Mairi Beautyman -- Interior Design, 9/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
firm: Ippolito Fleitz Group
site: Stuttgart, Germany
There's nothing unusual about flowers in a home. Unless they're on the ceiling. A lively floral motif swirls across almost the entire overhead surface of this 1,000-square-foot apartment by the Ippolito Fleitz Group. A combination of wallpaper cutouts and paint, the design was developed in collaboration with artist and textile designer Monica Trenkler. The result, Peter Ippolito says, "directs the eye and creates intensity." Hinting at the sensuality and rebellion of the 1960's, the swirling petals, curlicues, and dots—in happy red, pink, violet, and mint green—also offer a playful contrast to the minimalist functionality of the finishes and furnishings.
An elongated rectangle, the apartment is on the third floor of a converted university building in the southern German city of Stuttgart. Every inch of the plan was maximized to meet the demands of the owner, a graphic designer who works from home. "There's so much happening in a tiny space," Gunter Fleitz says. "The flower motif binds everything together." The flowers greet visitors in the entry, which leads to a short corridor neatly dividing the master suite from the rest of the space.
The ceiling in both the master and guest bathrooms is actually flower-free; it's simply painted in a ripe plum color. Walls around the master bathroom's tub and in the guest bathroom's shower are a creamy-white acrylic solid surfacing without any joints. "It's beautiful from both aesthetic and functional standpoints," Ippolito notes. "No mold!"
At the center of the plan, the open kitchen encompasses not only living and dining areas but also office functions. Light-gray concrete counters top cabinetry of dark smoked oak, a wood used throughout. Appliances are stainless steel. To prevent grease from frying pans splattering the built-in banquette that backs up to the island, Ippolito and Fleitz installed a 6-by-10-foot panel of clear glass between the banquette's back and the ceiling. Banquette upholstery is hard-wearing black faux leather.
The banquette's base conceals drawers containing a printer and a scanner. When the dining area is in work mode, the top of the 10-foot-long rectangular table folds out from the center to double in width. "With a couple of flips, you have a studio," Ippolito explains. Nearby, two runs of cabinetry house 55 drawers and 12 cubbies for the owner's archive.
Clients or dinner guests can sit in the pair of gray molded-fiberglass shell chairs by Charles and Ray Eames. But the floral fun overhead can better be gazed at from a comfy sofa substitute: It's a seating nook fully upholstered in diamond-patterned gray velvet.
Starting in the corner by the seating nook and extending all the way across the room, in front of a long window wall, is a low parapet built around the bases of a row of structural columns. Bolted to this parapet, a single 26-foot-wide shelf of lavender powder-coated steel holds myriad cookbooks. Books on baking, books on holiday entertaining, books on simple meals. The owner, who has designed the graphics for three cookbooks, also loves to cook herself.