At Home With | Stylist Nora Eisermann and Photographer Laura Muthesius
Trading in their Berlin-based lifestyle for a quaint village in the countryside, food stylist Nora Eisermann and photographer Laura Muthesius take us through the former schoolhouse that they now call home.
Nature is the driving inspiration for their collaborative musings on their popular recipe and design blog, Our Food Stories, and individually as they pursue their respective crafts. The relocation to Brandenburg has provided them with direct access to the surrounding wilderness and helped shape the interior decor of their country retreat.
The timber-framed arched door in the kitchen is a firm favourite for Laura and Nora. The kitchen space used to be a big classroom and is more than 40 square meters in size.
Your home is located in the German countryside. What do you love most about the area that you live in?
Laura and Nora: Our home is located in a small village in Brandenburg, one and a half hours from Berlin. It is surrounded by nature and happens to be next to the place where Laura grew up as a child. We have both spent most of our lives living in Berlin, so while we appreciate the benefits of city life, we also began to discover the true beauty of nature when we started taking photos for our food and recipe blog in the garden and house of Laura’s father. As the years went by, we were drawn more and more to the green and calming landscape here while still having the opportunity to be close to Berlin for work.
What was your first impression of the building? Why is it called the Schoolhouse?
Laura and Nora: The house was a former schoolhouse, which explains why it has bricks on the outer facade and high ceilings in the rooms; these characteristics aren’t typical for the homes in this village. Although we share a birthplace in Berlin, Laura spent her childhood in the village. During that time, her family purchased the schoolhouse through an auction, which enabled their neighbours to continue living there, preventing a potential repossession. On our wedding day, Laura’s father presented us with the keys as a gift!
The building had lost its charm over the last few decades, and even the garden had barely survived. The house had old plastic windows, the attic was in bad condition, and some doors had been replaced by plastic. However, the home had a solid structure and a few original details still intact, such as the timber flooring, so with a bit of patience we knew it could be renovated back to life.
Laura and Nora’s love for Danish furniture makes this Frama dining table and pendant light a favourite.
How do you feel as you move through the different spaces, and what does this space reveal about you?
Laura and Nora: We love bright and open spaces with a sense of some detail remaining from the original building. When we moved in, we removed a few walls and doors and opened up some bricked-in windows to let more light inside. The oversized kitchen space was so big and bright that we included a secondary dining space. Our living space was the former school sleeping and living room, but we opened it up to encompass one large living space with a view and a door overlooking the garden. As we move through our home, we feel calm and are inspired by the openness and natural light within each zone.
How is your home a reflection of your personalities and creative practices?
Laura and Nora: Our tastes and interests are always evolving, but we will always be drawn to nature and natural materials, and this theme has always influenced our work in the past. Laura’s childhood home nearby inspired our design. It has a charming garden and is full of beautiful, vintage furniture, and it’s where we first started our food blog.
The design of our home draws inspiration from our frequent journeys to Scandinavia, where we have collected several pieces that now sit throughout the Schoolhouse. Embracing the essence of Nordic style, we appreciate its design classics and how they celebrate the natural patina of materials.
“Bauwerk’s limewash paints allowed us to build a warm foundation within our home, as well as helping us to highlight the original architectural elements through an almost ancient Mediterranean touch.”
— Laura and Nora
The light play in the main dining room accentuates the natural texture and variation of limewash paint on the walls. Pia chairs from DK3 surrounding an antique dining table.
Talk us through the palette; how did you approach selecting the serene lineup of materials, textures and colours?
Laura and Nora: We love natural materials such as stone, wood, metal, and linen that all age beautifully over time and develop a soulful patina alongside vintage pieces to create an interesting material mix. Even with a neutral colour palette, you can build tension and dialogue between the architecture and interior.
Our house is more than 100 years old, so we’ve had to replace and renovate certain elements such as inserting new timber framed windows (which have a similar look to the very original windows), laying new timber parquetry flooring and deciding on the limewash paints for the walls and doors to match our furniture pieces. We had a few items left from our previous flat, so we used this to curate the remainder of our collection. For example, our iconic Cassina Soriana sofa is complemented by a travertine table atop a woollen rug.
With respect to the original architecture, how did Bauwerk’s limewash paints play a role in elevating these features?
Laura and Nora: We painted everything in neutral tones from Bauwerk Paint. Limewash paint has a beautiful finish and a natural texture, it also has no harmful odours or nasty additives. The limewash paint crafted a vivid structure on our walls, which makes the large spaces feel warm and cosy. Bauwerk’s limewash, allowed us to build a warm foundation within our home, as well as helping us to highlight the original architectural elements through an almost ancient Mediterranean touch. We love coming home from a busy day and feel immediately welcomed by the tonal palette.
Laura and Nora applied Bauwerk Colour limewash paint in Barley to the powder room walls. They love how the tone changes depending on the light and is more rose-coloured on cloudy days and beige on sunny days.
An additional ‘garden kitchen’ in duck egg blue is located downstairs and opens out onto the garden.
“We really love the imperfect structure that the limewash paint creates on the walls which bring so much character and depth.”