1. Brenna
    May 7, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    Do you know of any web-sites where one can find a distinctive nests of
    tables set? I have been surfing on the web and just manage
    to find the regular oak and glass kinds

  2. Marc
    June 21, 2011 @ 12:50 am

    Well, for the past decades it was common to work and live in one area. my dad worked 40 years for one and the same company, my mom did so for about 20 years – after she raised me and my brother. Anything else but unusual for a german family. Mom was chief of the household and so the kitchen was hers as well as the living room (beeing the represantive room).
    After me and my brother had left the apartment my parents decided to move to a smaller and more modern one. Kitchen and living room were still important for my mom (dad was just interested in the fridge and the tv) and so she forced my dad to spend a fortune on a new kitchen and furniture for the living room. So, when they will move the next time (they will because their age with its corresponding implications is becoming an important factor) my mom wont leave her beloved kitchen and the living room furniture in the old apartment. I think it is a question of the status the generation of my parents tries to represent with their car(s), their apartment, the furniture and the trips they make.

    I dont have my own kitchen (which isnt really important for me as long as I can work with my pimped “Küchenzeile”) and I dont know if my generation (I am in the early 30s) will stick to this behaviour we learned from our parents but as I can see from my brother and people I know that are moving much more than my parents did, it gets more important not to have to care about every single aspect regarding your apartment (or house).
    So maybe within the next decades the relation between us and our furniture will change a little bit.

    Grüße aus Emmendingen


    • Andrew
      June 22, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

      So your mom seemed to have thought of the Kitchen as furniture. We wouldn’t think about leaving furniture in a house, but the kitchen stuff just doesn’t count as furniture in our minds.
      I think you may be right. As people move more, they will think less about that big stuff. The papers here are full of kitchens for sale, yet I can’t think about how a kitchen specially designed for one room would fit in another apartment.

  3. jigbean
    April 22, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    Although here’s another one that actually took me a few weeks to get and that still seems to me to be totally wrong. In summer you have to close the windows to keep the apartment cool. Now, you see, I’m from Ireland so if it’s warm inside, you open the windows to let some air in. And the damp that I was warned about in my rental contract (the bit about making sure to open the windows every day to air the place out etc.) didn’t have anything to do with winter, which is what I’d be used to from home. It gets damp here in summer because of the humidity. Total mind-switch required to cope.

    • Andrew
      April 24, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

      Germans and their “damp”, sheesh. I get that it is a problem, but it seems bordering on obsession. They seem to open the windows any time of the year no matter what. I like fresh air and I get that the buildings get stuffy, but still.
      Thanks for dropping by. I take it you live here in Germany?

      • Makukn
        April 24, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

        This Lüftungsquatsch and irritation came up with that EnEV (Energieeinsparverordnung), the previous stage of the EnEG (Energieeinsparungsgesetz) that’s been so very much misunderstood – and always will be *sigh*…
        Tales and myths sometimes seem to become “facts”. And then they spread all over the country.

        This seems to be like in a game we used to play as children, called “Stille Post” (Silent Mail) – 10 kids sitting in a row, the first whispers “Chocolate” in the next’s ear, and so forth and the last one has to say it loud. And then it is “Holzklotz”…

        We spend HOURS to explain that to our clients and students and always have to clear up this misinformation, even forced by the government/politicians…

        • jigbean
          April 24, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

          We used to play that. It was called Chinese Whispers where I came from.

          I have a ‘Kaltbrücke’ problem in my kitchen at the moment and when the guy came to take measurements and readings and all that he complimented me on the humidity levels. He found it amazing that someone living where I do (a fifty-year old building, all rooms facing in one direction with no possibility for a cross-wind etc.) would manage to have it so perfect. He also started to explain to me how mould forms, what condensation is etc. and I had to tell him twice that it really wasn’t necessary to explain all of that to someone who’s from Ireland. We tend to know damp and all things related. 🙂

        • Andrew
          April 26, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

          So what is the truth then? I am curious. I do like to get the stuffy air out, just have no sense of damp.

          • Makukn
            April 30, 2011 @ 11:01 am

            Sorry – I was offline for a couple of days…
            Do you have Dreh-Kipp-Fenster?
            If so, please do not leave the window “gekippt” all day. That does not work. Please open the whole window for 5 minutes twice a day – we call that Stoßlüftung.
            Try to create some draft.

