We were home from Indiana for a week and then off to Wurselen, Germany to visit our daughter and family. They purchased a new home last fall but had a long wait until the sale was completed. It is not unusual in Germany to sell while building a new house and have the buyers wait until completion. The home they found was within walking distance of their old apartment. They wanted to stay in town where the kids were enrolled in the Gymnasium (5th-13th grade). They wanted to be able to walk to transportation and shops. Row houses are very popular in Germany. Most main streets are lined with them. Both the row houses and the long yards remind me of the homes on the South side of Chicago where I was born, the grandchild of German immigrants.
Many of these house are quite old but their house is newer, built in 1996. It has a certification as an energy saving home with solar panels on the roof, and high quality German windows. It even has an underground cistern in the backyard in case of water shortages.
German homes are quite different from those in the USA. There are a lot of brick exteriors and stone and tile interiors with very little hardwood or carpet. There are several floors and the entry floor is often not the main living area. Another desirable German home feature is automated metal outside shutters for the windows. They completely darken the room when desired.
The front entry is on the side of the house beside the driveway. It has a deep earth-bermed garage that could fit two cars front to back. There is an old school house next door and the area will be developed as a park although the fate of the school is not determined.
Across from the school and parking lot there is an independent grocery store that is so convenient that the family often walks over to pick up supplies for dinner.
In this house the entry floor is a one bedroom mother in law apartment with a full bath, living room, kitchen and central dining room. Inside this entry are steps leading to the basement and the main floor.
The basement has several useful rooms. One has a small workbench, another is a utility room where my daughter has her office, another is an office for her husband. There is a nice size room for the musical instruments that insulates the sound from the house next door. Another large room is the laundry room.
The basement also has a complete bathroom with a shower, sink, toilet and infrared sauna that does not appear to be working.
Both kitchens are complete. Germans often take all their kitchen cabinets and appliances with them when they move. They also usually take the light fixtures. Although the older couple also left several pieces of furniture and a few light fixtures for the family, some pieces were also purchased from them.
The main floor consists of a living room, dining room with a powder room, and a large eat in kitchen. There are large windows in each room so the shared wall is not noticed. In the corner is a specially built “Russian” fireplace. These are constructed with a labyrinth of chimney and heat sink surround that will fire up with a roaring blaze then bank for a long time behind the corner glass door.
On the third floor there are three bedrooms and a large bathroom. The floating vanity does not provide much storage so they found a modern cabinet that fits perfectly next to the shower. All the bathrooms have the same tile and tile trim. Another unusual feature is that all the bedroom doors have windows. This helps bring natural light into the interior hallway.
The largest garden house has cabinets and built in seating inside for entertainment. There is a covered patio outside. There are three other sheds in the yard and several large woodsheds. The owners had prepared for multiple winters before they decided to move so most of the firewood sheds are full. The large brick chimney in the background is attached to an abandoned factory that is due to be torn down and replaced with new homes.
During this visit the family was all working and attending school. So we spent our time enjoying the yard and the neighborhood and accomplishing a few little helpful projects. I installed magnetic screens on a couple of windows and fixed a stained glass light that needed one socket reconnected. I tested another light to be sure it was operating before they tried to hang it. I also laced some vinyl strips into the fence at the rear of the property. They wanted every other row of the wire fence covered for privacy from the park area. The fencing is sturdy wire on a concrete base with bolted uprights. It is a common type of fence there. I completed the whole area of fencing with three rows of vinyl. The building behind the birdbath is one of the garden houses.
We are happy for the family having such a nice place for the kids to finish their schooling and enjoy family times together. Getting such a large house with plenty of guest space was very thoughtful of them. We love visiting and seeing the changes in our growing grandchildren.