This house was built by the Ukrainian architect Sergey Makhno for his family. It is located in Kozyn, a village in the suburbs of Kyiv. Here, more than 15 years ago, Sergey Makhno began his journey. And then he decided that he will live here.
The second story. About Ukrainian Japan and vice versa
The house is built in contemporary Ukrainian style under the influence of Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi that finds beauty and harmony in imperfections. Being almost completely enclosed by a minimalist concrete fence, its character can be seen with half an eye — a proud thatched roof hangs over the wooden rails on the walls.
These materials are traditional for both Ukrainian and Japanese cultures.
“Thanks to Japan, I learned to love Ukraine. When I went to Japan for the first time and saw how they appreciate their heritage, I understood that Ukrainian culture is extremely rich but we rarely rate it highly. Japan has given my country back to me. It has opened my eyes and, most importantly, my heart to the wealth I have always had — my homeland. Even if I wanted to do Japanese design — it would not work. Because I’m Ukrainian. I create Ukrainian design transmitted through the lens of Japanese perception of beautiful”, — says Sergey Makhno.
The third story. About morning
We pass the stone path to the house and find ourselves in a garden gallery with scents of conifer and freshly mown herbs. Here, Japanese maples and cherry trees met traditional Ukrainian zoomorphic pottery and contemporary art. Here, there are 250 tons of stones and several perspectives, as common for Japanese gardens. The Japanese believe that the stone itself must choose where to lie. And so it happened here — in a few months, the garden grew on the site of a wasteland by itself, without human intervention. Now squirrels and nightingales live here, and the morning tastes good. And now there is silence. And if we do not have anything more beautiful to say than silence, then we choose to remain silent.
The fourth story. About passion
The Shkrub House has two entrances — from the facade and the courtyard. The residents immediately fell in love with the second one. Right next to it, there is a terrace illuminated by the stars and the designer lamps by Sergey Makhno.
Make a step into the house and the cool of clay will absorb not only the telephone but also all the worries, “urgent-s” and “necessary-s”. The stairs to the second floor run to the right, and the main area of the house is located to the left.
The walls are decorated in the technique used by our great-grandparents for their huts. Space is divided into three parts: an open kitchen, dining area, and living room. This part underwent major changes during the redevelopment of the original house that was here before the architect became its owner.
Uniting two floors was the only right solution for this object. All the architects understand that space and light are the best things you can give to any place. A panoramic view of the garden is offered by a huge window. All the family stories are protected by a silent guest — the sculpture “Rain” by Nazar Bilyk.
The wall and ceiling are decorated with wood — we just dismantled 11 old abandoned houses. Giving a second life to things is the best we can do for our planet.
As you may have noticed, Sergey is an enthusiastic collector. He started collecting Ukrainian ceramics as a kid playing around grandparents’ house in the village. He found the very first ceramic jugs in the yard, cleaned them and started to search for more. Now, the most significant part of Sergey’s collections is represented at this wall — there are clay products from Trypillia, 5–2nd Millenium BC.
There are no things here. Everything means something to homeowners. The carpet pattern, for example, was created by Hikaru, the middle son, when he was less than two years old.
The dining area is the family’s favorite one. It sings an ode to a tree — warm, simple, perfect. Every place at the table offers a great view — to the living room, garden or terrace. If you ask Sergey what Japan means to him, a tea ceremony will be the first mentioned. Teacups are more commonly used in this home than wine glasses.
The house has two kitchens. The minimalism of the open one is emphasized by a wooden table from a flea market, that replaced the kitchen tabletop. This table was born in 1935, and several generations of the Hutsul family have dined at it. The closed kitchen was designed according to Ukrainian traditions. Above the table, there is a “mysnyk” — special authentic shelves for dishes. The apron of the kitchen is protected by Sergey Makhno designer ceramic tile “Rock”. You can exit the kitchen through the window — everything in this house is made for ease of decision making.
The sixth story. About ancestry
Sergey’s parents are frequent guests in this house. It is believed that grandparents love grandchildren more than children — in Ukraine, the connection between these two generations is very strong. Therefore, in the evenings, when Sergey and his wife are in the downtown, the kids are being watched by their grandparents. Their room is very simple and restrained. The traditional for Japan’s low mattress is no longer surprising to Sergey’s parents — they are used to creative experiments of their son.
