ISSUE 93  |  Eastern Europe

Architect Visit: A Midcentury Makeover in Berlin

October 07, 2013 9:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Not that it’s fall, we’re reminded of the warmth that color can bring inside when there’s a chill in the air. In their renovation of a 1957 atrium house built for the International Building Exhibition in Berlin, Bfs Design takes the color lesson to heart.

Protected as a historic monument and completely untouched since it was built, the one-story building and its garden required a sensitive and gentle update. The mandate: to create living as well as office spaces for owners who run a model casting agency. Working with a framework of black and white, Berlin-based Bfs Design added a textural autumnal palette that we predict will stand the test of time. For those (like me) who fear that anything but the safest tones will soon look dated, their example provides a bright new way of thinking.

Photography by Annette Kisling via Bfs Design

Above: The atrium house is in the middle of the Tiergarten Park in the center of Berlin. 

Above: The high contrast of black and white in the living room creates an ordered backdrop for welcoming in a bit of color.

Above: A wall of small black tiles introduce texture and depth to the room, which is prevented from looking clinical thanks to a simple stack of logs  

Above: Autumnal tones arrive in the kitchen.

Above: The theme of black and white continues, but is secondary to the warm shades of the chairs and brass light fixture.

Above: Tiles with a relief pattern liven up the sink wall. 

Above: The tiles stand out against minimalist, hardware-free cabinets, all of which are below the counter.

Above: Color and texture keep the white room from feeling cold. Stay tuned: Tomorrow we’re running a Steal This Look on the kitchen.

Above: A few brights carry over into the bedroom. The built-in storage shelf above the radiator is an efficient use of space.

Above: A tiled wall with a circular relief pattern adds a look that’s both mod and contemporary to the guest bath.

Above: Dark mosaic tiles line the shower.

Above: The garden is ordered by contrasting textures of small pebbles and smooth paving stones.

Above: A wooden garage door brings warmth to an otherwise austere exterior.

Tile walls are a good way to introduce texture, depth, and sometimes pattern and color to a space. See more in Five Favorites: Textural White Tile Backsplashes and Moroccan Glazed Tile Roundup