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Neutral Love: Apartment In Frankfurt

White is boring, cold, “like a hospital” — I’ve heard it all a million times. But I argue that if done right, a neutral palette can be warm, inviting and a very nice and flexible base in which to work with. It’s especially good for those of us who like to decorate seasonally, swapping out the aubergine pillows with the pale aqua ones for the Summer months, for instance. In a moment, I’m going to show you a very nice example of white done right. But first, I must confess that I’ve been quite a Flickr/expat blog addict lately because I’m trying to find fellow bloggers who live in my new country so that I’m able to not only read their blogs but see how they live, where they shop and what they do for fun. I figure reading local blogs may help me as an expat to navigate my way around and so far, it is helping out immensely. Today I was reading Rearranged Design and found Busy Bee’s blog which is about a girl and her boyfriend, Iro & Jan and their 700 square foot penthouse apartment in Frankfurt. Upon seeing it, I thought I’d share bits of it with you. You’ll see why…

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Love the IKEA frames with inserts of postcards and wallpaper — and I really like the cozy gray chair and am dying to learn where she found it as I’m in need of a chair so badly for my living room. So pretty! The stacks of magazines look great and since they’re all the same, with neat white spines, this look totally works without looking cluttered.

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s a nice living room view. I can imagine evenings spent on this sofa surrounded by flickering candles and my favorite music… with yummy snacks on the table and a big glass of wine. Oh yes, “the” life.

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s a glimpse of her eating nook, so common here in Germany is to have the living room and dining room combined like this. It’s not very common at all to have a separate room only for a dining area in a typical city apartment anyway. In a home or a very large apartment yes — but not at all common in the city. My dining room is also part of my living room, much like this. Don’t you love her teapot?

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

I’m not completely sure what the kitchen looks like, but this view gives me the impression that it is neat and well organized. I like how she arranged her spices. The most common arrangement is to simply put them all in an orderly row. But no, no — she’s “spiced” things up a bit with her zig zag design. Cute!

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s another view of her dining area. Nice, right? I think so too!

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s a good view of the entire area, the living room and then if you look to the left and squint a little and pull your chair up thisclose to the screen you’ll see the work area she has designed and managed to nicely separate from the living/dining space. Directly to your left in this photo is the nook where she reads on that gray chair that I must have! :)

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s the working nook she’s carved out for herself. Nice, eh?

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

Here’s their bedroom, which has a little more color and a cozy feel to it. I think her man must feel really comfortable in here with the deeper colors combined with her neutral palette.

Iro & Jan, Busy Bee Blog

What a nice morning breakfast spot, don’t you agree? Less is definitely more here.

In the Busy Bee blog, she talks a lot about decorating on her blog along with life in Germany (she’s from Greece originally) so I really appreciate learning her viewpoints. She’s also on Flickr where I’ve added her as a friend (you can too, here). Her apartment is refreshing and cozy in every way — it’s neutral for one with lots of texture and a variety of white tones ranging from bright white to cozy creams and soft beige. She knows how to do neutrals right, don’t you agree? And she uses a nice mix of IKEA finds along with things from other stores. Another high five to her for keeping it real and affordable while still infusing the rooms with her own style. Nice!

(images: Iro & Jan@ Busy Bee’s Blog)

Posted by decor8 in Home Tours on September 14, 2009

Your comments...

  1. Tara commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 3:53pm

    How is it when I click on the image, I go to flickr, and there is *NO* “enlarge” option!! I wanna see detail please!
    What a nice home. Let’s see it with large photos! (:

  2. decor8 commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 3:55pm

    Sorry Tara, they’re only sized to be 500 pixels wide. :(

  3. ivy style33 commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 4:47pm

    Hello Holly!
    I am so surprised and happy at the same time to see our Penthouse in your blog! Ever since I finished ( end of June ’09) with the German language learning, attending on a daily, intensive basis classes at Mainz’s Volkhochschule for a full year, I have been having time to be ” lost ” in my beloved design blogs. Yours was from the very first I discovered and loved to read, while receiving my eye candy, meaning of course the amazing photos!
    It is lovely that I ‘m here ,too…such an honour, I thank you and wish you all the best with the process of adjustment. Of course, it is a daily long, probably non – ending process and concerning the language, it needs a lot of effort. I got my Deutch Zertificat B1 , proudly with big ” eins ” = A, but there are so much to be learned and mistakes accompany almost every of my sentences….Tja….!
    As for the chair in my reading corner that you so much like, it is an Ikea design, that sadly was produced for a rather short period of time. It was among the first items we purchaised when I first came here, in Janurary ’08. The cover resembles tweed fabric and it’s grey – beige – light brown.
    Many wishes for all things best!

