Victoria Malysheva had dreamt of a Christmassy house for many years. She got her wish last year with this dacha, or holiday home, in the countryside near St Petersburg. “As a child, I went to summer camp in these enchanting places, and I was really drawn here. That’s why, when we decided to build a dacha as a family, we chose a spot in this neighbourhood specifically,” she says.
Dacha at a GlanceWho lives here?
Designer Victoria Malysheva and her familyLocation
St Petersburg region, RussiaSize
The kitchen/living room is 20 sq mDesigner Victoria Malysheva
, in collaboration with stylist Ekaterina PozdeevaPhotos by Sergey Pozdeev
The family were only able to complete the renovation of the ground floor in time for New Year’s Eve – the main winter holiday in Russia, which is celebrated with Christmas-like decorations, including Christmas trees.
Stylist Ekaterina Pozdeeva helped Victoria come up with the design scheme for the decorations. The end result is a good fit with the surrounding landscape: peaceful, elegant and festive, with no flashy accents.
The 7 m x 7 m house comprises two storeys: the ground floor, made of hand-hewn logs, and a wood frame construction on the first floor. The family went for this structure for two reasons: first of all, wood is a natural material that breathes well; secondly, this kind of house can be built in several stages, which was convenient for budgetary reasons, as they didn’t have to invest a large sum into the project in one go.
Inside, they sanded and varnished the logs in order to preserve the wood’s natural texture and grain. The flooring is matt hexagonal tiles in a neutral grey tone, placed over an underfloor heating system.
The ceiling is finished in untrimmed, dried boards. These natural materials will age beautifully over time.Find an interior designer near you.
To add a little colour to the wood interior, Victoria chose a kitchen with matt blue doors. The cupboards were installed along one wall, with a glass-fronted cabinet completing the set. Utilitarian objects, such as the fridge, are hidden under the stairs.
The sofa-bed means the family can have overnight guests. Instead of a traditional coffee table, Victoria chose a wooden chest with an internal drawer to store extra bedding.
Pendant lights emphasise various zones in the interior. To create a Christmassy feel, Victoria and Ekaterina decorated them with real spruce and lingonberry branches.
They also used spruce branches, which they gathered in a nearby forest, to create wreaths. Fairy lights were the only component they couldn’t forage.
One of these wreaths decorates the wall over the fireplace: this is finished in artificial facing stone, since the surfaces near the stove can get quite hot.
The central theme of the decorations is Scandinavian simplicity. The white, silver and green palette recalls a wintry forest, which mean they’re in harmony with the peaceful landscape outside.
Mandarin oranges in the table scape are the only splash of bright colour in the interior. “I always dreamt of a large table: I wanted to be able to fold pelmeni [a kind of dumpling] here, play boardgames or gather together for a New Year’s dinner with the whole family,” Victoria says.
Next to the table stands a large, real spruce tree – the main symbol of the upcoming holiday.
The family bought dinnerware to match the colour of the kitchen, so they could use the dishes every day, and not only on special occasions.
They added a muted runner made of a natural fabric, spruce branches and simple white candles.
Many of the decorations were handmade out of nearby natural materials, with added ornaments from the supermarket. For example, they combined fir cones and sprigs with a frame with ribbon, craft paper, pegs, and small New Year’s accessories to make this advent calendar.