Interiorssneak peeks

A 16th-Century Home Begins A Playful New Chapter

by Sofia Tuovinen

A 16th Century Home Begins A Playful New Chapter | Design*Sponge

We often share historic homes here on Design*Sponge, but rarely get the opportunity to share ones dating all the way back to the 16th century. Author, blogger and interior stylist Julia Ballmaier’s home in central Germany was built in 1548, and is located in the second oldest building in town. The apartment, which Julia shares with her husband Horst and their three sons Joshua, Oskar and Otto, is a quirky old abode with some truly unique details. Should you want to visit, you would most likely struggle to find your way in — the home doesn’t have its own entrance! To enter, you first have to walk through the traditional bakery, a local tourist attraction run by Julia’s father-in-law. On her way home, Julia sneaks in between the visiting tourists and continues to the back, where a doorway leads to her family’s colorful and vintage-inspired home.

The family’s apartment was Horst’s childhood home. After living elsewhere for several years, Julia and Horst eventually decided that it was time to return to their hometown and settle above the bakery. This meant taking on the project of renovating the historic home to meet their modern-day needs. The couple set out to transform the home into an eclectically decorated sanctuary, where history is lovingly preserved without feeling stiff. Making alterations to a home that is over 500 years old was no easy task, as renovating historic buildings is heavily regulated. Julia and Horst worked hard to achieve their goals, and completed the renovation of the 1,340-square-foot main level in 18 months. The end result is a lovely family home with surprising details and a feel-good vibe.

As an avid decorator, Julia’s process of creating a home is never-ending. She loves to update rooms with happy new paint colors and eye-catching wallpaper designs. Color and pattern are everywhere, from bold sofa covers to gallery displays of thrifted art. It’s all about creating fun, energetic and personal spaces that feel welcoming and have a story to tell. The perfect example of Julia’s playful decorating mentality is a swing that hangs from an old structural beam in the hallway — a great conversation starter for guests who visit for the first time! The post-and-beam construction is certainly one of the most unique highlights in the 16th-century home. To create an open-plan feel, Julia and Horst chose to expose the posts, beams and braces between the living and dining areas. These structural elements now create a one-of-a-kind space divider that reminds of the long history of the family’s home.

Although the major work on the apartment has been completed, Julia dreams of one day converting the storage attic into two new rooms. For now, Julia is more than content with her family’s happy home above the bakery, and invites you to take a peek into her whimsical world of DIY and decor.Sofia

Photography by Julia Ballmaier

Image above: A swing chair greets guests in the hallway. Julia built it from a chair without legs that she found in the garbage. The large painting is one of Julia’s many flea market finds.

A 16th Century Home Begins A Playful New Chapter | Design*Sponge
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Collected art, floral wallpaper and pops of color create a welcoming feel in the hallway.

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The stairs lead up to the attic, which Julia hopes to convert into two more rooms in the future. The space under the stairs has been turned into a cozy reading nook.

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A wooden hand model and various vintage glove molds are displayed in the hallway.

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Most pieces in the living room are flea market finds. A mix of blue, pink and fuchsia creates a charming and eclectic color story.

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The exposed post-and-beam construction is a beautiful reminder of the long history of this 16th-century home.

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Julia’s style is all about color. Patterned pillows in the pink and blue color scheme create an inviting nook in the living room. 

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Julia chose Marimekko’s Puketti wallpaper for one of the living room walls. The IKEA sofa got a new colorful cover from Bemz.

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Thrifted chairs in various colors make up a quirky dining room area.

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Marimekko’s Kompotti wallpaper features a fun fruit motif that creates a large polka dot feel in the kitchen.

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The living room’s blue and pink color scheme continues into the master bedroom in softer tones.

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Julia in the bedroom of her family’s 16th-century home.

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The bedside table was made of an old pink bottle crate.

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Julia chose bright purple for the master bathroom and hung Moroccan baskets on the wall for some fun pattern play.

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36 tiles make up a large Stormtrooper wall piece in Joshua’s bedroom.

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Chalkboard paint makes Joshua’s bed an ever-changing canvas for creativity.

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The younger boys sleep together in a bunk bed, happily decorated with bunting and colorful textiles.

A 16th Century Home Begins A Playful New Chapter | Design*Sponge
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Jungle wallpaper found on eBay adorns one of the walls in Oskar and Otto’s room. The red sideboard is one of Julia’s numerous flea market finds. 

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Julia loves to wind down at home by listening to records as loud as she wants!

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The family has made the most of the outside space behind the house. Julia has decorated the yard with plants as well as colorful fabrics and rugs. 

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The colorfully decorated backyard is the perfect spot for outside lunches and a glass of cool iced tea.

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Floor plan of the family’s home, built in 1548.

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Comments

  • Brave mix of color and furnishings … and it works beautifully. If ever there were a space designed solely to make its inhabitants feel happy, this is it.

  • This has been a wonderful week of unique homes on design sponge. Thank you for this beautiful array of spaces. This house is full of personality and joy. I am envious of the beautiful lampshades and color combinations. Again, a truly inspiring week.

  • Quite incredibly eccentric house this one of the 16th-century outlooks is. A lot of innovation and fresh ideas are visible in this beautiful piece of architecture. Not losing the touch of the 16th century but still complying with the needs of the present, is something one can really extract ideas from. Even from the pictures, you can get the vibes of a welcoming home, such well thought-out the wall texture, bold patterns and other home decor stuff are. Great work Mr. and Mrs. Ballmaier.

  • It’s hard to believe that it is a 16th century building. Aspects of it seem so modern while there is still a hint of the older beams and walls.
    I love the way that they have included the hanging chair next to the stairs.

  • Love those black and white rugs with the geometric patterns! It would be great to know the manufacturer. Beautiful home!

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