Before And After: Two Dated Apartments Are Transformed Into One Beautiful Home

2020 has been all about the home. It's been a place to live, a school, an office, a gym and above all else, a safe haven. Little wonder so many have decided to carry out home updates and make it their homes an even more cosy and personal place to be. But there can't be many who have taken on such a huge project as Izabella

Formerly owned by the Royal Marine, this beautiful building on the north coast of Germany dates back to 1870. Sadly, the previous owner had ripped out many of the period features, and what remained was buried under layers of tiles, wall-to-wall carpets and wallpaper. Even so, Izabella and her boyfriend could see its potential and decided to restore it to its former glory - room by room. Just in time for Christmas! 


"We love old houses, and it has always been our dream to renovate one. We fell in love with the high ceilings and the history. We also liked the road, it had an English feel," Izabella shares. "Unfortunately, the previous owner had removed some of the historic elements, but we could see its potential."

The renovation
Izabella and her boyfriend had a vision to turn the two apartments into one house. They were also keen to  restore the original details and add stucco, moldings, wooden floors as well as replace the windows and doors. It was a massive undertaking and involved completely gutting the place and starting again from scratch. Their vision and hard work completely paid off, as they peeled back the layers to reveal beautiful exposed brick and beautiful, high ceilings. 

"Our plan was to connect the two apartments. Downstairs we were looking to add a kitchen, dining room, living room and a small bathroom, and upstairs a master bedroom, dressing room, bathroom, workspace and guest room. To achieve this, we removed walls and changed the entire plan of the house," Izabella explains. 

"We did a lot ourselves since our budget wasn't very big," Izabella tells me. "We also lived on site during the construction. It was definitely more work than we thought, and we still haven't finished! Our philosophy was just to go for it, which worked out well, as I'm not sure that we would have taken the project on otherwise - it was a vast undertaking! Nevertheless, we are very happy that we did!"

The results
Needless to say, the pair have done an incredible job. Small, musty, dated rooms have been transformed into vast, spacious open-plan living spaces. And the house has been furnished with a wonderful blend of old and new.  The result is a calm, minimalist home which oozes elegance and character - and it's ready just in time for Christmas! 

"I think we are most happy with the wooden windows that open outwards," Izabella tells me. "They also have the most beautiful handles with gorgeous details. And you know, the beauty is in the detail! "We also love the herringbone flooring and all the stucco details and holdings. We are happy that we have been able to give the house back its historical flair!"

Kitchen cabinets from IKEA

"To be more sustainable, we chose natural materials and lime wash paint, which is marvellous!"

"For Christmas, I like to decorate with natural materials, foliage and greens with touches of gold and red. It's classic with a modern touch. I also love paper ornaments and light lots of candles."

Wooden Christmas tree from byWirth

Limewash paint from Bauwerk ColourDrift vase* by Cooee

Limewash paint from Bauwerk Colour

"If we hadn't done so much ourselves, the renovation wouldn't have been possible - so we are very pleased with this decision, even though it has been tough at times!"

Thank you so much for sharing your incredible renovation with us Izabella! I salute you for taking on such a huge project - your hard work has certainly paid off! 

What do you guys think? Would you consider taking on a project like this? 

And just how beautiful is Izabella's home?!*

You can see more pictures over @gruenderzeit_zeit

Having renovated the summer cottage kitchen by hand last year I can vouch for the sheer amount of work that goes into a renovation (and that was only the tip of an iceberg). Sometimes it's so nice to see what goes on behind the scenes, you somehow appreciate its beauty even more! 

Fancy taking a look at a few more before and after features? Here are a few incredible transformations: 

And perhaps the most mind-blowing of all: an industrial welding plant becomes a family home and wedding venue

Who knows, perhaps this will be you in 2021! 


Photography: @gruenderzeit_zeit

This post contains affiliate links marked with *


  1. They have created such a beautiful, airy home with their own hands! They can be definitely proud of it and themselves. I wish them countless happy years there!
    Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

    1. Totally agree! I read yesterday that Izabella is only 26 too - an amazing achievement!

  2. It is hard to recognise it as the same apartment! A gorgeous renovation. I bought an old house and sadly the previous renovators removed, covered up or destroyed the modest original features. It is difficult to bring back character when it is gone but these two have done a marvellous and inspirational job.

    1. It's such a shame when people remove original features. I hope this post has inspired you to restore them one day - although, I am aware what a huge job that can be!

  3. Great, it really looks fantastic. I'd wish my home had higher ceilings ... once again.

  4. Absolutely stunning! They did an amazing job, not just in the staggering amount of work this must have taken, but in the choice of finishes, materials, layout, furnishings,... I love seeing these large renovations when people put their everything into restoring a property but I am not sure i would be up to the task myself. So good! I hope we can see more of these before and afters in 2021.

    1. I totally understand you - I'm not sure if I'd manage it either, all those decisions! I'm in awe of these guys!

  5. The renovation is totally stunning and wonderful. Looks like the hard work you put in paid off. I personally love your living room and kitchen, once again you have done a really awesome job.

    1. They really have done a fantastic job - completely agree that the living room and kitchen are particularly beautiful!

  6. Breathtaking! All their hard work shines in every room to create a beautiful home.

  7. You helped me so much as a writer’s conference newbie with the same advice you just wrote. And when I was a college journalism major, our prof told us the same for newspaper writing. Thanks!


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