nomads at home
Year by year finding a decent flat for good price in Berlin is getting harder and harder. I can not count, how many times I have heard horror stories from the people, who were constantly moving from one short-term rental to the another. Never fully unpacked, struggling with finding the apartment for 6 months or more. I consider myself very lucky to find my apartment in the area I wanted, just a couple of weeks after coming to Berlin. So is there something we can do to help our luck?Continue reading
Start looking for the flat early.
You won't find an apartment in a week. this process takes some time. Without a doubt, you will have to go through a couple of visits and interviews before you will find the one. Of course the bigger budget you have the faster you can get what you want. However, if your means are limited, you better start looking early. In this way you will save yourself some stress.
German law is very protective of the tenant, once the landlord let people into the apartment, it is not so easy to get rid of them, even if they are not paying the rent. For that reason, landlords try to protect themselves from dishonest people by asking for a countless number of the documents. We need to prove that we are a good fit and more importantly that we are able to pay the rent. It is very unlucky that you will manage to go through the selection process with missing Schufa or other papers. So do the work Nomad and go to the meetings prepared.
I know, this advice sounds obvious. However, lots of people tend to forget that often the world can be really small place. Don't be shy Nomad and not only tell all of your friends that you are looking for the flat, but also ask them to spread the word and share a Facebook post about it. You will be surprised where that can take you. Not to mention the fact, that everybody would trust more person that is recommended by somebody they know.
Berlin is full of people looking for hunting for the perfect nest. You still can find a good flat in decent price. However, these offers are disappearing quickly, you need to act fast. Check the websites and do it frequently to be sure that you didn't miss a thing. I would say do it twice a day. ( You don"t know where to look for the flats offers? Take a look here.)
Like it or not but almost everybody is nowadays on Facebook. Thanks to possibility of free advertising the same applies to flat offers. Many of locals use multiple Facebook groups to advertise a room or apartment for rent in Berlin. Of course, in this case, I recommend you to be more cautious about scams. However, the Facebook groups are still pretty useful and feature legitimate listings. At this point, doing anything and everything will help you in your search.
I know you can get tired just by reading this post. What if you don't have time for all this hustle. There is an easy way out- big housing companies and cooperatives. They usually a big number of flats and very often, they put only a fraction of the free ones on the intent.
Valerio is a designer that works from home, his living room became his office. One day he wrote to me "I have this thing of constantly changing the setting of my furniture to find a proper configuration, but so far I couldn't find the solution. How should I rearrange my furniture that I don't feel like at work all the time?" I decided to visit Valerio and take a closer look at his problem.
Tell me a little bit about you. Hi! My name is Valerio and was born in Italy. I'm a designer and I create mainly digital artworks, but sometimes I use traditional techniques too. I have moved to Berlin 3 years ago, looking for a better job perspective. Why here? I guess it all happened when I came to Berlin for the first time, it was September, the weather was still nice and I got infected by Berlin's spirit. There's something about this city that gets under your skin. You can fell that Berlin is different than the others cities, you can fell its creative atmosphere, art galleries are on every street corner and they are full of the unique artworks. It's truly amazing, but at the same time, it's a trap! You decide on coming here and then you are realizing that not everything is gold and there's a lot of problems that you have to deal with: German bureaucracy, language, apartment hunt, weather. It isn't so easy... but I can't imagine living somewhere else.
What is your favorite place in Berlin? I don't have on a particular place in my mind, but I have a good feeling towards Zeltlagerplatz. When I came to Berlin for the first time to do some exchange program, we have landed exactly there. There is nothing special about that place, but for me, it has special meaning. Everything started there for me.
"Home is where I can feel safe and all my belongings are stored."
What does home mean to you? For me, home is where I can feel safe and all my belongings are stored. I am really attached to my tools and it's important to me that I can access them easily. I don't feel comfortable when I am on holidays and I don't have my tools with me, of course, I could borrow or buy new ones, but then I have to get used to them, they are somehow not mine right away.
