Altbau: one year ago, the coup de foudre!

One year ago we were in Berlin, formalizing our purchase of The Flat. This week the main part of the refurbishing has been finalized, more on this later. In the meantime, let’s have a look on how it looks from outside and how it was when we bought it. Definitely renovierungbeduerftig (needing a refurbishing), but with that Prussian nice bone structure and lots of potential. So let’s see some pictures…


First of all the exterior…a nice street in gorgeous Schoeneberg!


A beautiful entrance in 1914 style, old oak…scent of bee wax on the black shiny massive staircase…



….very prussian!


I remember Mein Mann phoning me and saying: “This flat I saw today…what a magnificient window! No balcony, but a great Wohnzimmer: high ceiling and flooded with light…! Century-old herringbone oak parquet in pristine condition…The kitchen and bath are a total mess, but it’s got a lot of potential…once refurbished…Shall we bid for the newly refurbished 50s flat with a balcony overlooking Kleistpark or this messy old Altbau of 1914 with a gorgeous window?”.  Of course we bid for the Altbau! The rarity effect. The personality appeal of the flat, different from the others.

So how did we extract the potential of the prussian flat? Here you can see our architect at work doing measurements in June, as per our Timeline.


As with many Altbau, the Flat was the result of post-WWII cut-and-paste, with too big a corridor, no separate bedroom, and a lot of valuable space dedicated to kitchen and bathroom…



So the Flat had definitely potential. Nice Kiez, nice street, great (recently refurbished) building, and a dusty flat with good bones needing some rethinking.

The entrance is magnificient, with its Neoclassical boiseries…and massive Eiche (oak) staircase…yes, our guts feeling was right…



4 Responses to “Altbau: one year ago, the coup de foudre!”

  1. 1 Tom January 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I just read your post, and I totally connect to what you feel. About two years ago, my girlfriend and I lived in Berlin for half a year, and about three months ago, we moved into our Mietappartement in Schoeneberg (rote Insel). We love our appartement (the ceiling, the parkett, the doors, aaah) and Kiez so much, that I would not mind upgrading to a 4 or 5 zimmer wohnung, with a bit more classic style like yours.

    And just like you, we had another great option for a quite modern wohnung, but the Altbau always wins :o). Sigh…

  2. 2 stripedcat January 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Ciao Tom!
    wow, great to get our FIRST comment from Schoeneberg neighbours! so you are pretty close to Marlene Dietrich’s s street? and the gazometer?!
    I must say we were quite attracted also by the Aufbau 1950’s rational flats, but as you say, the high prussian ceiling, aaah! ;D
    Btw, what’s your favourite Kneipe in Schoeneberg?

    I visited your website…very interesting!!

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