Built in 2009, our home is a 190 sqm (2050 sqft) loft-style low-energy house, surrounded by a park and likable neighbors. It is located in a central and safe area of the city with a small garden, terrace + two more terraces on the top floor and rooftop.
The ground floor features a large living and dining room with huge window front, fireplace, high ceiling up to 6.5m (20ft) and an open kitchen. Sorry, no microwave. The upper floor belongs to our (or your) kids and features two small rooms, an even smaller bathroom with shower and additional playground on the gallery above the living room. The top floor has an outside terrace with rooftop access and provides space for a large parents bedroom and bathroom with shower and bathtub, plus a dressing room.
Washing machine, dryer etc. are based in the basement, plus a small workshop, a large storage room and my wifes' workspace, a film editing studio that can also suit as a guest room. There's another shower and toilet in the basement, too.
Our house faces south with a broad and unobstructable view and therefore very bright rooms. If the sun is too much, sunblinds help. It is one out of 16 townhouses inside the Berlin Memorial Park with an outdoor exhibition – there's lots of green around and there's lot's of tourists on the weekend walking the trail of history. You can find more information about the Berlin Memorial Park here: http://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/en/
Our neighbors are nice, middle-aged people with kids, working in creative industries, just like us: Film makers, actors, architects, designers, publishers. Cars need to stay in 150m (500ft) distance, which means kids can just play outside safely and you can use our scandinavian cargo bike to transport your groceries, luggage, kids or all at the same time.
We've got two boys, 4 and 7 years old, and there's plenty of playmates in our neighborhood from 2 to 16 years. Our furniture and equipment is eclectic, from latest technology to highly improvised, from design classics to antique findings. We're a little chaotic but can adapt to given structures (and preserve them).
We love pets – especially cats – but traveling with them is not an option for us. This is why we kindly ask if our two cats can stay home and don't like other pets to come over. Our two cats are lovely and won't harm anything besides our couch. They can enter and leave our house whenever they like to, so the only support they need is food, cat litter and a few occasional strokes. We can also arrange pet care if you want to be independent. If you wish we can also discuss car swopping, household support or child care.
Technically, our home is on the latest standard in terms of energy consumption – which also means you don't hear any noise from outside and no neighbour can be potentially disturbed. The building features an automatic air ventilation and geothermal heat system that allow to cool down the house in summer time as well. We also have a truly blazing fast internet connection and IP-TV.
Located in the former eastern part of Berlin, our home is right on the border of the city centre, in the lively and high fashionable area called Mitte ("centre"), which offers all kinds of shopping experiences and a tremendous cultural variety and activity. Both the "up and coming" areas Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding are just a block away. Prenzlauer Berg is a multi-cultural "in" area with a countless number of baby strollers and their good-looking parents spending time in the even bigger amount of cafes, bars, restaurants, cinemas, parks, and so on. Wedding has become trendy in the past years, attracting the artist and subcultural scene with low housing prices. If you're into art, consider an extra week to spend in galleries in Mitte and Wedding.
Concerning public transport: There's tram, metro and subway stations close by. We personally don't use the bus lines, you may need to figure that out on yourself. We've got a tram line in front of the door that connects us with Prenzlauer Berg direction North-East. The metro station "Nordbahnhof" is a 7 minutes walk and takes us South-West to the commercial, cultural and tourist centre of Berlin, including "Friedrichstrasse", "Unter den Linden", "Brandenburger Tor" and "Potsdamer Platz". Last but not least the underground station "Bernauer Strasse" is a 4 minutes walk and takes us South-East towards "Hackescher Markt", "Alexanderplatz" and goes further on to "Kreuzberg", a multi-cultural, trendy area and a must for a Berlin visit.
A few words concerning the airports: By the time we write this, Berlin has closed the inner-city airport, still operates two airports in parallel and is building an entirely new one. The two airports in operation are the small and nearby "Tegel" (TXL) and the bigger, bit more outside "Schönefeld" (SXF). Tegel is about 20 minutes away by Taxi, Schönefeld is 45 minutes by Taxi or 75 minutes by public transport. At the same time, a huge new airport is being built close to Schönefeld called "Berlin Brandenburg International" (BER), that will substitute both existing airports – but we're absolutely sure it won't be ready by summer 2013. So, if you use BER as a destination to search for flights, you'll probably get results for TXL and SXF – prefer to arrive in TXL if possible.
We hope you'll find Berlin an interesting, relaxed, open-minded and inspiring city just like we do. In case you need more hints and tips or have any questions, please drop us a line.