By Martin Brudnizki
I grew up in a house that was filled with stuff. But it was stuff — books, art, my mother’s collection of trinkets — that had been carefully curated; it wasn’t cluttered. My mother had impeccable taste and was always playing around with how she styled our home. She loved nothing more than rearranging our collection of art and objects; something that has clearly been passed on to me, as I often find myself titivating on a Sunday afternoon, making sure everything is in the right place.
King Ludwig II, the eccentric 19th-century Bavarian monarch, spent his reign building extravagant German palaces. I have always dreamt of having my own King Ludwig moment and I love this lakeside schloss in the foothills of the Alps. The €15mn house has wonderful architectural bones; its sharp edges and no-nonsense layout plays to my German heritage and I’m a huge fan of anyone who paints part of their home pastel yellow. It has clearly been finished to a high standard but doesn’t tell me anything about the owners or the home’s history. It’s a great example of how a lack of “stuff” can make a home feel a little frigid. Here are my tips on how to introduce vitality and personality into a home.
Find the story
This house is cocooned by its beautiful surroundings and has a particularly rich character — it deserves a narrative to help guide the design. For me, the view of the dining room as you look from the hallway should be the springboard from which to approach the design. The castellated details add a sense of tradition while the simple panelling creates a modern feeling, which gives you space to use a mixture of traditional fabrics and modern furniture. I love the furniture that Campbell-Rey sells on handmade design platform The Invisible Collection, such as this Teddy Sofa. The couch has one foot in the past but feels contemporary, and would be perfect for this space.
Layer from the bottom up
The dining room is a large open space but hasn't been used to its full potential. It’s smart but feels pared-back, as though the owners were nervous to push the boundaries or get it wrong. The current woven rug, for example, disappears into the wooden flooring and adds little to the overall effect. I would swap this for a bright woollen rug from The Rug Company, which comes in a wide variety of patterns and colours.
Incorporate your surroundings
The large windows of the dining room are a wonderful feature that should be made the most of. With such incredible views out on to the lake, I can’t help but feel let down by the simplicity of the current window dressing. I would look to link the interiors to the scenic views by introducing patterns that feel suited to the countryside. Window seating upholstered in a beautiful Josef Frank fabric from Svenskt Tenn would be my go-to. Frank’s Austrian roots and mid-European mindset perfectly straddle a modern style with a sense of heritage.
Let the walls also tell a story
Walls don’t need to be left to either paint or wallpaper. I like to use natural seagrass wallpaper in many of my projects, which lends texture and depth, but I also appreciate the role that figurative painting can play. Trompe l’oeil effects add another dimension to a room and I love the sense of fantasy that murals evoke; the idea that there is something lying beyond has always captured my imagination. A painted wall could work well in this dining room and Andie Dinkin is a fine artist who can turn her hand to any number of painterly effects.
Don’t forget the stuff!
I’ve never understood homes that lack art and objects. They are always brilliant additions to a room that instantly inject personality and warmth. The key is to create the impression that you’re a great collector with a diverse mix of art, antiques and objets — mix and match artistic styles and genres and have fun with framing. For objets, the world is your oyster. I like to have trinket trays to hand: Chateau Orlando, a new brand launched by FT columnist Luke Edward Hall, has a great mix of homeware and I think its whippet tray is perfect for a schloss such as this.
Photography: Munich Sotheby's International Realty; Svenskt Tenn