Julia and Lido launched Berberlin when their son Junes was still a newborn, and have raised their two babies to toddlerhood over the last year and a half. Healthy and growing would be a proper description for both, but for anyone who’s ever had or been around a toddler, you’ll know that they’re full of surprises, never stop moving, and they’re a ton of work!
Full of admiration for this lovely family and their amazing rugs, we visited the Schauenburg-Kacems in their stunning Kreuzberg abode to learn about Julia’s favorite belongings, over tea and copious amounts of cookies.
The Birth Necklace
This necklace was given to me during a baby blessing just a couple of weeks before my son Junes was born. The whole thing was a surprise and I came home to find all of my best girlfriends sitting in a circle. In addition to bringing a dish to share, they had all picked out a special stone, pearl, feather or an other little object to string onto a string, to make this necklace for my birth as a way to give me their female power and support. They went around in a circle and told me why they had chosen that particular object—it was really special! I keep the necklace hanging over my side of the bed as a reminder.
During the blessing, all of them tied a string around their wrists, and when I went into labour, my doula sent everyone a message to let them know that it was time to cut their strings to release their power and give me strength.
My friend Nathalie, who’s also a birth doula, had arranged the blessing and she did an amazing job. She had also made a beautiful flower mandala on the floor.
Did you wear the necklace throughout your birth?
Yes. At one point I got so sweaty I was afraid to ruin it, so I took it off and had it next to me. But for most of the birth, I had it on.
During the blessing, all of them [my girlfriends] tied a string around their wrists, and when I went into labour, my doula sent everyone a message to let them know that it was time to cut their strings to release their power…
I found these photos in my husband Lido’s apartment when we had just started dating. They’re photos he took from travels did as a kid, and they have moved with him and gotten pinned to the wall wherever he’s lived since, so they were full of little pin-holes, and quite faded. I really loved them and thought it would be nice to blow them up, frame them and give them to him for Christmas.
What an amazing idea! What did he say when he got them?
He was super excited. I think he felt a bit like an artist, [laughter] having ‘his’ work made such a big deal of and framed like that. What’s kind of fitting and funny is that Lido is an engineer by trade, and these two iconic buildings were built by the same engineer.
…they were full of little pin-holes, and quite faded. I really loved them and thought it would be nice to blow them up, frame them and give them to him for Christmas.
This serving tray is one of the things that I brought back with me the I left Sydney after living there for thirteen years. I obviously had a lot of things after all those years, but I had a huge, yard sale before I went back to Berlin. I did bring back quite a few things, but in hindsight I wish I had brought more. The cleansing was good, but it’s actually nice to hold on to some things as well.
The motif is kind of a cliché image of Sydney. It’s vintage and the style looks colonial, all though it might as well be from the 50s, I’m not sure.
When I lived in Sydney, one of my favorite pastimes was going to the flea markets on the weekend, and my place was full of treasures.
I did a lot of entertaining back then, and my house was always the open house, and I hosted a bunch of dinner parties. The tray reminds me of those times, of non stop eating, drinking and socializing.
I hosted a bunch of dinner parties. The tray reminds me of those times, of non stop eating, drinking and socializing.
Life is so much more pleasant if you meet people with a smile and wish them a good day!
What was your favorite part about living in Sydney?
Of course the great weather, and I loved being so close to nature, and next to the beach. I also love the fact that people there are generally so friendly and positive. Here we have the expression ‘Berliner Kalte Schnauze’ (The ‘Berliner cold snout’) in reference to the Berlin attitude. Berlin is so international, which is what I love about it, but because the city has changed so much over the past decades, some Berliners feel threatened by it, and they feel left behind. This attitude may be hard for us to understand, but for someone who’s had to leave an area they’ve lived in for 20-30 years because of gentrification, it’s hard.
The general rudeness is really unnecessary though. Life is so much more pleasant if you meet people with a smile and wish them a good day!
But back to Sydney, I miss the sunny weather and being barefoot most of the time. I miss the fluent indoor/outdoor living and never having to close my doors or windows. I also had a little garden with a veggie patch.
