First of all, we would like to know a little about you and your home. What do you do for a living? And about your apartment, how big is it, how many rooms do you have, and with whom do you live here?
Thank you for asking! I am the founder of a+,(@yougetanaplus) a creative and visual consulting consulting firm. We do small business consulting and branding & marketing. Start-up, or small to medium sized businesses are our niche. We essentially help cater to both our client’s right (creative) and left (business) brains and help them supplement where needed. We love to help our clients start-up, or revamp their businesses and find how they need to look and feel, as well as help them re-structure their business, organize their work-flow, negotiate, and better communicate with their clients. I also manage certain creatives – either to help coach them or assist them in business deals, or as representation in a brand management capacity. I have had this company for 6+ years.
I also am in the process of building a second business, my passion creative project, a DTC concept store called “m a d r e,” (@byMadre) that empowers artisans and places craftsmanship at the forefront of a chic environment, across three verticals: cuerpo, casa, and experiencias; (home, body, and experiences). Products range from a high-end name-sake jewelry line (18K gold + precious stones designed after my family herilooms), to wearables, accessories, furniture and home decor that are vintage or reclaimed, or made using materials and techniques that have been used for hundreds of years to produce long lasting quality, but that are dying out because of fast-fashion and the global economy.
Coming from Latin America, I know so many artisanal goods, (hats, silver, leather-goods, textiles, furniture, straw and woven goods, decor, etc) that are not perhaps considered by the western-world to be high-end or quality. What you saws in Duty Free outside of Cancun is not it. The same goes for Colombia, Italy (Sicily, Puglia, etc.), Ghana,— the list goes on. And so, with this company I seek to show the world what I know and love about my culture and the goods that deserve to live in the most discerning environments. At the same time, I hope to support a re-invigoration of business to artisans who risk dying with their talents, as opposed to passing them along to the next generation, because of the lack of demand for their artistry or their ability to make a living wage off of it. My mission in life is to do what I can to change the trajectory of this by elevating their products and placing them in the context of elevated contemporary design and art. I also want to show the world that Latin America is high-end, refined, and rich in tradition of the decor, entertainment, and aesthetics; Latin America is not maracas and sombreros. And this is my goal with m a d r e.
And in the case of experiences, I have a background in high-end travel, events, and love entertaining, so through this vertical, we’re able to create experiences for our clients, in some cases using our products, to bring to life the “madre way of doing things."
Our apt is in Graefekitz, has 2 rooms, and is about 120 sq meters. I live here with my husband Maximilian and all our friends who love to spend time on our terrace with us. We’re so lucky to have an amazing view that is a crime not to share with others.
How would you describe your style?
Mmmmh. Personal style is like: folkloric meets Balenciaga? I love Dries van Noten, and most Italian designers, for instance. I care about good color selection, cut/ tailoring, and texture. I prefer pieces that also minimal + edgy, ideally collectible. I don’t shop fast fashion, but rather collect staple items that are cut impeccably well and will last me forever and that I will eventually be able to pass down. For important pieces I try to shop second hand, vintage or sale, and don’t follow trends and I have a traditional hourglass body-type and so more classical cuts work best on me. (Shoes are probably the only thing I buy new because my feet are tricky –– size 41, so its harder to find on the second hand market!
And that personal take is how we (my husband Max and I) approach interior design. Our interior design style is a mix of Italian modern meets wabi-sabi. I like Axel Vervoordt, Luis Barragán, and I hate to admit it because she is so buzzy right now, but Kelly Wearsterler for the “out there” stuff and her dedication to monochromatic design. We care about the “hand” and craftsmanship; I find that pieces used to be made better than they are now. I gravitate to items made from good quality, organic materials, that are well cut/ designed and also edgy? We love sculptural pieces, and chrome, and smooth lines / curves. We don’t have to many sharp corners in our spaces. I also love flower arranging, so I was on a vessel kick last year and acquired a lot of them, in different materials like ceramic, pottery, glass. We also love silver and have a lot of it in our home that is either inherited, or that we have personally collected through auctions and flea markets. I personally like softness and comfort as well, so if it doesn’t feel good, we’re not going to have it in our space. We also don’t shy away from being controversial — our couch has a very specific textile design that we loved, but wasn’t for everyone, but its such an amazing shape we couldn’t say no. It works even better in this apartment with the concrete than it did in our previous apartment that had wood floors.
What challenges/lessons did you encounter decorating your apartment?
I’d say budget and space? We set the intention to have a minimal space, and I’m more of a maximalist, so we set an intention that we were only going to buy pieces we LOVED and only from flea markets and eBayKleinenzeigan. We planned to only move here for a couple years so we didn’t want to spend too much because we weren’t sure what to take back, but then I realized the quality of the pieces that we could find here on the second-hand market, so we just leaned in and committed that we’d take all this back to the States when we moved back. I bought some of the vessels at the Paris flea markets, which is amazing, but way more spendy.
