sea­side sanc­tu­ary



The New Eng­land seashore never meets the Dan­ish coast­line on the world map, but it does in Julie Brandt Dam’s coun­try re­treat. The build­ing and in­te­rior de­sign con­sul­tant has clev­erly brought iconic New Eng­land and con­tem­po­rary Dan­ish styles to­gether in her beach house. Built in 2016, Julie’s week­ender is in Horn­baek, a coastal re­sort 50 kilo­me­tres north of Copen­hagen and 40 min­utes’ drive from the fam­ily’s home in Hellerup. Julie, who spent child­hood hol­i­days in the for­mer fishing vil­lage, says it was “a dream come true” when she found a block of land at Horn­baek where she could de­sign and build a sanc­tu­ary by the sea for her hus­band Thomas Dam and their three sons. With colour­ful old build­ings, a shel­tered har­bour where boats are moored, long sandy beaches and nearby wood­land, Horn­baek is con­sid­ered one of Den­mark’s most beau­ti­ful towns. It’s si­t­u­ated on the north coast of the is­land of Sjael­land and looks across Øre­sund, the small stretch of wa­ter that sep­a­rates Den­mark from Swe­den. As Horn­baek is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the Dams’ city home, it’s a place to visit for week­ends and hol­i­days through­out the year. It’s here that Julie can re­lax, away from her busy pro­fes­sional life — she runs Rue Verte, a fash­ion and home­wares store in cen­tral Copen­hagen, as well as Julie Brandt In­te­rior and De­sign. To cre­ate her sanc­tu­ary, Julie made all the ma­jor de­ci­sions for the build — from spec­i­fy­ing the vaulted wooden ceil­ings to choos­ing the calm­ing in­te­rior colours and ex­otic in­door plants. “The choice of ma­te­ri­als is very im­por­tant and I fo­cus on qual­ity and crafts­man­ship, be­cause I know how im­por­tant it is to com­bine the right ma­te­ri­als, sur­faces and struc­tures to cre­ate a har­mo­nious look,” she says. A tal­ented in­te­rior de­signer, Julie loves to com­bine an­tiques with con­tem­po­rary pieces against a colour scheme of whites, greys and greens. She at­tributes her love of blend­ing old and new to her up­bring­ing. Julie says her fash­ion de­signer par­ents, Erik and Mar­git Brandt, loved to dec­o­rate and she grew up sur­rounded by unique fur­ni­ture and an­tiques — each piece had a story to tell. When it came time to build her new home, Julie drew in­spi­ra­tion from the ar­chi­tec­ture of New Eng­land, a style >

she fell in love with when she lived in Connecticut and New York. She worked with Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect Les­lie Lorimer to in­cor­po­rate quin­tes­sen­tial New Eng­land fea­tures, such as round win­dows and shin­gles, into the de­sign of this prop­erty, which in­cludes a sep­a­rate guest an­nex. The ex­te­rior of the house is hor­i­zon­tally clad with tim­ber boards that are painted black and punc­tu­ated with white win­dow frames. And the eaves of the clas­sic New-eng­land-style shin­gled roof have been ex­tended to pro­vide a shaded outdoor area. For the in­te­rior, Julie used neu­tral tones and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als: the tim­ber floors are made from weath­ered grey oak planks, which have been oiled for easy main­te­nance, and the vaulted ceil­ing is lined with white tim­ber boards. A large fire­place set into the cen­tral wall that di­vides the liv­ing spaces warms the house and cre­ates a de­sign state­ment. Be­side the fire­place is an al­cove that’s used to store cut logs, while the other side of the wall is inset with shelves that are used to dis­play books and ob­jects. In ad­di­tion to the fire­place, the house has un­der-floor heat­ing for year-round com­fort. Mak­ing the house warm and wel­com­ing was vi­tal so that the fam­ily can en­joy vis­it­ing in win­ter as well as sum­mer. “You need to get warm af­ter long walks by the sea,” says Julie with a laugh. When it came time to paint the in­te­rior, Julie mixed her own shades, se­lect­ing colours and tones to en­hance the nat­u­ral light and shade that falls on the walls. She says it’s im­por­tant to know how the light falls, and whether it is com­ing from the north or south, be­fore choos­ing paint colours. Her ad­vice is to paint a test area be­fore mak­ing the fi­nal de­ci­sion, as se­lect­ing the right shade is es­sen­tial to cre­at­ing the over­all look. Along with the fur­ni­ture and fit­tings, many of the dec­o­ra­tive pieces are from Julie’s store, Rue Verte, and in­clude items from her Con­spirit col­lec­tion. The gar­den too has a unique style but is de­lib­er­ately low main­te­nance. “When you are off work and want to re­lax, the choice of ma­te­ri­als out­doors is just as im­por­tant as in­side,” Julie says. As a re­sult, she dis­pensed with the usual sea­side choices of wooden decks and flower-filled beds, and opted for a wide stone ter­race and pot­ted plants in wicker bas­kets. To draw the boys — big and small — out­side, the gar­den was also de­signed to in­clude a camp­fire spot that pro­vides hours of fam­ily fun. It seems it’s not just the in­te­rior that has ben­e­fited from Julie’s thought­ful ap­proach, which com­bines style and func­tion­al­ity. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit

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