written by SHANI SILVER
photography by JULIANA VLCKOVA
We can’t resist a good before-and-after makeover, and this one came to us all the way from Prague! Designer Daniele Federico Melilli, interior designer and founder of Stag Pads recently completed a design project that was more personal than most; the small space in Prague belongs to his partner, Josef Kunz! The apartment is just under 500 square feet, and contains one bedroom, an open living room and kitchen, bathroom, and the cutest little balcony. Read on to discover how Daniele created a pin-worthy pad for Josef.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THIS PROJECT. HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
When I bought the apartment I did some easy and essential renovations, like upgrading the windows, replacing the linoleum floor in the kitchen and living room with laminated wooden floor, and so on; though I wasn’t brave enough to tackle a bathroom renovation. I didn’t have a proper vision for it, I could not figure out what to do with it.
Josef gave me pretty much total freedom of creating whatever would fit best the apartment and his personal style. He gave me very few directions, apart from his favorite colors, blue and yellow, and that he wanted to fit a bathtub in his (very) small bathroom. It was exciting and challenging, being a fairly old house.
“THE GOAL WAS TO UPDATE THE SPACE, MAKING IT COOL, AIRY, AND YOUNG.”
WHAT INSPIRED THE DESIGN?
I didn’t really start with a particular inspiration, I let the space “talk” to me somehow. I did a little research on Pinterest, together we made several mood boards and then fine tuned our choices into the final project. I know Josef very well, I designed the house for him, like if I painted a portrait. I guess we can say he was my inspiration.
THE SPACE IS VERY GEOMETRIC AND FULL OF COLOR. HOW DID YOU SELECT YOUR COLORS AND PRODUCTS?
It was tandem work, we both spent a long time searching for the right pieces, we went to IKEA probably 15 times in the span of three months, we composed the rooms like a puzzle, piece by piece. The colors were the only guideline I had from Josef, so that was the easiest part for me. I usually tend to use way darker and moodier colors, so this was a challenge for me, but i had fun, and I’m starting to enjoy to working with brighter tones.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
We worked with a very small budget so I would say that was the biggest challenge. To save money we tried to do all the work ourselves, apart from electric and plumbing. It was a learning experience. We became DIY experts after this project.
Definitely the bathroom. We had to do it literally from scratch… the pipes were very old, and so was he hot water boiler, so we had to change them, too.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THIS DESIGN PROCESS?
I have a lot of nice memories about the whole process. It wasn’t always easy and fun, but after seeing my new, beautiful home finished, I can see only the nice memories. Though probably my favorite memory is choosing the art for my walls; how we slowly found exactly each perfect piece which also somehow represents my personality and my passions. The photo of the tribe from Papua New Guinea over the sofa: I studied anthropology. Movies: I used to work for HBO for many years and I´m a bit of movie geek. Animals: My passion since i was a kid, and so on.
As Josef said, it hasn’t been the smoothest of the rides, but we had so many great memories and the result is so great that really one easily forgets the tricky moments. My favorite memory surely was the planning phase, it was a way to get to know each other better, to get to know each other’s taste and style. We started working on this project two months after we met, so planning everything brought us closer and eventually together. Seeing the smile and excitement on his face once I showed him the drawing for the new bathroom was priceless.