In life, there are a handful of moments that - as you’re living them - you know will stay imprinted into your brain for a long time. I had one of those moments in the early evening sun on a mild February evening with friend of The Staycation Collection, Judith Gilles, in a small wooded glade behind the Trainmaster’s House.
The sun coated the new fir trees, ancient birches and tall grass in golden light, and bird song filled the air. We sat sipping wine (from 8greenbottles, another friend of The Staycation Collection), eating olives and laughing. I could feel the stress slipping from my body and my mind slowing as I breathed in the forest air. It might sound like an evening in Provence, but we were in Nauen, in a small village at the edge of the Havelland, a 40-minute drive from central Berlin.
The Trainmaster’s House is, as the name suggests, a former train station-come-creative space with a sleek holiday apartment. The house’s owners are Gero and Lisa who come from Cologne via Berlin.
They had been dreaming of finding and creating the perfect space to help stressed-out city dwellers absorb the creative power of nature. “We’d been browsing ImmobilienScout and saw the old train station. It was the first place we came to check out, and there was so much that needed to be done that we were completely overwhelmed. We left, but kept thinking about the space. I went on a business trip and checked the website but the house was no longer listed. I freaked out and called Lisa,” Gero told us. “We got in touch with the seller who told us that we could have it if we acted fast, and we’re really glad we did.”
“The building is so unique, and the cherry on the cake is the forest that starts behind the house: we’re outside whatever the weather and the landscape never fails to amaze us. Our young son is fascinated by the wildlife and can name the animals you might find - beavers, deer, wild boar, racoons, falcons - the list goes on.”
In fact, Judith and I saw a group of deer bounding through the trees, elegantly navigating the fallen branches directly outside our bedroom window first thing in the morning as we sat sipping coffee - freshly roasted and brewed by Gero in his on-site coffee roastery. The roastery is located inside the adjoining remise, which also acts as the property’s work and retreat space.
“We know from experience that it’s important to get out of your comfort zone from time to time in order to be creative and strategic. We designed the remise to be a space that can facilitate small teams, allowing them to connect and grow. Of course, having good, fresh coffee to hand is key to aid that process!"
Gero and Lisa live in the former train station waiting room (which, trust us, has been renovated in a way that makes us want to Pinterest their entire home), and the holiday apartment (complete with its own roof terrace) is accessed through the turret-style tower.
One of the reasons I fell in love with the Trainmaster’s House is the nod Gero and Lisa have given to both the area’s stunning nature and the house’s former life. As you drive along the single-track road to the entrance, a grand train engine appears in your sight, while behind the house the sleepers from the old train line mark the entrance to the forest.
Throughout the apartment’s rooms, muted colours and dried flowers connect you to nature, and your eyes jump from the windows that frame the trees to the perfectly curated decor, such as an old typewriter and green velour couch that look as if they were designed specifically for the space.
“When we did the interior design, we wanted to create somewhere that allows people to feel immediately at home and relaxed; we want people to feel like the apartment is theirs throughout the time they spend here,” Gero tells us.
And believe us, it was oh-so-hard to tear ourselves away from the comfort of our temporary home and drive back to the city, but we’ll be back for sure.