From Green to White, Renovation of a Flat in ‘Draveljska gmajna’, Ljubljana, Completed, 2023

The residential area in Ljubljana’s Draveljska gmajna belongs to the times when buildings were still constructed with the user in mind. It is embedded in nature, the layout of the buildings is not too high and the articulation of the façades gives a sense of privacy. All the necessary infrastructure that makes up the neighbourhood is also in the immediate vicinity: kindergarten, school, grocery shop, … and a good connection to public transport.

    At first glance, the renovation of one of the three-bedroom flats in this neighbourhood seems like just another in a series of renovations. But like every renovation and new construction project, it responds thoughtfully and pragmatically to the constraints of the user’s wishes and the space. The result is again a thoughtful solution with a variation on the theme.

    When renovating flats or interiors, the aim is always to achieve or maintain the neutrality of the space. The space becomes a single neutral shell into which we then bring life. We always take an architectural approach to renovating flats rather than a pure interior design approach. It is the interior space that distinguishes architecture from other arts. Architecture is the only one we can enter and experience the space. We always experience the interior space through our body, which acts as the centre of perception, thought and spatial awareness. The sensory experiences we have when experiencing space come together precisely in the body itself and in the human way of being.

    The story of the renovation of the flat goes back to the idea that we tried to incorporate as many operating and storage elements of the furnishings as possible into the walls themselves, or they replace walls. Special attention was paid to the choice of materials, textures, colours and light in the space. We replaced the green colour of the former walls with white and neutral furniture. The memory of the popular colour is only subtly reflected in the choice of dining chairs.

    When we enter the hallway of the flat, we see a long row of white cupboards on the right side with passages to two rooms: bedroom and new study. The cupboards have replaced the wall that originally separated the two smaller rooms from the hallway. This has given us a large amount of new storage space without reducing the size of the room itself. In the alcove on the left, where everyday clothes and shoes can be placed, we have visually expanded the space with the help of a floor-to-ceiling mirror. In this way we have achieved the airiness of the space for meeting and saying goodbye to visitors. The entrance area thus creates a kind of optical windbreak. Continuing, the longitudinal space invites us into the central living-dining room with a new kitchen – we moved the kitchen from one of the smaller rooms into the central living room – where a balcony opens through the new large picture window, connecting the outside with the inside; in summer, when the window is open, the living space expands onto the balcony and so the living room gains a few square metres. On the left side of the living room, the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets are hidden in a high element, while on the right side a series of low elements provide a luxurious kitchen work surface, while the oven and dishwasher are classically hidden underneath. The back wall is divided horizontally with shelves on which the colourful books are the only colour accent in the room. The new toilets are in white. Above the washbasin and toilet bowl are storage cabinets lined with mirrors, and the space of the toilets is visually enlarged once again. let us double up.

    The user of the home is aware of this fact every time she returns from long journeys, because the renovated home offers her a more pleasant, flexible and user-friendly, more functional and fresher living experience, a new home to dream in and gives the home a new value.

Project name: From Green to White, Renovation of a Flat in ‘Draveljska gmajna’  Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia  Authors: Tomaž Ebenšpanger (UM FGPA)  Investor: Private  Type: Residential  Project year: 2023  Photographs: Janez Marolt