In recent years, the trend in housing is shifting from simply buying a new apartment to finding one whose interior can be subsequently completed according to the owner’s wishes. Often in collaboration with renowned experts from the ranks of architectural and design studios.
"Thanks to the Shell & Core system, the prospective buyer can have new electrical wiring, water and waste conduits, changes in the location of various construction openings, as well as new ceilings installed subsequently. But it's not just that. Often, many more adjustments are made,"
explains David Novotný from a design studio.
Architects and interior designers have their work cut out here. If they want to preserve the original character of the place, they often return "to the roots". If the apartment has original casement windows, for example, they design wooden floors and parquets to go with them, usually arranged in the French style.
Industrial style is trendy
The industrial style, which is based on the use of various metal elements - sliding doors, tiles behind kitchen units, bookcases or stylish heaters, has been in the limelight lately. If you opt for this style, your kitchen can be combined with steel sheets, left in their natural colour after hot rolling. Complete the design with fitting coffee tables or chairs.
The industrial style suits mainly medium-sized and larger apartments. In exceptional cases, though, it will also look good in smaller homes. One of its advantages is the relatively diminutive workload that comes with the reconstruction. The same goes for costs - they may actually be bearable. It is often enough to clean existing bricks and paint them with anthracite paint. Electrical wiring, which leads visibly along the wall, as is often the case in old homes, can be highlighted by luminaires.
However, larger apartments deserve a thorough revamping. Which means higher costs. The entrance hall can be separated from the rest of the interior by a different surface than what was used for the rest of the renovated unit. Even black tiles are allowed, although some people might feel it’s too extreme at first glance. There are literally no limits to imagination. This is doubly true when it comes to the equipment of the apartment.
But, as we’ve already pointed out, Shell & Core is also suitable for smaller apartments. One option is dividing the living space, for example, by a steel truss and a sliding glass wall. Lighter colours are recommended for smaller spaces, as they make the room appear less cramped. Not much furniture is used. And if there is some, then it looks inconspicuous, due to which white is often the dominant colour in the kitchen.
In small apartments, the bathroom sometimes protrudes into other parts of the apartment. That means the typical heating ladder doesn’t always fit in, and the room may be kept warm by a tubular radiator located in the corridor.
The bathroom can also be hidden behind wood panelling.
"If you want to be true to the industrial style, here is a tip for you: you can use the cabinet from an old Singer sewing machine as a washbasin, it will lend your modern bathroom a touch of the old times,"
Combining two different tile formats can give the impression that the bathroom is larger than in reality. Both the bathroom and the toilet can also be separated from the corridor by a sliding door. When the toilet is in use, the bathroom remains open.
Work with space
In the case of “White Walls” apartments, experts recommend, for example, an adjustment of the layout that allows for the living room to be expanded to include a kitchen unit. This will enable you to get a larger study and separate the staircase leading to the upper floor. Another good tip is reducing the size of the children's bathroom, which can help you create space for another dressing room.
Due to the lack of room for storage space, you may want to use the space under the sloping part of the roof. A small apartment usually doesn’t have enough windows either, and let’s not even mention their size. That’s why the interior shouldn’t lack a sufficient number of large mirrors. They optically enlarge the interior, and can simultaneously reflect the roofs of the surrounding buildings. This is especially interesting in the centre of old Prague. In this way, its history can become part of your apartment.
"If you prefer Shell & Core or White Walls apartments, it is important to consult experts in advance. Attempting to do the reconstruction by yourself can paradoxically end up being more expensive for you. The work you do on it won’t be covered by a warranty, which means you won’t be able to claim it,"
explains Adam Souček from a prominent design company.
The budget for reconstruction depends on a number of different aspects. However, it can be generalized that the costs of reconstruction start at about 10,000 crowns per m2. That means that the reconstruction of a two-bedroom apartment with an area of 70 m2 will cost you around 700,000 crowns.
"If you’re buying an unfinished property with an area of, say, 100 m2 for the price of 100 thousand per m2, you should have backup money for standard completion. With this layout and the price of 10 million per apartment, it would be another 2 million,"
Adds Elena Jakubovič from the real estate agency Y&T Luxury Property.
Renovated apartments can often be found in historic apartment buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The apartments typically face either the city centre or the courtyard. The latter usually come with a balcony or terrace.
The attractiveness of such places is increased by their convenient location near the city centre, full of shops, restaurants and a variety of places offering cultural activities. On the contrary, facilities for children, such as playgrounds or parks, aren’t frequently found here. And not everyone appreciates the hustle and bustle these apartments are surrounded by. It really depends on your preferences.
In any case, Shell & Core and White Walls apartments definitely have their merit. Due to the rising cost of many new construction projects, part of the public's interest is increasingly shifting to these segments. The offer of various residential housing options thus keeps expanding.