And for the first time our Flapjack, which received the Red Dot Design Award 2017, is made in this color. Looks unusual, but great. The guest bathroom is a gallery of designer tiles by Sergey Makhno. Here are the “Grass” and “Earthquake” in two versions: glazed and metal-reduced.
The seventh story. About the point of view
The stairs to the second floor hold glass handrails and ginger “Tetrapods” — the designer tile by Sergey Makhno Architects inspired by actual multi-tone tetrapods that protect coasts from destructive waves.
Second-floor planning is simple and ergonomic. There are gallery-hall and bedrooms for the residents. The hall ends with a balcony overlooking the living room and garden — the first thing owners see when they leave their rooms in the morning.
The decor here is represented by the 16-century ceramic tile and the guardian angels above the doors to the children’s bedrooms. The window overlooks the second level of the stone garden and a rooftop terrace. This is analogous to one of the most famous Japanese gardens — the stone garden of Ryōan-ji in Kyoto. The rocks and sand in Ryōan-ji are like the sea and land, two inseparable entities. 15 large stones of the garden are laid out in such a way that no matter how hard you try, but no more than 14 stones can be seen together. It is believed that only the person who has attained true enlightenment can see all the 15 ones.
The eighth story. About Ivan — Roman schoolboy
Ivan is Sergey’s eldest son. He is studying in Italy and planning to continue his father’s business. His room is traditionally made in dark colors. The main focus here is the view of the garden and the floor made of a 500-year-old oak. Ivan shares his room with Kaws and ceramic art-toys DIDO created by his father.
At the head of the tatami bed — Sumi-e-style monochrome art piece depicting distant landscapes, traditional for the wabi-sabi philosophy.
The ninth story. About Hikaru — the one who shines
This is a very important room in the house. Here, the rockets will be launched into space and the pirates will be defeated. Here, the real treasures will be found and hidden so thoroughly that mom will never find them. Here, a kitten will be brought from the outside. Here, the walls will be painted with brilliant green, and perhaps, the Kaws’ ear will be torn away. By the way, the wallpapers are made by Sergey Makhno. He draws from early childhood, and still, most of his ideas appear on the paper first.
The tenth story. About Tadao — who has the same name as Tadao Ando
Children’s dreams will live here. So, it is the life that will settle here. The room of the youngest son is also minimalistic and spacious.
The wallpapers are designed by Sergey Makhno. At first, the father made chaotic blues spots on the craft paper, and then, the walls were painted by famous Ukrainian artist and ceramist, Serhii Radko. These are traditional themes of his works — animals and birds that live in Ukraine and symbolize family.
Although the younger sons are very small — 2 and 4 years old, it was important for the parents for everyone to have their own space. The space that kids will transform into the universe.
The eleventh story. About Shkrub
You may be wondering what the word “Shkrub” means. Shkrub is love. It is respect and patience. It is home. It is sons. It is 10 years together. Shkrub is a fictitious word the spouses call each other — Sergey and his wife Vlada, who is also engaged in interior design. That’s how they are named in each other’s phone books.
The primary bedroom has several separate zones. Recreation area, study, shower room, and bathroom. The head of a tatami bed is an allusion to a clay cliff as a symbol of all the primeval and its beauty. It is a unique technique implemented by the Kelsis studio.
The study area has an open window to the living room and another perspective of the garden. Metal lamps appeared in this room as a symbol of the owner’s character. Also designed by Sergey Makhno Architects studio.
A shower room is a shower room. Meditative and restrained. To wake up and plan the day in the refreshing water drops. Day by day, for a lifetime.
“When in five thousand years, archaeologists from other planets will dismantle my house, they will say that it was built according to ancient Ukrainian traditions. That there was a lot of nature, and a lot of life”, — says Sergey Makhno.
The twelfth story. Story about stories
The house, like a construction set, is made of Sergey Makhno’s favorite materials: linen, wood, clay, metal — the best things nature has given us.
