Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Friederike and I live with my husband and our three children in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin. After a lengthy search, we finally found our dream apartment in a traditional building here three years ago: a 130 m² apartment that is just flooded with natural light. It needed a few renovations and we completely redesigned the kitchen. I’ve always been interested in architecture and design and, since I was on parental leave when we were renovating, I had the time to look around for inspiration. I found our look on Instagram and in magazines. I love photography, so I also started documenting our apartment on Instagram. It’s turned into a real passion for me and something I really love doing.
What are your priorities when it comes to the interior design for your apartment?
Personally, I find apartments that tell the unique story of their owners absolutely fascinating. I love discovering little details everywhere. Maybe it’s a vacation souvenir, something passed down in the family, art or even something completely random. These are all things that you can’t just buy with the click of a button but tend to accumulate over the years.
I want the spaces I design to tell our story as well, and I am well aware that this is a never-ending process. I love combining modern furniture with antiques that I find at flea markets, antique dealers and auction houses. It’s ridiculous how little you have to pay sometimes for a piece of antique furniture in good condition. These pieces carry so much history in them and lend warmth to every type of interior design.
When I’m buying new furniture, I look for high-quality materials and excellent craftsmanship. I want my furniture to last throughout my life and to someday be used by my children. My favourite furniture is timeless pieces which outlast the trends that come and go. That’s why I love Thonet!
And, of course, the space also has to be practical. After all, there are three small children living here. Some compromises have to be made.
You chose Thonet chairs for your apartment in Berlin as well as your house in the country. Where did you first encounter Thonet furniture and why did you choose these chairs?
I first encountered Thonet pieces back when I was a child and I always loved the combination of Viennese canework and tubular steel. I can still remember the gentle swinging sensation of the cantilever chairs at the dining table.
For me, Thonet furniture pieces are timeless classics that represent excellent craftsmanship and quality. With their minimalist aesthetics, they fit in a variety of interiors and can easily be combined with modern as well as antique furniture. My first Thonet purchase was a chair I bought at a flea market right after I finished my studies. And now, around the dining table in our Berlin apartment, we have Thonet 118 wooden chairs – a modern version of Thonet’s classic chair designed by Sebastian Herkner in 2018. They were a gift from me to my husband.
We also have the S 64 cantilever chair – the famous tubular steel classic designed by Marcel Breuer (1929/30). It sits in front of our writing bureau and serves as a desk chair; I find it both lovely to look at and comfortable. The contrast between tubular steel and the warm, antique wood of our bureau is something that delights me time and time again.
In our holiday home, which is in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to the north of Berlin, we had been using rather wobbly (and a bit shabby-looking) chairs around our dining table that came with the house when we bought it. After a few years we decided to replace them with models from Thonet. Now our dining table has a mix of chairs: the 214 – the coffee house classic (formerly No. 14) designed by Michael Thonet in 1859 – and the 215 R, which also has lovely canework on the backrest.
Which Thonet pieces are still on your wish list?
I have to say that our current pieces – the S 64 cantilever chair as a desk chair, the 118 chairs around our dining table in Berlin and the classic 214 and 215 R around our dining table in our holiday home – have already made my biggest Thonet dreams come true. Actually, I am perfectly content with what we have right now, although of course I also really like some other Thonet models, such as the 209 bentwood chair with armrests and the S 35 LV armchair. Thonet’s sidetables and outdoor furniture are also very beautiful.