Timeline

We could have been more efficient. Still, we needed to rely upon holidays, availability of flights at reasonable prices and sometimes things just take time to fall in place.

At the moment, we are beyond the 50% threshold in our refurbishment process. We’re thinking stuccos, painting and taps. Next week we’ll see. So let’s summarize how long it took us to get here.

a) AUG 2007 – first scouting trip, 10 days: exploration of 2-3 Kiez; understanding what we wanted, in which area, and what we could get for the budget we had in mind in each single area. We did our first binding offer for a flat on the last day of our holiday, difficult choice as many interesting flats were available;

b) SEP 2007 – disappointment. The Makler cheated upon us and sold to someone else in spite of the binding offer (see post). Chic happens. We have to start all over again. Manic depression. Frustration. Plus, loss of holidays!

c) NOV 2007 – second scouting blitz: 3 days and lots of appointments. Still, scientific methodology and lots of determination. At the end of the 3rd day Mein Mann phones me with good news: he’s found 2 interesting flats in Schoeneberg. One is an Aufbau flat, up and running and perfectly refurbished, nice balcony, nice view on an historical building and garden and close to Goltzstrasse’s Szene; the other one has no balcony, needs plenty of work but is a magnificient Altbau. We go for the Altbau, guts feeling oblige. He makes an offer, the seller accepts!

d) DEC 2007 – On a cold and grey morning our super-reliable new Makler waits for us at Schoeneberg. Quick look to the flat, just to double-check. We get in the car and rush to the Notary. We meet there our simultaneus translator (Dolmetscherin, what a nice german word) and the counterpart. After a formal 2-hours double-language reading of the contract, the purchasing process has formally…started.  We should have the money ready for a payment in early february, according to the legal-technical schedule. Things are different from Italy.

e) MAY 2007 – after countless e-mails to our Notary, and lots of mumble-mumble, at last we have the Grundbuch registration of the property. It did took a while. But Altbau have a complex history like mysterious women and don’t unveil details easily. Moreover, we are co-owners of the Hausmeister’s flat, on the ground floor, and the registration of that tiny portion of property was the one holding back the whole process. Only when absolutely everything was in order also with the tiny portion of the Hausmeister’s flat, we were allowed to do the money transfer. Still, we did not possess the flat yet. We didn’t have the keys yet.

f) JUNE 2007 – Keys at last! A quick roundtrip to Berlin, and this time, it’s StripedCat who’s on duty. I set off from Ciampino with the easyjet orange bus and our architect. We had seen already how he cleverly re-organized space in another Berlin refurbishment, a few months earlier, chez our friend in Moabit. So, squadra vincente non si cambia. We appointed the same refurbishing company as well. Let’s start the homework.

g) AUG 2007 – On holiday in Berlin in one of our beloved bed and breakfast, but without project and in a moment in which no builders are around. Good time for doing some software work. Study period decoration.  Buy books, lots of books…visit a lot of buildings of the same age…1914. Get obsessed with 1914. But eventually buy a couple of interesting Art Deco pieces at the Rathaus Schoeneberg russian flea market and local bric-a-brac stores. Art Deco, Wiener Werkstaette fit with the sober Altbau’s Neoclassic-Historicismus decoration. Our flat will remain prussian, but with that Modernist twist.

g) SEP 2007 – we got the project. Need to have it priced by the refurbishing Firma.

h) OCT 2007 – Refurbishment starts. Lots of demolition…A trip to Berlin, in Tempelhof I go and see the oak parquet for the new rooms, the tiles.

i) NOV 2007 – Wow! The flat’s layout has changed completely. Still some bits to be figured out, but all in all the new shape, translated from paper into brick and mortar, does seem to work…much more light and the prussian feeling is unleashed, once those thin post-war walls have been removed.

l) DEC 2007 – we are discussing paint, kitchen layout, here in Rome. In a few days, implementation will follow. The hardware part is almost over: completely new walls, pipes, bathroom, kitchen and some floors. We had to alter a bit the original project due to those constraints you can only figure out once things go from 2-D to 3-D, but all in all the flat is coming out like on paper.

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