Natalia Burro spent two years searching for the ideal two-room apartment in the Canton of Zurich. Now she owns her own home and is in the midst of redesigning her apartment in a self-determined manner to her liking. Find out what she is learning from the conversion and why she made a dream come true with two sockets.
Natalia Burro’s apartment has not yet been completely renovated. The kitchen still consists of a freestanding fridge and a converted shelf on top of which stand a kettle and an electric hob. The bathroom doesn’t have a sink yet. The spacious conservatory is currently being used for DIY projects. And if you ask Natalia about her favourite place in the apartment, she mentions the room that is almost finished: the bedroom. This is where the new apartment owner has made a dream come true: «Sockets just above the two bedside tables, with USB ports, just like in a hotel.»
Natalia is still in the middle of the renovation process. The kitchen is still missing and is currently an improvised arrangement with a shelf and fridge.
Natalia Burro loves her new bedroom.
Natalia does a lot of things in her apartment herself; if she doesn’t like the colour of a piece of furniture, she paints it herself in the colour that fits her colour concept.
Natalia Burro knows what she wants, that's immediately clear: «I won’t let anyone interfere.» If a piece of furniture has the wrong colour, she paints it without further ado with the remaining wall paint. The result is an apartment in which nothing is left to chance and which is an image of its owner.
If Natalia had to give her style of living a name, it would be «modern with classic elements,» which is how her style of dress could be described. In fact, the apartment feels like the room of a boutique hotel: stylish, tidy, perfectly colour-coordinated – even the light switches and door handles.
A two-room apartment with many extras
Natalia Burro travelled around the Canton of Zurich for two years looking at two-room apartments. That’s how she learnt what’s important to her and where she doesn’t want to compromise. When she entered the ground-floor apartment in Fehraltorf for the first time, she knew immediately that it ticked a lot of boxes: «It may be a small two-room apartment, but it has a lot of extras. It’s actually a two-room apartment plus.» What she means by this: the large garden area, the spacious conservatory, an underground parking space, its own laundry room, shopping facilities and the train station within walking distance and Zurich Stadelhofen train station just 25 minutes away. «I made an offer right away,» she says with a smile.
It’s not a matter of course that Natalia Burro smiles today and presents her apartment with pride and joy. The reason why she is implementing this housing project on her own is a sad one. But one she does not want to hide, because it belongs to her history and to the history of the apartment. Six months ago, Natalia Burro’s life partner died suddenly. «I needed perspective. If you like, this apartment is my therapy.» The couple often talked about home ownership, Natalia knows his tastes and it’s important to her that his memory finds a place in the apartment. Today Natalia says: «This apartment brought me back to life. There was not only pain and grief, but also creativity. That saved me.»
Even if the bathroom will not be finished for a long time, the decoration is already in place.
Natalia has taste, as she proves with her wardrobe.
Even the whisk is colour-matched to the cutlery.
If you give good advice, you do a good job
Anyone who has already (re)constructed knows: Delays are par for the course. For Natalia, too. After moving in, she was not allowed to enter her bathroom for several days due to the flooring. She used a hose in the laundry room to set up an improvised shower, but she couldn’t always do without a toilet. Then she had to go to the hotel in the village. «I was so looking forward to the shower being completed. It’s such a luxury to be able to shower at home.»
Moving in on a construction site also means being in relatively close contact with the construction workers. In the planning stage Natalia instinctively chose the required companies not only on the basis of the quotation. The personal touch and attention to detail were also important to her. The advice you receive clearly shows who works professionally. Moreover, «Mistakes happen when renovating anyway. It’s important to resolve conflicts together and professionally.»
The apartment is intended for everyday life
Because Natalia and her partner had already planned to buy property, she already had the paperwork for a mortgage. She knew roughly the price range in which she could operate. When she had decided on the apartment in Fehraltorf, she went to her local bank. Financing was arranged in the traditional way: 20% equity, 80% mortgage.
For Natalia, the most important part of the entire project is the planning. If she only had to give one renovation tip, it would be this: «Create a list of your daily routine and describe precisely which room should occupy which functions. How many visitors are you expecting? Where do you charge your phone at night? What do you do on the weekend?» Only with this forward-looking planning can one be sure that electric sockets, furniture and lighting are ultimately in the best place. And that the right compromises are made, because that's part of the whole process.
Speaking of compromises: in her two-room apartment, Natalia decided not to have a dining table. Instead, she has a kitchen island that performs several functions: «Drinking, cooking, eating, watching TV – I love that so much life can happen around the island.» By the way, there is still a dining table – in the conservatory.
The most important renovation tips from Natalia Burro
- Choose a style and a matching colour concept. Choose the basic colours such as black, brown, white or grey. And then add an accent colour.
- Create a list of your daily routine and describe precisely which room should occupy which functions.
- Good tradesmen are important. You can tell whether they are good from the professionalism and advice they provide when drawing up a quotation. Don’t overlook these factors when choosing tradesmen.
When Natalia Burro is not organising an apartment renovation, she works as a dental hygienist in Zurich. The 80-percent workload allows her to take care of the renovation in her free time. In addition, she is currently completing an interior design course. She chose her own apartment as a project.
Images: Philip Brand, Text: Gabriella Alvarez-Hummel
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