Posts Tagged 'decoration'

…and here are the flats!

color kitchen

It took some time, to refurbish them, to stitch up proper mini-websites, but eventually here they are. Click on the links on the right…

The 1920s flat has a surface of only 54 square meters – plus a mezzanine! – and is located in a beautiful Altbau. The 1960s flat is cuddly, only 30 square meters but its location is magic!

Both are located in the Bayerisches Viertel in Schöneberg…our ideal neighborhood!

One year later…1 candle on the cake!

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One year ago we started this blog. Two main reasons: to report about our “flat in Berlin” experience. And to keep track of our renovation adventure, which had just started and needed a bit of a public kick – an official timekeeper online!

One year later, we are going to spend soon our first ever real holiday in our flat in Berlin, having dedicated 1/4 of our weekends in the past 12 months to blitz-trips to Berlin in order to follow the renovation works, sort out paperwork, choose tiles, buy furniture and make the flat feel like our home in Berlin.

One year later, and 3/4 of a global financial crisis later, we’re happy about our choice. It is true, other real estate markets plunged so deep that now there are several “cheap” real estate markets in the world. But we were not just looking for a bottom-fishing real estate opportunity, we wanted something very specific: an apartment with good bones in Schöneberg at a reasonable price, not a seaside flat in Spain or a maisonette in England. In the meantime, garage prices in Rome plunged by 3%. Maybe the Italian real estate market will undergo a correction one day, but the reality is, a 1-car garage in Rome still costs more than a flat in one of the nicest areas of Berlin. Period. Continue reading ‘One year later…1 candle on the cake!’

user friendly?

It is always difficult to figure out the exact ergonomics of a living space, first on the paper with the architect project, then when you do some little changes as work unfolds. Again when you have to furnish the place and imagine how you will move around in the house.

This week A flat in Berlin underwent its user friendliness test. Even more demanding: a”friend friendliness” test!

Friends flocking to the city for the Bread and Butter fashion week stayed at our flat. Rome’s monsoon season was responsible for their adventurous arrival in Berlin at 2am at Schönefeld, but eventually the ladies were able to take a well-deserved night’s sleep in quiet Schöneberg, before tackling their busy schedule of meetings at the fair the next day.

Apparently the user friendliness test was passed with flying colors! They found the right things in the right drawers, they liked the big window and the solutions we adopted. Nutella and Wasa in the pantry were a welcome comfort food after their long hours in the aircraft stuck on the tarmac waiting for takeoff… 😀   I know the feeling!!!

personal bauhaus -1

bauhaus 01

Ok ok, it’s been a bit too flowery around here in the latest posts. So let’s go back to the roots of our own private interpretation of “Prussian Altbau grows bauhaus with a little help from recycling and IKEA”.

In our flat we had excellent raw materials to work with. First of all, a century-old oak herringbone parquet, restored to its glorious beauty. Oh, if you could hear the sound of it!

The flat has indeed great bones, namely its 4-metres-high walls. After lots, lots of research, we chose a warm shade of gray, in order to make the cold North-German winter light seem warmer. I agree with Bruno Taut: even under the strictest bauhaus constraints, white in Germany is treacherous, it can turn to “gray-ish white” very easily. White is abbacinante in Italy (can’t find the proper word in English…light so strong it makes you blind), but we feared it may turn into psychiatric-hospital mood under the Berlin sky…especially on bare walls.

I quite like the way – in Germany, mainly – wood is being refrigerated by adding stainless steel. I don’t know if this is quintessential to bauhaus, but it definitely is for me. This is the rationale for the IKEA table with stainless steel U-shaped legs, and for the cantilevered chairs found at a second-hand store, little Marcel Breuer mongrels with a couple of Wassily genes. You saw them dusty in previous posts.

Talking about stainless steel, MeinMann is still skeptical on this solution, maybe as a character in a novel in the ’30s who described this furniture as “dentists’ style”. We well see how we get along with these objects.

And the french doors? They match our Prussian beautiful bow-window, the stucco on the ceiling, all things which are so un-bauhaus. But even during bauhaus, people didn’t throw in the bin their Jugendstil apartments. The flats transitioned from one style to another. The Altbau was born under Historicismus, was raised under Jugendstil, but I like to imagine that it became adult and independent only with the bauhaus, in the ’30s.

gazing through green glass

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For some reason I am attracted to green glass. Not broken Heineken bottles, which sometimes on friday nights you can find right on your bike track in Berlin. I find watching light filtering through green glass mesmerizing.

Countless green tumblers are in our roman cupboards. And plates, of a nice emerald green. To me, drinking fresh tap water (great in Rome) in a green glass makes it even more refreshing.

And then I love books. And bookshelves. And Berlin’s green forests and lakes.

The consequence is pretty obvious. I fell for green glass also in Berlin.

My first finding was this pretty kitsch fruit-bowl, now detournée en vide-poches, bought with the objective to force myself to put keys, USB-key, purse, phone, japanese note pad and S-bahn tickets all in the same place. In a new flat it is just so easy to disseminate key objects (keys!) around and forget them since there is not yet a gravitational law of essentials. Two euros, at my favorite russian flea market. DDR design for the masses. The (other) lives of objects.

Once again, I admit it’s quite fleuri but you are now familiar with my personal theory on “occasional splashes of color – giving the mood of the season – costing next to nothing – and which have a practical use”. Fruit bowl, key bowl, you name it.

The second finding…you will find out about in August! It has something to do with a previous post on Salone del Mobile bookshelves, love for crafted items (like those DDR benches),  green glass  of course…and with a little help from our Viktoria-Luise-Platz friends!

pink tea in Berlin

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June in Berlin and spring is in full bloom…orange blossoms, peonies, colors fill the streets, the balconies and even the store window displays. Stunning color combinations at my favourite flower store in Bayerischer Platz – crimson red peonies and yellow daisies! daring! – but beautiful peonies are a temptation also in the not alluring light at Nolle’s U-bahn station…you simply can’t resist them!

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Another thing I cannot avoid is my local flea market, so this time the temptation to dive in the green-pink mood was too strong, and the DDR 1960’s cups were simply too cute to be left there on the stalls!

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I know, I know. This isn’t either very prussian or bauhaus. But hey, it’s spring…I would NEVER have a flowerly Laura Ashley-esque wallpaper, but I’m all for ephemeral  splashes of color, especially in the bedroom! Some flowers, a cushion. Just to remember what season we’re in.

So this time I wanted to take inspiration from Li Edelkoort’s matches of flowers & objects, and, even if a little predictable, I did like playing around with tea and peonies…and a little pink, the color of balconies this spring in Schöneberg.

Now we can go back to rigorous and linear bauhaus things…in the living room.

someone said greenshoots?

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A young italian designer is proposing this bookshelf…it rings a bell with one of my latest second-hand raids in Berlin…(continued)


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