An old family home is now a comfortable retreat, thanks to one imaginative homeowner.
FAMILY IS WEAVED into the very fabric of Jette Witzke’s holiday home. Built in 1955, the house originally belonged to her parents before Jette bought it from her father in 2015 and embarked on a fairly major renovation. Located on Bornholm, an island in the Baltic Sea off the east coast of Denmark, the house is positioned high up on the cliffs with panoramic views of the ocean. The island is a perfect holiday retreat that Jette and her family, including children Mads, 15, and twins Julius and Tobias, 12, have been visiting every year since the children were small. While the beloved old house had served the family well, it needed updating and reworking to suit their lifestyle. Jette, an interior designer who also owns a homewares and fashion store called Le Metiér just north of Copenhagen, had no doubt about how she wanted the house to function; it needed to have enough space for family and friends to visit and be easy to maintain. “We opened up the house, connecting the kitchen and living room and making it one large open-plan space,” she says. Jette also wanted the house to reflect her family’s personality but not to be a carbon copy of their main home. The renovation saw walls removed and the flow of light improved throughout the space. Outside, a 45-square metre guesthouse was built on the property, connected to the original house by a large deck. The new annexe includes two bedrooms and a bathroom, and was built as a teenagers’ haven, with the children and their friends in mind. Also added was an extensive outdoor patio and a new kitchen — in short, nearly every corner of the home was reworked to accommodate the family, with plenty of room to entertain larger numbers on a regular basis. Today, behind the exterior’s black cladding, the light-filled house is a comfortable family escape that Jette has styled to feel fresh and airy. The white walls and floorboards make the perfect backdrop for the subtle splashes of colour she has added in the form of soft furnishings, framed artwork, rugs and accessories. The interiors are a wonderful blend of old and new, with treasured family heirlooms adding character to the mix. “I’m usually a fan of more muted colours, but when it comes to a summer house, it’s OK to crank up the colours and have a bit of fun with it,” says Jette. The patio area was expanded and flows from the main house onto the grassy backyard. “It’s one of the aspects we paid a lot of attention to in order to make sure the entire property was put to good use,” she says. “It’s important to us that the entire property gets used and not just the bit in front of the house facing the water.” >
The light-filled house is a comfortable family escape that Jette has styled to feel fresh and airy.
The house is full of people every summer during school holidays, as well as on weekends throughout the rest of the year. The family are keen sailors and love spending time on the water waterskiing and surfing — there’s always waterrelated gear packed into the car and boat as they set off on holidays. The property’s outdoor shower comes in especially handy after a day at the beach. Located at the end of the new annexe, behind the original house, it’s where they wash off the sand from the day’s adventure. “One of the best things we’ve done to the place is open it up and create more fluid transitions between the various functions of the house,” says Jette. “I’ve also tried to get as much light into the house as possible, which is something I aim for in every project I undertake.” One way that Jette achieves this is by using mirrors to help reflect light and spread it throughout the living areas. Artwork and colour are also important elements when she decorates. “To me art can also be something you find at a flea market. It doesn’t need to be expensive paintings — items with a bit of personality can get you a long way.”
KABLOURNNDHBORLGMDENMARK POSTCARDJette renovated the kitchen, installing a cabinet she bought at auction and an island with a granite worktop. The Reluma industrial pendant lights are available in Australia from Pamono. FACING PAGE, FROM TOP A pebble pathway leading to a side entrance. The patio fence can be seen above; home owner and interior designer Jette Witzke. For stockist details, see page 143.
The master bedroom features light blue bed linen from Society Limonta. The chest of drawers and rug are from Le Metiér.