DELIGHTFUL DANISH HOUSE
Stunning sea views and a house filled with natural light and bright spaces make a perfect setting for cheerful colours and design.
Jesper and Mona Bjørn Christiansen, owners of the Danish homewares and lifestyle company GreenGate, live with their three children Anna, 18, William, 15, and August, 12, and Rhodesian Ridgeback Molly in the small seaside village of Espergærde about half an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen.
“The stunning location and sea views were so striking to me when I first moved into our early 20th century home,” says Mona, director of design at GreenGate. “When I met and married Jesper in 1988, he’d lived in the house since the early ’80s.”
The property was originally a stable for horses and was much smaller in size so needed extensive work to make it the family home it is today. “A lot of the hard groundwork had been done before I came to live here,” Mona explains. “The home used to be much smaller in size, but Jesper renovated extensively in 1985, using the shell of the original building as the starting point, extending the property to double its size and adding fittings and fixtures that tied in sympathetically with the period of the house.
‘‘The garden was also very different and changed to a simple format with a generously sized lawn that Jesper constantly battles to keep nicely cut and free of toys and bicycles.” They’ve kept the old apple trees, though, and an extraordinarily beautiful rambling rose climbs the wall of the house, giving the exterior a burst of colour.
With the house much improved and Mona having moved in, both agreed that it needed to be redecorated, so they set to work combining both of their tastes. At this time, the couple were in the early stages of embarking on their new textile and homewares business, GreenGate. With their creative backgrounds — Jesper had been in advertising and Mona was an international textile agent — the house was the perfect canvas to experiment with colour and pattern for their new collections.
“The first instinct was to paint the walls in a fresh, neutral tone, including the basic furniture and shelf units,” Mona says. “The light walls opened the rooms, leaving a spacious blank canvas to play around with fabrics, accessories and smaller furniture pieces. The beauty of neutral backgrounds is the endless opportunity to change your room schemes at the drop of a hat. Both of us love the mix of old and new, although I like a more colourful universe whereas Jesper gravitates to vintage colour schemes and textures.”
This story was originally published in Australian Country issue 15.2. Subscribe to the magazine here.
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Words and styling Sian Williams
Photography Bridget Peirson