  4. Yvonne commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 4:50pm

    Love the cosy feel of this home…:)
    .-= Yvonne´s last blog ..Make the world a brighter place =-.

  5. anna allen commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:04pm

    so fresh & chic. such a beautiful place to live!!
    .-= anna allen´s last blog ..week 8. =-.

  6. Travelingmama commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:07pm

    I love her home! The spiral staircase reminds me of the loft apartment we had in the States. We had a column with a big plant on it so no one would crack their head on the stairs… wow, how time changes our taste! LOL! Love the inconspicuous boxes!
    .-= Travelingmama´s last blog ..Back to {happy} =-.

  7. Bea commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:16pm

    Holly, I just want to tell you that I’m happy you moved to Germany! Hannover has become a very nice city and I am very keen to hear more about your new life overhere as an expat!
    And, of course, the white appartment is really great!

    Liebe Grüße


  8. paola commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:34pm

    Oh this is STUNNING. And I’m not normally a fan of white and muted at all…
    .-= paola´s last blog ..Go Love Your Room – Colour Me Amazed =-.

  9. alli michelle commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 6:43pm

    These photos are beautiful! I’m so glad you shared them. And I love their little dining nook with the bench and a few pillows. So simple and chic.
    .-= alli michelle´s last blog ..a home I adore… =-.

  10. robin commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 7:21pm

    oh i love it! i love white done right :O)
    i need me a little working nook like that… though i have no idea what to carve it out of!

  11. Megan commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 8:14pm

    I LOVE it. I thought it was an ikea chair, i checked the Australian website and sadly no longer avaliable here either. What a shame. Beautiful beautiful home.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Paint chip products =-.

  12. Julia commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 10:06pm

    Wow this is so beautiful and so do-able, it’s so nice to see such a beautiful space in an apartment, gives us all lots of ideas! And I was happy to see the teapot because I have the same one… ~$10 at Ikea, yes?

  13. judit commented
    September 14th, 2009 at 11:55pm

    Very elegant, tasteful!
    .-= judit´s last blog ..New pices on Etsy =-.

  14. Jessica commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 12:43am

    I used to be against white but since moving to this new house a few months ago, I’m very drawn to white. So I’m marinating this post in my brain and heading over to Flickr next. I feel all tidy inside after reading this post.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Dreamy Colors =-.

  15. Anna, United Kingdom commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 1:25am

    Think this is lovely – so fresh and clean looking – Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Anna, United Kingdom´s last blog ..This weekend I have been….. =-.

  16. andreasweets commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 2:47am

    Holly- You can add the enlarge option to your flickr page for bigger image viewing. I reckon your fans would appreciate that! Or calibrate your website to do so. It is a nice feature.

  17. caro commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 3:18am

    Guten Morgen, liebe Holly.
    This white appartment ist really cool and even so homy.

    Liebe Grüße von Rhein & Mosel, caro
    .-= caro´s last blog ..Canelle et Vanille =-.

  18. eva commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 3:33am

    Thank you both, for sharing! this home is so beautiful!!
    .-= eva´s last blog ..Hello my dear hedgehog fans! =-.

  19. decor8 commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 4:01am

    Hi Andrea – Yes, I did that for awhile (4 years to be precise!) but recently I decided to make them only 500 pixels wide to encourage readers to visit the website of the person I’m sharing. To view larger images, it’s best to click on the links in the actual post to where I obtained the images and there you can find larger views. Thank you!

  20. Bettina commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 7:20am

    I love your blog, you can get such a nice chair similar from

  21. decor8 commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 8:27am

    Bettina – I don’t see furniture on the Esprit site, can you leave the link to that section please? I think I’m overlooking it. I only find home accessories, not furniture. Thank you!!!

