When graphic designer and illustrator Verena Michelitsch first saw this apartment, she had to look past the gray walls, dirty windows and the fact that there was no kitchen. But it had incredible high ceilings, great light and original 19th century hardwood floors and perhaps even more importantly, the rent was cheap. And the location, in the Lend district of Graz, Austria, situated next to the Mur river, was fantastic. So with the help of good friends, Verena set about making some renovations – and even installed a basic kitchen. Her overall decorating objective was to keep the space light and bright, accented by bright pops of colors. To that end, Verena purchased simple white Ikea furniture. And then rummaged through flea markets and her parent’s attic to find fun, colorful pieces from the ’60s and ’70s. Verena moved out of the apartment (and to New York City) last September, so a big thank you to her for allowing us a peek back into her home. –Amy Azzarito
Image above: The SHH letters poster I brought home from a design and furniture fair in Copenhagen a few years ago. I think it was part of their branding, the fair was called Showcase or something. I took some random letters and thought the SHH would perfectly fit into a quiet bedroom. The pink vase is a piece from Ikea. It’s perfect for long, blossoming branches. I always have fresh flowers in my apartment, mostly handpicked from my Mum’s beautiful big garden or from the farmers market around the corner.
Image above: The chairs I have collected over time. At first, I just had this black Eames chair, which was a lucky ind at a junk dealer and then collected more chairs, piece by piece. The two ’50s-style chairs are from a house in my neighborhood that was uninhabited for about 20 years. My friend and I saw vintage furniture standing around out on the street outside and we asked if we could have a look into the abandoned apartment. We were allowed to take whatever furniture we liked. The rug and the tulip Saarinen-style round table are both Ikea. The large ‘A’ on the bookcase I stumbled up upon in the middle of the night. I think I was out for drinks and walked home when I saw workers disassembling this huge store lettering from a shoe store frontage. I asked them what they would do with these letters, and they said they were throwng them away. I called a friend and we filled his car with all the letters we could cram in tand took them home and to our studio space EN GARDE, where I worked in Graz. So many of the pieces in my apartment I have found by coincidence or good luck. I like that all these items are found from random places in my old city and hold such great memories.
See more of Verena’s Austrian apartment after the jump!
I fell in love with mural paintings by Miss Van seen in the narrow alleys of Barcelona. She draws these weird, dreamy and sexy dolls and animals which seem kind of out of this world. Barcelona is one of my favorite cities, the first time I visited (when I was around 20 I was totally into street art), I felt like I was in heaven, walking around discovering all these great murals and street art throughout the city. I bought this print at one of my recent visits in the city.
Image above: Since I am strongly interested in typography and type design, I collect everything related to that. These vintage type sheets I found at a flea market in Vienna. The one on the bottom left uses gold foil, they are around 70 years old. I bought 15 of them for 50 cents. I have always been lucky with these vintage finds. The fun purple illustrations are by my little sister Chrissi who is a designer as well. When we were little we used to draw all day long. The top left black and white image I love because it shows my grandma selling ice cream. My grandparents used to own the best bakery in town. My granddad did amazingly decorated cakes, we were lucky grandchildren to get them for our birthdays every year. He has actually been a big influence for me. I remember that his cake decoration were very graphic and he had, like my dad, the most beautiful handwriting (he would write with sugar icing on cakes). So basically all these photos and drawings on the wall are little memories.
Image above: The purse is a present from my mum. It´s Miu Miu and was the first grown up handbag I owned. I bought the Copenhagen poster – in Copenhagen – with my good friend Nina. The poster is a copy of an illustration by the Danish illustrator Viggo Vagnby and is based upon a famous photograph of an incident where a policeman stopped the traffic to allow a family of ducks to cross the road.
Image above: I always keep flowers in my apartment, it just lightens and freshens up the rooms. The colorful ’70s pitcher is a flea market find.
Image above: The map above my desk is a present from my boyfriend Tobias, who is a designer as well and equally as passionate about graphic design and illustration. I’m a big traveler, so this scratch map where I could scratch out all the places I have visited, was a great gift. The desk was handmade by my other grandpa, he an incredibly talented craftsman and carpenter and made a lot of furniture for my parents.
Image above: I think I started to collect deer (Bambis) around age 20, actually influenced by the street artist Miss Van, who has a lot of deer in her paintings. The collection grew as people began gifting me Bambi figures. I used to intern at Pentagram, that´s where I saw a huge bookshelf with books arranged by color in their conference room. My collection of books was not that big but I still like the idea of it.
Image above: The rabbit lamp was a birthday present from my good friends Karin and Nina. It is standing on a vintage jewelry box and a little cupboard from an old sewing goods store which I found at the flea market.
Image above: When I moved in there was no kitchen in the apartment. The kitchen I installed is pretty simple and basic. I love to cook, especially at the weekends. Tobias and I used to make extensive brunches, and would eat and hang out all day long. The wall color in the kitchen is a pretty intense yellow. There was no direct light in the room and the kitchen window had frosted glass, so I wanted to make this room as bright as possible.
Image above: The sign Heute Ruhetag (German) is an old store door sign which roughly translated means ‘today: day off.’
Image above: The trunk is actually a really old suitcase, I think it belonged to my great-grand parents. It has their initials on it. I used to have it in my bedroom at my parent’s house and thought it fits perfectly into this apartment. The flower prints I bought on a trip to Venice with Tobias. I love getting lost in the tiny allies of the city, one day we have found this amazing vintage bookstore (Libreria Acqua Alta) that had a second entrance for people coming by boat.
Image above: The windows in the living room were open all summer long. We loved this amazing view of the river and our tree-lined street.