Category Archives: Denmark

Family home in Copenhagen, Easter holidays Scrabble standoff

A superb start to the Easter school holidays, we had friends staying for two nights, very special people – we go back years and years, we don’t meet up as often as we would like but when we do it’s like we have never been apart. One of the reasons why we fell in love with our house when we first saw it was that we can double the numbers and still live comfortably.  Me and husband both have family and friends living far and away and when everyone has multiplied with several kids and dogs, we wanted a house that can store that extra volume, extra chaos, and have a bit of spare capacity for the inevitable game of midnight musical beds (small children ending up in parents’ beds, parents ending up anywhere between living room sofas and dog beds). We hiked en famille to the top of the steep hill overlooking Bigbury Bay, we cooked, we drank wine, we fell asleep on the sofas in front of the fire an hour after the kids had gone to bed, which is about the same time we used to leave the house to go out to bars and clubs back in the day. We sent our friends off on their drive home and finished the Saturday with a Scrabble tournament, and I wiped the floor with my opponents – husband and my 6-year old son. There was a bit of a disagreement regarding whether American English spelling was accepted, but I stood my ground, to ferocious accusations of cheating. I was crowned champion (deservedly). Life is good.

I saw this home featured in Bo Bedre, a house in Copenhagen designed for a family of four,  and thought that this would be great for gatherings. Space for children to run around, space to sit down with a cup of tea and a book safe in the knowledge that you can be together and be on your own at the same time. I love the black kitchen, let’s move away from the all-white interiors, my Nordic brothers and sisters.

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Olafur Eliasson @ ARoS

I was woken up at 5am this morning by our eldest, he does not sleep much and when he is up, the day starts right there. We decided to remove him from a school that had failed him and now he is home educated while we figure out where to go and what to do, so we are literally living in each others pockets. In the small hours before everyone else wakes up, there is plenty of time to ponder and worry.

Then an email lands into my inbox which may change everything. After the rainiest year since records began here in Devon, suddenly there it is, a rainbow.

Olafur Eliasson is one of my favourite artists, he creates spectacular large scale installations which you experience by being inside them. He has built a circular 150 metre long walkway above the rooftop of ARoS, the museum of modern art in Aarhus. You can walk along the panoramic three metre wide walkway and see the entire city and bay through the colours of the rainbow.

Eliasson describes his project:

”Your rainbow panorama enters into a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what is already given, namely views of the city. I have created a space which virtually erases the boundaries between inside and outside – where people are a little unsure as to whether you have stepped into a work or into part of the museum. This uncertainty is important to me because it encourages people to think and sense beyond the dimensions, they are used to commit themselves in.”

Life is weird sometimes. And Rainbow School would be a good name for a brand new school.

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Oh my oyoy

I have a serious accessory crush on Danish design brand OYOY. They make functional and good quality home accessories, combining classic and simple form with beautiful colours and prints. Now I want a complete spring revamp of the entire family home. The sun is out! We need colour! The catalogue is beautifully styled and photographed as well, take a look.

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Hotel Arctic, Ilulissat, Greenland

Something happened today that has never happened before in my 19 years in England. I got to dig my car out of a pile of snow where it had got stuck returning home from the school run. It had snowed a teeny tiny bit overnight, merely a dusting, but the snow came with a fierce, howling north-easterly wind, the kind we get here in Devon which rattles the windows and whistles in the chimney breast. The wind funnels through the valleys, and this morning it had created snowdrift at the entrance of the single-track lane leading down to our village. I got stuck, and I had to run home, fetch a shovel, and run back and start shoveling snow in my Bergans down jacket. Snow was swirling all around us, it was clearly the most fun I have had in Devon in months, and I thought of Greenland.

