Villa Kampffmeyer is a place where natural beauty, interesting architecture and German history meet.
The 15,000-square-foot mansion on a lake in Potsdam, about 12 miles from Berlin, was listed this week for €23 million (US$25.7 million). Built in 1924, the two-acre property has views of two Prussian castles, as well as of the water. It was also once home to part of the Berlin Wall and is close to the Glienicke Bridge, which recently was featured in the Tom Hanks-starring movie “Bridge of Spies.”
Looking at the house and grounds, there’s a sense of “this imperial history and grandness,” said the current owner, Sebastian Varga von Kibed, a 45-year-old former investment banker.
Mr. von Kibed noted the proximity of the lake, as well as Babelsberg Castle, built for Emperor Wilhelm I in 1849, and Glienicke Palace, a hunting lodge built for Prince Carl of Prussia in 1826. These palaces are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Then there’s the reminder of what German history is all about,” he said.
During World War II the gardens were “razed to the ground,” he added, so soldiers could monitor the area around the wall. Glienicke Bridge, where spies were exchanged during the war and which was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film starring Mr. Hanks, is also part of that dark history.
Now Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in Europe, Mr. von Kibed said, which is one of the things that attracted him to this home. He purchased the estate in 2012, and has since made many updates to the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion. It was a “multi-million renovation process,” he said.
He brought in two interior designers to help take Villa Kampffmeyer back to how it looked “at the height of its glory days,” he said.
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That included unearthing and restoring hidden architectural details, like inlays in the flooring and original molding, as well as getting the color schemes and wall treatments correct. “We were re-creating the space as it would have been,” Mr. von Kibed said.
The villa’s facade mixes neoclassical and baroque styles, with arched windows and a cupola on the south-facing side. The entrance portico has views of the water and is surrounded by sculptures of the Three Graces and the Greek god, Mercury, all by artist Ernst Vogel, according to the listing.
Inside, the ground floor has several reception areas, including the great hall. Silk wall hangings were made especially in Vienna for the room, a copy of those made for official castles, according to Mr. von Kibed.
There’s also a library, with an antique stone fireplace and panel parquet flooring, a formal dining room with four restored cherry wood display cases, and a music room. The kitchen has been fully modernized by Bulthaup, with granite countertops and classic mosaic tiles. There’s also a breakfast nook, according to the listing.
Upstairs, Mr. von Kibed re-created what he calls the “panorama” room. “It had been broken up into three or four tiny rooms,” he said. Now it has a “battery of windows” overlooking the lake and the Glienicke Bridge.
The master bedroom boasts views of the gardens framed by bow windows, plus a dressing room with handmade rosewood cabinets. The master bathroom has original wall tiles and Belgian granite floor tiles, the listing said. An adjacent study has views of the castles from its balcony and windows.
A guest wing offers additional bedrooms with two bathrooms, one of them en-suite. There’s also the golden bathroom, featuring gold-colored wall hangings.
Landscaped gardens surround the home, and there are several patios and terraces throughout. The basement area offers a large apartment for staff, and plans for additional living space have been developed for the top floor.
Mr. von Kibed is based in London and said he and his family don’t use the villa nearly enough. Plus, the market in Berlin is supportive.
“It’s really a house for entertaining,” he said. “There’s only a handful of comparable properties. It’s rare to see one of this quality and this caliber on the market.”
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