Clay. There are several types of Ukrainian clay used here. The walls are decorated in 9 different techniques. One of them, for instance, is commonly used in ceramic sculpture modeling. To get a texture with rhythmical dints, the walls were covered with clay and knocked with a wooden spoon until it got dry. Also, according to ancient Ukrainian traditions, the clay was mixed with flax seeds, rye, and wheat — this technique was used in the times of Trypillia.
Ceramics. All the lighting in the house is designed by Sergey Makhno Architects. Made by hand, in limited editions, by one person for another. In the main living room, there are our Khmara lamps that never rain and can be also found in the Paris gallery. Sinks and children’s baths are also created in the ceramic workshop of Sergey Makhno.
Hidden storage places. Following the principles of wabi-sabi, many closed areas were organized in the house for everything the family may need: clothing, food, toys. There are room closets, storage rooms, cellar. To breathe — you need air, not piles of different things.
Smart home. The house is equipped with a smart home system. But only with functions that are needed, it’s not the case when you forget how to turn on the light — to clap or to jump. The music in the bathroom of the primary bedroom switches on as soon as you open the door. Air temperature, ventilation, sound, and light can be controlled with a tablet. A brain was given to the house by the Ukrainian company D8.
Also, the home is energy-efficient. There are solar panels and geothermal wells. Because if living, then in harmony with nature.
This house is also home to an impressive collection of contemporary Ukrainian art. These are the works by Oleg Tistol, Serhii Radko, Nazar Bilyk, Roman Mykhailov, Pavlo Makov, Oleksiy Zolotariov, and Tiberiy Silvashy. Besides, there are famous Kaws and designer art-toys by Sergey Makhno — Dido, made in the ancient Ukrainian tradition of zoomorphic plastics.
This home has a unique earthy look to its exterior wooden slat walls and earthy textured roof. The small front yard has a dark gray concrete flooring with a few rustic touches like the stepping stone of the main door and the small zen garden at the corner.
A close-up view of the small zen garden looking at the unique home shows the complements of the lush green garden to the earthy tones of the home exterior.
The backyard has a natural aesthetic that has lush green lawn of grass with embedded stone slabs for the walkway surrounded by various trees, shrubs as well as large decorative rocks.
A close-up view of the unique and aesthetically pleasing exterior walls made of thin pieces of wood that can also function as insulation for the home.
A close-up of the thin pieces of bamboo stacked and bunched together to build walls and the roof like the ancient traditional huts.
The roof of this gorgeous home has a rustic and earthy texture that gives it a unique aesthetic.
This home as viewed from this angle looks more like an over-sized hut with its wooden walls and roof made of stacked thin dried materials.
The small zen garden near the entrance has a medium-sized tree as the centerpiece surrounded by a tiny piece of grass plot embraced by sand making it look like a tiny oasis in the middle of a desert.
There is also small green Japanese shrine standing in the shade of the two trees in the small zen garden solidifying its beauty.
At a corner of the vast garden surrounding the house is decorative rock sculpture of a face painted green to blend with the surrounding greenery.
The house is a mix of traditional huts and modern houses with its large glass wall that glows a warm amber from the interiors of the house that is wonderfully foregrounded with a lush lawn of grass adorned with a stone statue beside a large decorative rock.
On the right side, you can see the large outdoor patio where an outdoor dining area is placed and lit with a warm yellow glow from the recessed lights of the wooden ceiling.
Apart from the large glass wall, the exterior of the house also has large glass windows on the first second levels with the same amber glow of the interiors. The outdoor patio on the right side is complemented by a tall tree assimilating in within the lush landscaping.
The close-up of the house shows that it is slightly elevated with a slab of textured stone serving as a base. Next to it is a narrow brick walkway with outdoor light to illuminate the artistic setup of the stone statue outside the large glass wall.
One of the features of the surrounding landscaping is this gorgeous and artistic stone sculpture of a flying bird that stands out amidst the surrounding shrubbery.
This view of the house interior through the large glass wall showcases the well-lit collection of pottery that fills the tall wall.
This is a close-up view of the artistic stone sculpture right outside the large wall of glass.
This bedroom wall of the house features a simple wooden bench placed against a wall that is adorned with a large abstract painting that brings color to the area.
