Shades of grey, blue and lilac enhance the serene feel of this stylish house on the Danish Riviera
A serene Scandi-chic home on the Danish Riviera
The Danish concept of hygge may have been enthusiastically embraced by us Brits (whether we have actually grasped what it’s all about is another matter). But while we try and buy ourselves a cosy slice of the Scandi good life, the Danes are focking to the sunny Danish Riviera, an idyllic spot that they would rather keep to themselves.
Located just above Copenhagen, the ruggedly beautiful coastline of North Zealand is dotted with fishing villages, pristine lakes and ancient forests. Summer temperatures might not be balmy, but some consider the sheltered beaches to be the most beautiful in Europe.
After spending weekends and school holidays here for many years, the interiors stylist Cille Grut decided to make a year-round home in a 19th-century summer cottage for herself, her husband, Peter, and their young children, Frederik, Agnes and Martha.
In days gone by, townsfolk focked to the seaside, travelling by horse-drawn carriages to escape the smog. Now, Cille often does a reverse commute, cycling into the city through small villages with wild-fowerstudded hedgerows.
‘ We enjoy the fact that Copenhagen is only a few miles away, since it gives us the opportunity to bike to the city,’ explains Cille, ‘and you get the most magnificent views along the way.’
The enviable vista across the Öresund strait, the body of water that separates Zealand from southern Sweden, was what convinced Cille and Peter to buy the charming but run-down house in 2003. They have gradually restored
period features such as stucco ceilings and the traditional masonry stove, and decorated throughout in soothing tones, inspired by the grey-blue of the sea.
‘I always think it’s best to choose colours that reflect the area you look out on, whether it’s an urban, country or coastal setting,’ says Cille. ‘Here, it’s the sea and the forest, so we’ve used green, grey-blue and shades of white. There’s a special kind of light that comes through the windows.’
On the ground floor, one handsome, lofty room leads into the next in a circular fashion, through large double doors. The carefully edited colour scheme and furniture (a mix of Scandi design classics, hand-me-downs and things that came with the house) add to the sense of fluidity and calm.
Cille describes the overall style of the place as ‘classic and functional’ but there are a few flashes of decoration, albeit done in a restrained, Scandinavian way. The bedroom, for example, has sumptuous lavender silk curtains, and in the living room a glass-fronted cabinet, inherited from Cille’s grandfather, is filled with antique silverware, figurines and glass bell jars.
Outside, the courtyard at the back of the house has been covered with a large awning made by a local sailmaker to create a cosy alfresco room. The blue-grey colour scheme of the planting (wisteria, lavender, agapanthus) has been chosen to mimic the interior of the cottage.
The family spend as much time outdoors as possible, exploring the forested deer park behind the house and going on fishing trips on the Öresund strait, as well as taking daily dips in the warmer months. ‘There’s so much beauty here and always something new to discover,’ says Cille. ‘I keep being inspired in new ways.’
Extracted and adapted from ‘The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light’ by Niki Brantmark (Cico, £19.99)
Right The sitting room contains classic Danish designs such as the PK22 chair and PK33 stools by Poul Kjaerholm for Fritz Hansen (skandium. com). The traditional masonry oven came with the house. A wall at one end has been painted in Farrow & Ball’s Mole’s Breath (farrow-ball.com) to define it as a separate study area