HUS Story #14
Marleen & Stefan
In the ‘HUS Story’ series we look at how IKEA products fit into Swiss homes, how they highlight the personal style of their owners and are shown off to best effect. We visited Marleen Kohl and Stefan Rohner in Ehrendingen.
Marleen Kohl, registered children’s nurse, 26
Stefan Rohner, customer adviser for Volvo, 31
Two cats, Simba and Diego, 4 and 4
Ground-floor flat with four rooms, Ehrendingen
Outside it’s cold and wintry, but inside the light furniture, stylish little touches and crackling fire make this an inviting place to spend some time. Marleen and Stefan’s comfortable flat is a good counterbalance to the busy schedule that they both have when they aren’t at work: Stefan is a keen sportsman and spends a lot of time on strength training, exercise and playing handball. Marleen, meanwhile, is doing a part-time course to become a wedding and event planner, so that she can fulfil her passion for being creative.
When did you move in here?
Marleen: When the previous tenants moved out of the flat at the start of 2017, we were able to take it on and have a say in the refurbishment of the kitchen, bathroom and flooring. It helped that the flat belongs to Stefan’s father.
Stefan: When I was 14, my family and I lived in this flat for about two years. But you would hardly recognise it now. At that time, it was all carpeted and the walls were painted in darker colours.
Who does what when it comes to furnishing?
Stefan: I leave that 100% to Marleen. I trust her completely.
Marleen: Whether it’s choosing clothes for colleagues, furnishing or decorating the flat: whenever I can do something creative, I really blossom. I’m the one with a thousand ideas in my head and Stefan is my rock.
Did you have a vision of how you wanted your new flat to look right from the start?
Marleen: When I saw how bright the newly renovated flat was with its light colours, I knew at once what I wanted. A bit of shabby chic and a bit of country-house style but combined with modern elements. I found a lot of items of furniture at IKEA which were exactly what I was looking for.
Stefan: Then where I come in is when the furniture has to be assembled. We’ve even taken the PAX wardrobe apart and put it together again several times.
You have got a lot of framed sayings. Is there a particular story behind them?
Marleen: I just love beautiful words and motivating words of wisdom. It does me good to read them from time to time and take them to heart. In fact, you can see this preference of mine not only in the decor but in my tattoos, as well.
What is your usual routine?
Marleen: During the week we normally work really long hours, so Sunday is reserved for relaxing and doing nothing. We can easily spend the whole day in bed or on the sofa, engrossed in the latest episodes of our favourite series on Netflix.
Stefan: We certainly take life easy at home, like our cats do.
Of course, Simba and Diego are also members of your household.
Marleen: Our two cute cats spent their first three years of life indoors, because we lived right next to a very busy road. Now they are usually out and about all day long and then spread themselves out in their favourite spots in the evening. Simba can spend hours lying on the sofa dozing.
Stefan: And Diego determines our early-morning routine. As soon as the alarm goes off, he comes to the bed immediately and miaows so loudly that you can’t possibly ignore him. So it’s no good hitting the snooze button and hoping to drop off again – he wants to be fed straightaway.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Marleen: We particularly enjoy being at home then. Pulling on some snuggly socks, drinking hot chocolate, lighting the fire, decorating the flat – that’s all we need, really.
Have you made any New Year resolutions? Especially to do with the flat?
Marleen: I don’t make resolutions on principle, simply because I never keep them. One wish for the long term would be to make the office a bit smaller and turn it into a child’s bedroom, but there’s plenty of time for that.
Stefan: And you’ve already decorated the flat so beautifully, there’s no need to do anything else. But maybe in the cellar, perhaps we could do something in there?
Marleen and Stefan look at each other and nod, laughing. So now it’s time to say, as they do in Sweden: God jul! Happy Christmas!