From drab to fab

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Whether you love it or hate it, moving is a big part of being a military spouse. On top of the constant moves, there are the occasional less than ideal living circumstances you’ll find in another country. Think cramped living spaces, crayon all over the walls and food built up in your dishwasher to the point where it won’t work. Yuck! Instead of focusing on how incredibly ugly your current flooring situation is or how tiny the space is, think about turning your current abode into something your family can call home for the time you’re there.  

Decorating, or even strategically covering your space is a great way to get settled in at your new location. Crystal Samuelson, fellow military spouse and interior decorator, recommends decorating your house as soon as you receive your household goods to make it feel like a home.  “Start with whatever room people are walking into first,” Samuelson says. No one is looking at the other parts of the house right away, so you have more time.

Wondering what to use to fill the space? Try greenery, which Samuelson says is not only classic but will go a long way. Other good options include candles and votives. Picture frames are also a great way to get that personal touch without purchasing new items.

While this may all sound like a great idea, moving can get expensive and filling new spaces can be tricky. Don’t sweat the cost. Samuelson suggests checking out local flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops.

A great starting place to find some quality items to spruce up your home is at Anno Domini in Nittenau.  Eva Scheingraber has owned the decorative item and antique store for seven years and takes great joy in what she’s doing. “I love all the old pieces of furniture,” says Scheingraber. “They give the home cozy warmth.”

Part of Anno Domini’s charm is the location. According to Scheingraber, the store is located in the stables, manor and cow sheds that were once part of an 18th-century count’s family estate. The shop itself has been around for 32 years, but the stables were recently renovated into showrooms by Scheingraber’s husband.

To add a little character to your home, Scheingraber recommends an “eye-catching” piece, which she describes as “a piece of furniture with character and charm, be it a dresser or glass cabinet. Something where your guests say ‘Wow, that’s great! Where did you get that?’” Scheingraber finds mixing old antique furniture with new items a wonderful combination. Anno Domini’s antique pieces generally come from Bavaria, but you can also find pieces from Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Prague. For the decorative and gift items that are not antique, Scheingraber orders from local German companies.

Today Scheingraber can look back and smile at how nervous she was when Americans would go into her store. She says her English wasn’t very good. Nowadays, over half of Anno Domini customers are Americans and Scheingraber can be found representing the shop at some of the bazaars held on military bases.

The great thing about Anno Domini is how flexible Scheingraber is about when you can shop. Normally the store is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm. However, Scheingraber is willing to open the store for a private shopping experience, complete with home cooked food, which sometimes includes goulash or cake. Appointments are needed for occasions such as these. Scheingraber accepts VAT forms and credit cards and offers furniture delivery up to a certain range. What are you waiting for? Grab your friends and head to Anno Domini to turn your home from drab to fab! 

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