At home with Writer Ivana Jeissing

Who: Ivana Jeissing, Writer
Where: Brandenburg, Germany

The home of the writer Ivana Jeissing in Brandenburg. The historical coloring of the house had to be reconstructed again. It was rehabilitated for two years

A beautiful woman in a beautiful house by a beautiful lake. Sounds almost like in a picture book. And it is. Ivana Jeissing, a native of Austria, lives by one of the most magnificent lakes in Brandenburg. In 1998 the successful writer came to Berlin. At first she lived in a purist townhouse in the trendy center of the capital. By chance, Ivana Jeissing discovered this jeweler’s jewel, elaborated it, and awakened the almost striking mansion with the light outer facade and the green-red wood elements from the Sleeping Beauty sleep. Here the author lives since 2012 together with her Icelandic companion and two dogs on 900 square meters.

In 1998 the successful writer Ivana Jeissing came to Berlin

MyStylery: You can not really complain about lack of space, dear Ivana…
Ivana Jeissung (laughs): Right! I was not aware how big the house actually was at first. But when I first saw it from the lake, it was clear, that it had to be this one.
MS: The house and you searched and found each other?
IJ: I’ve always been a fan of the opposite laying horticulture and have watched the house over the years. It was empty for 15 years. Nobody wanted this object, which was located directly on the street. The property was so grown with plants that you could not see the lake. The roof had partly fallen into place. A complete renovation case, which I approached with great naiveté.
MS: To what extent?
IJ: The third floor was completely removed. Roof and truss were renewed. The house stood under a gigantic shell like a hollow tooth. Despite these enormous interventions, there was nothing that went very wrong. No catastrophes. Most complicated was the construction of the terrace, which did not exist before and which had to be approved. The house served as an old dormitory in GDR times and ran in the immediate border area, which is why terraces and balconies were presumably removed. I cannot imagine a house by the lake without a terrace.

The beautiful terrace with lake view

MS: You’ve lived five years in Berlin’s wild center. What a contrast program…
IJ: My then husband and I had a townhouse built over five floors in Oberwallstrasse (Street in Berlin). Minimalist and reduced, it consisted only of stainless steel, glass and stone. At that time I wanted only the most necessary, so there was not even a closet. Instead, emptiness where one looked. Not a single little tin in the bathroom, no frills. It was like an inner inventory, which made me feel very well at the time. I also wrote my second novel there.
MS: Your first novel was made in an old Berlin apartment building. Do you move for each of your books?
IJ (laughs): One could think so. But suddenly there was the longing for something old again, a house with a bit of tutelage. I came out of this reduction and found myself suddenly in this old house with all its playful elements.

In the hall the huge original fireplace with its colorful ceramic tiles, the coat of arms of the builders and playful details

MS: Tell us about the magic of this place …
IJ: It is the view you have from here, which is absolutely timeless. There is nothing to indicate at which time we are living, no electric cable, no car, no sign of our high-tech age. The rest. And nature.
MS: And there are many walls for your art. How did you become a collector?
IJ: When I came to Berlin at the end of the nineties, I got to know artists through befriended gallery owners. The purchase of my first pictures came through the personal contact to the artists. I do not see myself as a collector, I just like to live with art. Meanwhile, the walls are full. If something new came along, I would separate myself from the existing one.

Installation „Hydrate“ by Sylvie Fleury and a porcelain figure from the 1940s by Wiener Werkstätten: “The gift of a friend whom I have conceded during his lovesickness.”

MS: What does your focus lie on?
IJ: On contemporary works. I decide intuitively and am not determined in a particular direction.
MS: What art would not come into your house?
IJ: Kitschy craftsmanship or decorative art that wants to please is not my thing. I am interested in corners and edges.
MS: Is there a favorite artist?
IJ: Difficult to answer. In the moment when I say one, many others come to my mind. The last work I bought was from the Frenchman Emmanuel Bornstein. I could not say no.

Working with a view to the lake side: This is the place where Ivana Jeissing writes her new novel

MS: You were a film director and creative director in advertising. How did you get to writing?
IJ: I was an actress too, until I realized I had no talent at all (laughs). After all the turbulent years, I suddenly felt as if I had been thrown out of a high-speed car. It was a real challenge because suddenly I had to start something with myself. I began to write short stories until my agent motivated me for my first novel “Invisible”. Writing went better than I thought. And now I start with my fourth novel.
MS: There are writers who deliver a novel every year.
IJ: I’m definitely not one of them. I need to write longer. Sometimes I come to a point because I have to think a lot or pause for several days. I then need change of scenery and go to the cold store in the supermarket and look at the yoghurts (laughs). Sometimes I also travel spontaneously or meet friends. On other days I write through and am totally immersed in my figures and their parallel world.

