It’s been more than a year since renovation of apartment and studio in Ljubljana started and now both are finished with the small exception of two bathrooms. Bathrooms will wait until there is enough saved to cover local limestone tiles and custom made furniture from wood, fitted to be functional for ceramic studio as well.
We weren’t planning to renovate studio so soon after the apartment, but we knew our forest was scheduled to sell due to new highway plans, running partially through one part of forest. It wasn’t a question of selling, but a question of keeping the wood. I was always saying this wood would one day be a part of my house.
This is how for the whole summer last year, I was discussing, reading articles, having meetings with different people, like foresters, sawmills, carpenters, giving me a sense of what have I gotten myself into. Luckily, we had a really good carpenter working on my apartment renovation, so I could just ask him all the stupid questions about logging. I also had a nice logger/forester working at local forest management company, who said no, you cannot keep spruce logs for ten years, they decay in one.
We cut all the trees. We chose 2 trucks of 1st class spruce trees, which we would store until we renovate studio, and most of the oak trees, which can and are needed to be aged and dried for few years. These went straight to sawmill to be sawn, rest were loaded straight to trucks and sold to Austria. Sadly, Slovenia does not have means to process all the wood it grows, so most of it is shipped to neighbouring countries, where they process it and some transport it back to Slovenia for furniture industry. Completely unsustainable.
Oak planks are now slowly drying at my father’s vineyard. Amount of spruce wood was calculated for my studio renovation and was supposed to dry for at least a year at our carpenter’s house, by the sea, where climate is drier and warmer and so safer to dry soft wood.
Our architect Sanja Premrn drew some designs, and the project started shortly after finish of apartment renovation. Style: natural, sustainable.
Studio is situated in a 140-year-old house, where many previous owners renovated partially or completely walls, floors, ceiling, electricity and windows in a way that was not respectful to the building or history of the house. When we took down drywall ceiling there was clearly too much damage done to the original lime layer, so we could not keep it. It was newer being taken care of, just decaying and being damaged by all the instant fix solutions. We contacted Gnezdo,center for sustainable building, where we got some advice for the walls and ceiling. We decided to strip everything down, and put a new layer of lime plaster on walls, and clay plaster on ceiling. Walls were then painted with layer of clay paint. So what we did is fixed the shell in a very respectful way and beside that also surrounded ourselves with clay. This material is considered to be one of the best materials for a healthy inner climate.
Carpenter used most of our spruce wood, adding 20% of additional spruce, locally sourced, for floors. On June 1 studio was finished. Welcome to visit us!
Author: Sanja Premrn
Client: Anja Slapničar
Photos: Miha Bratina
Year of completion: 2019
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Text provided by the authors of the project.