A couple in Vilnius has transformed their home into an ode to late Soviet life inspired by the Sky/HBO blockbuster Chernobyl.
Rasa Jusionyte and Linas Marcišauskas had the idea after spotting the balcony of their own apartment in the show’s long, scene-setting shots, which used the Lithuanian capital as a stand-in for the now abandoned city of Pripyat.
Based in the Fabijoniškės neighbourhood, the apartment hadn’t been renovated since the death of Marcišauskas’ grandparents, who originally owned the flat.
Using the apartment’s own Soviet-era fixtures as a springboard, the pair began moulding the flat into a miniature time capsule, raiding the family’s cupboards and storage units to find old cutlery and appliances. Once word of the couple’s project began to spread, people from around the country also began donating their own abandoned Soviet relics, including kitchen appliances, magazines, and even a record player.
“When my grandparents passed away, we didn’t know what to do with the flat,” Marcišauskas’ told The Calvert Journal. “But when my friends visited, they were always amazed by how the apartment looked. While that idea was brewing, news broke that HBO were shooting Chernobyl in Lithuania and around Vilnius. After watching the series, we realised there had never been a better opportunity to open the apartment to the public.”
Now the apartment is a mix of old and new, mixing Soviet design elements — including quirky finds such as a Lithuanian potato grating machine — with modern touches hidden out of view.
Marcišauskas’ doesn’t mind the change. “I always had a thing for Soviet design,” he says. “I remember exploring abandoned factories and nuclear shelters as a teenager, looking for artefacts to decorate my room. It was all around us growing up.”
For now, both him and Jusionyte will keep on improving the flat, while bookings keep rolling in via Airbnb. “There’s so much more to do, but for us, it’s a project in progress,” he says. “I don’t see it being finished anytime soon.”
To book the apartment for yourself, head to the couple’s Airbnb listing here.