Warmer shades of grey

Del­i­cate hints of pink and oat­meal bring an earthy tone to this con­tem­po­rary go-to colour. Pale, in­ter­est­ing and po­tent: the up­dated hue has been used to trans­form a Ber­lin shop into this tran­quil home

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Words CHAR­LOTTE BROOK Pho­tog­ra­phy PIET-AL­BERT GOETHALS/LIV­ING IN­SIDE

Del­i­cate hints of pink and oat­meal bring an earthy warmth to this go-to colour. See how they trans­form this house in Ber­lin

Fash­ion­able tints of grey, from pale Nordic pal­ettes to moody char­coals, have brought a re­strained cool to in­te­ri­ors for years – but what about adding warmth into grey schemes? Wel­come to pink-pig­mented, bis­cuit-tinted grey: it’s a quiet and nat­u­ral neu­tral. Used across a whole house, as ar­chi­tects Mar Vi­cens and Ask Anker Aistrup – part­ners who run their own prac­tice, Mar Plus Ask – have done in their Ber­lin home, the colour can breathe life into a space. It’s helped to turn this for­mer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal su­per­mar­ket into a truly tran­quil city-cen­tre sanc­tu­ary.

‘ We’re in Kreuzberg, for­merly part of West Ger­many and one of Ber­lin’s poor­est ar­eas, which, since 1970, has be­come known for its al­ter­na­tive scene,’ Den­mark-born Ask ex­plains. ‘It is a dirty and noisy part of the city, but the neigh­bour­hood wears it in a charm­ing way.’ He and Mar, who is Span­ish, wanted their home to be a clean, monas­tic re­treat, away from the street life.

To­gether, they set about re­con­fig­ur­ing the 1900 build­ing’s ster­ile, 180-squareme­tre re­tail space into a co­he­sive onebed­room apart­ment. The prop­erty’s thick walls, up to 80 cen­time­tres deep, re­minded the cou­ple of the for­ti­fied struc­tures of cas­tles or monas­ter­ies. In­spired by these com­par­isons and the idea of a seam­less in­te­rior, the home­own­ers chose a pol­ished con­crete floor and cov­ered walls in a chalkys­mooth, stucco-style plas­ter. It took many weeks of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to find the ex­act colour for the plas­ter: the blush-beige-grey re­sult ren­ders this stripped-back space cosy.

The dec­o­ra­tion within is a jux­ta­po­si­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of the cou­ple’s op­pos­ing aes­thet­ics. ‘Dan­ish de­sign comes from weather-in­duced ne­ces­sity, while south­ern Spain is a land of golden sun and honey,’ says Ask. ‘I’m Dan­ish, but love ev­ery­thing Mediter­ranean. Mar is Span­ish and loves ev­ery­thing Nordic!’ As such, or­angey oak, cop­per, tan leather and wo­ven wicker cre­ate a tac­tile, Mediter­ranean back­drop to clas­sic Scan­di­na­vian de­signs. As Ask puts it: ‘Our fur­ni­ture is a mix of vin­tage and af­ford­able new stuff. We’re young ar­chi­tects, so our bud­get is tight. Which is ac­tu­ally great! Re­stric­tions – even fi­nan­cial ones – can of­ten lead to bet­ter re­sults.’ marplusask.com

TREND IN DE­TAIL: WARM GREY How to use this new neu­tral at home Where to use it This abode is proof that warm greys work well in lofty prop­er­ties, bring­ing a sense of seren­ity. How­ever, if you want to use this pal­ette in only one room, try your kitchen or din­ing area. The del­i­cate colour looks es­pe­cially strik­ing in these more func­tional spa­ces. Which paint to choose Far­row & Ball’s ‘Slip­per Satin’ is in­spired by stone, but with the slight­est bal­let-slip­per blush (£45 for 2.5 litres; far­row-ball.com), while Ben­jamin Moore’s matt ‘Kit­ten Whiskers’ has a sandy un­der­tone (£75 for 3.8 litres; ben­jam­in­moore­paint.co.uk) and Emery & Cie’s soft, chalky ‘Lamelle de Champignon’ ref­er­ences earthy mush­rooms with a more peachy tinge (£24 for 1kg; emeryet­cie.com). Why you should try plas­ter A raw, stucco-style plas­ter ab­sorbs pig­ment more deeply, pro­duc­ing a nat­u­ral look on your walls. If us­ing it in a kitchen or bath­room, be sure to ap­ply a glaze that will pro­tect the fin­ish from wa­ter dam­age. The ma­te­ri­als to pair it with As proved in Mar and Ask’s home, warm greys work best when jux­ta­posed with tim­ber (for added warmth) and con­crete. Cop­per accessories will also add to the glow.

Din­ing area Mar and Ask made the ta­ble us­ing wood left over from the ren­o­va­tion of the house. It is sur­rounded by a mix of chairs, in­clud­ing Hans J Weg­ner’s ‘Saw­buck’ for Carl Hansen & Søn, one by Børge Mo­gensen for FDB Møbler and a ‘Fold­ing Chair’ by Egon Eier­mann. Over­head hang Al­var Aalto’s ‘Golden Bell’ lights by Artek Kitchen Be­spoke ply­wood fronts and cop­per­plate han­dles have been added to the Ikea cab­i­nets. The is­land is made from poured con­crete and the tap is a de­sign by Vola Stock­ist de­tails on p169 ➤

De­tail, above The cur­tain, made from rough linen, washed twice, acts as a di­vide be­tween the bed­room and the hall­way. There are no doors in this house Bath­room Cop­per pip­ing, cast into the con­crete wall, be­comes a heated towel rail Bed­room The desk lamp is by Bauhaus de­signer Chris­tian Dell, and the cou­ple bought the floor light from a flea mar­ket, only later dis­cov­er­ing that it was a de­signer piece – the ‘Daphine Terra’ by Tom­maso Ci­mini for Lu­mina. The chair is a pro­to­type by Mar and Ask Stock­ist de­tails on p169

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