Today, this last day of the official summer month, how do we all feel about that? Not sure what to feel, I am so not ready for long pants and jackets again, unfortunately the weather forecasts says it’s time to unpack it all again. My return to LA end of October keeps me warm. Before I jump back out on the balcony to enjoy those last rays of sun today, I am sharing another home tour from Copenhagen with you. I have been following Alek for a while, his sense for interior is spot on, which makes his home über cool. Though it’s one of those traditional smaller Copenhagen apartments, he has really managed to make the most of it, with a lot of white walls (and floors), but breaking all the whiteness with an Ikea oak kitchen and a massive mural. Let’s explore and find about Alek (and his very strong boyfriend) in my interview.
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Alek. I am 35 years old and live at Ydre Nørrebro. I live with my boyfriend Chris, who I have been with for 6 years. I work as Digital Art Director at Egmont Publishing.
When I’m not working, I spend time with friends and family. I love good coffee and I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to coffee brewing. In addition, as can be seen in our home, I harbor a passion for good design, with a great love for wood furniture. It’s an interest I’ve had as long as I can remember.
Who lives in the apartment?
My boyfriend Chris and I.
When and why did you move here?
I moved into the apartment in 2006. Back then, it was an apartment I rented. Chris moved in 2014 and in 2016 we had the fortunate opportunity to buy it.
What changes did you make before moving in?
The first 10 years it was a rental, so it was not really possible to change anything. The apartment had been renovated in 1996, in the style that was fashionable at the time without the great consideration of the architecture and style of the building.
The way we live today, has changed a lot since the property was built in 1935. Originally it was a classic floor plan with a living room, small kitchen and a large bedroom. To accommodate our needs, we choose to do a large remodel when we were finally able to buy it. We knocked down a wall between the kitchen and bedroom and redid the floor plan. By including half of the old bedroom, we were able to create a large dining kitchen, a room where the sun flows in all morning. We love our new space! It is so “hyggeligt” and it allows us to be with our guests, without having to step aside while cooking. The bedroom is cozy and still have daylight shining in through our vintage factory window in the morning as you wake.
In addition to the new kitchen and bedroom, we also renovated the bathroom. It was quite a challenge as the space is only 2 sqm (22 sq ft.). It was really necessary to think about compact, smart solutions and at the same time optimize the space. Small bathrooms tend to exude only practicality. We didn’t want that!
We sought inspiration amongst restrooms around our favorite Copenhagen restaurants. After a lot of thought and good food, we ended up going with a combination of white tiles and the raw micro-cement on the wall and floor. A black-painted ceiling, brass details and smart lighting to add a contrast to the walls and floors and to create a feeling of luxury.
What didn’t you want to change?
We wanted to preserve the original details, the small charms, that gives homage to the style and age of the building. It has been things like preserving an old vent in the kitchen, that was hidden under many layers of paint. Decoration moldings in the hallway. Restoring the original doors by hunting the property’s attics and basements to find original door handles.
What objects hold a special meaning for you?
It must be my handmade ceramics from my native island – Bornholm. The ceramics from Lov i Listed is inspired by the wild nature on the island and have an amazing tactility and texture that I love.
How do you choose which items enter your home?
When I find new things for the apartment, I choose a lot with my heart. In addition, it is really important to me that the things that I buy are of good quality and made to last for many years.
How has your style evolved over the years?
It hasn’t changed that much. The good thing about buying furniture that costs a little more, is that our home is developing at a slower pace. As you have to save up for something new, it is guaranteed that it is more well-considered and a good fit.
Do you always agree on the interior? If not, how do you go about choosing one over the other?
Overall, we pretty much agree on materials and style. However, it’s no secret that interior is more my passion than Chris’s. However – it is a shared home and our base. Therefore, Chris’s opinion is always important to me in the decision makings concerning our home. When we come to a disagreement, we’re pretty good at compromising and finding a solution we are both happy with. To that end I’m lucky to have a man that loves me and sees how interior design makes me smile, so rarely we end up disagreeing.
Which materials are important to you?
Natural materials – I especially love wooden furniture made to last.
When are you happy at home?
I’m happiest, when sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast with Chris.
What is your favorite spot in the apartment?
I have to say the kitchen again. There is something very special about having designed and built it ourselves. All the hard work made it the room we dreamed of. How can we not love these absolutely amazing square meters?
What do you think makes a welcoming home?
That it emits the persons living there, that you can see and feel who lives there. A personal style and small gimmicks create a warm and rememberable home.
What’s your favorite oldest interior piece and what’s your favorite latest purchase?
My 7 series Arne Jacobsen chairs. The chairs were my first big furniture investment. I was 19 when I bought them, and I am just as happy with them now as I were back then. I am still very fascinated by their design and manufacturing method.
The latest purchase is the “Soft Chair” from the new Danish brand TAKT. I love their new innovative way of making sustainable and beautiful furniture.
Which interior piece are your dreaming about owning?
No doubt about that! It would have to be the “Børge Mogensen no 1 sofa”. It is a simple, beautiful and comfortable sofa that would be a great addition to our home.
If you could have any designer or architect over for dinner (dead or alive) who would you invite?
That’s a tough one… It would have to be Poul Henningsen. His work on light design and his reflections on how society should be was and still is very inspiring.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
It would probably be one of the other Scandinavian countries. I think our humanistic approach to how society should be built, and our way of life is the most important thing. Secondly our nature, the ever-changing seasons and wonderful light makes it absolutely fantastic to live here in the North.
Next travel destination?
It will probably be somewhere in Denmark. A weekend at the rebuilt Svinkløv seaside hotel would be an amazing experience to share with Chris. We both have a great love for the sights and stories hiding around, so we’re not nearly done exploring Denmark.
Favorite travel destination?
Bornholm! There are so many exciting new things happening on the island – especially on the food scene. I love the beaches, the small coastal towns and the outstanding nature of the island.
If someone is visiting Copenhagen for the first time, which places would you recommend?
Obviously, it would be to take them out and explore the city by bicycle. It’s something very special about Copenhagen and something I think we should be proud of.
I would take them out for a swim in the harbor. Ride around the various neighborhoods for coffee and end the day at Reffen with a laid back atmosphere, delicious food, drinking cold beer from Mikkeller overlooking the water, while the sun sets over the city.