‘my style is in­ter­na­tional, with in­flu­ences from south­east asia,

Living Etc - - HOMES ⁄ ETC -

China, Africa and Europe,’ says Maja Thy­lan­der. ‘When­ever I visit a coun­try, I al­ways bring home a trea­sure in my suit­case. When I look at a jar I bought in Italy, or a fig­ure from Namibia, it re­minds me of my trip as much as any pho­to­graph could.’

The Dan­ish former model has spent much of her life trav­el­ling – she be­gan sail­ing with her par­ents at the age of 14 and as a model in her twen­ties, lived in Lon­don for five years, which is when she first be­gan buy­ing and ren­o­vat­ing prop­er­ties. While she still has itchy feet, home to­day for Maja, her hus­band Lars, and their son Kristian is a land­mark build­ing in Fred­eriksstaden, Copen­hagen. Close to the city’s citadel and old har­bour, their apart­ment of­fers stun­ning views across the bay to Swe­den. ‘We’d been liv­ing in the sub­urbs, but bought this prop­erty three years ago,’ says Maja. ‘It’s the per­fect lo­ca­tion. I can wear high heels and head in one di­rec­tion for restau­rants and shops, or put on my train­ers and walk to the park. But re­ally, we came here for our son – he was 17 when we moved in and wanted to be closer to the city.’

For any parent won­der­ing how to com­bine the needs of a teenager with their own adult life, this is the dream. The spa­cious apart­ment has a large cen­tral liv­ing space, which is flanked by two tow­ers. ‘One end had five bed­rooms, so I had walls knocked down to cre­ate a suite for Lars and my­self, in­clud­ing an en-suite bath­room and dress­ing room, as well as Kristian’s bed­room,’ says Maja. ‘At the other end of the prop­erty, Kristian has his own liv­ing space, plus a mu­sic room in the se­cond tower.’ When the fam­ily aren’t in there jam­ming – quite the three-piece on drums and gui­tar – this sound­proofed space is where Kristian and his friends hang out be­fore hitting the town on a Satur­day night. ‘There are of­ten lots of teenagers stay­ing here at the week­ends,’ says Maja, laugh­ing. ‘For­tu­nately, the space is big enough for ev­ery­one.’

At 600 square me­tres, the apart­ment could seem cold and un­wieldy. But Maja is proud that ev­ery room is used and loved. ‘I work in the of­fice, al­though I’m more likely to spread tear sheets out on the floor than my desk. And when we have com­pany, I’ll of­ten serve drinks here be­fore we move into the din­ing room or liv­ing room,’ she says. ‘The liv­ing room is for talk­ing and read­ing, but the TV room is where we go to feel cosy. Ev­ery space has its own at­mos­phere.’

Maja has care­fully cu­rated a wel­com­ing in­te­rior that cre­ates a sense of warmth. ‘I wanted it to feel as if the rooms em­brace you when you walk in,’ she says. ‘I chose rich tones of grey, navy and dusky pink for walls and fur­nish­ings. Walls, win­dows and wood­work are painted in the same colours, so there’s noth­ing to dis­tract the eye and take the fo­cus away from our travel finds.’ The re­sult is strong and dra­matic: an in­dus­trial zinc and cop­per wall in the din­ing room con­trasts with luxe brass fit­tings in the bath­room; a Chi­nese lac­quered desk is com­ple­mented with mir­rored pan­els from a Paris night­club; an­i­mal heads from Africa gaze over Ba­li­nese fur­ni­ture. ‘When we moved in, it was im­por­tant to me that I brought pieces from our old house to mix in with new items, be­cause I wanted to im­print our iden­tity onto the space,’ says Maja. ‘I feel ev­ery piece has a nar­ra­tive and I’m the sto­ry­teller.’ A true trav­eller’s tale.

For info about Maja’s in­te­rior de­sign projects, visit lutzau.dk/ maja-thy­lan­der-in­te­ri­oer-de­sign

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