Some spend their retirement years in holiday homes by a golf course; others, on a beautiful yacht, the gift of decades of hard work. For Margit Szinger and Géza Hamori, retirement means taking old, rundown homes, and giving them a second life by making them new.
The couple is behind Margeza Design Studio, who in recent years have been leaving their signature all-white interiors dashed with bold strokes of colour around old apartments in Budapest. “Normally, we recreate one apartment a year,” says Géza, a former librarian at the EU Court of Justice as well as, during his free time, a contemporary art exhibition curator in Luxembourg. After living in the apartment for a while, the couple sells the properly, then finds a new gem to renovate and to call their own.
For this 1,180sqft apartment near Buda Castle, the couple took an old rundown building built in 1928. “We bought the apartment in 2016, in a very rundown state. We saw the possibilities in it though, and the magnificent panorama made it especially attractive,” says Géza.
Indeed the panorama – about 200 degrees of which could be enjoyed from the home’s location – is perhaps the best thing about the space. Within frame is the Hungarian Parliament, by which the waters of the Danube gently amble. It’s these views that anchor the two-storey home, filtering in through the glass wall in the living room – triple-layered for safety – that also brings in all of the natural light into the space.
Inside, a different world decidedly takes place. Painted all-white, a contemporary, cosmopolitan air contrasts against the age-old building’s exteriors and the historic views outside.
Most of the major furnishings are white, too: the seats by the window, the kitchen island, the Leolux dining table, the bath tub, the bed.
And in their signature stroke, Margeza peppers the home with a palette of primary colours, through gestures bold, tempered and deliberate: bright sunflower yellow armchairs by Girotonda here; a technicolour throw blanket there; half a wall of green here, by way of a vertical garden, that operates with an automatic irrigation system. Red chairs – by Kartell – pair with the dining table, and blue, green and red vases ornament that shelving by the staircase, custom-designed by the couple.
Storage is intelligently laid out, hiding the microwave, wine cooler and washing machine underneath the staircase, for instance.
The living room carpet, designed by Margit, thoughtfully features an all-white map of Budapest with a streak of blue marking the Danube river, and a little red spot to indicate the location of the apartment.
Both Hungarian natives, Margit and Géza are Belgian nationals that live near the Belgian-Luxembourg border. Margit – a former biologist with a diploma from the University of Crafts in Budapest – and Géza are mutually fond of minimalist design, particularly the white canvas that allows for more interesting, colourful elements to come through.
“Our look does not really fit any well-known style,” says Géza. “Minimalist tends to be closest way to describe it, but we use far more colour, with an emphasis on primary colours. Keeping the ratio between them is paramount to create our harmony.”
Click through the gallery below for a home tour of this beautiful Budapest apartment.
Images courtesy of Margeza Design Studio