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Beautiful Berlin Apartment

I have such a lovely apartment to share with you today! I was contacted by research scientist (neuroscience, molecular and cell biology) Morgane Rouault who lives in Berlin and asked if she could share her place with us on decor8. Why, of course! I’m always interested in how people live, especially in big cities, and being that I’m so close to Berlin I’m even more intrigued to “meet” new people living nearby. Morgane lives in a district of the city called Prenzlauer Berg/Mitte which is one of my favorite spots because there are some beautiful old buildings there and lots of funky, hip design and cafes to hang out in. Morgane is originally from Brittany in France, she spent four years in Brooklyn and now she’s in Berlin. In her free time she loves to decorate (obvious from her beautiful flat that she’s also quite good at it!), sew and craft things which she sells in her little etsy shop. I asked her a few questions about her style and impressions of Berlin so let’s see her apartment and have a chat with her today, shall we?

Berlin Apartment

How many rooms is your rental apartment? The apartment used to be a 4 rooms plus a kitchen and bath but some walls have been broken down and there is now a huge open space, the kitchen opens on the living room that is only separated from the living room by a wall opened on both sides. It has windows everywhere, spacious and full of light.

What do you love about being back in Europe after living in Brooklyn? One exciting thing about moving to Berlin, apart from being back to Europe, was the possibility to have a big and relatively cheap apartment. Well, we had to fight for it, but I had a dream apartment of 95 square meters, in the middle of the city, with a huge terrace and on the last floor of an old but renovated building. When we moved in, the apartment was freshly painted, the wood floor had been renovated and the kitchen was empty. We were therefore free to chose everything we wanted.

How long have you lived in Berlin? We moved in this apartment in May (only a few months ago!), but I can easily imagine myself living here for several years, Prenzlauer Berg, the neighborhood is absolutely wonderful, active, green and also quiet and calm. It feels very good to live here.

What inspired your color palette and selections? Our former apartment in Park Slope had an old very dark (therefore beautiful) wooden floor. I think I was first inspired by the amazing light that is constantly in the apartment. I wanted to have color themes for the rooms, but with a dominant of white.

Berlin Apartment

The entrance door arrives directly between the living room and the kitchen, so we only placed there a bench with coat hangers. We bought that bench in Brooklyn, it was built in an Amish community following Amish traditions. The shelf is actually used to hold hats during mass, I used it to put books and my garden box. I made two pillows with fabric I bought at a local wonderful shop called Frau Tulpe.


Berlin Apartment

The kitchen was custom made by a local artist, Minim. We wanted something functional, original and simple. The poster is one of our few obvious souvenirs of the big apple: the MTA Coney island poster. Above from the kitchen table are three colorful frames, one drawing is from Underneath My Tree, a polaroid picture of beautiful Brooklyn taken by me, and a tree in the wind watercolors painting that Imade few years ago.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

Because the kitchen is entirely made of birch wood, I wanted to have plenty of color as a contrast. We therefore bought colorful appliances And I painted frames and added several colorful tea boxes.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

For the living room, I think one important element of this room is the Adirondack rocking chair that we bought on Cape Cod 3 years ago (for $60), I was thinking about painting it white but changed my mind. The green lazure paint is starting to fade because we are sitting on this chair so much and I didn’t want to erase those traces of time. We chose a green sofa that we purchased here in Berlin, it is from a Sanish company called Softline. The huge coffee table is from Habitat, but I purchased it very long ago, when I was a student in a tiny antique store on Hudson Street in Manhattan. It was dark red, so I had to sand 2 or 3 layers of paint before I was able to paint it white. Now it holds a terrarium, some glassware I had from my previous laboratory and a table lamp I bought at the flea market, and I created a brand new shade. Most pillows from the living room were made by me and I bought the fabric at the local wonderful shop called Frau Tulpe (Editor’s Note: they also have an online store). We chose to organize our books by colors, it is definitely more beautiful.

Berlin Apartment

The big cloud frame is one of my favorite object in the apartment. We found it on the side walk of 3rd Avenue while the Urban Outfitters store was getting rid of some furniture. We were lucky enough to be there at the right time. It was yellow, we painted white and frame one of our cloud picture in it. This picture inspired the color of the dining room, all pillows and pictures are blue. Some pillows in the dining room were made by a local very cute store on Choriner Strasse in called Rosenrot. All chairs were found in local flea markets and painted in white. The bench is an Amish bench bought in Brooklyn (that I already talked about above) and the huge wonderful table is from IKEA.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

The wall between the dining room and the living room is a little empty by choice, after living for 3 years in 35 square meters, we chose to have more space, meaning less furniture and less frames everywhere on the wall. I found theses 4 identical frames at a flea market in Vienna (I had to clean them and to paint them white). The vase is from the Conran shop and I made the white frame hosting two lovers on a bench few years ago.

