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milieu: modern life in a 19th century farmhouse with Anika Grimm

milieu: modern life in a 19th century farmhouse with Anika Grimm

Milieu is a series that explores the unique ways in which we breathe life into our homes. From coastal towns to city living, our homes are a celebration of small, simple moments. They’re a reflection of our lives. Our stories. Our milieu.

Our next feature brings us to the tranquil countryside of southern Austria to visit Anika Grimm. We recently had the opportunity to work with Anika on our Summer Lookbook and couldn’t resist the chance to get to know the creative behind the summer-swept photoshoot.

Anika and her husband live in a lovingly restored farmhouse that was originally built in 1873. The exquisite blend of traditional and modern features throughout the house is something of a masterpiece. Though we should add that this masterpiece feels especially captivating because of Anika’s incredible eye for detail and deep appreciation for simplicity and minimalism. Her love for the home is clear as day and it was an absolute pleasure to chat with her about this remarkable space!

Please, introduce yourself 🙂

My name is Anika Grimm. My husband and I moved to Austria last fall to enjoy our life here for the next few years. We are incredibly happy that we have found this lovingly renovated farmhouse from 1873. For us, it is a dream to enjoy the countryside here and still be close to Graz.

What sparked your love of interiors and design?

Interiors and design have always been a wonderful way for me to live out my sense of aesthetics. Even as a child, I attached great importance to my surroundings and always designed it creatively and in a special way. However, my style has changed over the years.

It is very satisfying for me to see how a room can come together harmoniously through the clever combination of selected pieces. I always follow one thing: “The difference between good and great is attention to detail”!

For me, antiques and vintage finds with a story are a true beauty and the key pieces that make a space unique and appealing. I love to showcase such finds in a simple and calm environment. Natural materials and neutral colors are the perfect canvas for this. They can highlight the beauty of the imperfections of vintage pieces.

How long have you been living in your current place?

We just moved in here last fall. We looked at several rental properties before finding this very special house. Completing it piece by piece with my style and making it a home gives me so much joy.

Was moving from your home in Germany to the Austrian countryside a big adjustment?

We both grew up in the countryside. Nevertheless, the Austrian landscape cannot be compared with southern Germany. Everything here is very wide and there are simply fewer people and much more space in Austria. This is an absolute dream and we therefore immediately felt very comfortable here. Nevertheless, it was and is of course not easy to leave friends and family behind in Germany. But we visit Germany often and I have never made so many FaceTime calls before.

What are you looking forward to most about summertime in the countryside?

Since we live very south, the area and the house are almost Mediterranean and I can hardly wait to keep the large French doors to the garden open all day. There is a wonderful view of the Slovenian mountains. I love to walk barefoot all day and when the interior blends with nature and the garden.

There is something very special about enjoying meals under the big old maple tree in the middle of the garden and watching the sunset around the campfire in the evening.

Can you tell us a bit about the history and restoration of the farmhouse?

The house existed for a long time before it was extended in 1873. At that time it was a stately farmhouse with large lands. Originally a large barn belonged to the house. The owner acquired the house about 12 years ago in a state of disrepair and has lovingly renovated it. He has skillfully preserved what could be preserved and replaced what needed to be replaced with modern additions.

For example, the entrance area was equipped with a modern wood & iron staircase. So has the central heating system with underfloor and wall heating. The wooden doors are mostly original as are some wooden floors. No wall in the house is completely straight. I think that adds as much to the house’s special charm as well as the wall plaster’s irregular surface. The attic has been completely expanded and the original wooden beams have been preserved. And there is a small but massive shed in the backyard where we can store tools. This is great because the house has only one vaulted cellar.

What is one (or more!) of your favourite features of the house?

I am absolutely thrilled with the old wooden doors. Each one of them is different and you can feel the history they have had over the years. I really love the flooring in the foyer just as much. The original tiles are absolutely stunning with all their irregularities. It is a local stone that is an absolute rarity today and hard to find. The traditional stove in the kitchen is also a dream. We added a wooden board to it so we can use it as an additional work surface. For cooking, we prefer to use the modern oven.

During the summertime, one of the best things about the house is the beautiful spacious surroundings of the house and the garden. It is so nice to admire the shadow play of the big old trees on the house wall and use the garden as an additional living space.

Will there be much time and space for gardening this spring/summer?

We’ll be spending our first summer here this year and I’m very excited to see how the environment changes. Around the house we have many old hydrangea bushes and I am really looking forward seeing them bloom soon. There are peonies and the tomatoes and lettuce are starting to grow as well. Hopefully my dahlias will also be in full bloom by late summer. I am sure it will be wonderful to enjoy the fresh figs and kiwis at this time. The huge old cherry tree is also already bearing an incredible amount of fruit.

Where is your favourite spot (interior or exterior) to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee?

For me, it is so soothing to start my morning routine in the quiet garden. I love to sit near the old climbing rose on the garden side of the house to read, write and pray. The sun shines past the old barn with an old fig tree and a kiwi tree growing on its wall. Already in the morning, you can hear the crickets from the surrounding meadows.

In the colder months, I like to sit in the small fireplace room in one corner of the house. It is so nice when the winter sun shines through the window in the morning and you have the crackling fire in front of you.

Which piece in your home (old, new, big, small) has the most unique story?

Definitely, the old oval dining table that my great-grandfather built himself. It was passed down from my grandmother to my parents and is now mine. It’s simple and absolutely timeless. But basically, almost every piece we own has a special story to me. That makes things, even if they are old or simple, especially meaningful to me.

Who or what are some of your biggest design inspirations?

Axel Vervoordt is one of my biggest inspirations. It impresses me how he can transform the imperfection of individual pieces into absolutely beautiful timelessness by combining them wisely. For me, his work is the perfection of aesthetics.

There are so many good designers. I love the work of Rose Uniack, Rosie Seabrook and Colin King, for example. But the most inspiring thing to me is always nature. It never gets old or boring. The sight of nature’s perfection inspires me every day.

You can see more of Anika’s picturesque homestead and daily doses of serenity through her Instagram .

Browse Anika’s favourites:

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