Pushka Apartment by Balbek Bureau

Pushka Apartment is a stunning stone apartment located in Kyiv, Ukraine, designed in 2018 by Balbek Bureau.

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We were commissioned to design an apartment for a young, sophisticated, single professional, where he can enjoy his life either alone, or with a partner.

Preliminary assessment of a two-level, 180-sq.m space in a listed building in Kyiv revealed original brickwork hidden under layers of plaster, old timber ceiling joists, and sloped walls in the attic.


When we work in a historically significant building, we always try to preserve, restore and use as many original features as possible. We believe they create a genuine authentic background while emphasizing, by contrast, the purity of modern forms, shapes, and textures introduced by the architects.

Finding the right balance between the old and the modern while preserving the integrity of the entire space was our first challenge.

We decided to avoid bright colors, so our next challenge was to create a mixture of diverse architectural elements united by a monochrome palette.

Finally, we wanted to come up with innovative architectural solutions that would sustain the passage of time.


We started with bringing to light and restoring the old brickwork, ceiling joists, and metal beams.

The timber joists were cleaned and coated with lacquer. We were able to keep 90% of the original joists.

We took time to handpick the replacement bricks for the walls and scutcheons since we wanted to find the ones made around the same time as the building. To even out scutcheon and window lintel we expanded keystone and filled out scutcheon with newly found bricks.

As a result, we created a warm and natural backdrop throughout the ground level that effortlessly incorporates both authentic features – such as the corner chimney that is original to the apartment, – and modern architectural elements including paneling and furniture.

While the paneling that encompasses the entire 1st floor serves mostly to unify and brighten the open space, the attic paneling is used to straighten its sloping walls.

The attic is a modern loft devoid of historic features, but thanks to the same monochrome palette it feels like a natural extension of the ground floor. Walking through the apartment one cannot help but notice the vibrancy of muted tones reflected in the harmony of distinct textures.

Among our more complex architectural solutions are in-built window blinds hidden in the paneled walls of the attic; a multi-faceted hand-assembled metal staircase leading from the ground floor to the attic; and a completely soundproof thick bathroom box placed inside of an otherwise open ground floor.

Other areas of the ground floor include a kitchen and dining room, a large living room with a film projector, a walk-in closet, and a pantry. The top floor is divided into three zones – master bedroom with master bathroom, office, and a large walk-in closet; guest bedroom and bathroom, and a laundry room.

Overall, the apartment is comfortable and inviting, modern and sophisticated, fresh and genuine; it is a place where ‘less is definitely more’.

Photography by Andrey Bezuglov, Yevhenii Avramenko

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- by Matt Watts