Hey – I’m Stefanie, I’m 52 years old and my family and I live in the East-Westphalia region of Germany on a hillside of the Wiehen Hills. The other members of my family are my husband Bernd and our adult children Luca and Giona. Last but not least, there is our French bulldog Wilma.
1. How did you come to share your life on Instagram?
To be honest, I found Instagram and its beautiful home building and interior decoration community mostly by accident. When we were planning our home, I looked for ideas online and a link took me to an Instagram profile. I immediately fell in love with all those accounts and the views they shared of their homes. They gave me the opportunity to get inspiration during our own building phase. When we started our building project, I looked for people to exchange ideas with on Instagram and shared my experiences as well. I intended my account to be primarily about building our house. I never thought I’d stay ... but now 5 years have passed and I’m still having lots of fun.
2. How do you keep a balance between Instagram and your privacy?
My account is first and foremost about projects involving our house, garden and interior style. Once in a while I take my followers with us when we travel and share my ideas, but our family life stays mostly private. Our adult children, who “still” live with us, don’t want to be shown either. So I’m at the heart of the account, my husband is present as a DIY enthusiast and there’s also our French bulldog Wilma, who is an excellent Instagram model.
3. You used to have a white kitchen. Why did you now choose a black kitchen?
When we started our construction project in 2018, our light-coloured kitchen was just two years old. We had it built for our semi-detached house and we still liked it a lot ... but, as my family claims, I was gushing about black kitchens even when our new home was still in its shell stage. Nevertheless, we did the reasonable thing and took our light-coloured kitchen with us when we moved. So in late 2021, when we got our black kitchen, a long-held dream came true for me.
4. What challenges did you face while planning your kitchen? What part was particularly easy for you and what part was particularly hard?
One big advantage was that I had plenty of everyday experience with the arrangement of our old kitchen. The available connections alone made it clear right away that we wanted another U-shaped kitchen. In general, I am very decisive, so I didn’t find planning hard at all. After all, I had been collecting ideas for years. One highlight of my kitchen that is often mentioned is the half-height kitchen unit containing the appliances. That is actually the image I immediately had in mind when planning. I didn’t want a room-height black kitchen unit. I actually had to think harder about the kitchen back panel. What I wanted was an eye catcher using wallpaper or texture. In the end, I found the black wooden slat solution we now have - a DIY solution that I have also featured on my account.
5. To you, what are the 3 most important things when planning a kitchen? Which planning tips would you like to give the people out there?
I think it’s particularly important to create a mental image of your potential future kitchen beforehand. You can use Instagram or magazines for inspiration. But you should also visit kitchen showrooms so you can see and, more importantly, feel the fronts and worktops in person. Aside from that, my husband and I consider it extremely important for the cabinets and drawers to be well-made. You should take photos and notes and then plan everything in your own time at home. Later, a kitchen consultant can give you tips for your plan and complement the kitchen.
6. Handleless kitchens are a huge trend right now. Why did you choose a handleless kitchen?
I wanted the style of my kitchen to look as clean as possible. We achieved that by having only few fronts and, of course, by choosing a handleless design. Also, I think the recess solution is quite convenient.
7. A matt black kitchen might appear to need a lot of cleaning. What has been your experience and do you have any advice for cleaning a black kitchen?You would think that a matt black kitchen needs a lot of cleaning, but that hasn’t been my experience at all. Our fronts have anti-fingerprint coating, which makes cleaning easy. Besides, the recess solution means you don’t really put your hands on the front. Of course there are certain hot spots that I clean almost daily with a sponge and dish liquid ... I do that while washing the dishes and it doesn’t take long. Aside from that, I’ve bought a special cleaner for matt fronts with a matching cloth to clean the kitchen with once a week.
Right now we’re a 4-person household and all of us use the kitchen and cook in it. So it’s important for everything to have its place.
8. How important is tidiness in your kitchen? How do you organise your kitchen space?
When planning our kitchen, I had my eye on a fully black kitchen ... a simple design but a real eye-catcher, thanks to the matt black colour. Our living room on the ground floor is completely open-plan, the transitions are seamless and, thanks to the windows, the black kitchen doesn’t feel dark at all. For instance, I’ve replicated the kitchen wall panels in the hallway, and in the living and dining room I’ve established a connection using black elements for the furniture.
9. How do you combine an open-plan matt black kitchen with the rest of the living/dining area?
10. Did you want your kitchen to be practical for family life first and foremost or were you primarily focused on design?
The design was definitely my primary concern. Of course a kitchen has to prove its worth every day, but I knew that ahead of time, and you can see it in the arrangement of cabinets and appliances.
11. You show your followers your kitchen, but also a lot about the remaining rooms in your house and the house itself. Would you please tell us more about the well-lit, open-plan design of your home?
As I mentioned before, we used to live in a semi-detached house. That was a completely different style, we had red brick and lattice windows. Of course, to match that, we had a country style kitchen. Throughout the 17 years we lived in that house, we were often bothered by the cramped living, dining and kitchen area, so our new home has a completely different design focusing on open-plan living. Our home has a 10 metre glass front with a view of the garden and a gallery.
12. What did you consider particularly important when building your home?
For me, open-plan living was particularly important. I wanted seamless transitions with consistent flooring and a coherent overall appearance.
13. How would you describe your home and your interior design style? Is your personality reflected in the interior design of your home?
I hope that my account shows what my style is like. I prefer light hues, combined with black. The wood look floor adds a touch of cosiness. Brighter colours only feature in the form of flowers, which are, of course, an essential element. The green of the garden also shows up in my images. The question of whether this reflects my personality makes me smile ... That’s a difficult question to answer. Does my design style reflect my personality? If that’s the case, I’m a straight-forward, open, consistent person, but I’ve got a few sharp angles.
14. When we ask our customers why they chose a Nolte kitchen, we get very different answers. We look forward to hearing why you picked a Nolte kitchen!
Our first kitchen was also a Nolte kitchen ... and once you’ve found something that has proven its worth in your day-to-day life and has made you happy, why not stick with it?