Friday, 31 August 2012

Kitchen questions - open plan or separate room?

Open plan, separate room, sliding doors.... questions, questions. What should it be? Sociable chatting while casually knocking up a delightful dinner or does that mean stinky smells in the living room? What are the pros and cons, and how do I choose?

My new flat has the possibility to be either open to the living room, partially or completely separate. Hmmmpphhhh. What to do? I've always had a separate kitchen, but now's the chance to change that....but do I want to?

Here's the plan of the flat... the red line shows the wall that currently separates the kitchen (K├╝che) - tiny as it is, from the the living room (Zimmer 1). My friend Johann (who's a structural engineer) says I could remove it if I want to. The cooker etc. are not really in the places shown on the plan.  There's a window on the outside wall.

So, my question of the day is: Are you an open plan type, or separate room? What are the pros and cons? Tips for me to think about?

I'm thinking about a compromise - with old fashioned Victorian folding doors that are commonly used in the UK between a dining room and living room, but not so common here in Berlin....The only thing I've found is these double doors which are the right period (Jugendstil) for the flat, but they'd take up most of the whole space, so would probably look a bit odd.... a small kitchen hidden behind these rather grand doors. I think that writing these ideas down is definitely helpful....but I'd really like to hear about other people's experiences.

Promise there'll be some pretty photos soon!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Why blog about interiors?

Why not politics? Global warming? Something 'heavyweight'?

Well, I've certainly pondered why my interest isn't firmly rooted in more serious topics, but I've decided not to be too hard on myself. I get the feeling that some people think in writing a blog about interiors and food that I'm shallow and self-indulgent, so before I can go on and enjoy it, I just need to get this bit out of the way.

I have been thinking about why home and food are important to me and come to the conclusion that everyone has to find their own place in the world, whether it be in the realms of politics, science, art, sport, living with illness, poverty, just getting through the day - whatever. We're all different.

In my experience, it depends on where one happens to be born, education, background, family circumstances and a zillion other nebulous things.  I don't think my interest in these most basic of needs for food and shelter should be something to be ashamed of, even though across the world, and even perhaps not so very far away, I am more than aware that not everybody even has a home, nor enough food to eat. 

However, I do absolutely appreciate what I have in living here with a roof over my head and food on my table. I am not an intellectual and I couldn't write about really serious things even if I wanted to, yet I don't think I'm a bad person because of this.

I think my personal need to make a home probably stems from the fact that I 'lost' my family home at a comparatively young age (my mother left us when I was very young, and my father died when I was about 25). Ever since then, I've not only enjoyed, but perhaps even been slightly driven to create a cosy and comfortable living space for myself; a place I can invite friends; a place to call 'home'. I don't have luxurious taste, nor the money to indulge it, even if I had. I like to cook, to eat, to feed and to nourish - myself and others.

Food, shelter, love ... bliss!!

In thinking (and yes, googling!) about this, I came across a short article called Why home is where the heart is by the writer Alain de Botton: "In a house strangled by three motorways ... our optimism and sense of purpose are liable to drain away, like water from a punctured container. We may start to forget that we ever had ambitions or reasons to feel spirited and hopeful", he writes. 

I will always look for reasons to feel spirited and hopeful. My cup is more than half full! And so I will write about interiors and food...and more. Every day brings new things to interest, inspire and challenge.

So, that's that out of the way, for now, at least....and I'm going to get on with my original aims without feelings of lack and guilt. I hope some people will join me for the ride.

End of (slightly) serious it's gonna be back to fluff and wallpaper!!

Monday, 27 August 2012

What's my style?

Very good question, if I say so myself. Well, this is something I'm exploring in both my interior design course and personally, as I'm going to be moving into a new flat next year and let's just say, 'it needs some work'. I definitely like modern; I definitely like vintage, so I guess the nearest I can get is 'modern vintage' which just about covers it for now, at least, with a touch of (the other) Bauhaus and some mid-century modern thrown in for good measure.

I used to be a regular flickr user - see breakfast with Bowhaus, but I kinda stopped photographing my breakfast quite time ago (and hence lost a bit of weight too!). However, I was very inspired and learnt so much from the people I 'met' on flickr, so I hope that some from that lovely network of people might find their way to read this blog too. I'd love to reconnect with them  and share knowledge, wisdom (theirs, I mean!) and ideas, as well as images, useful links and who knows what else might emerge. 

My new flat - a one-bedroom in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg - is a rather compact 55 sq m consisting of bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and balcony (which is possibly a bit too close to the Greek restaurant downstairs, but that remains to be seen, or should I say, heard!). The flat needs a new kitchen and bathroom (it's only got a really manky shower at the moment and I am a bath kinda girl) and I'd like to strip the walls of the rather nasty woodchip paper (assuming the walls don't come down with it!) as well as the floor of the cheap laminate. I have been assured that there are nice old wooden floors underneath, but I wouldn't bet on it. I don't have access to it at the moment as it is still rented out, but I hope should be able to get started in November. Until then, I'd like to try to use this blog to brainstorm ideas to help me create a comfortable, colourful, cosy home and use it as a kind of diary for the before, during and after.

So here are a couple of images from the corners of the flat where I live now to give you an initial idea of my style

Arabia vase from e-bay (back left)

 Corner of my kitchen

 Shelves with paintings by Carlos Silva

I want to put things here which I already have, like or which inspire me. I hope that I'll be getting ideas and feedback from my lovely friends out there once I work out how to tell people about this blog, and if anyone reads it.

Well, if this works, it would have been easier than I imagined (I decided not to wait til I got the perfect photos, but to 'just get on with it' as my friend Odette would say) here's to the future of my Bowhaus' Blog! 

Special thanks are due to Nina for loads of tips, support and her mammoth email. I'd actually love for her to move to Berlin and help me with my new flat, but unfortunately she'll undoubtedly be staying with her partner and daughter in Holland!

Let me know what you think; tips, feedback and ideas are all very welcome!!