Name: Cory Andreen
Location: Mainzerstraße, Berlin-Neukölln
Size: 240 square meters/2,583 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, rented
Cory Andreen's large, shared loft in the Neukölln district of Berlin is at the top of what was originally a chemical factory during World War I. Though now a fully residential building, the space maintains its rugged industrial elements in its utilitarian flooring (sheets of glazed plywood), the large metal beam bisecting the main living space, and the industrial strength steel doors.
The factory-turned-living-dining-lounging-dancing space is decidedly Berlin in spirit: the disco ball stored above the entry door, a laid-back and welcoming kitchen opposite a stack of records and a turntable announce as much as soon as you walk in the door.
It is indeed the main, communal space that is the beating and hard-working heart of the apartment. With plenty of couches and incidental seating, an extendable dining table, and a foosball machine, it's a multi-purpose space perfect for large dinner parties, or quietly finishing the crossword while gazing out over the roofs of Neukölln. Though incredibly airy in feel, the divisions of the room are successfully delineated in large part because of the clever and neat groupings of furniture: two smaller couches make a quiet corner with a Paul Cadovius bookshelf and a handmade wine cabinet, while big lounging chairs and a sectional IKEA couch are grouped around a large-screen TV in a perfect movie-watching arrangement.
Cory is co-owner of the excellent Café CK in Prenzlauer Berg, and the 2012 World Champion of the World Cup Taster's Championship in Vienna. To say he makes a killer flat white is a huge understatement, and his winning taste, so to speak, clearly extends to his living space. This was my first visit to Cory's spacious loft, and it was also regrettably my last -our photo shoot was on the eve of his move to Kreuzberg. Though the very personable Captain the Cat will stay with his current roommates, no doubt Cory's new place will be as quietly stylish and casually perfect.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Generally, I like wood and metal; clean-lined, hardwood pieces contrasted with large-scale industrial elements.
Inspiration: The materials and space of the apartment.
Favorite Element: The big windows and the enormous space. It feels really nice to spread out, particularly as I came from living in a cramped apartment on Kastanianallee. I also love being able to see the tower of the Rathaus Neukölln out the window.
Biggest Challenge: The heating is set in the basement! You have to go down there to set it, and tell it to come on at a particular time, then you come up six flights of stairs, and either the heating will start blasting, or you'll continue to freeze.
What Friends Say: OH, WOW.
Biggest Embarrassment: Nothing! I'm too busy to be embarrassed!
Proudest DIY: The clothing rack in my bedroom. It was a pretty easy assembly - I went to the Baumarkt (Germany's Home Depot equivalent) and had them cut down the wooden rod. I then drilled holes in the ends and added two lengths of chain with screws and washers. The painted ampersand in the hallway wall was a DIY, it was painted freehand by my roommates—I think it was pretty successful.
Biggest Indulgence: The wines in the wine shelf. Nearly all of them are German wines. I often go either to Weinhandlung Suff in Berlin to buy them, and a place on the Maybachufer by the Turkish market, both have great selections. But a few of them on the shelf are good deals from eBay!
Best Advice: I tend to think intensely about what is needed or wanted, spend time gathering ideas, and spend a lot of time on eBay and looking around the thrift stores in the neighborhood. I always look around at everything first before making a purchase.
Dream Sources: Manufactum in Berlin, definitely.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
• Paints from Bauhaus (Sorry, we don't know the exact colors!)
• Shoe storage: Billy bookshelves from IKEA
• Disco ball: musicstore.de
• Foosball table: from a club in Berlin called Villa. We got the table from the club when it closed, circa January 2011
• Matching chair and Loveseat: made by a roommate's furniture-maker grandfather
• Shelf: "Royal" Paul Cadovius. A roommate's parents bought it in Gothenburg in 1959 for 4,708 Kroner (we still have the receipt to prove it!).
• Wine cabinet: a custom piece made by a furniture maker in Shanghai. When the owner moved to Berlin he brought the cabinet back with him, and Cory found it on eBay
• Table behind large sectional couch: from a café owned by a friend, Oslo Cafebar in Nordbahnhof
• Framed art above bikes: drawings by a relative of a roommate, done in the 1940s
• Table: eBay
• Small cabinet: eBay
• Kitchen cabinets: IKEA
• Refrigerator: a gift from a roommate's mother
• Swedish chest of drawers: eBay
• Bedside table: Swedish, a gift from a friend when I helped him move
• Couch: for free from a Dutch woman on Craigslist
• Small bedside rug: a market in Budapest
• Speakers: found on the side of the road, put new cones in them, now they are awesome
• String shelves: eBay
Thanks, Cory (and Captain)!
(Images: Lydia Brotherton)
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Re-edited from a tour originally published on February 2013 — AB