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Kateryna Gonchar’s Apartment, Berlin

Set amongst the cafés and galleries of Berlin’s Schöneberg neighbourhood, the home of interior decorator Kateryna Gonchar echoes the area’s eclectic, era-defying sensibilities through her personalised décor choices. This rental apartment is a testament to how thoughtful choices in furniture and layout can improve the functionality and feel of a space without having to make any structural changes.

A Few of Her Favourite Things

When Kateryna moved into her apartment around four years ago, the space was empty but had been recently renovated with nice wooden floors. She set about making it her own, following a belief that personalisation is essential to creating good, homey design: “I think that the most important thing when decorating a personal space is precisely to make it personal. Put things in there that bring you joy, whether it’s a painting or a table or just a collection of vases”. In Kateryna’s case, this often comes in the form of second-hand or timeless design objects.

Defining Space with Furniture

Limited from making any structural changes, Kateryna used furniture to create zones. The back-to-back IKEA wardrobe and bookcases in the living room is the most prominent of these interventions, as their grand presence defines the space by dividing the bedroom from the couch. This allowed Kateryna to create a tranquil, semi-private sleep area (a must for her) distinct from the lounge zone, which is filled with her collection of books, objets d’art, and beyond. Mirrors were added to the siding of the wardrobe to expand the feel of the overall space and reflect natural light throughout.

“I think combining practicality and convenience with objects that bring you happiness is a perfect mix – and the secret to happy living”.

Kateryna Gonchar, Interior Designer

It’s the Little Things

Little was done to the kitchen in terms of the floorplan but changes to the countertop, cabinets, and decor transformed it into a workable, stylish space. Kateryna went for a mid-century style and wall-mounted IKEA cabinets (finished with custom-made doors from Plum Living) and floating shelves to create a sense of lightness in the small space. Kateryna’s careful attention to detail is found in things like the curtain under the counter – added for its softening effect – as well as in the marble on island, which was repurposed from a coffee table she bought a few years back.

Existing character from the building itself, which was constructed around 1917, both creates a welcome backdrop to Kateryna’s penchant for antiques and acts as a nice contrast to the more modern touches. Pieces like the vintage writing desk placed in the entryway or the antique vanity in the bathroom add an extra touch of personality and lived-in feel to her home, while more modern elements like the steel table keep the space from becoming too outdated.

Practicality and Personalisation

Kateryna’s apartment is a perfect example of how you don’t always need a total renovation or a big budget to achieve good, personalised design. By making incremental changes over the years to refine the space, she managed to realise her vision of a modern, natural and moody home and all the joys that comes with that: “I think combining practicality and convenience with objects that bring you happiness is a perfect mix – and the secret to happy living”.

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Images by NeverTooSmall