Grand Blvd Apartment

Originate reimagined an historic Budapest apartment on the Nagykörút or ‘Grand Boulevard’. Gustav Lederer designed the apartment building in 1888 and a few original details remained, although in poor shape. The first step was to repair the beautiful windows and shutters. We reinstated cornices, mouldings and skirtings to correct the room proportions as the ceilings are 4.5 metres high. There is a large open courtyard in the centre of the apartment building. This gives access to all the units, and provides natural light to the back rooms. There are also light shafts for added ventilation that proved useful when locating the new air-conditioning system.

We refurbished the double doors and re-used them for the bedrooms, but we removed the other sets so that it is more open – a modern approach to the historic layout. There was a redundant window in the kitchen, we kept this and changed it into a display cabinet. We dropped the ceilings in the kitchen and utility rooms in order to accommodate mechanical equipment and extra storage. We sourced the 1960s pendants from a Czech hospital. All the power outlets are traditional ceramic. In order to accommodate the different interiors, we chose a fibrous plaster cornice pattern from the 1880s that used white space between the decorative elements. We designed the floor in a chevron pattern in oak (‘Hungarian point’).

In reimagining this historic Budapest apartment, Originate collaborated with the client to choose the furniture and art. Acerbis furniture from the 1970s, such as the ‘Cyclone’ chandelier, was included as a counterpoint to the traditional elements of the refurbishment. We sourced chairs from Paris flea markets, staining them ‘teint noir Napoleon III’ in addition to new horsehair cushions. The Eileen Grey side tables came from the Estate of the singer Dean Martin. For the master ensuite, we found a vintage neon sign that translates as GIFT. The project has been published in a high-quality coffee table book, Understated Elegance.