If you would have to move out and you could take only one object from your apartment what would be? I would take any electrical device with an operating system on it. Maybe it's a nerdy thing to do, but there are so many things you can do on it and it can play music, which is very important.
If you would have an open budget what house would you build? I imagine it as a two-story building that I would fill in with all that expensive, good looking and unnecessary objects. I would buy a lot of furniture from fancy designers just because I could afford them. I would have separate rooms for everything, one would be a studio for drawing, second office with all electronics, a couple of bedrooms for me and my guests and the huge living room where I could chill and invite friends. Ah, and I would have a huge garden.
Now, let's focus on Valerio's living room, no doubt that he had furnished it in a very logical and functional way, circulation in the room is good and there is access to all furniture. However, the feeling of the home is missing, when I have entered the room I had a feeling that I am getting into the office. I asked him right the way if he is having meetings with his clients here, but he denied. As he is working from home it's necessary for him to have a proper working space, but at the same time, it's his living room, where he should be able to relax after a long day and have a place where he can invite friends over.
So what we need to do is balance the room functions, reduce office space and create more space to relax and chill. To achieve that harmony I recommend to shuffle the furniture by grouping desks together and creating one big working space on the one side of the room. Then I would use big Ikea regal as a divider between office and living room, by placing it in the middle of the room and moving sofa next to it and as they have the same width, they will match perfectly. On the opposite wall, I would keep the dining table, which would be facing the wall. There is enough space for two people, but the room is big enough, so whenever Valerio would have guessed he can easily move the table and get additional paces to sit around it.
Secondly, we need to work on creating a coherent style of the room. It can be a difficult part especially when you are not sure what elements will match together and endless shopping possibilities are not making it easier. The easiest way to do that is to pick three to four colours or materials and stick to them when we are buying furniture and accessories. To make the room cozier the best will be natural and light colour materials. Valerio has already some wooden and white furniture, so we will start building around that. Above his desk Valerio had many boards with week schedules and to do lists, as well he has a lot of drawings that he can display. This is why I decide on big cork surface above the desk, where he can easily pin his to-do list. It is easy to mount and very practical.
Below you can find some pictures form "work in progress". Valerio already manages to rearrange furniture and install cork on the wall. Can't wait to see the rest.
The worst part of the relocation is moving all your belongings from one place to another. It could be a big pain in the a... back. Limited to the space in the car or travel bag size, we have to carefully select what to take and what to leave behind and then we are arriving in a new place without almost anything, but what if... we could have set of the furniture that we can easily assemble and disassemble and take them always with us?
Elena Bompani Italian designer came out of the idea a flexible furniture system that would instantly make a new abode feel like home, she was inspired by the fact that she had moved 13 times in 25 years. “We have more flexible lifestyles now, less anchored to the places, and within a few years [one] can happen to move many times. I think about my own experience, or that of many people I know, and that every six months I’m living in a different place,” she says.
Itaca it's a simple and flexible nomadic furniture system that recreates a private space with simple modular elements, Itaca can be easily personalized and can take several configurations, adapting to space and needs. The design, made from fabric and wood, can be used to make a bed, a table, a wardrobe and additional storage and it can be assembled without any tools.
Itaca is inspired in the materials and colours to the objects brought in the past by nomadic shepherds during the transhumance, and to old nomadic artisans. “I think you always feel the need to carry around a piece of your own history, of your land, in order to have roots in one place and branches growing in any direction – this was wanted I wanted to explore with Ithaca.”
“Today, more than ever, the house is no longer a specific place but a feeling, a small cosmos that can be anywhere. The objects are often not only ‘tools’, but rather the things with which we establish relations, to which we tie memories. They are important because they are apart of our identity,” Bompani says.
The easy-to-assemble structure is held together by leather belts and comes with linen pockets, shelves, and boxes to allow for customization. The daybed is made from beech wood, making the system lightweight and easy to transport.
