The home of interior enthusiasts Danilo and Paolo in Heidelberg, Germany, is nothing short of romantic. The view beyond their four walls looks onto symbols of the city’s heritage, including the Heidelberg Castle from the south side, and the river Neckar and the Old Bridge from the north.
Located in the Altstadt, the Old City neighbourhood, the couple live in a period building constructed in 1903 and protected by the Office of Arts Preservation. The pink stone used for the building’s exteriors and interior stairway is typical of the era and used widely across the city, including the nearby castle.
Danilo, a photographer, and Paolo, a university dance lecturer, lived and studied in New York, Milano and Amsterdam before relocating to Germany. When they moved into their Heidelberg apartment in September 2019, their creative frisson found common ground in restoring their home’s historic charm.
“Since our very first visit inside the apartment, we recognised its incredible potential and what could be achieved through a renovation,” said Danilo. “Even though the flat was extremely rotten and poorly conserved, we could spot the value and the treasure that was hiding inside its walls.”
“Nothing was left to chance,” adds Paolo. “Together with the help of two architects, we studied the entire spectrum of possibilities before taking the final decision. Since we had to comply with the rules imposed by the office of Fine Arts, we had to find solutions that could satisfy our desires and aesthetics as much as possible. Almost no compromises have been made, and we are truly grateful for that. We have achieved exactly what we had imagined and dreamed of, and we wouldn’t change anything about it.”
While renovating, they found an original crown moulding ceiling frame in their bedroom dating back to the early 1900s, now one of their favourite features. The finished result is a home that is softly lit and ambient, sophisticated and yet gently welcoming.
“We strive for detailed beauty, pure balance and impalpable harmony, intending to capture the hidden poetry of the space, revealing its profound essence,” says Danilo. “Our interior style isn’t easy to label. Even though our base could find its roots in Scandinavian design, colours are extremely dear to us as they reflect joie de vivre, our motto as individuals and a couple.”
Danilo and Paolo’s poetic interior vision manifests through a scheme of earthy beige and pastel, offset by exuberant flashes of colour found in unlikely places, such as three coloured glass spheres positioned in the corner of the living room and hung from the ceiling at different heights, so their distinctive sculptural shapes enhance the play of light.
Their interior design collection is full of refined and intentional pieces, including a painting on canvas by the Japanese artist Mitsuko Hoshino and their white oiled oak dining table by Bolia.
“After our apartment renovation, we forced ourselves to be patient and wait for the right furniture, decor and art pieces to arrive,” said Paolo. “Looking back, we are infinitely grateful for having been able to wait because now every novelty takes on an ever-renewing importance and makes us enjoy the wonder of waiting.”
The interior brands the couple gravitate towards include Pols Potten, Fundamental Berlin, String Furniture, Vitra, Kimchi studio, Jonathan Adler, Louise Roe and Muuto Design. But they remain steadfast in their patience in acquiring the right interior pieces as and when they find them.
“Designing and decorating is an ongoing and never-ending path,” said Danilo. “We are still adding pieces here and there, but it’s this waiting that keeps our artistry and creativity sparkling and alive.”
Follow Danilo and Paolo at @homeinheidelberg