This is a close-up of an antique wooden chest with decorative carvings on it beside a wooden pedestal that displays a ceramic jar.
This wooden antique console table has beautiful carvings that adds to the beauty of the collection of vases and jars against a large stone wall.
The outdoor dining area of the house has a long rectangular wooden dining table that is paired with black cushioned dining chairs with a cool design.
This long wooden dining table is topped with a bit of rustic touch from the two cans used as flower vases and topped with a large artistic structure hanging from the ceiling.
By the head of the long wooden table is a couple of antique wooden console tables adorned with various pots and jars that stand out against the gray stone wall.
This is a close-up of the earthy beige wall that highlights the rustic textured surface that matches perfectly with the wooden shelves that display various collections of clay pots.
This is a close-up view of the wooden ceiling that has a rustic look contrasting the modern light fixtures mounted on it.
This wide wooden rustic ceiling has a row of these modern light fixtures that illuminate the large collection of jars from above.
This view shows the entirety of the large living room that has a tall ceiling paired with a large glass wall, large wall of shelves and a large L-shaped gray sectional sofa.
The gorgeous fireplace has an artistic and earthy quality to its textured surfaces and irregular shape across from the long wooden coffee table on a large colorful area rug.
The wooden ceiling supports three decorative clay pendant light hoods. These match well with the various clay and ceramic jars on display on the rustic wooden shelves dominating the tall wall.
The house also an informal dining area with a rectangular wooden table paired with simple wooden chairs and adorned with a set of floating shelf filled with small jars.
From this vantage point, you can better appreciate the beauty and homey quality that the displayed jars add to the simple light tone of the wall above the table.
The small kitchen has its own access to the exteriors with a couple of glass doors. The table of the dining area matches well with the wooden cabinetry that lines the other side of the wall adorned with a colorful and textured backsplash.
One of the halls of the home boasts of an artistic stone bust placed on a wooden pedestal and adorned with a charming painting mounted on the wall behind.
This modern home bar has a wooden table inside matching with the ceiling that is contrasted by the slick black cabinetry lining the walls augmented by the modern appliances and stainless steel surfaces.
These stainless steel surfaces open up to various storage for the various glasses and alcohol collection. Across from the bar is a large wooden table.
The large table serves as a counter for those who want to fix a drink. This is illuminated by three artistic pendant lights that looks like capsules.
A close up of the various artistic decorative ceramic figurines that adore the bar area.
This is a close-up view of the matte black modern drawers with no handles and matches quite well with the dark tiles of the flooring.
The formal dining room is adorned with textured earthy beige walls that complement the glass-enclosed display shelf on the corner that presents various small figurines topped with a framed artwork.
The dining room has a large wooden dining table with a rustic feel to it matched with a long wooden bench on one side and three large black pendant lights above.
The table top is adorned with a few artistic decorations to serve as centerpiece. This is augmented by a large potted plant by the head of the wooden table next to the tall window.
This dining area is just a few steps from the living room separated by an archway adorned by a small statue on the side as well as a large potted plant that brings a bit of color to the earthy walls.
This hallway leading to the staircase is also embraced by the textured stone walls and this area is adorned with a lovely dark stone bust placed on a pedestal that adorns the wall.
This bathroom is complemented by the glowing amber walls that are textured with geometric shapes that give a nice background for the porcelain toilet and wall-mounted mirror above the stone green sink of the vanity.
The dark steps of the staircase matches well with the dark tiles of the floor and the textured earthy walls. This is further augmented by the unique design of the far wall that seems to be filled with clay shapes stacked together for a unique look.
One of the walls of the second floor landing is decorated with various artistic clay tablets made to look ancient with simple images carved on them.
This is a full view of the second floor landing where you can see the tall wall of the staircase that has a unique clay design. This matches perfectly with the wooden ceiling that has exposed wooden beams.
This is the lovely play area with a simple light hardwood flooring that matches with the small wooden table and chair in the corner adorned with a large mural of plants on the beige wall.
The children’s bedroom has a wall painted with blue patterns and adorned with sketches of various animals.
