Meet Joanna Kulaczkowska (@onceinawhite); 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 have spent several years abroad, living in New York, the Netherlands and Belgium. I’m now doing interior design in my spare time and 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 rundown old buildings or very expensive new developments and not a lot in between. But one day I spotted a billboard advertising an apartment within an old building. I went for a viewing and fell in love. The building was built in 1932 and the apartment wasn’t in the best of conditions, 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 favourite 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 travelling a lot and saw home as purely shelter, a place to rest when not out having experiences with friends, partying, working or at the gym. Then the pandemic hit around two months after I finally moved into my apartment, post renovations. Now home encapsulates everything I do. I cook here, not really going 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 favourite corner for coffee, a daybed for reading books and a corner with 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 in that time [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 cosy expression that comes from mid-century style.

Your style seamlessly marries a mix of colours 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 colour 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 those 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 inspiration in nature, which aside from design is my main hobby: hiking, landscape photography and climbing. Classical and neo-classical architecture was a big inspiration during 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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