Interiorssneak peeks

Soothing Tones Create A Lovely Home In Germany

by Erin Austen Abbott

Sometimes I look through the homes we feature here at Design*Sponge, and a color that a homeowner selected — or the light that streams into the room in the photo I’m looking at — invokes a certain feeling within me. It’s like hearing a song that instantly transports me to a time or place in my life. Such is the case with the home of Daniela Schinke, a teacher and blogger based in Kassel, Germany, that she shares with her husband and her two youngest children. I look at the pictures of Daniela’s home and suddenly I hear the beautiful piano playing of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, an Ethiopian nun. The muted tones of the home blend together from one room to the next like a well composed song, tying each hue together seamlessly.

Dating back to the 1880s, the house was formerly part of an old monastery complex that was partly destroyed during World War II. Once rebuilt, two rooms ended up with slightly higher ceilings in addition to some very low-height rooms. Based in a small district within Kassel, Daniela shares this about her rented home of now 19 years: “We live close to fields and meadows. We always say we live in a village in the middle of the city. The infrastructure is very good and you can do everything on foot. Cafes, shopping and the tram are practically on the doorstep. [We can find ourselves] in nature […] in two minutes; Here we also have a beautiful, wild allotment. Our district has been incorporated very late and impresses with its originality and the many half-timbered houses. Many young families want to live here, so the housing market here is very rare.”

After previously living a short time in a more newly constructed flat, Daniela realized that it didn’t work for her needs — she values a home with history and patina. “[This current] apartment was in a very bad condition and was not nice when I moved in, but she had potential,” Daniela reflects. “We changed and renovated a lot when I moved to it; on the beautiful old floorboards stuck dark grey carpet and the floorboards had to be freed from ‘ox blood.’ The old doors and skirting boards were all freshly painted and the kitchen completely redesigned; Here, PVC stuck in the tile design on the walls. We partly designed the kitchen ourselves and built it together with a friend. At that time, we partly used the old kitchen furniture and varnished it (and now white again). Also the tiles and the floor in the kitchen received a freshness cure.”

“I love to decorate my apartment regularly and to renovate it every once in a while,” Daniela continues. “So I paint every now and then the walls in other colors.” Scroll below to get a beautiful peek at Daniela’s home, in its current state, before she makes one of the frequent changes that she tends to make around the house. Follow her on Instagram to see what changes she makes next in her home. —Erin

Photography by Daniela Schinke

Image above: “I enjoy change, playing with colors, beautiful pictures; I love to discover old furniture and to combine it with beautiful, simple design pieces. A mix of old and new embodies for me more personality in living than a uniform look. When setting up [a home, these factors are] important to me: color harmony, joy of trying and especially [making it feel livable]… This is not an exhibition space, but a home! ” Daniela shares. 

Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
The other side of their living room, where art lives, displaying Daniela's affinity for Scandinavian style.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
The eat-in kitchen gives the look of eclectic seating and provides the perfect perch for fresh cut flowers.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
Daniela and her husband redesigned the kitchen to change it from the design she moved in with 19 years ago. "Living should not only be characterized by trends, that is boring. I am a very aesthetic person, colors and materials such as wood play an important role in my life," Daniela explains.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
"I like to remember many nice parties and celebrations. I like to have people around me - my friends, my family and there are always many children with us: cooking, talking, listening to music together and dancing in our little kitchen. I admit that as I got older, I also became a bit calmer. BUT we had a lot of parties with us (with lush music, soft music, with wine and lots of fun) - after all, you should celebrate life," Daniela offers.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
Open shelving made for a practical and cost effective solution to the kitchen remodel.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
With Daniela's knack for blending colors, her open shelving is so warm and inviting.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
"I've been living here for a while and [this] place has changed a lot over the years; the colors, wallpapers and also decoration. In the beginning there was the big renovation and then everything was allowed to grow bit by bit," Daniela says. I hope this wallpaper in the main bedroom stays for a long time!
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
This area in the main bedroom contrasts so well with the wallpaper on the accent wall that leads to the living room.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
"In the field of living I feel the cheerful colors of many Dutch apartments and the playfulness of the French interior as very interesting and beautiful in addition to the Scandinavian style. Due to its colorfulness, nature also always offers motifs that stimulate and reflect in my home," Daniela shares.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
A mix of found, collected and vintage goods make up the living room corner shelf.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
A peek at the room of Daniela's oldest daughter. She was in fact born inside the apartment, only adding the to special quality of this home for her.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
While the apartment isn't large (it's around 1,100 square feet), each family member has a place to call their own and can retreat when needed.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
The perfect place to curl up with a book and read, with natural light pouring in.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
The room of Daniela's youngest daughter continues the love of blending colors seamlessly and building a warm environment. Each tone is created with effortless purpose.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
Nothing feels too precious in this room, made for the nine-year-old girl that occupies it.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
Even the white tiled bathroom is warm and inviting with the addition of Daniela's ability to create a sense of place without being fussy or appearing to try too hard.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
Daniela, in her home, which she shares with her husband and two daughters.
Daniela Schinke for Design*Sponge
What Daniela loves most about her apartment: "Our home is more than an apartment; it is our home - it is our retreat. We spend a lot of time here and it reflects a part of ourselves. Of course, things change over time. They adapt to our circumstances and required function. But living in a 'beautiful soul' is better. That's exactly why I enjoy interior design, beautiful design, old and new treasures and colors."

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  • Wow! This home is so pleasing to the eyes! Just perfect! I want the nine year old daughter’s bedroom for my own!

  • What a charming place! Would love to see a floorplan and to know more about rental practices in Kassel: is it typical to do so much remodeling in a rental? Does Daniella simply have a very lenient landlord (and a lucky one, to have such a tenant)? Is the lease renewed yearly?

    • Hi Reba, normally, the lease for a rental in Germany is unlimited, time wise I mean. Therefore, and as the tenant’s rights are far better in Germany than in the US or in UK, buying is much less common and many people live in rentals their whole life. Of course, still many people buy, but especially among intellectuals and artists buying is not the most aspired people save up for, I guess. And as long as you don’t damage anything you are allowed to remodel a lot in German rentals. Landlords* are mostly grateful if you take good care of their houses and apartments. Greetings from Bremen, North Germany! Jo

  • I’m late to the party, but this interior felt like a serene dream. Is it still possible to learn the origin of the pink chair? Thanks so much for a lovely moment!

  • Such a beautiful home. The girls’ bedrooms are just gorgeous! I am also very grateful to see the William Morris Acanthus wallpaper on a wall. I’ve been thinking about doing a feature wall in my entry with another WM wallpaper called Golden Lily but I had the opportunity to see it on a wall recently and while it’s gorgeous it is also very busy. I also have acanthus growing just outside my front door so it’s totally appropriate. Thank you!

  • I am so not into pinkish (although this is more like a nude colour) but the apartment is so lovely!

  • Looking at these interiors, I felt my blood pressure dropping. How lovely! As previously mentioned, it is surprising to have your heartstrings tugged as if this is your own memory.

  • Beautiful home! It is so peaceful and the colors make my heart sing. I would love to know the source of the colored kitchen tiles in the kitchen.