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A 1900s German apartment, with a fresh look.

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Sep 30, 2016



Walk into Christoph’s home in Leipzig, Germany, and you’ll spot his bicycle hung on the wall, and antique theatre seats from the 1930s providing the perfect place to tie your shoes. We asked Christoph about how he’s styled his beautiful wood-panelled home since he moved in with his husband in April this year.


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Says Christoph:

We’ve lived in the Südvorstadt neighbourhood of Leipzig for years. When we were looking for this place, we wanted to find an old building - there are still plenty of beautiful buildings in Leipzig as the city was not so severely destroyed in World War II - but finding one for us wasn’t easy. The size of the apartment is one of its major plus points. It’s a really old, historic building, and this is the only apartment in it that has the traditional wood panelling throughout.


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The ceilings are quite high at around 3.5 meters, so everything looks very generously proportioned and open, which is great as we’ve been able to use dark colours. Of course we’ve had to use more hanging pendant lights to balance it. The other thing you need when your ceilings are so high are large framed pictures and big mirrors. But sometimes you need nothing at all on a wall. You can let it be bare with its height, and it doesn’t look bleak.


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Probably 5 to 10 years ago I wouldn’t have liked the wood panelling or the dark colours. But now I think there’s something wonderfully original about it. In my first flat everything was very white and clean - Apple influenced. But that got on my nerves. Whenever I visited friends in Berlin I admired their old apartments with the high ceilings, and how they just threw things together with no clear concept, but it worked. My style has changed, and I was looking for something warmer. Wood tones, mixing colours, and nothing monotonous.


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I had seen the combination of wood and blue in House of Cards, so I had this colour in mind when we painted. But, once it was on, we had to repaint the living room. The blue looked different on the wall to how it did on the colour chart. On the wall it became a baby blue, so we needed to ask the painter to darken it, and the result was the shade you see now. That was classic learning-by-doing.


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Listening to an interior designer on TV I picked up the advice to use darker colours. But in the end that was only the confirmation of a feeling I had had anyway. I did a lot of research online to see how darker colours set the mood in a room. So I would say to anyone renovating or decorating, to have courage to use dark colours. And especially have the courage to mix colours and patterns.


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I like this apartment more than anything I’ve ever had, and I like spending time here. The older you get, the less you go out. And the most-used room is not the living room anymore, as it was in our old place. Now it’s the kitchen. We have space for a big dining table now so we invite our friends over for dinner more often. But we did throw a big party for Eurovision.


I think Leipzig is the booming town in Germany right now. While it’s still small and somewhat cosy, a lot of people are moving here. Leipzig has its own coolness, with a great mix of pubs and bars. Nothing is too posh or polished. There’s a lot going on.


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