Berlin Apartment

The “rue pont du lindin” is a beautiful street in my home town in France, it happened to end up in my hands when I was a teenager, since then I try to have it in all my apartments. It didn’t make it to NYC so I was very happy to find it back after few years. All ceramics on this side are handmade by me. When I was in Brooklyn, I was a student at Choplet Studio in Williamsburg.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

The bedroom is full of color but maybe with a dominant glimpse of orange. When we enter the room, this is where we can find a mannequin that I got from a clothes store clearance, maybe 15 years ago, I bought it 50 francs! The frame is also handmade with dried flowers we collected on one of our trip to Fire Island.

Berlin Apartment

The chest of drawers is fom IKEA, except that I changed all handles, I bought them all at Anthropologie, it was a lot of money but was definitely worth it. It changed the entire design of the chest of drawers and made it absolutely unique. On top of the chest of drawers is a collection of found stones and seashells from all over the world.


Berlin Apartment

Our side table is an vintage Sunkist orange box that I bought in an antique store in Kansas.

Berlin Apartment

The wall facing the chest of drawers is filled up with beautiful art framed in antique frames: from left to right, little house (from me), lavender bouquet (from my dear friend Pascaline), dragonfly postcard (I forgot where it’s from), a cypress tree (from Persian Garden), a Polaroid painting (by Michelle Maule), a flower birdhouse (from Not Too Pink), a postcard from Kate’s Paperie, and a raindrop parade print (from Underneath My Tree).

Berlin Apartment

The rocking chair at the corner of the bedroom is from IKEA, I made two of the three pillows that are here, the other one is from Rosenrot. I purchased the painting above the chair at the Giant Robot in the east village, after the Dan-ah Kim exhibition last winter. It is so beautiful that it has to be by itself on one wall.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

On the other side of the hallway, there is the workshop/guest room… a nice space for our creations and our friends. The garland is standing on top of the guest bed and I was inspired by a DIY tutorial from creature comforts, I made slight personal changes, like the additional felt balls. The printed silk elephant is from India and was beautifully framed by my mother. And here stands the space I was dreaming for many years, a drawing table, a workshop cart, a basket full of papers, a sewing machine, a dremel, an enlarger, and enough space to use all of them freely… it still makes me dream.

Berlin Apartment

On the other side of the room, there is an arrangement of art of all kinds, a street sign from Spain (I use to collect them all with the complicity of my father), a homemade drawing, a picture of Brooklyn, a photo/enlarger montage made by me, a grass symbolic frame from 2006, and an amazing drawing from Japanese artist Yummee Kyang bought in Williamsburg.

Berlin Apartment

Berlin Apartment

Last but not the least, the Terrasse, where we grow aromatic plants, tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers. It is big enough to have a barbecue and a colorful table with four colorful chairs.

Where do you shop for your home decorating items? Flea markets, Etsy, DaWanda, Outside in the forests and on beaches, local art supply stores and anywhere that something catches my eye!

Where do you go in Berlin for inspiration? Berlin is so rich for inspiration, this question is impossible to answer! I would say that the local design is so vast that there are numerous tiny stores that are inspiring. Just walking down the street and passing by some of them can bring inspiration. However, here are some that are crossing my mind right now are Rosenrot, Frau Tulpe, flower stores like Frau Rose, all flea markets, I particularly like the one at Boxhagener Platz, Cremer Cremer in Schoeneberg, and all the tiny galleries in the Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrischain and Kreuzberg districts.

What do you love about living in Berlin? The open space, riding my bike everyday (although I did this in Brooklyn too, but it is definitely better here), the way people here enjoy life simply, the overwhelming history, the constant presence of the wall although it has been destroyed 20 years ago, being close to France, and to so many places in Europe, the cheap rent, the low cost of living, our terrasse, the fact that my friends come to visit me for a weekend with a week notice, or sometimes less — the not too warm Summer…. discovering a new country and a new city.

What would you like to see change there? I would like thing not to change so much, it is impossible to do anyway as Berlin is in constant evolution. I would just like to speak better German!

What five must-see stops do you think all visitors to Berlin should see and why? 1. The Berlin wall documentation center, 2. Friedrischain (around Boxhagener Platz), 3. The Club der Visionaere in Kreuzberg (and everything around it), walk the Berlinmauerweg (but not the crowded Brandenburger Tor-Potsdamer Platz section) along the Spree from Nordbahnof, 4. Enjoy a Sunday in Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg, with the Museum Insel and the crowded flea market at the Mauer Park, 5. The Karaoke at the Mauer Park. Oh and a 6th! Last but not the least, just wander in the little streets of the city, enjoy the creative Berlin street art, the local design stores and the amazing bakeries.

Thank you so much Morgane for writing to me and sharing your lovely apartment, certainly an inspiration to us all!

