TV and radio journalist and wedding ceremony speaker, Verena Gernemann, has lived in Haltern am See, a pretty countryside town near Muenster, Germany since 2017. She shares her home with her husband Flo and two year old daughter, Elsa, although the couple previously lived in an apartment in Cologne. They loved city life and originally the plan was to buy some land, build a house and rent it out. They’d never considered living in the countryside themselves - it was merely a retirement idea for the future.
But, their minds slowly changed as they navigated the build, “When we started planning the house we found out that we didn’t like opting for the cheapest versions of everything, and wanted to build a nice house. I planned everything with Pinterest, interior books and magazines.” Verena found herself discovering inspiration everywhere she went and became fully immersed in the process. “One day, we were on holiday in London and I found a beautiful industrial bathroom in a restaurant. I took pictures and decided to style one of our bathrooms like this”. As the project came to an end and the house because prettier and prettier, they decided to try living there to see how they liked it - and have never left!
Verena started using Instagram in 2014 when she got married - the idea being to have a personalised hashtag so that everybody could share their photos from their wedding. Shortly after that, she started to share pictures of their Cologne flat, but it was in 2017, when they moved to their current house, that her account really started to gain an audience.
“One day I suddenly got 200 likes for a picture of our kitchen and I was wondering what’s was going on. I still do not know what happened back then, but after that day I got more and more followers and it’s still growing to this day! I use Instagram as a hobby. I don’t feel that pressure to post every day. It’s just fun. When I had 1000 or 2000 followers I began to receive requests for collaborations. I only pick those which I really like, otherwise I think it’s not authentic. I never thought that one day I would reach so many people - but I am very proud that I can be an inspiration to some of them, that makes me happy,” explains Verena.
Back in January this year, Verena used the Konmari method to minimise the amount of cleaning up and tidying. This made it much easier for taking photos for Instagram as everything now has its place and it’s easier to keep everything organised. From time to time, Verena buys new things so her pictures stay interesting and her DIY projects have been popular, although some followers feel disappointed that they can’t buy her curtains that were handmade by her mother! Decorating and DIY projects are her two favourite pastimes and she loves browsing flea markets to find beautiful old furniture with character, “I never liked the 100% perfect look in interiors - for me, furniture and interiors have to tell a story.”
The couple’s favourite room is the kitchen. Verena explains, “I love the eat-in kitchen. It’s the room where I am most of the time. I eat, work, talk, laugh and cook in it. It’s the most crowded place when we have guests but I just love it. For some people it’s imperfect or impractical - because of the carpets, for example - but for us, it’s just perfect. Cosy and hyggelig.”
Verena loves the her home and enjoys the possibility of decorating each room from scratch when she wants to. But, does she miss life in Cologne? “We are still city lovers,” she admits, “but at the moment - and with a small child - we love all the benefits the countryside and our own house with a garden gives us,” says Verena.