The trend is in the 50s – even at home

Before, after: the 50's family house in Darmstadt has been completely rebuilt. Floor-to-ceiling windows and French windows provide more light and the filigree shutters give the house all its elegance. Photos: Gregor Schuster / Martin Weber

Before, after: the 50's family house in Darmstadt has been completely rebuilt. Floor-to-ceiling windows and French windows provide more light and the filigree shutters give the house all its elegance.
Photos: Gregor Schuster / Martin Weber

The roof is slightly mossy, but the shutters and the cladding of the balcony in yellow gray are filigree and elegant. This could be the house that received a prize for the 30 most beautiful concepts of life. The number of the house is right, in front of the garden gate, the architect Bianca Lautenschläger-Haerlin and the interior architect Ingo Haerlin also met. They visit their customers again Denise Annabelle and Martin Weber, become friends for a long time, as the two couples say.

"We bought a house and I do not like it." On these words, remembers Ingo Haerlin, Martin Weber had proclaimed the acquisition of a 50s house in a beautiful district of Darmstädter, near the famous Art Nouveau Center Mathildenhöhe.

Bad material and thin walls

As they had to give the new owners the courage to do something of this unadorned building, the Haerlins assured them that it had been a good buy. Ingo Haerlin: "The quality of the house was good and the floor plan had potential." This is not always the case for post-war houses. For 1950s furniture in antique stores under the label "midcentury" proud price called. The architecture is going through a difficult time. In the aftermath of the war, Germany was often built cheaply – bad material and thin walls.

"We had just started building or rebuilding an old barn, but the location and the grounds convinced us," explains Martin Weber. The family wanted to live near the city, they are now five minutes from their home in the city center by bike. The broker, says Martin Weber, removed the advertisement from the homepage after four hours because the requests were numerous.

"We introduced the three Weber models, including the possibility of a new building and we were happy not to want to demolish and rebuild, but to redevelop," said Bianca Lautenschläger-Haerlin. "It's exciting to work in the portfolio, manage specific features and find creative solutions."

Nevertheless, there was not much standing except for the outer walls. "We let go of the big arms of the demolition company and let everything that was marked be removed and demolished," says Ingo Haerlin. The walls were demolished, reinforced concrete columns were installed, windows were shifted, all lines were redefined, radiator panels and window sills were refurbished.

In addition, the owners wanted to do without typical small bathrooms. On the ground floor is now a small glamorous guest toilet: painted anthracite gray, matte mosaic tiles and copper accessories, a copper towel rail next to the carpenter's small dressing table – lit by eye-catching lights. "Every detail is important, especially in small rooms," says Ingo Haerlin. On the first floor is a spacious bathroom with shower and bath. On the upper floor, where there are also bedrooms and children 's bedrooms, a bay window illuminates the floor at the end of the hallway.

A herringbone oak floor and a harmonious color palette with shades of gray and gray-green on the ground floor ensure a warm and comfortable atmosphere. "The carpenter has made a lot of effort and has specially designed the parquet pattern so that it is arranged W-shaped from the front door – W like Weber," says Denise Annabelle Weber.

"Mom, where are the men who live with us?"

The wall of the kitchen has fallen: the kitchen, the dining room and the living room are now confused, the French windows give light. Of course, the table chairs of Charles Eames and Hans J. Wegner dating from the 50s. The classics were combined with cheaper furniture from design companies like Atelier Hausmann, Hay and Norr11.

However, it has become difficult to restore certain elements of time, explains Bianca Lautenschläger-Haerlin. The chimney, like the window sills of the building, was to be provided with one of the reconstituted stone slabs of the time, but was only completed after several attempts.

The builders also had a sporting schedule for the renovation. In May, they bought the house, they wanted to move in at Christmas. It worked, but it had to be reworked. "The walls on the ground floor were very bumpy," explains Martin Weber, "we had to bring the bathroom back to life." Which meant at four-thirty in the morning, because soon after, the bathroom had been occupied by the craftsmen. "At one point, when the bath was over, my daughter asked where were the men who lived with us," laughs Denise Annabelle Weber.

There was a shock moment before the move, when suddenly showed black spots on the floor. The craftsmen had placed the protective veil in the wrong direction when painting the walls. "It cost us sleepless nights," say the owners. "At some point you will be on the most insane forums." Whether it is oxalic acid or the reaction of oak wood with the metal chips of recycled liner material, the parquet has been saved.

Meanwhile, such problems are good for scary anecdotes. Even the interior design awards, such as in "Best of Interior" (Callwey Verlag), which celebrates "the 30 most beautiful concepts of life", confirm that the conversion of the initially unloved house was a good idea . And Webers have gained valuable experience in choosing artisans. They are likely to use them when there is an enlargement of the roof.

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