I’d also say that space — our first apt here, (was down-stairs), was a little bit smaller — and we wanted to feel like we had an “ample Berlin loft space,” so I feel we better achieved that in this space that is much bigger, and the concrete floors help a lot here. They also make the space very cold, and I like warm spaces, so our BerBerlin rings layered on the sisal rugs really helped with that.
What is your favorite item in your home?
I love all our pieces, but I’d say our electric blue Ekstrem Chair by Terje Ekstrøm was a very proud find. We’re very playful people and think designs that are child-like are really amazing, so we were so happy to have found it. It felt like a score. This is also my favorite color (Yves Klein Blue; also my favorite artist) and I don’t think design is being re-issued in this color-way anymore, so there is rarity and a collectible aspect to it that we love, if I’m being honest. We got it at Patina Berlin, they have amazing pieces always circulating through their doors.
What was your biggest "splurge"? And is there anything else you're saving for?
Our Jana Schroder Spontacts GO s1, 2017, which we have to pick up in Cologne, is our biggest purchase. We have loved her for a long time, and she combines our loves of Cy Twombly and Yves Klein. This one is from her series where she uses this special hue’d copying pencil that resembles architect chalk / blue print blue; she has bought up the world-wide inventory of it and the pencil, which is no longer fabricated. It has this magical effect that super strong and then fades to a bluish-lavender. I’m sad we didn’t have her at the apt for this shoot.
The next thing we’re saving for is ...a house in LA! So, we won’t be buying more pieces for a while; we’re happy we got to the Berlin apt how we did and then we’ll combine our NYC apt and Berlin apts in LA. That will be a fun adventure.
What's your secret to making it all come together nicely?
I think it comes down to hosting. We love to host — this is also something I did a lot as a family growing up, so I just always learned to create spaces based on entertaining and how it will make people feel when they come over and we gather. We also think about creating different “spaces” to do different things. So we like to create a flow and then adorn and decorate accordingly. And just we love creating as much beauty as possible and intentionality and cohesiveness helps for that. We just try to look at every vignette and say “is this done? How can we make it more beautiful and refined? What can we add, what can we take away?” Nothing should ever look perfect, but I do like a “done” space. We re-arrange and mix things up every so often.
How did the places you have lived in influence your style?
Well, living in NYC (Max 7 years, myself for 13 years) taught us how to maximize space and also make our home a haven and comfortable, because the city can wear you out. There is nothing better than coming home to a clean, beautiful and comforting space when you’re a New Yorker. Also, I was raised in LA, and Max loves spending time there, so I think that is where the “inside-outside” element comes in — we’re always aiming to connect those two things. All the terraces / the rooftop and the plants of this apartment really helps with that. We are so lucky.
Max is German, and he has a deep love and an incredible mental rolodex for design classics, so he knows everything when it comes to furniture. I think this, and his edge and playfulness really taught me a lot about furniture and helped me hone my design eye. I wasn’t thinking about design classics before I met him. To be honest, a lot of the pieces that are now super “in” Max was thinking about 5 years ago, like the designs of Ettore Sottsass, for example. Decorating our first apt, however, was one of the most fun experiences and we were very excited to get to do it again, this time with a more neutral, minimal approach.
We both have a European sensibility; he likes to say I’m not, but I feel I am, and certainly was raised with it, even though my roots are also Latin. My father’s family is Italian and my grandparents relocated to Mexico right before WWII so my father was born there. My mother is from Medellin Colombia, so I am also deeply influenced by the colors, textures, and motifs of my cultures. I am also obsessed with artisanal craft goods. Though that, as well as color and texture are also very Italian :)
But I’d say my background is where my folkloric appreciation comes from.
What are your three favorite places to shop online and
In Berlin? eBayKleinenzeigan (pro-tip is to look for things outside of Berlin), TKMaxx, KaDeWe (especially the outlet section), but the cheese section is beyond also. For home goods: Patina Berlin, BerBerlin, The Flea Markets (Ostbanhof, Der Berliner Trödelmart, Arkonaplatz, AntikflohmRKT Trabrennbahn Berlin Karlshorst) and the Store X (for when I want to feel luxurious), also the Corner Store. In NYC: Housing Works, Bi-Rite, the MoMA Design Store, and we bought several pieces at Coming Soon. Neither of us shop online much.
Where to or/what’s next?
I am launching madre, early next year. I’m really excited to showcase these amazing goods I’ve been curating over over 2 years, so it has been a long time coming. Anddd we are moving back to LA around that time as well. Our time here was short, but very sweet.
Thank you Andrea for receiving us!
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