I went to Greenland in April 2011 with husband to cross the ice cap on kites and skis, a refreshing 1500 kilometre trek. Greenland has stayed with me ever since, and it’s the one place on this earth to where I feel compelled to return. We started our trip in Ilulissat on the west coast, and we got to spend a week there before our flight to the ice. The town works its magic from the moment you step off the plane in the tiny airport: the incredible light of the Arctic sun, the pale colours of snow, ice and sky contrasted with the bright coloured wooden houses dotted all over the icy Disko Bay. The constant eerie but strangely comforting soundtrack of sledge dogs howling.

Greenlanders are fiercely proud of their heritage, the local Greenlandic language is the first official language and widely spoken and used everywhere. Many communities still earn their livelihood from hunting, and in the winter dogs and sledges are the main method of transport from one town to another as there are no roads. Although we spent most of our trip in a tent in -35C, this is not necessary. If expedition rations and wearing one pair of thermal underwear for days on end is not your thing, there is always Hotel Arctic.

Hotel Arctic is the world’s northernmost design heaven, a modern luxury hotel overlooking the icebergs floating in Disko Bay. We ate our way through the superb menu in the restaurant, featuring halibut, musk ox, whale and local vegetables. The view is breathtaking, majestic icebergs floating by and everything in the landscape is the coloured with the most delicate pale blue grey hues, the huge panoramic windows ensure you don’t miss a thing.  Inside it’s all pared down ascetic minimalism, art from local artists and the unmistakably Danish design aesthetic. From May to October you can also stay in their aluminum two-person igloo huts overlooking the bay.

Greenland lefts its mark on me, quite literally, and I left part of me in Greenland, also quite literally, a finger tip to be precise – we did not finish our expedition because of severe frostbite (mine) which necessitated an evacuation off the ice. The Arctic is unforgiving, humbling, violent and beautiful.

Photos: Heidi Clover, Hotel Arctic

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House in Humblebaek, Denmark

I had to remind myself to breathe when I spotted this house in the Australian magazine Est. Designed by the Copenhagen firm Norm Architects to accommodate the needs of a working artist, the house had to work as a studio as well as a home, maximise natural light and provide a sanctuary for inspiration and creativity. The old farm workers house was found in the open fields behind the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek (serendipitous?), and the reconstruction utilised a lot of the existing raw materials: old wooden beams, brick walls and steel supports.

I think the result is breathtaking. I love the floor, it was made by roughly sanding a concrete base and treating it with shiny epoxy, such beautiful colours and shades. The perfect backdrop for those paintings.

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Apartment in Copenhagen

We made to Friday largely unscathed, husband returned from a week in Denmark and I was treated to an hour of glorious sunshine at the beach, it was so warm that I decided to unwrap all the way to my t-shirt, kick off my boots and feel the sand between my toes. The sun felt warm on my skin, the sea was beautiful and wild and glimmering in the sunlight. A decent cup of coffee from the coffee van in the car park, new issue of Kinfolk mag and only my two dogs for company. Such a perfect afternoon. The lanes are already full of daffodils and snowdrops, we are nearly at the end of another winter.

Here is a delicious apartment in Copenhagen, renovated from an old office block. I do love a bit of old beam, I do. Spot the gorgeous Sigurd Ressel Falcon chair in the living room. The yellow lamp over the kitchen sink is by Muuto.

Styling by Tami Christiansen, via Bolig Magasinet.

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Townhouse in Klampenborg, Denmark

This is a house that has been drooled over on many design blogs, for a reason: it is a stunning combination of antique and modern all in a beautiful palette of pastel colours and caramel toned leather. The old townhouse belonging to the Jacob Holm, CEO of the Danish furniture company Fritz Hansen, and his family, is almost like a gallery with its original wood panelling on the walls, parquet floors, high ceilings and those amazing windows. I love the original kagelugn (tiled round wood stove) in the corner. And every room is literally dripping with iconic Scandinavian mid-century design classics, you can name drop your way through the house: there’s another Poul Kjaerholm there, a couple of Arne Jacobsens here… but it still looks so homely (It’s the books. Seriously, I want to get a dinner party invitation and snoop through those book shelves).  It is lived in, comfortable, human. Art, beauty and function remixed. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Via French By Design

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