How a “tired” building of 43 m² was turned into a dream two-room apartment (you will remember the before and after photos forever)

Personal experience of our heroine, who made a cool renovation without the help of a designer

Our heroine Natalya lives in Tula and maintains a blog on Instagram, in which she shows all the details of the renovation of a Khrushchev building, shares her personal experience and talks about cool ways to save money. Today Natalya told us how she managed to paint the walls herself, how much it cost her to repair her balcony, and what mistakes she made that shouldn’t be repeated.

About planning and budget

This was my first renovation in my life, but thanks to observation, which I trained for several months of quarantine, studying the pages of bloggers who talked about their renovation experience on Instagram, I knew exactly what I wanted.

I really like the layout of the classic two-room Khrushchev apartment, and it was perfect for combining the kitchen and living room areas. There was no project, I selected solutions based on saved examples from social networks and finishing materials that were relevant/available/on budget. The adequate limit for renovations with furniture was one million rubles: (spoiler) and I met it.

About the kitchen

I chose a white kitchen, smooth matte fronts, hidden or integrated handles and a natural oak (Wotan oak) countertop that extends onto the window sill to increase the work surface. Due to the fact that the kitchen is non-standard in size, my favorite solutions from IKEA were not suitable for me. The only option left is to make it to order.

The first contractors made me wait two months, in the end they returned the advance payment and said that they had damaged the facades during assembly, and to redo it would mean waiting the same amount of time. This was a big fly in the ointment of the renovation, since due to the lack of a kitchen, all the deadlines for completing the renovation were missed.

We had to urgently look for performers who would quickly make an order from scratch. I turned to a local company with production in Tula in order to wait less. As a result, I was lucky enough to find the company “Gorod N”, which made my white baby in a month for an incredibly budget price of 48 thousand rubles (with installation, insertion, delivery).

About laminate on walls

The design of the room, and almost the entire apartment, began with a laminate wall in the TV area. Black color in the interior has never scared me – it’s actually my favorite. When I saw this laminate at Leroy Merlin, I knew for sure that I would use it somewhere, and I found, in my opinion, a great place for it. It looks like porcelain stoneware, but this is an 8mm laminate.

I asked the workers to leave me two 50 cm columns to the left and right of the laminate wall and prepare them for painting. Then it was like a fog: I saw moldings on the walls in a coffee shop, watched installation videos on YouTube, went to the construction market, bought a suitable meter of duropolymer, titanium glue, a small saw and a miter box. And on the day off, while the workers were away, I drew frames on the wall, sawed the moldings at 45 degrees and glued them.

Behind the granite-like laminate wall and graphite hexagons, the dark theme was begged to be continued. It was not possible to recess the heating risers into the walls, since the neighbors above/below did not want to change them with me. I decided to paint them matte graphite.

About the bedroom

In the collection of granite laminate there was also a beige color, I decided to use it in the columns at the head of the bed. So as not to duplicate the laminate wall in the center, but to support this technique in the bedroom. Between the columns, I decided to order photo wallpaper in muted colors with a floral theme.

I ordered it from a catalog in an offline wallpaper store in the exact size that corresponded to the required opening. I ordered sconce lamps – black metal cubes – on AliExpress, they had an incredible number of positive reviews with photos. I was satisfied, the electricians did not experience any problems during the connection either.

The area by the window in the bedroom was also immediately identified as a workplace. I’m in love with wide window sills. In reality, it turned out to be difficult to find a custom-made tabletop with a width of 80–90 cm from wall to wall. I looked at solid wood, furniture panels, and eventually chose and ordered a 25 mm countertop from a kitchen manufacturer to fit the width of the room.

On site, the installer made cuts on the sides and installed steel angle brackets under the tabletop to the walls. The pine shelves to the left of the window were ordered from a local loft workshop along with a river window sill (with epoxy resin) that was installed near the balcony block.

About decorating walls with your own hands

I really wanted more white walls in such a bright but small apartment. It was decided to make a white corridor, since it is very small, a wall extending from it, a kitchen and a wall with windows. Gluing white wallpaper somehow seemed like a crazy idea to me, but I always liked textured white matte plaster.

The foreman calculated that, including the material, work on 25 m² of wall area would cost about 30 thousand rubles. I was somehow not ready for this: I, of course, liked the walls like that, but I understood that they were background, unremarkable, and simply convenient to use.