  22. Kelly Z. commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 10:33am

    Love this post. I too am heading over to the crisp, white side of color throughout my home. I am feeling pretty happy and lucky that I acutally have 2 of those lovely, most comfy chairs, everyone who sits in them does not want to get out, glad I picked them up back in 08′, I will have them forever and might even re-upholster them eventually.
    Thank you for a inspiring post.
    .-= Kelly Z.´s last blog ..Outside is in(side) =-.

  23. Ana commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 10:49am

    Holly, I still think you can get that chair in the States.

    I’ve pined for it for a long time now, every time I’m in Ikea I have a sit, it’s just as comfy as it looks.

    Does Germany have Craigslist? You probably could find it there.

    Thanks for the mention!
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Make your own =-.

  24. Kate F. commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 11:37am

    Love this. Re. the Ikea chair in the first pic, I’m so bummed that they don’t make it anymore! I used to sit in it every time I was at Ikea; it was really comfortable. I looked online (US site) and the Tirup is a similar idea, though more egg-shaped.

  25. marionfizz commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 1:52pm

    Really nice ! I especially love the first picture, i might do the same at home !
    .-= marionfizz´s last blog ..Etre en couple, c’est faire des compromis =-.

  26. Chris D. commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 3:14pm

    Hi, if you’re wondering about the chair, a lot of people still have them. The chair is called LUNNA. They stopped selling them in the US just recently. I had a red one, and it was oh-so-comfy. You feel like you’re being cradled in it without being restricted. They have a similar chair called TIRUP, but it doesn’t have a light-colored option. Link below:

    Good luck with your search!

  27. josh (in wonderland) commented
    September 15th, 2009 at 9:59pm

    i have been wanting a LUNNA chair in that grey color for years now. and now it’s discontinued. i could almost cry.
    .-= josh (in wonderland)´s last blog ..belinda george architects =-.

  28. blue bicicletta commented
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:27pm

    I love, love, love the wall hangings in the first picture. Oh, it’s so pristine and beautiful, clean and interesting.
    .-= blue bicicletta´s last blog ..A Quiet Calm =-.

  29. becky from hatch commented
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:26pm

    Holly, great minds think a lot! She was a pick of mine as a flickr favorite on Friday on Hatch! ;)

    .-= becky from hatch´s last blog ..Real Quick – The MTV Video Music Awards =-.

  30. Ilona commented
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:16am

    Love the placemats in the breakfast nook! Does anyone know where they are from?

  31. Jenny commented
    September 18th, 2009 at 5:00pm

    Can anyone tell me where that desk is from? I love it!

  32. Jenny commented
    September 18th, 2009 at 5:01pm

    I meant “table” (but I want one to use as a desk).

  33. ivy style33 commented
    September 20th, 2009 at 3:59pm

    Hi again and thank you all for the lovely comments that you are leaving here!
    Ilona: the placemats were also found in Ikea, not a big surprice I suppose!
    Jenny: the table that you want to use as a desk is called Meltorp and you will find it in Ikea as well.
    Wishing you all, a lovely , fresh start in the week!

  34. D R E W commented
    September 25th, 2009 at 10:30pm

    LOVE. THIS! more super cool euro apartments, please! thank you!
    .-= D R E W´s last blog ..danish modern =-.

  35. drey commented
    February 2nd, 2010 at 5:57pm

    i love white! can’t get enough of it. white rooms are anything BUT cold and empty etc… if used correctly it’s ultra-fresh and ultra-welcoming!

  36. vosgesparis commented
    November 25th, 2010 at 10:52pm

    I loved this tour around Iro’s appartement I never have seen much of here bedroom I realise , great to see we have the same color purple in it ;)
    vosgesparis´s last blog post ..How to add a touch of nature

  37. Uila Engel-Blank commented
    October 31st, 2012 at 2:01am

    What a lovely home! I am a foreigner here in Germany too, I am originally from Brazil. I love design and design blogs, I just found yours yesterday and I am going further and further back to the archives of your home tours!

    My apartment has a dining/living room all in one as well. I am trying to redecorate the flat slowly, but dont feel anywhere near ready to share pictures of my home even on my blog. Hopefully, someday it will be worthy to be shared here as well.
    Uila Engel-Blank´s last blog post ..Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

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