It is refreshing to come across a home that is as elegantly pared-down and stylishly simple as Wolfram Neugebauer's. Here, in a spacious second-floor apartment in Hamburg, Germany, a delicate silver and white backdrop creates the perfect silhouette for a careful edit of classic furniture and one-off treasures. Nothing too faddy or too fashionable, just beautiful pieces put together in a beautiful way.
It's not surprising though, as Neugebauer is a successful stylist, whose work for fashion shoots, upmarket events and campaigns has gained much acclaim, and has spilled over into the world of interiors - with enviable results. "My style is plain and clear. I think my home reflects this perfectly," explains 45-year-old Neugebauer. "I love natural colours and fabrics; grey, black and white. Things which are made with love, patience and great materials. I always try to select special things."
Set in the trendy, northern Winterhude district of Hamburg, Neugebauer's home - which he shares with his partner, Christian Zindel, and their six-year-old twins - takes up the second floor of this large turn-of-the century merchant house. Zindel is the owner of the 4U Team Hair Studio based on the ground floor. In a small atrium on the same floor, you'll also find Remise, Neugebauer's shop, filled with an eclectic mix of pieces picked up on his travels (furniture, art, unusual home accessories). With his innate creative eye and love of natural materials, muted colour and classic furniture, Neugebauer transformed all 150 sq m of the second floor into a haven of tranquillity and laid-back style. The space is essentially open plan, with the living, eating and kitchen areas, all flowing effortlessly into a single family space.
The oak flooring and neutral walls, in the main open-plan area of the home, offer just the right unembellished backdrop for Neugebauer's collection of artwork and timeless design: an Arne Jacobsen chair here, a Jean Prouvé wall light there and a Biedermeier armchair mixed in for good measure. "It's a mixture of furniture from different ages," Neugebauer says. "My style is to put all this furniture together in a great way: pure but also agile."
Colour is kept to a faded, urban palette of greys and creams, which is warmed up with a handful of feel-good textures such as the timber boards, leather chaise and wool rug. "I get masses of inspiration from my travels," adds Neugebauer. "I love to go to the street markets in Paris and travel to Copenhagen to scour the interior stores, markets and little shops which are outside the central tourist areas."
Peppered around the rooms, you'll find groups of old pottery, piles of books, a single vessel or a framed drawing by the children, all of which inject a very intimate touch to the home. The main bedroom continues in the same tempo, an uncomplicated, easy-on-the-eye blend of neutral shades and natural materials, punctuated by beautiful light fixtures, a Buddha statue and an unusual wood and metal screen. The bathroom next door is a bespoke sanctuary, head to toe in sheets of silvery grey schist.
Neugebauer doesn't have a single favourite part of the house - he loves it all. "Every room is my favourite," he muses. "Some days the light shines in through the kitchen windows and it's lovely just to sit there. Other days I love relaxing with a cup of tea in the comfortable bedroom and another day I might just sit in the Egg chair and read." What is certain though, is that Neugebauer's house is an ongoing, organic project - a place where objects and artwork may change from week to week or season to season, and where cherished pieces will always have a place.
"The house is a work in progress which never stops," he adds. "I don't want to finish it for a long time. I'm a stylist and so I love to make my home look different all the time." * Red Cover