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Joanna Kulaczkowsa (@onceinawhite) is an architect in the city of Gliwice, Poland. Step into her world and see how the travel addict uses earthy tones and a mix of textures to create a space worth coming home to.


Tell us about yourself.

I’m an architect here in the south of Poland. As part of a team in an architectural office, I work mainly on residential buildings. I was born in Gliwice, where I live today, but I have spent several years abroad, living in New York, the Netherlands and Belgium. I’m now doing interior design in my spare time, and I really enjoy it a lot.

So that explains your eye for detail?

Perhaps [laughs]. I do love details. I’ve started treating interiors, fashion and the everyday products I buy as one holistic personal style. I love the feeling of being surrounded by a consistent aesthetic. I think the more personal a space is the more interesting and unique it becomes. When I visit a home, I tend to look for the small collectibles because they say so much more about the resident. I believe that is what good interior design does; it tells stories.

Tell us about your home.

Finding it was challenging because in Gliwice there’s either old, rundown buildings or very expensive new developments and not a lot in between. But one day I spotted a billboard advertising an apartment in an old building. I went to see it and fell in love. The building was built in 1932, and the apartment wasn’t in the best condition, but it just felt right. It was owned by a pensioner, and the décor was very dated, yet it was charming, somehow telling the story of her entire life. The experience you get from old buildings is unique. Sometimes, I look out of my favorite window and imagine the people who have stood in the same spot. It’s almost supernatural.

What does "home" mean to you?

It’s interesting—just two years ago my answer would have been very different. Back then, I was traveling a lot and saw home purely as shelter, a place to rest when not out spending time with friends, partying, working or exercising at the gym. I had finally moved into my newly renovated apartment when about two months later the pandemic hit. Now home encapsulates everything I do. I cook here, and I don't really go to restaurants as often. It’s my office. I also prefer to entertain here instead of partying. So, home is like a playground for life [laughs]. I have tried to create fluid areas for different activities, like my favorite corner for coffee, a daybed for reading books, and a corner desk as my home office.

Describe your style.

I love mid-century style. It just evokes good feelings for me. I think I should have been living back then [laughs]. It was heaven for architects and designers. I’ve tried to go for a blend of both mid-century and contemporary. I love the clean, minimal and monochromatic look, but I also like the cozy expression that comes from mid-century style.

Your style seamlessly marries a mix of colors and textures. Do you have any tips for anyone seeking a similar look?

When you break my look down, its story is led by details that catch the eye and add personality, like the pops of color and accessories. However, less obvious – yet perhaps more important – is the white of the walls and floor that connects the theme. So, start by find the accents that evoke your desired feeling and then search for that unifying common denominator. Then, it’s a case of experimenting and finding the right balance between core elements and accents.


Where do you find inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration in nature, which, aside from design, is my main hobby: hiking, landscape photography and climbing. Classical and neoclassical architecture were a big source of inspiration while I was studying for my master’s degree, and I’ve recently developed an obsession with books on modernism. I’m also absolutely addicted to Pinterest and Instagram, but isn’t everyone [laughs]?

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