Unfortunately, when we are moving into the dorm, we can not pick the furniture that we want or paint the walls in our favourite colour. Generic student dorm rooms can be repelling. Is there a simple way to domesticate unappealing places? In this article, I will visit and interview Ivis, colourful soul from Venezuela, which came to Berlin to study human rights and have asked me to help her to feel at home in her dorm room.
Tell me a little bit about you. My name is Ivis and I came to Berlin about a year ago. When I first moved out from home I went to Malta, where I have been living and working for a while. Unfortunately, time was passing fast and my visa was about to end, I was pretty sure that I wanted to stay in longer Europe. Hence I started to look for master programs that would help to extend my visa and I was lucky to found the perfect one in Berlin. I did not hesitate much and this is how I end up living here. Last year I was mainly studying, especially that very passionate about my masters and I love to explore topics such as racism, women and LGBT rights, this year I would like to balance it a bit more and find more time to hang out with my friends.
foto: iheartberlin.de // Admiralbruecke
foto: Fotosintesi Projekt Photocollective // Mano Cafe, Skalitzerstr 46A
What does home mean to you? Hmm, that is a hard one. Of course, at first my thoughts are taking me to my family home, but since I haven't been living there for such a long time, I don't feel fully at home there anymore. It's more my mum's house than mine and I have adapted to her rules when I coming back. I think at the moment I don't have the home, I am forcing this place to be my home, but isn't so easy to call this way your dormitory room. In general home for me is a place, where I can feel safe, comfortable, where I can relax without being disturbed. It's also the place where I set up the rules.
If you would have to move out and you could take only one object from your apartment what would be? Well, I am free spirit I don’t like to be tight to anything. I would leave everything behind.
If you would have an open budget what house would you build? I adore big white spaces with huge windows and white curtains, buildings that are spacious and full of the light, I am convinced that you should build your house in the way that you don't have turn on the light during the day. I am not so much into an ornament, I love simple geometric forms. I can show you my favourite house in Venezuela. It is called Quinta el Cerrito Villa Planchart made in 50ties in modernistic style, huge openings almost without walls. I wish my house looks like this.
Ivis doesn't feel comfortable in her dormitory room. Well... to be honest, I am not surprised, her space is very small and additionally, all furniture and floor are finished with dark blue laminate, which makes this place seem to be even smaller. Quite often Ivis has guests, so she got an extra sofa, to be able to host them, but the room is too small and now she has to jump over it to get to the cupboard. In this post over I will focus on two the things, first on rearranging the furniture in the more functional way that she will have an free access to all furniture, (no more jumping over the sofa! ) and secondly I will add a bit of style to the place to Ivis personality.
Ivis showed has shown to me her favourite house Villa Planchart design and build by Gio Ponti in Caracas 1953-37 and I really loved it. It has served me as inspiration for her room, in the design I will use a similar set of geometrical patterns and combine them with colourful elements. In the room there is a lot of dark blue colour, so we need to balance it with brighter colours, to do so I will use yellow, white and mix it with pink and black.
There is no space to fit new furniture, but we can create a cosy feeling by adding more textiles. It seems as very simple advice, but believe me, right textiles can drastically change the room. Only by adding bed covers, pillows, curtains and carpet will make the room looks better. Long white and yellow curtains will create the impression that the room is bigger. Colourful textiles set up with black and white geometric patterns will add a playfulnesses and expose Ivis personality, colourful shelves will cheer up the gloomy room. I have based my design on IKEA furniture and accessories but they can be replaced with similar looking cheaper versions.
Nowadays more and more people choosing to become digital nomads, the idea of working anywhere is really tempting. However, quite often happens that our favourite table in the coffee place next corner is taken and we spend a lot of time to find another perfect spot. Wouldn't be perfect, if we could carried our working space with us? Nigerian product designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello came up with the idea of a portable work table that can be carried like a suitcase and is convenient for the office and the home.Continue reading
Nifemi has created the portable TEBUR (‘table’ in hausa). TEBUR is a flat-pack work desk designed with the ease of transportation and assembly in mind; the table accommodates the lifestyle of the users who live or work in small spaces for the extended period of time.