(images: morgane rouault)

Posted by decor8 in Home Tours on September 02, 2009

Your comments...

  1. visualingual commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 11:51am

    Wow, a gorgeous apartment, and I especially love that Coney Island-looking cityscape in your kitchen!
    .-= visualingual´s last blog ..Grandma’s Doily Gas Station Price Placemat =-.

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  2. klee commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 11:58am

    love the vibrant colours against white, simple yet eyecatching
    nice!

    love-decoded.blogspot.com

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  3. laura trevey commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:01pm

    What a beautiful place, and a wonderful post! There are so many things I love in these photos. The color coordinating is fabulous! I love the red chairs and the red frame in the kitchen….. love the multi-colored chairs outside … the arrangement of artwork on the wall…and on and on!
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..A Feast for your Eyes =-.

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  4. Gina commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:07pm

    Thank you so much for the home tour!! I love to see how people live!! :-)
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Dahlias | Pecan Pie Puppies =-.

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  5. The Office Stylist commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:08pm

    What a beautiful space! I love how there is a lot of white in the apartment with little pops of color. Thank you for sharing all the interesting facts on Berlin. I haven’t lived out of the country yet but it inspires me to want to explore!

    The Office Stylist
    .-= The Office Stylist´s last blog ..Contemporary Office Desk-The not so Corporate Version =-.

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  6. Tamara Komuniecki commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:08pm

    WOW! Such great balance in this space. I can definitely see the personality and intelligence of Morgane shining through in this home. Just lovely…and I do love Berlin.
    .-= Tamara Komuniecki´s last blog ..Monday morning =-.

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  7. Mallory commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:14pm

    i’m completely smitten with that bench (& the whole apartment, obviously… it’s glorious)! the walls of my room are painted that shade; it’s my favorite.
    .-= Mallory´s last blog ..Lovely Finds – Home Ec Shop =-.

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  8. futurowoman commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 12:39pm

    I love it! This is a gorgeous apartment in one of my favorite cities! I love the playful use of color in this flat!

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  9. Tricia - Avolli commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:04pm

    Cute apartment for a young couple…love the colors and light!

    My best,
    Tricia
    .-= Tricia – Avolli´s last blog ..A ‘Sommarhus’ Just For You! =-.

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  10. Lovely Sunflower commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:08pm

    Wow, a 95 square metres apartment in Prenzelberg! That’s definitely worth a fight (and it’s getting more and more ‘in’ to live there, the amount of fights is constantly increasing!)

    That lavender painting is a dream and the white IKEA table makes me want to get to Berlin immediately (was lucky enough to purchase these white trestles for a handful of cash at Ebay and need to pick them up in Schöneberg :)

    And last but not least – we all could learn from Morgane on the subject of creating unique art walls! Wish I had more space…
    .-= Lovely Sunflower´s last blog ..The places to surf to… =-.

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  11. Milan commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:28pm

    I really need to visit Berlin. I love love love the windows in the living room!!
    .-= Milan´s last blog ..iPhone + San Francisco … =-.

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  12. Leslie commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:29pm

    I really love this apartment — it’s so light and airy, and art-filled, and full of personality.

    Am curious about the bed?
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Raccoons =-.

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  13. A Simple Life Afloat commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:30pm

    I really love this apartment — it’s so light and airy, and art-filled, and full of personality.

    Am curious about the bed?
    .-= A Simple Life Afloat´s last blog ..Raccoons =-.

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  14. suzanne commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 1:44pm

    absolutely adorable! i love the overall lightness with punches of colour.
    and i’m dying over that blue fridge!!!
    .-= suzanne´s last blog ..another year wiser? =-.

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  15. Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/ Yahgie commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 2:36pm

    What a great space. Love the wall art. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/ Yahgie´s last blog ..The great Josef Frank =-.

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  16. Jennifer commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 3:39pm

    What a gorgeous place to live! I’m envious of your kitchen!!!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Current Etsy Love: Andrea Kett Illustrations =-.

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  17. eileen commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 4:04pm

    Great timing. I’m really pushing for a trip to Berlin this fall so the tips of where to go are most helpful. Although my husband did say last night that he thought we couldn’t afford it due to my underemployment. But you only live once, right?
    .-= eileen´s last blog ..August 31, 2009 =-.

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  18. this humble abode commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 5:19pm

    Wonderful tour. I especially like the multi-color table and chairs on the terrace. A nice informal feel for outdoor dining.

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  19. Deanna commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 7:39pm

    Thanks for sharing! I love the pops of colour everywhere, gorgeous!

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  20. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 8:58pm

    What a lovely, happy and warm home! Such love put into all of the details! So pretty with all the white as a background…..
    xo
    Melis
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..It’s my bag, baby! =-.

