Stories

Welcome Home, Jules

WELCOME HOME

Jules Villbrandt, Berlin

In the raw streets of a preserved part of the original Berlin, we meet the photographer and creative consultant Jules Villbrandt who surround herself with piles of magazines with beautiful pictures and the people she loves

Berlin is not what one would call a beautiful city. But on frosty Mondays with a sun shining brighter than in the tropics, one can easily lose their heart in the German capital. We went to the north-west part of the city, to a borough which has not yet lived through the cycles of gentrification or the takeover by cool café. Wedding is as original as any part of Berlin comes, with its concrete charm and hidden gems.

Not far from the train station, in something as rare as a quiet by-street, we visit the charming home of the effervescent personality of Jules Villbrandt, the creative consultant and photographer who among many of her projects runs the blog Herz & Blut with her sister, Maria-Silva and a third partner Wilkin. 

Climbing up the astonishing and spacious staircase with traditional wood carvings the sun shines even brighter in her fifth-floor apartment, filled with memories, plants, and love. Here she lives with her boyfriend and father of their nine-year-old son, Justus with her studio Maison Palme just around the corner.

– Hi Jules, how did you end up in Berlin?

I grew up in the forest of Brandenburg north of Berlin. I moved here back in 2006 to study Business communication at the University of Arts. While I was studying, I was making my own jewellery and selling them on the weekends at flea markets. I think that was the beginning of my life working independently. When I finished studying, I started working as a photographer, and my blog grew very natural from this.

How would you describe your dream home?

I really couldn’t imagine living anywhere but in an old apartment, the classic Altbau apartments. It would have preserved the stucco, the wooden floors and the moulded panel doors, maybe from the 18th century. It would also have French doors and in general, the preserved expression of classic building style. 

– When one looks around your home, the first thing that you see is that you have a lot of little things, books, and magazines.

Yeah, haha. I think I have a bit of a collector’s heart. We haven’t moved around a lot, which also makes the things add up. I love treasuring memories in little things. Such as these small Bauhaus houses that my sister brought back from Tel Aviv. And of course, I have a soft spot for magazines. Publications like Frankie, Milk, or Lunch Lady are my favourites.

 

– Milk Magazine is in French; do you speak that as well?

Haha no, that way I think I’m a bit like Andy Warhol. I always only look at the images.

 

– Spoken like a true photographer, I guess. Speaking of work, let’s go to see your studio.

We climb back down the stairs. The small business of Herz & Blut just found their new studio, a loft around the corner from Jules’ apartment with just the right mix of industry and beauty. Decorated with loads of plants that all have names and her impeccable taste, this much is clear: This studio is so much more than just a workplace.

– You call Maison Palme your studio, but when looking around, it also looks a bit like an extension of your living room?

Well, yeah. It did serve as the place for quite some good parties. My sister and I work here, of course, doing the photoshoots and coming up with new ideas. But we’ve also had a pop-up shop here, and of course, it’s also become a place where people come together. I’m so happy I got this place.

 

– You have an office in your living room, but also your studio is right around the corner from your home. How do you balance family life and work?

I work a lot, from early in the morning after sending Justus off to school and often until late in the evening. I enjoy my work, and with the new arrangement of the studio it has worked out so well that Justus comes by and hangs out every day after school. Also, Herz & Blut has for the past few years been a project I work on with my sister. So, in that way, the boundaries between my private life and my work-life are quite fluid.

– It’s quite clear that you and Justus spend a lot your days together and share almost everything. Even in his kids’ room, the touch of plants, beautiful books, and the classics shine through. What’s your favourite thing to do together when you’re not working?

Justus just got his first camera recently, so we do a lot of photography together. We also really like having people over, cooking for them and spending a lovely night together with all of our friends. And the next day, do absolutely nothing but sitting on the couch, listening to a radio play together, or watching a good movie together.

– You work professionally with design and styling. What makes your heart beat faster when it comes to decorating your own home?

I think my view on this has changed in the few past couples of years. I guess, my taste leans a bit towards the vintage vibe, but I mix with new pieces here and there. I link design that is timeless, classic, and that can be seen as an investment. I like that feeling of saving up to such a piece for a while and then finally being able to buy it. It adds so much more value than just the right look here and now. I guess, working in the design field, I have developed a sense of what’s going on and who’s doing what and when, but I wouldn’t say that I decorate my home according to fleeting trends. It is just a colourful mix of everything that spoke to me.

– What does the word home mean to you?

Home is wherever Justus is. That’s when my heart is calm, and I feel the best.

 

Thank you for having us, Jules!

 

 

From the parties in the studio over family dinners and cosy mornings in everyday life, music plays a role in Jules’ life. We asked her for a selection of her favourites. Have a listen here