprayer is accompanied by a large rainfall shower head.

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Throughout the home, the combination of unexpected materials creates a dynamic space that is modern yet comfortable and organic. It is a design forward apartment that both functional as well as comfortable.