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  21. monica from hola!design commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 10:03pm

    Beautiful apartment. I specially like the terrace with the multicolor chairs!
    .-= monica from hola!design´s last blog ..On My Wish List =-.

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  22. grace commented
    September 2nd, 2009 at 10:30pm

    i LOVE your apt…. so homey and airy at the same time :)
    glad that you’ve been to east village too…. i have a shop right next to them called Pink Olive. you have to drop by if you’re ever back in NYC.
    would love to visit berlin one day…. :)

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  23. Susannah Tucker commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:39am

    That is an amazing space -I love European apartments. Thank you for sharing (and great photos!)!
    .-= Susannah Tucker´s last blog ..I heart Tuesdays =-.

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  24. Capucine commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:42am

    Ouaah !! Morgane, j’adore ton appart !
    I love your appartment !
    Especially the kitchen and the bedroom !

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  25. Leah Taylor commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:44am

    This apartment really reminds me of my brother’s place in Frankfurt. Contintental Europeans have a great knack for interior design, and I love their focus on functionality as well as making everything look really clean and smart. Looks great.
    .-= Leah Taylor´s last blog ..Colette Patterns come to the U.K.! =-.

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  26. kanika bahl commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:57am

    Beautiful post …i love everything about the apartment!
    .-= kanika bahl´s last blog .. =-.

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  27. Juana commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 3:18am

    Wow! what a beautiful house!!! so many details but still so simple and delightful. Thank you for sharing it with us! :D

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  28. Rosaria commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 4:59am

    Love it, love it love it :)

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  29. morgane commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 5:03am

    oh, thank you for all your lovely comments!

    you should all think about visiting berlin one day, it is an amzing city.

    as for grace, i know your store, i have been there many times, to the east village location but especially to the one in park slope. a sweet little store!

    morgane

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  30. morgane commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 5:06am

    actually grace, the little white frame with the little house drawing in the bedroom was purchased in your store!
    .-= morgane´s last blog ..clay necklace number 5 =-.

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  31. morgane commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 5:08am

    and Leslie,

    the bed is from Habitat.
    .-= morgane´s last blog ..clay necklace number 5 =-.

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  32. Amyks commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 7:47am

    What a sweet little apartment!

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  33. stephanie commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 10:17am

    I love this Berlin apartment! And I’m friends with the girls from Rosenrot – what a treat to see them mentioned here :)
    .-= stephanie´s last blog ..Good News & Bad News =-.

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  34. cheryl R (clee') commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 12:08pm

    Thanks to Margane for sharing her apartment with us. I love lots of color, and I love the white backgrounds with colorful accents. The blue refrigerator is especially appealing – looks like a smaller version of one I’d like someday (the American version is retro and expensive!). I’ll take you up on your suggestions for Berlin if I ever get there. My greatgrandmother came from Germany, so I’m so anxious to make it my next trip or so.
    .-= cheryl R (clee’)´s last blog ..Another Cosmo Cricket Card =-.

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  35. Novi commented
    September 3rd, 2009 at 3:20pm

    Morgane, Holly, Great interview you guys. I love that Morgane had filled her home with memories, and treasures she’s collected over the years. Funky colors too! A lot of thought went into this place, all the little details… the frog kettle, it’s hilarious. The potholder made of little round colored balls on the kitchen countertop, gasp! Love your artwork especially the one with the twig. Thank you so much for sharing, it’s most inspiring.
    .-= Novi´s last blog ..Shapes =-.

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  36. Mathanki commented
    September 4th, 2009 at 1:03am

    Thanks for sharing this apartment… this is so pretty, colorful, yet so simple. Very inspiring.

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  37. anke commented
    September 4th, 2009 at 1:33pm

    gorgeous! Such a beautiful space. Every detail is just right.

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  38. lee commented
    September 7th, 2009 at 4:08pm

    I simply LOVE this! thanks for sharing!
    .-= lee´s last blog ..j’adore =-.

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  39. rlady60 commented
    March 26th, 2010 at 5:30am

    Oh, how nice! very beautiful space, i love it :) and colors are so inspiring.

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  40. Julie Godsey commented
    May 27th, 2010 at 9:41pm

    Oh wow! The colors! I’m so simultaneously inspired AND jealous! Ha!
    .-= Julie Godsey´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Matt! =-.

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  41. Messina commented
    June 4th, 2010 at 2:08am

    I WISH I HAD THAT PURPLE TOASTER!

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  42. Kerstin commented
    January 25th, 2011 at 8:26pm

    Hi,

    i just moved to Berlin from London and really enjoyed reading your article. I work in Prenzlauer Berg @ a TV channel. You so lucky to find this appartment. Its so tricky to find something affortable there.
    Cool interior design. I will get the key to our new flat this w/end and still needs lots of furniture. Will check out your recommendations.

    Kerstin

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