A Historic Berlin Apartment Is Transformed Into a Colorful Live/Work Home

A Historic Berlin Apartment Is Transformed Into a Colorful Live/Work Home

Interior designer Gisbert Pöppler gives a penthouse in the heart of Berlin a vibrant refresh.

When this 1,830-square-foot property was purchased in 2012, it was a raw, empty shell. The homeowner started to renovate the interior, but after a year he was in need of new perspective—so he approached Gisbert Pöppler to transform the 1910 space.

Before the renovation, brick walls and lackluster wooden floorboards suffocated the space. The design team introduced bright, neutral finishes.

The architecture now serves as a backdrop for eclectic furnishings, colors, and artifacts.

Partition walls with large panes of glass provide natural light and privacy to the main office. To aid with concentration, accessories and colors are kept to a minimum here.

The dining area features a natural timber table and an eclectic collection of chairs, paired with simple, industrial light fixtures.

Pöppler teamed up with architect Rüdiger Sander to create a functional floor plan with a separate-yet-integrated office area that could be both open and private. The result is an eclectic home that unfolds over two floors. The bright interior balances boldness with simplicity while blending open living spaces with rooms for work and retreat.

In the kitchen, lemon-yellow and mint-green cabinets complement the forest-green granite countertops. White overhead cabinets blend in with the white brick backdrop.

Colored wall cabinets and a kitchen island structure the open-plan cooking area. White-painted bricks and a large skylight keep the space bright.

The office is now connected to—yet separate from—the main living spaces. Here, accessories and colors are kept to a minimum to allow the homeowner to stay calm and focused.

On the main level, the new layout includes an open kitchen and dining space, paired with a cozy sitting area. The office space lies just off the main living area, and large panes of glass provide physical separation from the rest of the plan while still allowing natural light to filter in. As Pöppler says, "the study is a place of concentration, a kind of cockpit. Here, the author can sit in seclusion and take in the view of the apartment."

Graphic and pastel textiles adorn a collection of modern chairs and sofas in the downstairs sitting room. Warm-gray floorboards extend throughout the whole lower level for a fresh, modern look.

The living area has a bold, contemporary look with subdued, neutral tones providing a backdrop for small pops of energetic colors.

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Orange Aurora walls edged in crisp white lend a striking effect to the staircase leading to the upper floor. Minimizing this bold color intervention to a small area allows the stair to serve as a focal point without overwhelming the design.

A dramatic stair wrapped in a warm orange hue leads to a second office space and living room above. A bonus is an open-air terrace with an expansive view of one of Berlin’s icons: the television tower at Alexanderplatz.

The same warm-gray color continues from the floorboards to the treads, creating a continuous color palette that extends from the lower level to the upper floor.

The unit’s open-air terrace provides views of the television tower at Alexanderplatz soaring high above the Berlin skyline. 

The well-lit upstairs lounge has dramatic dark walls, a patterned carpet, and splashes of vivid color.

While the main floor is neutral and white, the upper floor is decorated with rich colors that contrast nicely with the subdued palette below. The client had a strong vision from the beginning, and a desire to use color selectively. He selected brightly colored vases, picture frames, cushion covers, and throws in addition to the cheerful, colored floor tiles in the bathroom. 

A variety of storage units—from built-in shelving to contemporary cabinets—provide plentiful space for the homeowner’s book collection.

Simple office furniture in primary colors stands out against marine-blue walls and a white window shade.

In the bedroom, a plum feature wall pops against a gray bed and a lemon-yellow throw. Minimalist black furniture and streamlined lighting complete the space.

Although each room has a unique feel, the overall color concept unites all the spaces into a rich, vibrant design. The building’s architectural heritage is still present, but it’s elegantly decorated with contemporary details. Pöppler’s studio seeks to provide "functional solutions paired with sophisticated artistry"—and this Berlin apartment is a stunning example of exactly that.

From the beginning, the client had strong ideas on what furnishings and accessories to feature in the space. The homeowner’s stylistic decisions were right in line with the design team’s.

White walls serve as a backdrop for bold pops of color provided by furnishings, accessories, and books.

In the bathroom, two-toned floor tiles add a playful aesthetic which pairs nicely with standard white subway tile and light-blue walls.

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