19. Buying an Atelier Apartment in Berlin

Buying an atelier apartment in Berlin: Key facts at a glance

What exactly is an atelier apartment?

An atelier apartment is a wide and airy one-room apartment similar to a loft but used primarily as a studio workspace by artists. As a prospective buyer, you should first ask yourself: do I want to use this space only as a place to work, or also as a place to live?

In answering that question, consider the following:

  1. If artistic production is not your full-time job, a smaller, more affordable atelier may be sufficient – that is, one located outside your home. If, on the other hand, you’re a full-time professional artist with regular income and you’ve been dreaming of a studio with integrated living space, an atelier apartment may be the optimal solution.
  2. What kind of art is being created? Different types of artists have different needs. A sculptor who works with large stone, for example, will need quite a bit more space than a classical canvas artist, maybe even a whole separate workroom.

Purchasing an atelier apartment in Berlin: Pros and cons at a glance

Pros

Ideal conditions for artists

As with a loft, the single greatest advantage of an atelier apartment is that it consists of one big open space, a place to let your creativity run free. Its spaciousness also means you can work on larger canvases, or even larger sculptures, with ample storage space for brushes, tools, and finished artworks. And since atelier apartments tend to feature floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll enjoy ideal lighting conditions for most artistic production.

Live and work under a single roof

Inspiration can come at unexpected moments – in the shower, say, or that dreamy space between sleeping and waking. If you’re an artist, living in an atelier apartment means you can run with new ideas quickly and immediately, in a space where daily living and creative production are combined. By purchasing an atelier apartment, you ensure smooth creative processes and workflows, so that no idea gets lost en route from home to studio. On top of that, you’ll have plenty of extra time on your hands for creative breaks on the sofa!

Cons

Higher costs

If you’re thinking of buying an atelier apartment, you should anticipate higher costs compared to standard apartments, which tend to have less generous surface areas. The relatively large size of an atelier apartment will make itself felt not only in the purchase price, but also in additional costs. Another important factor to consider is the condition of the space. Will it need significant refurbishment or renovations? Often, atelier apartments were not previously used for residential purposes; their walls may still be raw, and they may lack water and gas connections, which will need to be installed. These costs can add up quickly.

 Long-term commitment  

By purchasing an atelier apartment, you make a certain commitment to the space and location. For artists, who often lead peripatetic lifestyles, this can become a burden over time. While Berlin certainly offers a great variety of art scenes, personal tastes can change quickly; suddenly, the environment no longer fits your needs. The potential for this to happen is definitely something to think about before purchasing.

Buying an atelier apartment: what to keep in mind

If you’re considering buying an atelier apartment, you should ask yourself the following questions when searching for an appropriate property:

Do I also want to use the atelier as an exhibition space?

If the atelier is meant to attract visitors, particular attention must be paid to location and accessibility. You’ll also need to think about your privacy. The fact that living and working space is combined suddenly becomes a bit thornier. Just how much of your personal living space are you willing to reveal?

 Is the apartment on the ground floor? If not, is there a lift?

As an artist, you likely need a wide range of materials, no matter your medium. It’s thus essential to think about how – and how easily – you’ll get the tools you need into your atelier apartment. Potential buyers should definitely ask themselves whether the availability of a large lift is a deal breaker.

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