Rugtales x Malanie Porthun
At Home with Melanie
The interior blogger has been living in her dreamy apartment in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg for 3 years. We met her in her 170 square meter old building apartment in Ottensen and found a colorful vintage paradise. In our interview, Melanie reveals what the "creepy man on the couch" is all about and how she came to paint every wall of her apartment in color.
Vida: Tell us briefly: how did you became so colorful?
Melanie: It just grew that way. The first thing we decided to do after we moved in was to remove the woodchip wallpaper in the entire apartment. That was an incredible amount of work, but because I didn't have Instagram at that time, I was very free in my decision making. My husband and I then decided, because the apartment was still very large and echoed due to the few pieces of furniture, to let coziness move in. The credo is: "In the end, no wall should be white." My husband and I decided together on the many different colors. Of course, there were some disagreements but in the end we compromised - he got the beige in the hallway and I got the mince lamb chop shade in the living room. Now I'm happy that he got his way with the beige. Because of the layout of the apartment you can see into the hallway and into other rooms from every room, so it would be too crazy if there was still an intermediate color. My husband always made sure that the colors do not clash.
"IN THE END, NO WALL SHOULD BE WHITE."
V: What I think is specifically exciting and interesting about your place, are the many worlds of colors we can find here. Many of our customers are very reserved when it comes to color in the living space. I myself have made the mistake and am missing color on my walls. I was like: I'd rather be safe and paint my walls in eggshell. But when you come in here, you notice that the rooms really shine and how comfy they feel. This makes an apartment look much more quickly decorated and cozy. Beige, black and white are of course a simple and great interior concept, but you quickly realize how insanely nice it is to be surrounded by rich colors. What is your advise?
M: It takes a bit of courage, but starting with the walls is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way for me. This method is reversible. With friends and a case of beer, you can easily get rid of the faux pas. There are hardly any major consequences. Even if you have to hand over the apartment white, that didn’t stop me from being bold with colors - even dark ones. You don't have to paint the whole room, including the ceiling, right away. You can start by painting one wall. Wallpaper is of course also a good idea, but definitely more elaborate. Otherwise, textiles would be the next step. Colorful pillows, colorful curtains and colorful rugs. These would be my first steps before buying an expensive colorful couch, for example.
V: If you're good with color, it totally enhances basic furniture - like you're carrying a fancy bag. When you have a great color on the wall, the room shines. What is your absolute favorite piece in this apartment?
M: That's a really tough question, of course, because we choose everything with thought and love. A lot of it are eBay finds or things we brought from vacations. A lot of it has a history and of course we are attached to it. No matter what corner we look in, we want to see things we love. If I had to choose, it would be the vintage pieces. For example, I totally loved the flower pot I found on eBay because it fits the color scheme so great and you can't buy one like that. But my absolute favorite piece, which you probably wouldn't guess at first, is our coffee table. It was the first piece my husband and I bought at a vintage flea market when we moved in together. It's the kind of a piece my heart is attached to. We're also attached to all the artwork. Everything has been lovingly gathered and selected. It was not that we thought of a concept in advance rather the contrary. Everything happend little by little.
"NO MATTER WHAT CORNER WE LOOK IN, WE WANT TO SEE THINGS WE LOVE."
V: Every corner you look in, you feel like you're going on a journey with you as a family. What I think is cool in particular is the painting we're looking at right now. Would you like to tell us the exciting story about that?
M: Yes, that's actually our 6th family member. The "Creepy Man on the Couch." That's also an eBay find. The joke of it was that the man sitting there on the couch opened the door for me. The guy looked insanely similar to the "Creepy man on the couch". He wasn't wearing a tuxedo, but I saw that couch, that`s why it couldn't be a coincidence. I dared to ask and sure enough, it was him. He was friends with a couple of artists from France who were aware of the couch and the pink shoes and used them as a recurring element. The tuxedo and the desert, however, are fictional. But the painting existed long before the apartment. I bought that back when we were still living in our old apartment, which it didn't fit in at all. It was really one of those things that I just had to have! In the old apartment, we didn't have a basement or an attic. So it was just sitting in the middle of the room for a long, long time.
"THE "CREEPY MAN ON THE COUCH" OPENED THE DOOR FOR ME."
V: We're insanely proud that one of our rugs is with you. That's how we met in the first place. Why did you choose this beautiful piece?
M: We were looking for a carpet for a long time. It is really hard to find a special rug when you start thinking about it. Even though the market is full of them. It was kind of a long story for us. I always plan and do everything together with my husband. He said it would be really important to him to own a rug from Iran or Afghanistan. He has an Afghan background himself and we spend a lot of time in Pakistan. For him it was totally important to have a rug that no one else has. We thought it is great that Rugtales is a family business in the 6th generation and based in Hamburg. And then I looked a little bit at your highlights on Instagram and I loved the Gabbeh story. I was looking for a rug that feels cozy and comfy. In the story you talked about the dense pile and that they are nomadic rugs - the beds of the traveling people. So perfect!
V: Hey, somebody was paying attention and listened to my stories. How cool!
M: M: Yes, I did my homework. I actually listened to the story before we bought this rug , and it's comfortable for kids too. We actually sit on the floor a lot hence Gabbeh were rugs that could fit. I then saw this Gabbeh and fell in love immediately. I mean look at the colors. At that time, the Ekstrem chair and the Togo were already ordered and when I saw the rug, I was like: „Oh God, . I have to act quickly, I have to call my husband right away!“. I sent him the link immediately because I was so scared that this rug will be gone soon because there is only one of it. I couldn't think of another one. This rug is such a statement and ties all the colors that we have here together. It just had to be this piece. And what you said about the little figures protecting you and the patterns convinced me even more. The pattern reminded me of a tree and I saw fruit in it and I just thought that was beautiful, because the rug can do and is much more than just a decorative piece that lies on the floor.
V: I think it's really nice that you recognize it. You can see your attention to detail in your apartment. No matter where you look, you feel so embraced by the apartment. If you had to say what home means to you in one sentence, what would you say?
M: For me, home is the place where I am together with my family and safe. Especially in today's times, you become more and more aware of that. The world is upside down in so many aspects right now and that's why I can always feel at home where I have my loved ones around me and when they are safe.