Earthly and Ethereal: An Apartment Makeover by Studio Oink
This apartment belongs to a fashion designer and a priest (you can chew on that, but the owners insist on anonymity). Here’s what we know: They live in a historic mill building on the outskirts of Mainz, in Western Germany, and they have very good taste. When they signed the lease on their flat—a single-story, 150-square-meter (1,614-square-foot) space—it was “cluttered and worn out by the former residents.” They wanted to completely overhaul it, even though it’s a rental and the floor plan couldn’t be changed.
Enter Studio Oink, the interior-design/styling/product design lab run by husband-and-wife team, Matthias Hiller and Lea Korzeczek, who are based four and a half hours away in Leipzig. Minimalists with a lot of heart, the duo’s work manages to be both rigorous and low-key, luxurious and an ode to the everyday, earthly and ethereal. The fashion designer and the priest must be very pleased.
Photography by Studio Oink.
Above: “We removed the old flooring (tiles and plastic) and replaced them with herringbone wood in the entry hall, kitchen, and bathroom,” says Lea, emphasizing that the goal was “to make the space a home and not a showroom.”
Above L: Unexpected art and Max Lamb’s Last Stool in the entry (watch for the brass stool’s many uses throughout the apartment). Above R: A pendant light from Michael Anastassiades’s IC Lights collection, which also puts in multiple appearances.
Above: “Some of the rooms are tiny, so we set out to make the atmosphere feel bright and free,” Lea told us. And not too chilly—antiques are mixed with of-the-moment contemporary classics, many of them in brass, and floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains. (Not surprisingly, design sourcing is another of Studio Oink’s services.) The towering black ceramic stove dates to the 18th century and is original to the building (but no longer in use).
Above: Much of the apartment’s tableware came from Studio Oink Selected, the duo’s online shop, which offers a mix of vintage and new accessories. “We love and respect old things, and we are trying to work in a sustainable and ecological way,” say the designers.
Above: The stove extends into the living room (and looks something like a Louise Nevelson sculpture). As in the dining area, walls and floor are all white (the floor is painted “estrich,” which Lea translates as “like concrete,” finished with a shiny varnish). “With this plain and serene background, spaces appear larger,” she says. “We decided for less furniture to give every piece its own stage.
Above: “The concept of emptiness and wideness is underlined by the soft white curtains,” says Lea. “They align with the walls and connote that there is something behind them.”
The sofa is the Redondo Two-Seat in satin velvet by Patricia Urquiola. Hay Tray Tables in a range of sizes serve as coffee table and side tables; they start at $169, and can also be stacked as shelves.
Above L: The antique secretary is paired with Michael Anastassiade’s IC Lights F, part of a group inspired by “the movement of a juggler.” Above R: Vico Magistretti’s 1977 Atollo light rises behind the sofa.
Above: The existing kitchen was an Ikea design that Studio Oink “optimized” by reorganizing the cabinet components on a grid, and introducing a wooden frame “so there is no ugly gap.” The new counter is linoleum (selected because “it’s a natural and longlasting product”) and the oak table and bench are custom Studio Oink pieces.
Above L: The linoleum counter is detailed with an exposed plywood edge. The glass and silicon bottle is the Hario Cold Tea Brewer. Above R: Fontana Arte’s Cheshire Pendant Light hangs over the kitchen table.
Above: Like the kitchen, the office has a Studio Oink table and bench made for the space. The light is the IC Lights T, the table version of Michael Anastassiades’s juggler design.
Above L: “For the bedroom we decided to use a high-quality carpet with a soft shimmer, which underlines the luxury of the curtains and sleeping itself,” says Lea. The carpet is from Jab Anstoetz Flooring’s Wall-to-Wall Collection. The soft brown curtains add texture to the space—and hide the TV. The Butterfly Chair, the Pampa Mariposa (with black steel frame and stitched leather seat) is by Swedish company Cuero. (Read up on the design and see more sources in Object Lesson.) As for the windowed door, it’s original.
Above R: A Cestita lamp, a 1962 glass and pine design by Miguel Mila, on a bedside table.
Above: Discreet closets line the wall alongside the bed. The light is the Mega Bulb SR2 Pendant Lamp, which also hangs over the dining table. Note the differing bedside tables—good feng shui (see 5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep from a Feng Shui Master).
Above: In the dressing room, curtains conceal storage for clothes and household things. The desk is vintage and the chair is Vitra’s forward-tilting Tip Ton made of solid plastic.
Above: “Everything in the bathroom was torn out and we decided for a combination of shower and bathtub in front of the window and a long custom washstand, which also hides the washing machine,” explains Lea. (There’s actually a washer and dryer behind the counter curtain.)
Above: Normann Copenhagen’s Flip Mirror doubles as a tray for corralling accessories—and avoiding counter clutter. The faceted bulb is the halogen Diamond Light Bulb by Eric Therner, and the brass socket and cloth-covered cord are the Frama Kit Copper Ceiling Light, all available from Merci.
Above: D-Line Hooks from Denmark reflected in the bathroom mirror, which has a circular milk-glass light embedded in it.
Stay tuned: Studio Oink is getting ready to present a collection called “Design with the Unknown” at Salone del Mobile in Milan next month. Tour their former Wiesbaden Apartment and take a look at their ingenious solution for A Tiny Bedroom.