IT seems all Europeans have their own unique DNA when it comes to interior styles, like stripes that never go away.
In our last property magazine, I explained how I could tell with near 100% accuracy where the owners of a home were from depending on their interiors.
Kicking off the Design World Cup, I pitted the furniture-loving Brits against the minimalist Swedes.
This edition I take a look at the precision-loving Germans and colour-mad Spaniards.
Order, grunge and gemütlichkeit!
Germans have a long history with industrial craftsmanship, producing designs systematically and methodically with a rigorous and refined approach to quality. Bauhaus, BMW and beer are all products of this ‘mit Präzision’ mentality! And when it comes to their way of living (Germans have a problem with voluptuous and fussy interiors) you can easily see their love for clean, straight lines. They tend to focus on one statement piece of furniture at a time
rather than an overall concept, and they do it themselves – hiring an interior designer is a no-no! Seeing the home as an arena for self-expression is a completely outlandish idea to orderly German minds!
Please follow the instructions below to give your home the Deutsch touch:
– In every self-respecting German home there should be a brown leather sofa, preferably a 1960s Conseta model. No IKEA-wannabes please! Alternatively, opt for a very complicated module sofa, one that’s hell to hoover underneath and impossible to get up from!
– Bare brickwork walls and concrete ‘bunker style’ are popular design themes.
– Organise your home with floor-to-ceiling modular shelves and containers. There should be no clutter on view.
– Gemütlischkeit demands plenty of throws, cushions and carpets. If you want to enhance the arty crafty feel, throw in a lambskin.
– A square fireplace (no frills or mantelpiece) is a must, accessorised with honey candle lights and a wooden floor – zehr naturlisch!
– For the finishing touch, something olde worlde. Why not a cuckoo clock?
Colour, colour y mas colour!
How can I describe the art of Spanish interior design in just a few words? It’s virtually impossible because minimalistic they are not. Their motto is ‘more is more’ – and the more furniture/colours/objets d’art, the better!
Also alien to the Spanish homeowner is the concept common in this age of over-consumption that when something is out of fashion, it gets chucked out and replaced by something more modish. This does not work for a Spaniard but honestly – why should it? We humans are all hamster hoarders at heart, but we have a problem admitting it.
Spaniards don’t. Therefore you may have difficulty navigating a Spanish home because of the hulking medieval cupboards, sideboards, bookcases and chiffoniers blocking your way to the bathroom. It’s like an adventure into the Amazon jungle without a map.
However, for those who are anal about organisation (like the Germans), the Spanish interior style is utterly liberating! If you want your home to be vibrant, full of life and furniture and with a colour scheme that will have paint supply companies laughing all the way to the bank, you should do as follows:
– Choose distinct, strong colours for your walls. To achieve this psychedelic schizophrenic look, every room must be different, from the porch to the garage and even the dog kennel house! Think fuchsia, neon-carrot, toxin green, bubblegum pink and custard sauce yellow.
– Buy chunky, heavy dark brown furniture and let no space come between them when you line them up along the walls. Olé!
– Install double lines of curtains. And awnings. And blinds. And blackouts. And use the electricity sparingly. Think dark side of the moon, then you are on the right path.
– Why be practical when you can run with wet laundry up two staircases instead? Always keep the washing machine in the kitchen/basement – that way, you get your daily exercise without thinking of it!
– Stash all your 101 cleaning products – the exterminate-everything-including-yourself stuff – in one of your many wardrobes. Not space enough ? Buy a bigger house, hombre!