Thanks to her intuitive eye for detail, interior photographer Christine Bauer uses pastel hues and vintage pieces to add life to her bright white apartment
Interior photographer Christine Bauer’s apartment is perfection in pastel
Christine Bauer places a vase filled with lilac blooms next to a vintage porcelain glove mold on her sideboard. She steps back, tilts her head and contemplates the still life. Forward a bit, a little to the left, an inch to the right – now she’s happy. The stylist-turned-interiors photographer specialises in lively arrangements.
Her intuitive feel for the perfect image composition is what has made her successful. “For me, aesthetics are an expression of harmony,” she explains. “It’s something I believe the world definitely needs.” She doesn’t allow her motifs to become rigid in their perfection, however, bringing them to life with sensual details: the frayed edge of a linen tablecloth, fallen flower petals or a gently rising curl of smoke from an extinguished candle.
There are some natural forms she is unable to resist, like twists of bark and striped tree fungi – and many handmade forms too, like the striking vases, of which she probably has around 150, appearing in alternating arrangements throughout her tiny apartment. Even though the cupboards are full of them, she never seems to have enough. They have to be vintage, too. Sleek modernity or sterile perfection would be out of place here. Bauer even prefers new tableware to be “crooked and bent”.
These playful details provide important stylistic contrasts in her otherwise minimalist, cool-hued rooms. She owns a number of rare pieces of vintage furniture from different periods, which she has carefully handpicked and sourced. For example, it took her a whole year to track down an iconic Kandya ‘Jason Chair’ by the Danish designer Carl Jacobs, who lived in England in the 1950s. Now part of her extensive chair collection, it glows a mustard yellow in front of an ornate Venetian dresser in the bedroom.
This is how her passion for interiors began: “I’m obsessed with chairs,” she confesses. “No other piece of furniture comes in so many shapes and sizes.” The one thing all her furniture and objects have in common is that everything is round or rounded. “At some point I realised I don’t like angular things; I find them physically unpleasant,” says Bauer. “There’s nothing angular in nature either.”
She indulged her passion for curating stylish scenes at a young age. At 11, she created an entire house for her Barbie dolls in her wardrobe. She constructed miniature everyday scenes, photographed them, then collected the photos in an album. In scrawly child’s handwriting, the budding perfectionist even made note of possible improvements next to the photos.
Bauer’s home has undergone many stylistic transformations in the 22 years she has lived here. Once decorated in an ostentatious baroque style, it went through a floral phase before experiencing a cool 60s period. “I’d decorate my home completely differently today. I’d probably mix a rough industrial look with golden, elegant vintage elements and 60s furniture.
I’d also go for totally different colours,” she says. The unifying theme for her has always been colour. “I’m passionate about all kinds of interiors, and at home, I try to bring together lots of different styles – and it’s the colours that make it work,” she says.
She’s not a fan of brights, preferring instead the peace and harmony of tone-on-tone combinations, and she has an enduring love of aqua, peach, mint and dove grey. One wall in each room has been artfully painted in a pastel hue, like the dusty rose in the bedroom that doesn’t quite reach the edges. Along with pastel-pink, plenty of gold and a few flashes of black create a feminine atmosphere in the bedroom, while the living room and kitchen are decorated in muted turquoise and grey tones.
One decor decision she will never regret is painting the wooden floors white. These give the rooms the necessary brightness and lightness which is also reflected in her much-loved wall collages. Instead of heavily framed paintings, she composes light, atmospheric ensembles of photos and objects which continue to expand the weightlessness of the space.
With her passion for period pieces, it is little surprise that Bauer finds it hard to part with things. One of the reasons is her insistence on timeless design. “I’m not bothered about famous names. What’s important to me is that I still like looking at something years later,” she says. “Furniture requires a certain depth to stand the test of time.”
She says she soon tires of modern design, preferring one-of-a-kind objects like her oversized Italian bedside lamp, an original piece from the 1960s which was a lucky eBay find. It’s something she would never part with, even though many a visitor has tried to persuade her otherwise. Its shimmering gold shade is far too big for the tiny bedside table, but it is exactly this kind of disregard for conventional proportions that creates the emotional liveliness evident throughout Bauer’s apartment.
Words by: Micheal Paul. Photography by: Micheal Paul/Living Inside.