“There are no original plans from the house. Also the architect is not known. It was built in 1904 by a Berlin beer brewer family, expanded in 1908 to a total of 900 square meters of living space.”

MS: Workwise, did you get where you’ve always seen yourself?
IJ: I always keep a door open with a willingness to move on. I’ve never been to the point in my career where I told myself, right, this is it now.
MS: You live in a dream villa, have a great man and two cute dogs. Are there any left open wishes?
IJ: I’m very happy. From time to time I dream of a very minimalist house on Iceland in the snow with a view of the North Atlantic and a cozy cottage in the sun. I do not want to live in the city anymore. BvH

Ivana Jeissing in the stairwell of her villa – always accompanied by the dogs

About Ivana Jeissing:

Ivana Jeissing was born in Salzburg and grew up in Austria and Italy. Other stations in her life were Vienna, London and Barcelona. Today the author lives and works in Berlin. She worked as a film director and creative director before devoting herself exclusively to writing. Her first novel “Invisible” was translated into several languages. Her second novel “Felsenbrüter” and the third novel “Wintersonnen” deal with the elementary questions of life. For her debut “Invisible”, Jeissing received the DeLia Literary Prize in 2008.

The entrance of the villa built in 1904. The floor is decorated with original tiles

The Chinese vintage shelf was discovered by Ivana Jeissing in Berlin

The picture above the sofa is by Sergej Jensen. In front, the blowball lamp of the South-American designer Jorge Pardo

“I bought these copper deers in Milan in an antique shop”, says Ivana Jeissing. “The Bambis remind me of my childhood in Italy.” Above the fireplace, a picture of Carsten Fock, developed in collaboration with the fashion designer Bernhard Wilhelm

Details of the fireplace

Framed by pictures and sculptures is the white lamp classic „Nessino Tavolo“ from Artemide

Oil painting by Carsten Fock behind a daybed with blue velvet cushions

The Greyhound comes from a gallery in England. “I love greyhounds and find that this one fits very nicely beside the porcelain figure, which I found in a antique store in the Berlin Mommsenstraße.”

Lovely light reflections and a capitoned sofa by AMJ Design, “Babydoll” by Jonathan Meese. The “Fun Lamp” lamp is by Verner Panton

„Come down to Earth” by Daniel Pflumm, beside a sculpture under plexiglass by John Bock

Beautiful view of the intersecting rooms on the ground floor of the villa

The five fireplaces of the house are historic, but not all original: Ivana bought them in England or at auctions. Only the large chimney in the hall with the coat of arms of the builders on colorful ceramic tiles, on which the artist has immortalized, is original

Ivana Jeissing in her custom made kitchen: “I came to Berlin in 1998 and always lived in the middle of the city. Endless parties and nights for example at the Paris Bar. I do not need that anymore today.”

Perfectly arranged and color-matched ball vases on the fireplace mantelpiece in the kitchen

The large kitchen sink is made of wood

In the kitchen tulip chairs and table by Eero Saarinen, behind it a brown leather sofa by Piero Lissoni

Almost like on vacation: Lunch on the magnificent terrace overlooking the lake

From the living room you enter the terrace with a large round table and chairs by Verner Panton

Everything in sight has Jack Russell Mr. Pipo: the cognac colored Egg Chairs infront of the fireplace are from Arne Jacobsen

Image with Pitbull Terrier: A work of Russian artist Kalonin. “When I acquired the picture, the concept of ‘fighting dog’ did not exist yet.”

In the large hall with the original fireplace the Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio …

… and the historical stucco ceilings, which were no longer available and were reconstructed according to old models

Always there: The Jack Russell Terrier Lady Ena (7) and Mr. Pipo (4)

The colors for the walls had to be mixed: “Two shades of blue, which vary depending on the room and the light incident. From light blue to blue-gray.” The ceilings are white as a contrast.

In the guest room the oil painting “Alice” by Stefan Rinck

The façade with the green-red wooden elements reminds us more of architecture from southern Germany

Watched through the wooden pier: From here you can admire a wonderful view …

… that is also loved by the two dogs

Living where others go on holiday

Lush rosaries line the 4,000 square meter lake property

Under the terrace is a sheltered seating corner …

… where you can sit comfortably even in indifferent weather

Ivana Jeissing loves gardening

In her garden there are roses, lavender and fruit trees …

… and shady places under old trees

Mr. Pipo checks the situation: The doggies like to take over the water

Pure idyll on the boat bridge – it doesn’t get any better, I think!

Ivana Jeissing found her first Jack Russell Ena over a note in the horse stable. “My Greyhound had just died. I cannot imagine a life without a dog. “

Small still life with apples from the garden

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