Gio Ponti–Inspired Floors Welcome You Into This Kazakhstan Home Shared by 5 Women
There’s storage for everyone.
Published Jun 8, 2022 1:45 AM
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Saltanat, the owner of this Kazakhstan home, doesn’t have to ring up her mom on FaceTime when she needs a recipe or text her sister when she wants her thoughts on an outfit. Instead she can just ask them in person—they all live here. The two-story house, recently designed by Elina Mussakulova of Sdelaemremont.kz Interior Bureau, is shared by five women: Saltanat, who is a top manager at a local transportation company; her daughter; her sister; her mother; and her grandmother. Naturally, in the process of reimagining the space, Mussakulova had an epic mirror custom-made for the front entry. “It’s the perfect selfie spot for all the beautiful ladies of this house,” she says.
Situated 15 minutes outside of the center of Almaty, the home is considered a part of the southern section of the city, but it’s in close range of the mountains. “As the seasons change, the colors of the mountains turn from red and yellow to glittering white and then eventually to incredible lush green,” describes Mussakulova. Saltanat purchased the vacant lot three years ago and had been working with an architecture firm to build the place, but when she realized she didn’t love the direction they were going with the interiors, she tasked Mussakulova with the job, even though the designer and her team were hesitant at first (she almost never takes on projects started by others). “But she said she was ready for anything, so those words made us change our mind and accept the challenge,” shares Mussakulova.
At the stage Mussakulova entered the picture, she had to make do with the footprint that was predetermined by the designer before her, which didn’t account for much storage. Plus the showers were small and there was no laundry room or pantry. “It lacked day-to-day usefulness,” recalls Mussakulova. So she had to get clever with her millwork. Across from the Instagrammable arched mirror in the foyer, the designer lined the wall with tall storage cabinets. Building out the closets, though, meant compromising on the initial idea to carve out a large library with a lounge nook under the stairs.
But Mussakulova still found a way to give Saltanat and her family a place to curl up with a book by adding an upholstered bench in the kitchen by the window. Underneath the reading zone is hidden storage for tablecloths, runners, and napkins (it’s positioned right across from the formal dining table).
“The main idea was to improve the versatility of the room by creating different zones,” explains Mussakulova of her decision to also add a more practical breakfast area next to the island for casual gatherings. After her clients moved into the finished space, she was happy to hear that they make use of all the tables regularly and rotate between them depending on the occasion.
In the primary bedroom (Saltanat’s space), Mussakulova stretched her storage opportunities in the form of a long vanity with drawers underneath a Turkish Milas Lilac marble countertop. “Sunlight coming from the window makes the table a perfect spot for putting on makeup, and the drawers are for keeping both cosmetics and clothes,” explains the designer.
Rather than go with a typical checkered square design, Mussakulova mixed in rows of parallelograms in the black and white marble entry flooring to give it a Gio Ponti–worthy spin. In fact, she continued the Ponti inspiration with the living room rug that features the iconic designer’s chessboard pattern.
The breezy blue hue continues around the door casings, wainscoting, and stair risers, where Mussakulova employed a custom paint color. And by bringing in another playful, powerful color (yellow!), she ensured the place didn’t feel too neutral or “like a chain hotel.” “That may be tempting and appealing to some, but we tilted toward quite the opposite and came up with this scheme,” she says. “Blue and yellow are a mix of tranquility and energy at the same time.”
Saltanat’s daughter, however, got a moody dose of mauve that any teenager would love. “It’s not too childish, not too adultish,” notes the designer. The pair of hanging lanterns provides ample light for when she stays up late at night doing homework in bed nestled between her two built-in wardrobes.
After collaborating with local tile fabricator Meraki on the floral-inspired bathroom floor tile, Mussakulova kept the soft curve theme going with scalloped shower wall tile (she used the leftover pieces to create the trim of the baseboards), light cotton curtains, and a dainty pendant lamp that looks like it’s a handkerchief floating in midair. “Translated from the Kazakh language, Saltanat means ‘festivity,’ and we believe our client’s name was fully embodied in the smooth work on the project,” shares Mussakulova. “Getting every idea immediately approved can truly be compared to a feast.”