Simona Giordano has amassed a following of ten thousand people on Instagram, all of whom I imagine are as in love with her home as I am. With this Knock Knock, we get to sneak peek behind the beautiful Instagram shots and hear about the trials and tribulations of creating such a tremendously charming home.
And then there we were; our three children between 4 and 9, and us, two physicists with no clue about house renovations, interior decorations, not to mention gardening. By the way, we had no clue about German real estate law, which, as we realized later, would have been quite useful knowledge to have.
Once inside, we couldn't resist the house's glamour, and the decision was quickly made. Even if the house's exterior was far from appealing and works at the neighbours' house rendered the garden impracticable, we thought we would go ahead. So we asked an architect to help us with the renovation, and we, mostly me, took over the role of a decorator (at the weekend and when the children allowed it).
The house was built in the fifties in a beautiful area on the outskirts of Munich. There had been a house there before, destroyed during World War II. When we moved in, the previous restoration had taken place ten years ago. They had used high-quality materials and built a timeless cosy kitchen with a beautiful terracotta tiled floor and elegant door frames, which was great as it meant we were not confronted with a long to-do list, at least at the beginning.
Nevertheless, the house had seen better days and gave the impression that it had been slightly neglected: I still remember our first day here, the rain was not only pouring outside but also through the main door, flooding the entrance: I wasn't happy, and neither was my husband, he had the look of somebody already regretting our move from a lovely attic apartment we had just sold.
We set about replacing the carpet on the stairs and the 1st floor, isolating the roof, and converting the attic into a sleeping room for one of our children were the first works we focused on the inside. At the same time, outside, we gave a less modern aspect to the facade by adding blue window shutters and trellis for climbing plants.
Bold colours take over most of the house. This was not always the case: we started painting the walls in pale tones, a muted palette of blue, green and yellow, but soon realized how fun it was to be a little more daring: our hallway is now painted in Stone Blue, part oft he the kitchen in Ball Green, Preference Red has been used for the fireplace and we have even gone for a Yeabridge Green for one of the children's rooms (all F&B colours). However, we preferred a calmer tone like Joa's White for the living room, which allows us to be bolder with accessories and fabrics and gives us more flexibility when we are in the mood for changes (it happens pretty often).
During lockdown, I began wallpapering part of the house, starting with the area in front of our bedroom (so any mistakes would only be seen by us). Then I went on to the kitchen and ended in the bedroom where we used William Morris wallpaper more recently.
Many objects in the house result from countless visits to second-hand and flea markets; from prints to bookcases, vases, old vinyls or even an old ladder which I use as a magazine rack have been given a second life. And although my husband's expression is usually one of worry more than amusement on my return, he is pleased with the end result (I know you are).
But the tour of the house would not be complete if I would not mention the pieces I love most: the London map (John Rocques' of 1769, purchased by Pentreath and Hall and framed as done by Ben Pentreath in his London home), the Melodi Horne ikat lampshades and the last arrival, a home library framing the sliding door which separates the living from the dining room.
All in all, I have the feeling we are not far from having achieved the result of a warm and welcoming home, in an imperfect mixture of many influences, from the English love of layering to the German Gemütlichkeit with a bit of Italian memories and of course, always work in progress.