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Nothing Trendy Allowed: Designer Marta Chrapka’s Timeless, Fanciful Apartment

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Nothing Trendy Allowed: Designer Marta Chrapka’s Timeless, Fanciful Apartment

January 31, 2022

Here on Remodelista, client projects by decorators and architects are our stock-in-trade, but, in our opinion, nothing quite beats a peek into a design professional’s own home. So when Marta Chrapka, of Colombe studio, reached out to share images of her Warsaw flat, we were instantly rapt.

We’ve featured some of her projects before—all singularly elegant, with an eye toward tradition and a foot planted in modernity—and her own apartment, which she shares with her partner, Christopher, and a dog and cat, is no different. Their 100-square-meter (about 1,000-square-feet) one-bedroom feels like the home of a refined and thoughtful designer, albeit one that prefers sneakers to heels.

Was it harder for her to set up her own home (as opposed to someone else’s)? “No, for me it is easier,” she says. “It took me just a few days to design it, in fact.” As she did for her client projects, Marta stripped the apartment—it was built in the 1950s—of any offending architectural details and started fresh with new moldings and herringbone floors. “The interior itself before the renovation did not have a single advantage that usually encourages people to buy it. The space was low, inconsistent, built of poor quality materials, which was all characteristic of post-war buildings.”

Then she filled it in with “a mix of styles that I have used for the last 10 years when designing my interiors,” she says. “I didn’t want to focus on fast-passing trends.” For reasons both environmental and economical, Marta chose to “shop” from her own inventory of cast-offs, mistakes, and leftovers from prior renovation projects. “My garage was overcrowded with sinks, remnants of tiles, lamps, handles, single switches, and lots of old stuff for renovation. I decided to incorporate all this into [my new home.]”

The sum total of these parts: a trend-proof home that marries Old World style with modern-day elegance.

Photography by Kasia Gatkowska, courtesy of Colombe.

&#8\2\20;i chose my favorite elements for this home—some classic pat 9
Above: “I chose my favorite elements for this home—some classic patterns from Pierre Frey, an English kitchen, French details, Polish folk art, Belgian linens,” says Marta. “The apartment is located in the Saska Kepa, the historic district of Warsaw. Previously, it was an area inhabited largely by artists and writers as well as French expats, which greatly created the character of the neighborhood.”
both the wallpaper (in arlesienne pattern) and the upholstery in the living roo 10
Above: Both the wallpaper (in Arlesienne pattern) and the upholstery in the living room are from storied French fabrics studio Pierre Frey. The Tynell Floor Lamp and the glass-topped TS Round Side Table are by GUBI. The ceiling light is from OiSoiOi. The painting over the fireplace mantel is by Jan Bajtlik, “my new obsession,” says Marta.
one of the only original architectural details that marta chose to keep is the  11
Above: One of the only original architectural details that Marta chose to keep is the oddly placed little nook near the ceiling in the eat-in kitchen: “I revealed the nook while chipping the plaster and decided to leave it. It turned out to be a great place for this candle from Cire Trudon.” Surrounding the dining table are an eclectic trio of chairs: (from left) a secondhand find and a French antique (both found on eBay), and an Ikea cafe chair. Instead of crystal, Marta hung bits of faux coral to the chandelier from Flamant.
the kitchen cabinets were originally installed in her showroom. they were simpl 12
Above: The kitchen cabinets were originally installed in her showroom. They were simply touched up with paint (Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue) for her home. A sink skirt was added for an Old World touch. The Plumettes wallpaper is from Pierre Frey.
the vintage ruffled milk glass pendant is an ebay score. 13
Above: The vintage ruffled milk glass pendant is an eBay score.
the cheerful green scalloped console is a colombe design; the jolies fleurs
 14
Above: The cheerful green scalloped console is a Colombe design; the Jolies Fleurs wallpaper is from Pierre Frey.
marta designed the library for christopher, who&#8\2\17;s a writer. the tab 15
Above: Marta designed the library for Christopher, who’s a writer. The table was originally a custom piece she had created for a client (who, after a few years, swapped it for a larger table to better suit his needs).
the sun filled lounge area adjacent to the study was formerly used as a closet  16
Above: The sun-filled lounge area adjacent to the study was formerly used as a closet and had just one small window. “Now it’s become the most beautiful place in the house—a kind of conservatory that enters the garden. It is connected to both the office and the living room.” Marta calls the GMG Chaise Lounge designed by Greta Grossman for GUBI, her “dream piece of furniture.”
marta&#8\2\17;s signature design feature is the bed alcove, surrounded by b 17
Above: Marta’s signature design feature is the bed alcove, surrounded by built-in storage: “I have a huge problem with wardrobes, especially in tiny spaces. This saves space and gives a place for decoration—wallpaper, color, lamps, art. Also I like the niche coziness.” The woodwork is painted Oxblood by Emente; the Apple Wallpaper is by William Morris. The portrait of literary critic Artur Sandauer by Erna Rosenstine is a favorite.
&#8\2\20;the bathroom is probably where the most recycled items landed  18
Above: “The bathroom is probably where the most recycled items landed—tiles, curtains, washbasins, faucets, even the bathtub fit perfectly with an unusual dimension. I did not manage to use it in any of my previous projects—it must be a sign,” says Marta. She discovered the oversized white wall tiles in the basement of the building. The ceiling light is from Ikea.
her love for niche spaces extends to the bathroom. 19
Above: Her love for niche spaces extends to the bathroom.

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