Home Tour with Nadja Kern Mejer in North Zealand, Denmark

It was love at first sight when Nadja and her husband Lars saw the modernistic 1960s Jørgen Kastholm villa. It needed a lot of love, but luckily, they saw the potential and started the long process of remodeling with a clear view of keeping it as close to the original ideas. The house itself is very open and reminds me of the mid-century houses I see all the time in LA and Palm Springs. Luckily, the family also loves Kastholm’s furniture design. I mean, it would almost be weird living in a house, where the designer used to design furniture from the basement, and not own pieces of his. Keep reading for the very interesting interview with Nadja and of course a lot of pictures from my visit.

Please introduce yourself?

I’m Nadja and I live in furniture designer Jørgen Kastholm’s house from 1968 with my family. I have a constant growing interest for design and architecture, and If I was really rich my dream would be to buy old houses and apartments and renovate them with my husband. Since I’m not quite there yet I’m doing my thing as a communications manager in a consulting engineering firm, picking up the kids early and try to do a lot in a slow pace during the weekends.

Who lives in the house?

Myself, my husband Lars, our 3-year-old daughter Thuja and 1-year-old son Eik.

When and why did you move here?

We moved here two years ago from Vesterbro, Copenhagen. We actually moved because of this house. I wasn’t really done with the city until my husband one evening showed me the sales presentation. I was sold, and so was the house.

What changes did you make before moving in?

Everything. Floors, walls, ceiling, the roof, kitchen, bathrooms, windows – everything but the special brick walls and fireplace have been changed.

What didn’t you want to change?

We didn’t want to change that much. I thought the house was perfect. But it turned out the condition of the house gave us no choice but to fix almost everything. We felt it was important to keep some of the original details. The 60s and Jørgen Kastholm has been our anchor along with our own style throughout the renovation and decoration.

What objects hold a special meaning for you?

So many that you might think I dilute the term ‘special meaning’.  But if I should pinpoint some of them it’s the sculpture by Josefine Winding. I think she is so talented, and I have a lot of her work on my wish list.

The paintings of my aunt made by Alan Tobias (hanging behind the piano and above the daybed). They belonged to my grandad, but he gave them to me even though they have followed him since the late 60’s because he knew I loved them. That means a lot to me.

Last but not least: the grasshopper by Jørgen Kastholm and Preben Fabricius. This was the first Kastholm-design we decided to get. I had no idea that this chair was only the beginning of what could be a showroom of designs made by Kastholm – I guess we are meant for this house.

How do you choose which items enter your home?

I don’t mind paying more for great design and good quality. Quality is many times the same thing as sustainability and we often speak of our purchases as an investment – mainly for our kids. We also promised each other not to make typical ‘safe’ choices because they bore us too fast.

How has your style evolved over the years?

I think we found our style in this house. We were a lot more prone to follow the trends when we lived in our old apartment. Our style has become more ours. Our journey from Nordic minimalism to a more international mid-century colorful feeling.

Which materials are important to you?

Natural materials. Our house is filled with wood, limestones and big windows where nature is just outside.

When are you happy at home?

When my husband plays the piano and I dance around with the kids – that is pure happiness too me.

What is your favorite spot in the house?

Sitting in the grasshopper – especially if the weather is rough outside. The feeling of being so close to nature is one of the best things in this house.

What do you think makes a welcoming home?

The people living in it. My grandmother had the most welcoming home. Every guest got the feeling of being special and expected. The dinner was ready – or as close to ready as it could be, there was music and the house was lit with candles and lamps in such a beautiful way. The whole atmosphere of her home was the definition of welcoming.

What’s your favorite oldest interior piece and what’s your favorite latest purchase?

The paintings of my aunt in our living room. They are from the late 60’s and was painted by her former husband Alan Tobias when they lived in New York. They were a part of his exhibition on Madison Avenue. I think they are beautiful and a great match for our house.

The newest must be our Montana system in the living room. It changed the entire feeling of the room in a way I didn’t expect, but really like.

Which interior piece are your dreaming about owning?

The skater chair by Jørgen Kastholm in grey fabric is way up on our wish list and so are the indoor/outdoor collection by Bodil Kjær.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

In the curvy hills of Tuscany.

Next travel destination?

We’re going skiing with some good friends, but we haven’t decided where yet. Our summer plans however are in southern France. I want to stay at Ferme le Pavillon, a small beautiful bed and breakfast that some of my friends has started.

Favorite travel destination?

Tuscany and Mallorca. But also, Australia, New York and Bali. And Edinburgh. I guess traveling in general is a bigger favorite than a given destination.

If someone is visiting Copenhagen for the first time, which places would you recommend?

Have your lunch at Kafeteria (The National Gallery’s eatery). It is Danh Vo who is behind the interior design and you can enjoy both Isam Noguchi, Enzo Maris and Danish design classics while having a really nice lunch.

If you want to go shopping, I recommend The Paustian Shop. This beautiful design universe was once an old bank and the renovation is done with perfection if you ask me. A pretty place where you can look at design classics too. If original vintage furniture is more appealing, you should visit Klassik – especially because you can find some great Kastholm pieces too. (and if you’re more hungry this is right next to Restaurant Palægade where you get the best typical Danish lunch in town).

For dinner I’ll recommend either Folkehuset Absalon or Kadeau (they are very far from each other on the price scale). Folkehuset Absalon is vibrant and different. It’s an old church where the walls now are painted by Tal R, and the community is prioritized through community eating at a low cost. You don’t get a plate, but you share the food at the table.

Kadeau is one of my favorite restaurants. The decor is mainly made of wood. The open kitchen is handcrafted, busy and beautiful.

…I can also recommend cultural sights its just – I really like food.

3 favorite Instagrammers

@celinehallas: Her apartment is eclectic with a rainbow of colors. She is true to her style, you don’t get all the latest trends here – she is beyond that, and that inspires me. I really like when people find the core of their style and just go with it, just like Céline does.

@theresesennerholt: I want to live inside her account! She has a superior eye for aesthetics and all of her posts are small pieces of art.

@midcenturyhome: It’s no secret I like the midcentury design style and architecture and this profile really know how to deliver beautiful homes.

All photos taken by Allan Torp

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