Berlin countryside cottage
It’s just turned four o’clock. The sun is beaming spherical shadows through the dusty windows. I’ve just boarded the train at Ostkreuz when it makes its lazy start towards the east. Twenty minutes till my stop at Rahnsdorf. I’m on my way to meet Arne, the owner of Feine Laube – a delightful holiday cottage on the outskirts of the Berlin.
I first met Arne via Berliner Landjungs, an Etsy shop Arne runs with his partner. There you can find a charming selection of home decor pieces, from mid century chairs to vintage enamel tableware. Arne told me about their renovated “Ferien Wohnung” just outside the city and as a fan of their store, I was rather excited to see what they had put together.
I meet Arne just outside the station. As we walk to his car he excitedly tells me stories of the dilapidated building and garbage dump they started out with.
Bright golden rays flicker through rows of pine trees along the short drive to Feine Laube. Tucked away in a quiet street surrounded by woodlands, the cottage lies just a thirty minute walk north-east from the Größer Mugglesee. The large lake is quite popular among water-sport enthusiasts and those who love watching the sun dance and bounce on the water.
As I walk towards the flat roofed cottage at the rear end of a wild lush garden, I can almost smell the charcoal fire burning in the barbecue. I imagine basking in the sun as I pass by the white loungers while two sparrows splash in the pond beyond.
Inside, a cozy country-style kitchen welcomes me with it’s homely atmosphere and provincial aesthetic. Here at their countryside retreat, Arne and Alex have managed to create just the perfect balance between old and new, rural yet comfortable.
Much like their shop, the cottage is a filled with lovely vintage pieces. It is in fact a kind of live-in showroom. As curators of beautiful things, the two have painstakingly refined every corner of the cottage.
Their handy work is visible in every room, from the hand-made lavender sachets, cushions made from vintage linen and pendant lights from up-cycled antique milk jugs. All of these items you can find in their store.
I’m almost surprised at how friendly and welcoming the place feels – quite unlike the modernist german design I’m so used to around here. You really get a sense of the affable and good humoured nature of the hosts.
Every room opens onto the garden, making it refreshing and cozy at the same time. It really is the perfect little getaway; wether it’s for long summer nights out in the garden or for cosy and comfortable wintery days.
As we head back to the station the sun starts to dip beyond the Berlin skyline. Arne and I muse on buildings we pass, dreaming of places we’d love to renovate. I say my farewell to Arne, walking back to the station. Happy and elated, my feet find their way to the platform, my mind still lingering in the Feine Laube garden.
Story & photography by Barbara Cilliers