If there’s one thing Karl Lagerfeld can never be accused of, it’s idleness. The German fashion designer not only creates multiple seasonal collections for the houses of Chanel and Fendi each year, but also oversees his eponymous brand, always photographs his own campaigns and creates one-off red-carpet gowns for his celebrity muses.
It is little wonder, then, that Lagerfeld gave up his beloved Villa Jako, which is perched on the banks of the River Elbe and was his home for much of the 1990s. As he told his estate agent at Engel & Völkers: “It’s impossible to live on the Elbe. You spend all your time looking out at the river. You end up becoming lazy.” Sounds about perfect.
The hilltop residence, located in Hamburg’s affluent Blankenese district, is inspired by neo-classical Roman architecture. This is evident in a front portico manned by multiple columns, and the grand dimensions and striking symmetry of the heavy stones that dominate the building’s façade. The entrance is through an archway reminiscent of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe.
The 5,000-square-foot villa is set on 2.9 acres of lush greenery, with high-growing hedges and dense foliage. The lower level features a central atrium with an impluvium, a sunken Roman water pool, which leads to a grand living room that spans the length of the property. The first floor has a gallery, library and arched glass doorways with a landscaped terrace overlooking the placid waters. The three en-suite bedrooms on this level can be reached by walking along a hallway lined with bookshelves and velvet drapes, and each bedroom features walk-in dressing rooms. The last level has four additional bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The property was originally built in the 1920s by architect Walter Baedeker for shipping magnate Herrmann Witte, and was also home to lawyer Alfred Schüler, who named it Villa Schüler. Lagerfeld changed the name to Villa Jako, after his former partner Jacques de Bascher, when he bought the property in 1991. The designer enlisted famed art conservator Renate Kant and French decorator Andrée Putma to refurbish the interior. The home is now registered on Germany’s National Heritage list.
The living area retains several elements from Lagerfeld’s time, including the oak and marble flooring, six-metre-high coffered ceilings lined with gold leaf, and the ornate brocade fabrics, patterned rugs and wall hangings that he installed to offset the stern stone exterior.
Lagerfeld also shot the advertising campaign for his Lagerfeld Jako fragrance on the house’s columned terrace, and referenced the property in his book Ein Deutsches Haus (A German House), where he alludes, somewhat wistfully, to its too-tranquil surrounds.
Villa Jako is on the market through Engel & Volkers for €10 million (Dh42 million).
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