            Do you leave the bathroom door open after taking a shower or a bath?
            Please do not.
            Just close the door but open the window. Completely, not gekippt. The temperature in bathrooms mostly is higher than in the other rooms.
            And as you know, warmer air is able to absorbe more water vapor than cooler air – so if you let the doors open the air will scatter itself in the whole appartment and will form on the walls with lower surface temperature, which will create a very nice biotope for mold.

            Summer heat in Germany often comes along with humidity.
            So if the building has cooled out or its substructure is of high thermal conductivity causing low surface temperatures you will have the same problem.
            So better leave your windows close during the day, lüfte very early in the morning and very late at night. The moisture and the hot air will stay out.

            Try to get onetwothree hygrometers at the Baumarkt and find your way to regulate your air moisture around 50 – 60%.

            So weit so gut. 🙂
            This in short and sketchy. If you should need more information, please let me know.

          • Andrew
            May 4, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

            Thanks for the hints. I will try to remember them this summer. I keep the windows completely closed during the windows unless it feels really stuffy. Thankfully I never have issues creating a draft. More stopping it from slamming doors.
            Germany, or at least this corner, feels really dry. I already have issues with my skin and sinuses. Though where I grew up 100% humidity for nearly 6 months of the year all day every day would be normal. I often think about leaving the bathroom door open just to try to cut the edge of the dry. Guess I shouldn’t do that. Next time I go through the Baumarkt, Ill look for one of those doohickies.

      • jigbean
        April 24, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

        Yep. Living in Düsseldorf at the moment but hating my job and wishing I could afford to pack it in and move down south to the mountains somewhere. 🙂

  4. jigbean
    April 22, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    I’ve always thought that the cultural differences when it comes to housing and construction type stuff can be best summed up with just one word: Raufaser. 🙂

    • Andrew
      April 24, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

      Ha. I know that word. The textured wallpaper stuff.

  5. Makukn
    April 21, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    Well, yes, I am – I thought it was obvious due to my mistakes and detours while explaining – and my interfering. So your question is very kind 🙂

    Yes the status part is goofy. I am lucky with most of my clients who are quite individual and mostly do have an excellent taste, even though they are frugal, but there are also those who just need to act parvenu-like…
    Enough said.

    Once again to that hygienic concept. I have always been working in the preservation programs for historic buildings. And even in the very cultivated and well-kept buildings it is awful to disgusting to remove facilities, built-ins, wallpaper, carpets, YUK!
    Even more in social housing units.
    As we say up here in Northern Germany: you can’t even eat as much as you need to through out…
    A carpeted floor after 4 years is a microcosm of unknown species.

    Maybe I should add something about plaster and drywalls. You will find the drywall concept over here in Germany, but… (There is always a but…)

    Well, the plaster can be of gypsum, or lime or cement.
    IF there is plaster. Depends on the region you live and depends on the regional dominating material of substructure (e.g. brick in regions where there is clay), etc.

    You can even get Trockenputz – very easy to cover slits, surface irregularities and blemishes.
    You stick these boards on the underground and the whole thing does not have much thickness.
    So this could be an option for closing further wire slitsing instead of “anputzen”.

    In modern buildings – no matter if residential, commercial or social – and in bigger constructions you mostly use Trockenbau indoor which is pretty much the same as drywalls.
    Plus the obligatory bureaucracy regulations in Germany, such as fire prevention, soundproofing etc.
    Over here the builders or contractors mostly mount a subconstruction out of zinced steal, implant wiring, pipes etc. and insulation and then close the walls by srewing boards on the metal section.
    The market in Germany is dominated by 2 brands of gypsum products – anything between plaster and boards for walls and ceilings. There are contractors who work with them (Maler und Trockenbauer) – and you can get them by yourself in a Baumarkt or Baustoffhandel.
    These are the brands:
    Knauf – http://www.knauf.com/www/en/index.php
    Rigips, now owned by Saint-Gobain – http://www.rigips.de/de/index.php

    Porenbeton – developed in Sweden in times of wood shortage in the 1920s – is Aercrete like this:

    Ahem, sorry – before loosing myself in lecturing I’d better stop here…

    • Andrew
      April 24, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

      Wow, what an interesting explanation of all things Putz. Thanks for that. At this point, I will be happy to get the renovations done. I am a bit tired of living in a construction site. Only a few more months hopefully.

