NEW ENGLAND ARCHITECTURE AND DANISH DESIGN COMBINE TO CREATE A STYLISH COASTAL RETREAT.
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 juliebrandt.dk