Sounds like a dream! Why did you leave?
Yeah, it was a dream—it was incredible. But it’s also really far from my family, and from Europe, which is also truly incredible. My reasons were also political. I got a bit upset with Australian politics and the way they go about things. Because it’s so isolated and removed from the world’s problems, no one seems to care too much—they’re just having a great time. It’s a very nice bubble to live in, but I was never one to enjoy living in a bubble for too long.
Do you ever go back?
Yes, I try to visit every other winter.
Last winter I ended up going alone with Junes, and it was quite the experience. He had just started being really active and was pulling himself up and moving around everywhere. Being in a place that’s not your own, and not being able to give your child into the care of someone else for just a moment, gets really intense. I lost several kilos in those two weeks and definitely came back with a newfound respect for single parents!
I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps one day we’ll live there again, and I’d love for my children to see where I used to live.
The Candle Holder
I bought this the last time we were in Tunisia. As a child I always said I wanted to live where there was palm trees. I love them and find them incredibly calming to be around, and I like the idea of living somewhere surrounded by palms again. I guess that’s one of the things I miss about living in Australia.
I found this brass palm tree candle holder at an antique dealer at a bazaar and I loved it. I also find it funny that it’s a candle holder—the juxtaposition of equatorial palm tree with dark, candle light—bringing a bit of tropical vibes into the dark Berlin winter.
I also find it funny that it’s a candle holder—the juxtaposition of equatorial palm tree with dark, candle light—bringing a bit of tropical vibes into the dark Berlin winter.
I picture there are so many beautiful objects there!
Yes, there is! Apart from all the textiles and rugs, there’s also so many fantastic Berber antiques, as well as delicious food and beautiful weather—it’s an amazing place! We always find new things to inspire us and think of different ways to develop our business.
I’m not going to give away too much, but the country is full of incredible artifacts—there’s incredible craftsmanship there. The country has suffered so much because of recent terrorist attacks, it has really affected the tourism industry. It feels good to do something good towards the county’s economy and to show people all the amazing things they have to offer.
Moroccan and Turkish rugs and kilims definitely tends to get more international attention. Why is that, and what makes the Tunisian rugs different from those found in their neighboring countries?
Definitely. No one really knows about Tunisian crafts.
They’re not all different because it all comes from Berber culture, which most likely originated in Tunisia. In Morocco, the government has been invested in exporting the country’s craft, which hasn’t been the case in Tunisia. Visually, Tunisian rugs are often more colorful and many have almost fluorescent colors, which are actually Berber colors. These vibrant colors are especially hot right now!
Visually, Tunisian rugs are often more colorful and many have almost fluorescent colors, which are actually Berber colors.
The Small Boucherouite
This little rug is one of my favorite objects because it kind of started the whole idea of our little business. I had only been to Tunisia once at that point, and I found this rug on a trip to Morocco. It’s a Boucherouite rug and I had never seen one like this before, and definitely never in Europe or Germany. I totally fell in love with it and thought it was amazing. I barely had any space in my luggage so I picked this really small one. This rug sparked the idea of importing rugs and we kept being reminded of it, because everyone who came to visit commented on it. We kept going, ‘maybe we should do it?’ until we eventually just did it.
What’s so special about this kind is that they’re all made from recycled materials—old clothes and rags that are not in use anymore. I love that they’re sustainable and that they’re all completely different. They all carry stories of their past lives, through strands of work shirts, bed linens or who knows, maybe a ball gown dress? They’re all cotton too, so they’re great off people don’t want wool for any reason. We just sold one to a vegan client for that reason.
The patterns also tell stories. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to meet the person who made them and they can tell us something about them. But often, we don’t know exactly who made them, especially with the old ones. But they all have beautiful stories woven into them.
That’s what I love about the rugs in general—they’re all different, unique and all hand made—and they’re never perfect, which is the best part. I think that gives them their appeal! In a world that strives for perfectionism, we have these beautiful rugs that are so warm and full of individuality and stories. They really make a house a home.
In a world that strives for perfectionism, we have these beautiful rugs that are so warm and full of individuality and stories. They really make a house a home.