This table is a product inspired by the minimal: a substitution to heavy, awkward-to-transport furniture. When designing the table, Marcus-Bello considered transport options and crowded conditions of cities like Lagos and as a result, the TEBUR is specially engineered to be light and allow easy, one-handed transportation.
foto: Nifemi Marcus-Bello
The table is made of adjusted manufacturing products, with four easy-to-screw legs made of wood. The design and structure of the table make it easy to assemble without tools: the legs are screwed into their corresponding holes underneath the flat top. The designer created the Tebur table to be lightweight so it can be lifted with one hand. The legs, which are made from reclaimed wood, screw into the tabletop, allowing for quick and intuitive disassembly.
foto: Nifemi Marcus-Bello
"The Tebur design is minimalistic, stable and lends the workplace an aura of quiet efficiency," added Marcus-Bello. Until now, work tables were typically heavy, awkward to transport long distances and challenging to assemble," said the designer. "These issues were considered in view of readily available transport options and conditions in crowded cities such as Lagos."
foto: Nifemi Marcus-Bello
These issues were considered in view of readily available transport options and conditions in crowded cities. As a result, the TEBUR allows for easy, one-handed transportation. The legs are held in place along the underside of the table-top by elastic cotton, so the user simply has to slide them out and screw each leg into a whole for set-up, with no tools needed. The handle also doubles a grommet hole for cable management.
From the first moment I really liked my apartment. It has a lot of light reflected by the white walls and high ceiling. I was super lucky to get this place that fast. However, there was one thing that couldn't let me sleep - kitchen floor. Ugly and partly destroyed vinyl floor with the dark brown pattern, was truly horrible. I needed to do something about that. I didn't want to invest too much money and replaced whole floor finish. Especially that the kitchen has an irregular shape, which means a lot of cutting. I... Continue reading
How to refresh a vinyl floor?
To be honest I didn't know how to do it. Vinyl has a very slippery surface and paint might not stick to it. I asked for advice in a local shop with building materials. In return, I got a weird look and the anwser that this can't be done. I didn't believe in that.
I started to dig the topic and here is what I have found.
Step one - pick the right paint.
I have decided to buy OBI Fußbodenfarbe Betongrau seidenglänzend because of two reasons.
First of all, the paint can be used on floors in the cellar, workshop, warehouse or hobby rooms. So it means that is very resistant. The paint is also low-odor and quick-drying. It is also water-dilutable and resistant to common household cleaning products and this is exactly what we need in the kitchen.
Secondly - the color! It is absolutely amazing! Blue-grey tones are unquestionably my favorite.
Can of 2,5 liter paint cost me 27 euros.
Step two - clean it. Precisely!
This part was the most annoying, especially my floor wasn't new. It is important that you have clean all the dust and dirt. Otherwise, paint might not be that durable and fell off. If the flooring has holes it is a good idea to patch them with all-purpose caulk.
Step three - prime the floor.
I was advised to prime the floor before painting, which I did. I have used for that a mixture of paint and water. Mixed in 1:1 proportion. The paint was drying quite fast and evaporated water made the surface not even.
Step four - just paint it.
This part was a pure fun, I was using paint roller so the execution was super fast. The paint was dying very fast and after two or three layers, the horrible brown pattern was not visible anymore. Instead of that my new stylish floor was ready to use. Now, I could sleep without nightmares.
I think the visual effect of my 27 euro kitchen floor renovation turned out to be amazing. I really love the color and I am happy with the result. However, I have to point out that this is not the professional solution and you should be careful how you treat your floor. I have painted my floor almost two years ago and recently I noticed small scratched in the area of the kitchen table.
Another point that is worth underling is that the paint occurred to be very efficient and I have used only 1/3 of the bucket, so in some time I can refresh the floor by adding another layer.
I think this solution, is worth to recommend for somebody who doesn't want to invest too much time and money.