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Green living in an urban jungle

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Living in a big city isn't always easy—especially when access to green space is limited. This an exceptionally sore point for families with children, as a garden to play and learn in is essential to their development. Tucked away in the German capital of Berlin, a backyard and loft building with a surprising past awaits. The property, which now serves as a cosy family home, has been given a distinct new character and lifted from its former dilapidated past into the 21st century by Hans Winkler. Take a look… .

Traditional vs. modern

On the ground floor of this building in the central Berlin suburb of 'Mitte', is this home that started life as a facotory. A well known television producer became aware of the old, run-down building, and with their boundless imagination, envisaged a new life for the space. The architect, Holger Hansen, and product designer Marco Winkler, sought to change this huge apartment into a well-resolved design with a spatial layout that would accommodate children and adults alike. As evidenced in the image below, the rebuild project has been extremely successful. The living, dining and gallery spaces extend over the entire depth of the garden, which is now perfectly suited to a growing family.

The run-down state of the building before…

Before we tour inside, we have a view of the former factory. It can now be understood how much planning and work was required to reconstruct the loft space. As evidenced in the previous picture, all that hard work has definitely paid off. The building cannot be recognised from this image. Quite literally, the run down state it was in has been deleted from history, never to be seen again.

The floor plan

The most remarkable feature of this building is that every room has access to the incredible garden. The children, too, have their own separate rooms and areas in which to play. A bathroom and separate room is provided to accommodate a very important house guest—an au pair!

The master bedroom has been planned away from the hallways, with a large private bathroom in tow. In contrast to the colourful children's area (that you will soon see), the remainder of the house is decorated in restrained, neutral colours.

The living room

The living room is the central hub of the building, complemented by a modern staircase that creates the visual highlight. The area was designed to deliberately feel cosy, yet open plan, and retain a neutral vibe to greet guests who are connected to the owner in the field of radio and television. The owner, holding onto elements of their past, didn't want give up his old, beloved chair and instead, incorporated it into the sleek appeal of the living room. The space has a quasi-beach like feel, thanks to the various shades of brown and beige that have been employed in the colour palette. 

The open plan dining area

Before the renovation, the building owner was afraid the orientation and design of the house may cause it to be dark. It is undeniable through this image, that the architecture team has fixed that problem! This has been achieved thanks to the clever use of windows and well as the stark white wall colour.

An additional dormer window has been added for an extra dose of natural light, which too, complements the sleek colour palette. This area is particularly suitable for children, as you may not have noticed in the background, but the rear kitchen wall is painted with blackboard paint so the kids can be creative and imaginative on the walls without it being an issue!

The gallery

On a mezzanine floor, a gallery level has been set up. Light filled and spacious, despite it's horizontal nature, serves as a wonderful entertainment and relaxation area for the whole family. The colourful furniture adds an exciting accent to the interior design of the house, adding a necessary touch of playfulness and fun.

The child friendly floor

In this image, we see the junction area which joins together the children and parents rooms. Not only does it encapsulate a wonderful view of the garden, but it also acts as a light filled gallery space for a passionate art collector to put their prized possessions on show.

The selection of floor material was chosen due to its durability and ease of maintenance, to ensure that even when the little ones come running through the house directly from the garden, that their grubby footprints can be quickly swept up or mopped away.

To see another urban home reinvented, check out the following ideabook: The big reveal: London flat reinvention

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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