Downsizing, Frankfurt style

A client whose apartment I’d renovated in Sydney asked me to look at an apartment she was thinking of leasing in Frankfurt. I was working in Bayreuth at the time, so went up to Frankfurt overnight, and immediately measured it up.

We spent the rest of that evening back at her house drinking wine, talking about what she was hoping to achieve, and designing the space. The next morning we went back to the apartment and paced it out to see if it would work.

It was such an intense period of design, reworking the space to suit her lifestyle, which involved having her grandchildren to stay from time to time, but also spending a lot of time in the apartment by herself. The space as it was didn’t flow particularly well – we knocked down a few walls and lined up doors, plus reinforced the upper floor apartment, which was lived in by an academic who had rooms full of books.

The way it is now, newly sited enfilade doors allow for views from one room to the next, and through to the balcony and onwards towards the city.

I introduced a number of glass doors into the space to allow for more light and sense of space. Where privacy was needed, such as into a bedroom, mirror was used in place of glass.

My client had come from a large house, and part of my objective was to accommodate her favourite furniture, artwork and books into a much smaller space without it feeling cramped.

I also wanted her to have many different experiences within the smaller space – and so for example, as well as a dining area in the kitchen, there’s also a small table in the living room for when she’s dining alone or with one other person. There are also many areas for her to sit and relax – she’s a big reader, and a daybed in the kitchen is the perfect place to catch the late afternoon light.

There’s also a small table in the living room for when she’s dining alone or with one other person.

As with many of my clients, this has been an ongoing job. Since the original work was done in 2007, we’ve reconfigured the apartment to suit the life she lives today. She has many musicians to stay, and so decided to give them the main bedroom with ensuite, and use the guest bedroom herself, which allows her free use of the rest of the apartment. My involvement here has largely been to make the guest room into much more of a permanent bedroom.