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A quirky home for the whole family

01 December 2015

For sisters Nicole and Denise, their high-rise flat on the outskirts of Vienna is somewhere they like to express their playful personalities – where an old street lamp from an online flea market can happily take pride of place in their open-plan living room. ‘But our top priority is to create a fun family home that the kids can enjoy too!’

Nicole and Denise’s bright open-plan living room is a perfect family space
An indoor climbing wall transforms the living room into a playground

‘we want a place that’s special for all of us’

Nicole (left) and Denise rented their apartment two years ago, when they both split up with their partners at the same time. ‘Because we live on the 24th floor, it’s not always easy to pop to the park, so we turned our home into a playground,’ says Nicole. ‘And I like to climb so we had to have a climbing wall,’ adds Denise, who has two children, Annika and Tom. ‘We use a pile of mattress pads covered in fun fabrics to make it a safe play zone for the kids too. It’s where we all love to hang out together. Literally!’

The children’s utensils are stored in low cupboards, so everyone can help in the kitchen. A favourite quote stencilled onto the kitchen wall inspires the family’s lives and cooking.

A welcoming kitchen

Denise’s children enjoy spending time in the kitchen. ‘Tom already says he wants to be a chef when he’s older so we make sure we keep kids’ utensils in a cupboard he can reach.’ Painting one wall in a favourite colour is an easy way to make the space inviting. ‘We all agreed on green,’ says Nicole. ‘Then we added our favourite saying using stencils on the tiled wall: “This is the beginning of anything you want”. It sums up our new life together, but is also about making things in the kitchen.’

‘The most important thing was to have a place where we can be active – for the whole family to enjoy together’
Nicole, statistics analyst

Urban apartments benefit from lots of indoor plants

A place where everyone can play

The living room is open-plan, so it has a different zone for every activity. ‘There’s plenty of space for everyone, and having such a big sofa gives the kids an extra play area.’ Even the coffee table has its playful side: ‘It’s an old sledge that we added a glass top to – the kids love to keep mementoes and drawings underneath it.’

 Vintage market finds and family photos create a warm environment in a modern home

Mixing old and new

The apartment is modern, so Nicole and Denise like to decorate with some of their older flea-market finds. ‘We liked the idea of having a family wall, so we created a picture board using an old frame, where we can add and change photos of the children.’ The sisters also created a fake fireplace using string lights and real logs – a simple way to add the glow of a real fire to any home.

The living room is open plan, with zones for playing, eating and hanging out. A ladder shelving unit makes a great plant display.

Plants here, there and everywhere

‘Because we live in the city, we think it’s important to keep lots of plants up here,’ says Nicole. ‘Wherever we can! Even our old ladder makes a good place to hang small pots. And it’s nice that the kids can help us look after them all.’

We have lots of green in our flat. It’s our favourite colour and makes us feel like we live in a park in the sky’


Let the kids help out with the interior design! The children chose their favourite colours for their own sides of the bedroom

Sharing made easy

‘We painted Tom and Annika’s bedroom white, then they each chose their favourite colour for their own side of the room – they loved making it their own!’ Having a loft bed creates extra space for the children to play, and gives them somewhere to store all their toys away when they’ve finished.

  • A loft bed means a secret play area, and somewhere to tidy away toys at the end of the day
  • Denise painted a tree on the children’s bedroom wall to inspire their imaginations
  • A chalkboard acts as a reuseable easel for the children

‘The first thing I did in the children’s bedroom was paint them a tree. It’s a fun room where they can use their imagination’
Denise, physiotherapist

Floorplan – Denise and Nicole’s Vienna home

An open-plan, playful apartment for the whole family

Nicole and Denise have been very inventive with their use of space, creating a vibrant and versatile family flat – a balanced environment where everyone can relax and play.  

Made by

Photography: Dan Duchars 
Styling: Pernilla Warnhammar