It's May, 1933. The Haus Schminke has just been completed. We enter the property through the garden gate in Kirschallee. The architect has inserted gates for cars and walkers into the quarry stone garden wall which had already been built in 1919. The gates are painted white outside and red inside.
On the garden path bending to the right, the façade of a house is to be seen first. It has a snowy white finishing coat; its crystal contingents are reflecting in the sunlight. Red roller shutter casings and slate blue window-surrounds stand out clearly. It's an admirable contrast to the blue sky, the green plants and the black-grey of woods and shadows.
As if they were two independent buildings, the one-storey entrance area abounds with its big, square-cut windows as well as the winter garden, similar structured but furnished with cocked windows. A slanted roof covers the entrance door, overhanging the drive-up widely, which ends at a second gate leading to the adjoining factory site.
Behind the big entrance door, there is a porch, surrounded by armoured glass, leading into the house's entrance hall with a wardrobe. Detached by a curtain on the left, there is a small washroom with toilet. By further entering the room, the house opens up in three directions: The big stairs into the upper floor straight ahead, a small corridor behind the next door to the left which opens up to the house's management area or, a spacious two-storey hall angular to the right.
When entering the hall, you will be conducted by viewing the cocked stairs to the dining corner and to the living room. Looking back, you will realize the entrance hall is separated from the children's playing field by a huge built-in closet, reaching up to the ceiling. This area could be separated from the lobby by a curtain. Natural light enters via the big window overlooking the playing ground to the South and another window in the dining corner to the North.
On the left, a wooden sliding door connects the dining corner to a sideboard. On the right, there is a glass door opening to the Northern terrace and to the garden. Looking out of the picture-window, an overwhelming view into the garden and the house's northern territory unfolds.
The ample living room is separated from the entrance hall by a three-part sliding wall. It passes into an all-round paned winter garden.
The living room has got picture windows to the left and windows for sunlight penetration to its right. There are curtains of different materials and colors against the windows. The long sofa under the southern window hinges is an impressive piece of in-built furniture. A freestanding Silesian marmoreal fireplace on dark-blue cut pile floor rises before an un-separated picture window. During the day, everything seems to be in perfect harmony with the natural surroundings. By the closing the draperies in the evening, the room becomes intimate and tent-like.
The winter garden can be separated from the remaining living room by a sliding wall of glass. There is a sunken partition for flowers and a water basin. In the evening, a perforated plate on the ceiling provides indirect lighting via the use of anti-reflective metal domes and transforms the winter garden into a room which is engulfed by orange light. There are three doors leading onto the terraces; one of which is designed as another glass sliding wall.
On our tour, we leave the winter garden to come outside through the glass door to the South-East. The Southern terrace with its dark-glazed bricks offers several options: It is possible to follow the stairs up to the upper terrace in front of the parents' bedroom or, to follow the corridor along the winter garden windows to the Northern terrace or, to follow another set of stairs into the lower situated garden. There are hand rails around the upper terrace, the external staircase and the terrace in the ground floor, each reflecting a ship's railings. We'll follow the stairs down to the garden.
Viewing from the garden, the closeness of the exteriors of the building dissolves; particularly, the upper terrace, which resembles a navigation bridge. Since the basement lays open and the curved wall under the winter garden retreats, the house seems to lose ground adhesion. Viewing from the direction of the pond filled with water, the outline seems to transform itself into a hull.
From the garden corridor, via stairs of granite, we access the northern terrace. Then, the corridor in front of the living room guides us through the glass door as we enter into the dining corner of the house. Under the orange-colored ceiling of the large staircase, we move upstairs towards the upper floor tribune. The short tribune provides access to a guest room with a walk-in closet and associated bathroom on the left. On the right, it passes over into a long corridor which is equipped with clothespresses continues on to the upper terrace. The flooring is blue rubber covering with grey triangular inlays in front of the doors. There are clothes hooks and wall lamps mounted between the two doors with the bedrooms behind.
The two children's bedrooms seem to be Spartan, equipped with fold-away furniture, providing different utilization of the rooms by day and at night. There is a toilet, a shower and a bath tub between the children's and the parents' bedrooms, each separated by a door. From both bathrooms, you may directly step into the parents' bedroom.
The parents' bedroom is also used as a lounge. It is a twin room. Beds are arranged to allow parents to see each other - or not, a curtain hanging from the ceiling, running in a curved rail provides privacy when required. One bed will awaken to sunlight while the other will remain in the shadow of a freestanding dash panel. A rung ladder is mounted on the wall to the so-called "Schrankflur" (wardrobe corridor). There is a trapezoidal day bed in the bay window extending along the terrace. A window ledge, wide enough to double as a writing desk, is placed over the day bed.
Going to the right via the corridor and the lobby stairs, you reach the door which separates the housing space from utility rooms. There are doors to a small bathroom and to the housemaid's room on the left. Basement stairs are separated by a stonewall railing. There is heating, store rooms, laundry, drying room, a room for sewing, a darkroom and a box room. An iron door allows access to the garden from under the winter garden.
Climbing from the basement, back to the ground floor again, you enter into the broad kitchen above the stairs, predominantly equipped with built-in cupboards and a side board which is separated by a sliding door from the dining corner.
There is a little corridor in front of the utility rooms. Next to the closed door, there are two slim glass windows both the left and right hand sides. Those are door-high and provide natural light into the corridor. Through the door, we get to the outside. Crossing the yard to the left, we arrive back at the starting point of our tour, the car drive way entrance and the Kirschallee gate.
Adapted from Dr. Klaus, Kuervers: "Entschlüsselung eines Bildes" (Decoding a Picture), 1995