When a 100-year-old industrial building in Warsaw came on the market for use as a residential space, Dorota Sulich-Dlugosz immediately saw an opportunity to realise her dream living space. An open-plan layout, exposed brickwork, industrial flooring and glass walls combine to make this loft a stylish, yet cosy home.
For Dorota, ambience is everything. In the living room the cats roam freely among the furnishings. A hammock is an invitation for relaxation and an idea that reflects a longing for Pacific shores and sunny beaches. The floor has a high-gloss finish that reflects the interior and the smell of freshly brewed coffee hangs heavy in the air. This is Dorota’s world, a bit eccentric, a bit creative and entirely her own.
The loft is in an area of Warsaw known as Saska Kepa or ‘Saxon Meadow’, named after the Saxon troops stationed there in the early 20th century. The area contains one of the city’s largest urban parks, Skaryszewski Park. It became part of the city in 1916, quickly becoming one of its fastest-growing areas. During the 1920s and 1930s, new mansions grew up in the area turning it into a popular residential neighbourhood.
Saska Kepa escaped systematic destruction during the Second World War and remained largely ignored in the post-war period despite plans to introduce industry into the neighbourhood. It remained much as it had been before the war and now houses many foreign embassies.
Dorota has always loved Saska Kepa and was constantly looking for a home there for her two sons and two cats. So when apartments in this century-old building went on sale, she grabbed the opportunity to buy one. She loved the grey facade, the discreet balconies and granite pavement in the courtyards. Everything, including the price, was right.
She first saw the apartment with her friend, architect Katarzyna Sybilska. Right away she felt that the exposed brick walls exuded warmth. The interior walls had been removed and what she had was a loft-like space that promised great things to come. Dorota immediately realised this was her world. She didn’t want smooth plaster walls or the furnishings her grandmother would have chosen. It was a loft, but it had a warm, feminine atmosphere that was perfect for her needs.The next step was to assure the assistance of Katarzyna, who is known for decorating interiors in a variety of styles – from modern to glamorous, and even palatial. She likes to have fun with interiors and prefers strong accents. She believes that unique furniture, a decisive colour scheme or an expressive motif can create a memorable interior and, most importantly, she is always willing to interpret the needs of her client.
Together they explored other apartments in the building and decided against building walls to partition the space. They decided instead to use floor-to-ceiling glass within metal frames. They even used this style of glass wall for the bathroom directly adjacent to the entrance.
Another important decision was to retain the exposed brick walls and concrete floors. Plaster was only used on the ceiling. The floor was coated with a colourless resin that in places shows the paw prints of Dorota’s cats and adds a glamorous sheen to the floors. Electric cables remain exposed on the walls, except in the living room, where the electrical installations are hidden. Dorota chose classic terracotta for the floors of the bathrooms.
Dorota has selected furnishings that are eclectic and fanciful. She used things she has been collecting for years and mixed them with new pieces. And she has added strong touches of turquoise to give the rooms a fresh note. Some of her favourite pieces add unique character to the space – the crystal chandelier in the bedroom; an ancient, tiled stove in the kitchen; a blackboard of the menu from a bistro Dorota once managed; and, in the entrance area, a mosaic from the time of Napoleon.
For Dorota, it is important to mix and match, using things of varied styles from vastly different eras. She loves combining expensive luxury objects with more affordable finds from flea markets. The glass partitions were her major expense. She saved on the kitchen using cupboards from Ikea. Another high expense was the purchase of a leather sofa, but Dorota saved on the occasional and coffee tables.
The colour turquoise is the unifying factor. This colour reappears in accessories, carpets, cushions and fabrics in the bedroom. When she wants privacy, she just draws the curtains and enjoys her own cosy space.
The hammock is the fulfilment of a childhood dream. Today it is the cats and children who use it the most, but every now and then Dorota allows herself the luxury of swaying above it all in the loft of her dreams.
The owner Dorota Sulich-Dlugosz lives in this loft in the Saska Kepa neighbourhood of Warsaw, Poland, with her two sons and two cats.
The home A 100-year-old industrial building was converted into these residential lofts. This particular residence embraces the exposed brickwork and industrial flooring with added dimensions of glass walls to contribute to a comfortable open-plan feel with eclectic, whimsical and stylish furnishings adding more character.
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Styling by Dorota Karpinska / Photography by Radoslaw Wojnar © living4media