I turned to the Internet and found videos on YouTube about textured paint, which does not require a special approach or qualifications of the worker. I went to the construction market, having previously chosen Jobi PutzEffektFarbe textured paint, bought primer, rollers, a tray, a couple of spatulas and a trowel. Two days off, five thousand rubles (all materials + 10 liters of paint) – and everything is ready.

Advice: the best is the enemy of the good! Some people recommend covering textured paint with a matte varnish for textured plaster, so that it is easier to clean if it gets dirty. I decided, as an excellent student, to follow the advice. But after a month, the varnish began to give a yellowish tint of varying degrees of saturation. I had to take matte white paint and paint the walls to make them white again! Don’t make my mistakes: perhaps this varnish is really good if you tinted the textured paint in a rich dark color, but it can ruin light shades.

Where I planned to use color, I also wanted to paint the walls, but, having calculated the estimate for leveling, preparation, painting, and also having experience of a solution that is not always practical (it’s easy to touch the paint, chip it, scratch it, and if you paint over the area of ​​“injury” – you can see it often), I decided to buy wallpaper that imitates painted walls, Inspire Pablo from the same Leroy Merlin. Gray for the living room, cappuccino for the bedroom, blue for the dressing room. Plain, wide, with the texture of a painted wall, without adjustment – I’m very pleased.

About the dressing room

Dressing room: I’m not a fan of wardrobes, especially sliding wardrobes. Therefore, the dressing room was returned to its classic location on the site of the Khrushchev storage room (the previous owners combined the storage room with the bedroom). The wardrobe system from Obi cost 2,999 rubles. I came specifically to the offline store to touch and feel it – steel, reliable, white. Absolutely the same configuration of shelves and rods. It was a nice saving, without any loss in quality.

The chest of drawers for storage is as ordinary as possible, suitable in size, was purchased in a budget offline store in Tula. I ordered fashionable black handles for it instead of cheap plastic ones, and it already has a different look – it claims to be a modest classic of minimalism.

Everything was going according to plan until I saw a 3D hexagon wallpaper in blue shades and decided to use it for the dressing room. This was a mistake. They look good, of course, but they are narrow with frequent adjustments. Because of this, they came out twice as expensive as plain ones, and they have wardrobe systems on them. Plus, the pattern is too aggressive for a small room. I would not make such a choice again.

About windows and balconies

Old wooden windows were replaced with plastic Veka ones, reconstruction, cladding and glazing of the balcony. 100 thousand rubles turnkey – local company. For some reason, all the measurers dissuaded me from laying it out inside the double-glazed window, but I was adamant. It’s charming. And once again, the shadows from this layout are my little joy. And also a balcony door to the floor.

About finishing the bathroom

The decision on what the bathroom would be like was the simplest – modern and universal. For such a small area, I decided not to go too small: not to use decor, ornaments, or a lot of details. I wanted to make an ergonomic, comfortable bathroom. This design does not pretend to be unique, but matte porcelain tiles are easy to care for and keep clean.

The only catchy elements are the black matte faucets from Gappo, laconic and geometric, like the rest of the bathroom decoration. Bathtub (1Marka), sink + cabinet (Alavann), wall-hung toilet (Santek, Grohe installation) – I also chose them among quality brands in the middle price segment for their geometric, but not sharp, shapes and optimal sizes.

It was difficult to find a cabinet at an affordable price (13 thousand rubles with delivery – excellent!) – the maximum allowable width is 50 cm. I am very pleased with it. The mixers also turned out to be convenient and not so difficult to clean; the main thing is not to use harsh abrasives; sometimes it is enough to wipe with a damp cloth. I bought a chrome rectangular heated towel rail because the black ones are too expensive.

About the hallway

The corridor is the last thing to be equipped, as it is very small. The shoe shoe from IKEA miraculously fit between the front door and the door to the bathroom. It fits there perfectly, and does not interfere with the opening of the door.

The electrical panel was replaced and installed in place of the old one, but the door and beacon, of course, spoiled the picture from the living room. I came up with a solution: a picture shelf from IKEA and a canvas painting of a bicycle covering the shield. It’s convenient to put your keys/phone on the shelf at the entrance – a useful solution.

Important advice about saving

Regarding saving on finishing materials: yes, I really believe that you can find good finishing materials in construction mass markets, and I understand that the cost of repairs should be a reasonable proportion of the cost of the property in which you are investing. But I didn’t skimp on communications—wiring, water supply—and checked all the materials that the workers purchased and the routes that they laid. It’s a nightmare for me to have to undo repairs due to poor engineering communications. This is really important!


Photo before renovation

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