Set in the classic quarter of Charlottenburg, Berlin, amidst elegant pre-war buildings, the century-old apartment was redesigned to reflect the needs of a collector and his affection for South American furniture and contemporary art. The interior design seeks to offer inspiring spaces for family life as well as a backdrop to live in harmony with curated artworks and furniture.
The original building was built around 1900 and its layout bears the halmark of that period — large, opulently designed rooms with double doors, parquet floors, high ceilings and long lines of sight
that invite you to walk around. The three main rooms face south to a quiet residential street with lush trees. The kitchens and bathrooms, once in the side wing, connected to a service entrance with a narrow corridor, had been moved in the 1980s to form a spacious bedroom with bathroom and a front of house kitchen in lieu of a former bedroom. Four historical rooms remained intact while two had been completely gutted. By re-laying a historic oak parquet floor and faithfully replicating the old casement windows in the destroyed areas, these were reintegrated in the spatial continuum, appearing even more spacious and homogeneous today.
The needs of a family of four with two small children are difficult to reconcile with the openness and generosity of the spaces. Three bedrooms and a spacious family kitchen were needed — which had not been available in the prior renovation nor originally. The 1980s kitchen was turned into a children’s room to preserve the room sequences and the transitory qualities of the other large spaces.
The typical Berlin room or ‘Berliner Zimmer,’ a large passage room with a corner window facing the inner courtyard was redesigned to become the family room. By introducing wing doors to the ‘new’ rooms, two additional visual axes transform the space from a dark place to a bright one at the heart of the apartment. A kitchen-living room was developed for this space based on family needs — cooking together, watching the children or inviting friends. Technical functionalities of the kitchen appliances were hidden to increase the sense of clarity and comfort associated with traditional living spaces, a lowing the kitchen to truly blend in. An effect that is emphasised through the use of simple oak shelves and a pure “Eichstätter” limestone countertop.
The new design seeks to offer living spaces that have a natural flow between one another. To strengthen this generous spatial continuum, the sensual heaviness from the old double doors was retained. The deeply aged wood marks the gaze and reminds of traces of the past, naturaly slowing the body in space. The design of the new openings and doors was developed with a consciousness for this sense of hierarchy — being either room high sliding doors or double wing doors blending into the tones of the wals. In the case of the two bathrooms, entering occurs via a ceiling high sliding door. A specialy made terrazzo floor and the economical use of ceramics and tiles strengthens the timeless feel.
Finaly, a simple warm plaster, used throughout, serves to tie the spaces together. A rather atypical decision that was brought to Berlin from Mexico due to the personal preferences of the owners.