Welcome to our home!
We moved into our new home earlier this year and are so excited about the transformation and renovation works ahead. We’re still at the very beginning of our home improvement adventure and can’t wait to transform our new home!
Let’s start at the beginning…
We’d been looking for our a new home for about 8 months when this one popped up on the internet. I want to say it was love at first sight but the truth it that it was all wrong.
It’s outside of our preferred area (just), it’s close to the motorway and a very busy main road, it’s too large, too expensive and the building itself needs a lot of work which means it’s ugly and we have to pay a hefty monthly maintenance fee.
On paper, it was a clear no go but as soon as we entered the apartment itself I knew that we’d found the one!
It was so light and airy, had lots of period features and the most amazing high ceilings. It even had a bonus room which wasn’t on the estate agents drawings! Yes, it wasn’t perfect but I immediately knew that it could be amazing!
After months of waiting, dealing with solicitors, banks and all other sorts of other fun we finally picked up the keys in March 2017.
Most buildings in the area we live in were built around 1900 and ours is no exception. It’s classed as Art Nouveau (Jugendstil to be more specific here in Germany) and we still have a lot of original features including ornate plastered ceilings, brass door handles, stained glass and parquet flooring from the era. There’s even the original wood-panelled lift!
From the communal hallway, you enter our apartment through the original front door. As you’ve probably guessed, we’re not overly keen on the colour (we call it prison grey) and we’re planning on stripping, sanding and refinishing it as soon as possible.
The first room you enter is our small hallway which at the moment is a completely bland and boring space. There are original floors throughout the apartment and we’d like to sand and refinish the floorboards wherever we can, including this room. We recently also updated the front door which now has panelling and is bright yellow!
Leading off the hallway is a small cloakroom which has already been (badly) refurbished. We would love to keep the original cement tiles but other than that we’re planning on ripping out everything in here and starting from scratch.
The other room leading directly off the hallway is our office. It’s sooo much bigger than my last office that I almost don’t know what to do with all of the space. Eventually, we’d love to turn this room into the kitchen but there’s a lot of planning that has to be done before we can make any final decisions on the layout.
You’ve probably already noticed that our floorplan is a bit weird and that there’s a gap between the kitchen and the guest bathroom. There’s also a second door leading into the kitchen. That’s because the blank area (which doesn’t belong to the apartment) is the servants’ staircase!
Needless to say, it’s not going to be used much!
As you can see in the pictures the overall condition of our apartment looks pretty good. The electrics have already been renewed (apparently), the carpets have been removed and the wallpaper has also already been scraped off the walls which are now clean and white.
The electrics may have been updated but there are a lot of weird things. A lot of the switches don’t work like you’d expect them to, some don’t work at all and turning off a fuse doesn’t necessarily mean that you are turning off the electricity! There are only 3 sockets in the whole kitchen (including ones for things like the fridge, dishwasher and washing machine).
Our current kitchen has also seen better days. We’d like to give it a quick and temporary makeover which will hopefully improve the space while we’re saving for a new kitchen.
Luckily, the cupboards are in an okay condition and there’s plenty of storage, especially as we also have a super useful pantry!
Our favourite feature in the kitchen is the original antique fridge under the window. Like almost everything else in the apartment, it needs restoring but I love how quirky and unusual it is!
Our two favourite rooms – the dining room and living room – are next up on our house tour. They’re connected by huge sliding doors with amazing stained glass. It’s all a bit wonky and damaged so at the moment we’re leaving the doors safely tucked into the walls.
Leading off the dining room there’s a small balcony which at the moment is our only outdoor space. We may be able to add a second balcony to the other side of the apartment but there are a few planning hurdles to jump through first.
Some of our favourite features are also in these two rooms. They both have parquet floors, the intricate plaster on the ceilings is amazing and there are Flügeltüren (big double doors), which are very typical for Berlin, leading through to the office and hallway.
The overall quality of workmanship is pretty poor and everything that has been used is the cheapest possible quality.
Then there are a few things that are just plain wrong. The woodwork, for instance, has been painted with emulsion. Needless to say, it was dirty before we moved in and is already showing loads of finger marks and dirt which is almost impossible to clean.
Next to the kitchen is the small bathroom. It’s one of the rooms that has been poorly updated. It’s perfectly fine for now but we would like to make a lot of changes here, too.
If we can move the kitchen from its current position the front of the apartment we would like to turn the room where the kitchen was into a large bathroom and then turn this room into an en-suite.
Our master bedroom is a really generous size and is another room that has an amazing ceiling. The biggest change that we’d like to make here (apart from the obvious like sanding the floors & painting) is knocking through the wall where our headboard currently is and creating a doorway to the next room which would then be a walk-in wardrobe.
We’re actually already using it as a wardrobe but we can currently only access it via the hallway.
Last but not least is our guest bedroom. It’s a total bonus room for us as we didn’t know it existed until we viewed the apartment (the estate agents drawings were obviously incorrect).
It’s the first room we’d like to renovate but as you can see we’ve not made much progress just yet. (You can see our mood board for this room here).
Although the apartment looks fine, there’s a deceptive amount of work that needs doing. It’s already a great place to live and we can’t wait to make it even better.
We’re excited to start our renovation and home improvement adventure and hope you join us for the ride! Just be warned – things could get messy!