  6. Makukn
    April 20, 2011 @ 4:00 pm


    I never thought housing would be so different between the US and Germany before I got into that business and noticed some of the issues that were most irritating to my American family and friends.

    So to me the best way seems to be to experience with open eyes, ears and mind – and to talk about these experience with others.
    We often talk about it and the extract of all these ideas that the German bringing their own kitchen and closets when they move might have something to do with:

    a) the costs
    all the appliances and kitchen systems offer a widespread variety. Cheap, simple and good in a basic standard – and on the other hand exclusive and expensive. The basic standard is so-so. I really do not know any landlord who would pay for more than that for his tenants (I’m an architect).

    So that leads us to the next point:
    b) individual lifestyle
    (do you prefer IKEA, Bulthaup or SieMatic or something in between?

    Sometimes this comes together with
    c) status symbols
    Yes, sometimes there are weird constellations like if the neighbor bought a kitchen for 20.000,– €, the next one has to have one for 25.000,– € *sigh*).

    And last but not least:
    d) hygienic issues

    Yes, to Germans it just does not not seem hygienic putting their groceries, their clothes and things where previous tenants or owners had their stuff with germs of unkown origin…
    Except some silverfish sometimes you won’t find cockroaches and bugs and vermins in German appartments and/or kitchens.

    On the other hand I understand some of the American habits. I had to move very often because of my job.
    I wish I could have just moved in and settled down without packing, bying a lot of stuff, fixing, designing etc.
    It was pure stress sometimes, as a new job always meant a lot of adjustment and orientation, a new city – very complex.
    It would have been more relaxing if there was something like basic facilities…

    Well, each has its pro and contra…

    Sorry for being meddling 🙂

    • Andrew
      April 21, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

      I can fully understand the idea that landlords would not want to spend money that renters already are ok spending. Some of it is that in the US I think we move more often and longer distances, so to move a whole kitchen would be prohibitive. And the startup time of choosing and installing stuff before you can eat is annoying. I had to wait a week for a telephone connection during one move in the US and thought it was near intolerable. Again a symptom of longer stays in each place I would guess. Once you get stuff set up in Germany, it stays that way. Again German stability shows itself.

      The status part of it is something i hadn’t considered. Wanting to have a nicer kitchen than friends and neighbors. Maybe I just don’t think like that so much, but seems kind of goofy. I get how it is possible, but then I have lived in a student town where “if it works its fine” seems to be the standard of quality. Maybe in more affluent groups it would be different.

      Now the hygiene thing is really something that would never have occurred to me. I would think that anything can be cleaned. And really if I don’t clean properly, that is far worse a thing than if someone before me didn’t, because I should have. You can’t control restaurant hygiene directly, so why worry. But I get that it could be a thing for some people.

      “Alles hat Vor und Nachteile” is one of my favorite German phrases. Thanks for the insights. Are you German then?

  7. Annie
    April 12, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    Most of this technical stuff goes over my head but I get what you are saying. It is really interesting to read about all the different situation that people are confronted with when they move abroad; things that you would never consider to be cultural differences!

    Have you finished your renovations?

    Thanks for the shout out on my post!

    • Andrew
      April 14, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

      Renovations are ongoing. Probably through the summer in one form or another. Though the first room is done for the moment.

      I never knew how deep and wide the cultural differences went either. It is a bit of an adventure every day. No problem on the post link, I liked that one. (obviously)

  8. Erica
    April 11, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    There are so many differences between cultures. My friends cannot wrap their minds around furnished apartments. It just doesn’t happen where we live.

    • Andrew
      April 12, 2011 @ 8:43 am

      Thanks for dropping by. Yeah, furnished apartments are not so common where i come from either.

  9. Jillian
    April 11, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    We noticed that houses in Central America tended to have the top floor “unfinished”. We were told this was for taxes. As long as the house wasn’t finished… ie with rebarb and concrete blocks randomly placed on the “top floor” it was much cheaper for taxes… They also covered their houses in bathroom tiles… I guess it’s cheaper?

    • Andrew
      April 11, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

      I saw that unfinished look in Greece too. We were told they don’t pay any taxes until it is “done”, so nothing is ever done, so there are never any taxes??

      Bathroom tile? For the insulation?

  10. Jeremy B
    April 11, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Interesting stuff about the structures of apartments. I have to admit I am not much of a handyman so I don’t know much about this. From my perspective, I never would have imagined looking at construction as a cultural difference. But that’s just me! 🙂

    • Andrew
      April 12, 2011 @ 8:44 am

      Thanks. I see so much as being culture now adays. I wonder if it is perhaps too much.

