Home story: How Nora transformed her 65 sqm apartment in an old building into a true interior dream


How can a 65 sqm apartment in an old building look so big? That's what we asked ourselves when we discovered Nora's dreamlike city apartment in Cologne. Natural materials in Scandinavian design combined with modern art prints characterize her style. In an interview, Nora told us how her unusual Instagram profile name @noranilpferd came about, what her current favorite piece of furniture is and which interior accounts she follows.

Dear Nora, would you like to introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

I'm Nora, 30 years old and full-time project manager in pricing. I live with my boyfriend Markus in a beautiful old building in the south of Cologne.

Home story nora noranhippopotamus nordery

You are very successful with your Instagram account @noranilpferd . Surely you are often asked about it, but how did this extraordinary profile name come about?

My mom's favorite animal is the hippo, so almost every year I give her something hippo-related for her birthday or Christmas. When I started my account, I was looking for a hippopotamus again, and that's how it turned out. I always think about changing it, but somehow I find it funny. For my mother it turned out to be the beautiful wooden hippopotamus from Kay Bojesen.

What you immediately notice in your photos is the view from the windows and the great view of the city wall of Cologne. How did you get this beautiful apartment?

I searched for a relatively long time because I really wanted to move into an old building with wooden floorboards and high ceilings. Accordingly, it took almost half a year before we got the approval for our apartment. We found them in the classic way via one of the well-known real estate portals and were just lucky in the end. A lottery was actually drawn from among the last suitable interested parties.

Homestory Nora town wall nordery

The apartment is only 65 square meters and has a pretty special layout. Was it a big challenge to set them up?

Yes, and it still is, since the more time you spend in an apartment, you don't necessarily have fewer objects that you have to somehow get hold of. It is therefore a constant optimisation, sorting and creating storage space, also because without a hallway we clearly lack the space for typical things that are always somehow standing around. But I still like the layout, the only thing really missing is a room facing the inside of the courtyard. Due to the elongated tube, all rooms face the street and since we live in the middle of the city, it can get very noisy.

Homestory Nora living room nordery
Homestory Nora bedroom midnatt nordery

You also seem to be very talented with your hands. We were thrilled with the makeover of your bathroom, which turned out really great. Did you do everything yourself and where did you get inspiration from?

Thank you 😊. It was a classic "corona project", I had wanted to tackle the bathroom for a long time and then it just happened during the lockdown. The silicone had to be replaced urgently in some cases and the previous tenant's tile paint around the bathtub was already peeling off and I thought to myself, once you start, I can change the things that bother me as well. On the one hand, there was the ugly shower curtain and the old fittings, I just think matt black is nicer than classic silver. In the end, I really managed to do everything myself, thanks to the internet, only the two of us installed the heavy glass bathtub wall.

Home story Nora bathroom nordery

Do you already have plans for what you would like to change in your apartment?

Somehow I am constantly changing something, Corona has made it worse, if you work 100% from home, you notice even more things that could be changed. At the moment I'm going back to the beginnings, so more plain white walls and more calm. When you spend so much time in the apartment, I find it all the more important that it causes as little stress as possible.

Homestory Nora living room nordery

Bedding seems to be a big passion of yours and you even launched your own collection last year. Where does your penchant for changing bed linen come from?

This probably also comes from the urge to change, but you can't always rearrange everything, repaint it or buy new pieces of furniture. I think bed linen is a nice way to bring a breath of fresh air into the interior without spending a lot of money. And I think there is no better feeling than freshly washed bed linen 😊.

Homestory nora bedroom midnatt bosco nordery

Is there a piece of furniture or home accessory in your apartment that you particularly like and what is the story behind it?

That often changes a lot for me, but at the moment it's the dining table that I picked up in Belgium in a rather battered condition via ebay classifieds and then refurbished. And I recently bought the Carl Hansen Wishbone Chairs. You see them quite often, but I just find them so beautiful and timeless.

Homestory Nora dining table nordery

It's a bit difficult to go shopping at the moment, but do you generally prefer to go to furniture stores or do you prefer to shop online?

I think the mix works. You can find many beautiful things online that are often not available in furniture stores, eg products directly from Denmark or Sweden. But actually I love going to nice furniture stores and here in Cologne you really can't complain. Goldkant, Grünblaugrau or Mill are three of my favorite stores.

What are your 5 favorite blogs or Instagram accounts?

  1. @a.start.of.something
  2. @craftifair
  3. @sedselroug
  4. @linestampedahl
  5. @_designtales_

Thank you very much for the great insight into your apartment and the nice interview, Nora!

Photos: © Nora from @noranilpferd

The bed linen shown is from Midnatt - available exclusively from us .