Four beautiful historic interiors (and no, they're not in your Berlin guidebooks)
Love amazing historic interiors? So do we. And not just obvious candidates such as Berlin's palaces, museums and stately homes, but the tucked away treasures that few even know exist.
In Berlin, even the plainest-looking buildings often conceal magnificent architectural features. War-damaged facades were rarely restored, but what lies inside can be very surprising indeed.
Peek through doorways and peep through windows - you never know quite what you'll find.
A Belle Époque beauty
Imagine coming home each day to a lavish miniature palace.
This magnificent foyer forms the entrance to an apartment block built between 1898–99, and with its wall frescos, ceramics and imposing wooden staircase, revels in over-the-top Belle Époque opulence.
The outside of the building is rather impressive, too, and luckily, although the apartments aren't open to the public, the wide glazed entrance doors allow a very good glimpse of the 19th century wonders within.
Westfälische Str. 37 10711 Berlin
Many beautiful old buildings line lovely Bleibtreustrasse, but number 15 is particularly spectacular.
What's more, if you manage to get past the ornate wooden entrance doors (which, fortunately, are often left open to provide access to offices within) you'll find a glorious, neo-gothic lobby complete with a wonderful painted ceiling.
Constructed between 1902-05 as the entrance to one of Berlin's most luxurious mansion blocks, no expense was spared on details such as stained glass, metal work, and finely crafted wood (look out for the carved animals on top of each stair banister).
Broodingly magnificent and ever-so-slightly Hogwarts, this mock-mediaeval hallway has to rank as one of Berlin's finest hidden gems.
Bleibtreustraße 15, 10623 Berlin
A marvel in marble
It's easy to overlook a nondescript apartment block wedged between restaurants on Charlottenburg's Stuttgarter Platz, but peek through the entrance door and you'll be treated to the sight of one of Berlin's most opulent lobbies.
The building was once a very fine hotel, and this late 19th century confection astonishes with a wealth of multicoloured marble, carved wood, ceramics and flamboyant frescos. Presumably, the tiny balcony on the first-floor landing was used to greet guests - and no doubt, they were suitably impressed.
Stuttgarter Platz 20 / corner Windscheidstrasse, 10627 Berlin (note that the building is located between the restaurants Gasthaus Lenz and Pan Degli Angeli, each of which use the same address!)
Looking almost like an interior from an English gentleman's club, the star attraction in this wood-panelled lounge has to be one of Berlin's most elaborate antique fireplaces: something we'd all love to snuggle up to in the depths of winter. (See also image page top).
Other historic rooms include a 19th century salon embellished with delicate stucco (above), and if you ever manage to visit the apartment (now used exclusively as a location for events and photoshoots) ask to see a feature that was very much a sign of the times: a hidden door in the drawing room giving servants discreet access to the kitchen.
Update: this wonderful interior is now, rather sadly, part of a new Tommy Hilfiger store. It has lost much of its atmosphere, but at least everyone can see it.
Münzstraße 23, 10178 Berlin - muenzsalon.net