The close-up of the right side of the room shows that the wall is decorated with a ceramic plate fitted with a light bulb to serve as a bedside lamp.
The earthy orange bed frame fits right in with the earthy brown wall on the side where the ceramic plate lamp is mounted. This bed also stands out against the light hardwood flooring.
The children’s bathroom has a uniform abstract design for the walls and flooring to serve as water-proof surfaces. There is a freestanding bathtub on the left side that has a earthy blue-green hue.
This bathtub is large enough to fit two children inside.
The stone sink is also big enough to fit a toddler. It is adorned with a colorful textured backsplash.
This boy’s bedroom has alcoves embedded into the light gray wall that is fitted with shelves for toys. This matches with the large arched alcove of the headboard of the bed that stands out with its dark sheets.
beside the bed is a wall filled with murals of plants in a quirky and artistic style. beside the bed is a wooden table and chair for a nice study and play area.
This simple bedroom has a platform bed that is close to the ground for a traditional Japanese feel paired with large dark tiles of the flooring.
The bed is flanked by a couple of small wooden stools to serve as bedside tables topped with large bell-like pendant lights as lamps for each side of the bed.
The wall at the head of the bed is cushioned for an effective headboard and topped with an artistic textured wall accent making it look like scales of a fish.
This other bedroom also has a Japanese-style to its platform bed that pairs well with the hardwood flooring that match with the wooden bench on the side topped with a large painting.
The wall at the head of the bed has a textured stone design that is paired quite well with the artistic pendant lights. There is also a glass wall on the side with a clear view of the large living room beneath.
This is a beautiful and spacious walk-in closet with a rustic wooden flooring that is contrasted by the surrounding modern racks and shelves with their own lighting.
This gorgeous Japanese-style bedroom has a charming and textured dark hardwood flooring to match the dark ceiling adorned with bright recessed lights and exposed wooden beams.
The bed has dark sheets and pillows to match the dark walls. The large wall at the head of the bed is adorned with a large black and white mural that gives the room a unique aesthetic.
The head of the bed is flanked by low dark platforms that display various figurines and topped with bell-like pendant lights that have different designs.
The right side of the bed has a low dark wooden platform for decors that extends to the space beneath the built-in dark wooden cabinet on the side where there more of the artistic figurines.
The warm yellow light coming from the bell-like pendant light gives the small space a bit of warm quality as well as the textured wooden flooring.
The other side of the bed also features a warm yellow light coming from its pendant light giving the three figurines on the side more depth.
The dark walls and ceiling of this room is balanced by the natural lights coming in from the tall glass windows at the far end.
A corner of the house has a wooden deck fitted with a couple of modern steel chairs with a decorative geometric look.
This close up of one of the textured walls is adorned with a small mounted decoration that makes the most out of the wave-like patterns of the textured wall.
This is a close-up look of the ice formation on the constructed roofing of the house made of stacked up thin sheets of wood.
At winter, the trees of the surrounding lush landscape turns into frozen spectacles for a white contrast to the earthy exteriors.
Here you can see the beautiful landscaping of the home dusted with snow and presents a different kind of beauty topped with tall trees that has bare branches, This can be enjoyed from the large windows of the house.
The sculpture of the flying bird still stands out amidst the snow landscape that contrasts the deep earthy brown of the home exterior.
The decorative rocks of the landscape that were once hidden by moss are now visible with the blanket of snow.
The winter view of the surrounding landscape presents for a nice scenery inside the warmth of the well insulated home.
This decorative artistic sculpture at the backyard presents a new look with its layer of snow and frost.
The various tall trees look beautiful even with bare branches the layer of snow gives them a new aesthetic that presents a nice foreground and view for those gazing out the large glass windows of the house.
There is a small pond in the backyard decorated with various Japanese-style figures for a gorgeous finish and stands out against the white snow.
The spring time lush greenery of the surrounding landscape is also a nice pairing for the earthy exteriors of the house that has a unique design.
There are a collection of large decorative rocks that give this side of the backyard landscape a charming natural feel paired with a small plot of grass perfect for pets and kids.
Beside the small plot of grass is the pond where kids can play boats or throw rocks and still with a clear view from the window of the house for monitoring.