whiter shade of pale

By choos­ing a neu­tral colour scheme, Bir­gitte Schar­ling was able to mix iconic de­sign clas­sics with high-street finds

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture juliet BEN­NING pho­tog­ra­phy RETROVILLA / TIA BORGSMIDT

Iconic de­sign clas­sics shine against a neu­tral back­drop in this Dan­ish 1940s townhouse

Bir­gitte and Mugge Schar­ling were un­daunted by the diminu­tive size of the Dan­ish prop­erty that was to be­come their first fam­ily home. Its al­lure, lo­cated just 30km from Copen­hagen and within easy walk­ing dis­tance of the his­toric town of Hillerød and the sur­round­ing coun­try­side, proved ir­re­sistible. ‘ We knew that it was far too small for four peo­ple, but we sim­ply fell in love with it,’ says Bir­gitte nos­tal­gi­cally.

Twenty years ago, the house was a very dif­fer­ent prospect to the one it is now, but the cou­ple planned to ex­tend it as their fam­ily grew. Ac­com­pa­nied by their then young chil­dren, Amanda and Milla, now 22 and 20, the Schar­lings lived in the house for two years be­fore mak­ing any changes. This en­abled them to have a full un­der­stand­ing of their fu­ture needs. ‘It was a one-storey build­ing, so we added an­other level, just for the girls,’ ex­plains Bir­gitte. ‘It has two bed­rooms, a small cloak­room and a sit­ting room.’ On the ground floor, the kitchen-diner was ex­panded to cre­ate a large, open space.

‘Win­ters can be very long and dark in Den­mark,’ says Bir­gitte, ‘so it’s im­por­tant to bring in as much light as pos­si­ble, which we did by fit­ting more glaz­ing. We like the con­nec­tion this has given us to the gar­den, even though we’re not par­tic­u­larly green fin­gered.’ Out­door space has there­fore been kept sim­ple, with a lawn com­ple­mented by flow­ers, shrubs and herbs.

Bir­gitte re­calls the ever-chang­ing face of the prop­erty. ‘When we first moved here the ex­te­rior was yel­low,’ she says. ‘ We re­painted it light brown and, at one point, it was even pink, but once we’d given it a lick of white about eight years ago, we knew we wouldn’t go back.’ Pale shades con­tinue

in­doors, too, where neu­tral decor al­lows Bir­gitte to switch ac­ces­sories and fab­rics ac­cord­ing to the sea­son. This crisp pal­ette is punc­tu­ated by turquoise and muted grey hues, with an un­ex­pected blast of colour in the mint-green kitchen tiles.

The cou­ple favour sim­ple fur­ni­ture and clas­sic de­signs, so iconic pieces from Eames and Kartell, along with Artemide lighting, sit com­fort­ably along­side items from Ikea. In the mix, Bir­gitte has added hol­i­day finds and her all-im­por­tant trea­sures passed on from fam­ily and friends. ‘I love be­long­ings that tell a story and aren’t just bought from a con­cept store,’ she ex­plains. ‘I’ve re­homed sev­eral pieces of fur­ni­ture, which we now use all the time, such as my brother’s old sofa in our sit­ting room, and an ex­tend­able din­ing ta­ble, which I painted.’

There are plenty of re­minders of the time they spent in Green­land, and Mugge’s ca­reer as a cli­ma­tol­o­gist is also rep­re­sented with books and rock for­ma­tions col­lected from ex­pe­di­tions. ‘Among our favourite pos­ses­sions are paint­ings we bought from Green­land,’ says Bir­gitte. ‘They’re now over 20 years old, but work won­der­fully with the ac­cent colours we’ve cho­sen.’

Although both Bir­gitte, a nurse, and Mugge come from rel­a­tively sci­en­tific back­grounds, an in­stinct for in­te­rior de­sign runs in the fam­ily. ‘I’m very cre­ative and my brother has a fur­ni­ture shop in the nearby town of Ring­sted,’ says Bir­gitte.

Of course, no Dan­ish home would be com­plete with­out a wood­burn­ing stove, with the Schar­lings’ own oc­cu­py­ing a quiet corner of the sit­ting room. It sits along­side Bir­gitte’s grand­mother’s wardrobe, of which she says, ‘I’ve re­painted it sev­eral times and I’ll al­ways keep it. Pieces that have mean­ing make a home spe­cial.’

kitchen Glossy white cab­i­nets en­sure a bright and spa­cious feel. Me­tod cab­i­netry, from £74 for a base unit, Ikea. Try the War­ing PB20CX Kitchen Clas­sic Blender, £258, Ama­zon

kitchen- diner the ab­sence of doors al­lows an un­in­ter­rupted flow of light through to the sit­ting room. See Con­crete Project 60DG dark grey matt tile, £68.60m, De­signer Tile Con­cepts

sit­ting room Bir­gitte favours ad­justable lamps to cre­ate a mod­ern and adapt­able lighting scheme. artemide tolomeo sospen­sione de­cen­trata ceil­ing lamp, from £376, am­bi­ente direct. edel­weiss cof­fee ta­ble, £89, Made.com, is sim­i­lar 1 sit­ting room the...

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