  11. Laura
    April 11, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    I also think it’s weird that they take everything with them b/c how likely is it that you can reuse that same size kitchen counter and such? Then of course, on the opposite end, you have places in Central and South America that sell you the house with everything including furniture. Hope your renovations went well!

    • Andrew
      April 11, 2011 @ 8:36 am

      I have read about that in Central America that the house is fully set up and sold like that. That is a bit strange too.
      I don’t know how they deal with different sized kitchens and counters. Maybe that is why there are so many in the paper to be sold.
      Renovations going fine. The carpet is getting set as I write.

    • Robert
      November 29, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

      German here.

      There are two types of kitchen here.
      One is the “Einbauküche” which would translate to “build/t-in-kitchen”. This one is custom fitted to the room and is therefore more expensive. It is somethin you usually get when you are sure that you are going to stay for a while or own the place. If you move you either sell it to the next guy or you try to somehow fit it into your new kitchen.

      The other type of kitchen is made up of single cubpoards and pantries. You can arrange, place and hang them how ever you want and are therefore flexible when you move into a diffenrently shaped or sized kitchen. The only thing you might have to do is get a new countertop which isn’t too expensive and is cut in the shop for you.

      Also: in flats that see higher fluctioation (especially in bigger cities) there are usually at least a stove and a sink (with matching cupboard around it) in the kitchen. The pricier ones also might come with a built-in kitchen.

      • Andrew
        November 29, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

        Thanks for the info. I guess a better translation of the sense of Einbaukueche is Custom Fitted Kitchen. Built in implies to me nailing it to the wall or ground somehow. That the cupboards and cooking implements somehow are fixed in place and not even something you could take with you. “Custom fitted” somehow matches your description better.

        We currently have a couple of things all standing near each other as a kitchen. When I get the money and energy to deal with it, I’ll have something built in. We don’t spend so much time in there anyway.

  12. Ali
    April 10, 2011 @ 2:38 am

    The thing about not needing the padding under the carpet never even occurred to me even after you described to me what the floor underneath was made of. Makes sense though that you wouldn’t need the pad. I still find it so odd that they take EVERYTHING when they move. Gives new meaning to the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink”….except everything including the kitchen sink since more appropriate. I guess it means you always have the exact appliances and such that you want in your house/apartment, but I just can’t imagine ripping the sink or stove out.

    • Andrew
      April 11, 2011 @ 8:34 am

      Sinks and stoves and counters are all freestanding, so there isn’t so much ripping out. I think it is mainly a money thing. If they put money into really nice stuff, they want to see the value when they happen to leave. I don’t fully get the tradition, especially when so few people have cars, though it is very common to see people selling a kitchen in the classifieds.

  13. Scott
    April 8, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    Putz is a subject I can get into.

    We had our house (actually half a duplex) built 15 years ago, and to save money we agreed to do the first floor non-bearing walls and ceilings ourselves. We had no idea what we were doing, building walls out of Porenbeton (what is that in English, gas concrete?). We ended up with a bunch of crooked walls and funny corners… nearly cost us our marriage. Then the Putz guy came, sprayed on the Putz, and everything looked fine. And still does to this day. We’d never want to do that again, though.

    Our saying from that time: Putz deckt alles. Plaster covers up everything.

    • Andrew
      April 9, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

      Wow. That is is amazing that you tried to do walls out of concrete yourselves. Non-load bearing sure, but still that is a big job. Glad your marriage survived and the house looks good.
      LEO says porous concrete which sounds a little better in English. My walls here are brick with Putz over top. Now looking at the work this guy did I am so happy to have hired him rather than try myself. I’ve been dealing with one piece or another of the renovation for a year. It should be all done by the end of summer. They get to rip the bathroom down to brick and back up to Putz.
      I do like that phrase, Plaster covers everything.

  14. Gillian @OneGiantStep
    April 8, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

    Hmmm…interesting about the things that are left and/or taken when renting or owning. I would be lost and would probably end up without a kitchen and wonder what the heck happened!! Cheers!

    • Andrew
      April 9, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah I was surprised when I looked at places that were barebone empty. You just need to add that in your calculations. Certainly some rentals and apartments have kitchens built in, but also pretty common not to.