“We eat when we are hungry and sleep when we are tired — we cultivate the simple life to the fullest.”
“However, we don’t use the internet much when we are here on holiday or on the weekends, when it is all about getting grounded with sand and grass under our feet, and resetting our internal clocks,” says Helle. “We eat when we are hungry and sleep when we are tired — we cultivate the simple life to the fullest. The entire family also manages to pack in a lot of socialising when we are here.”
The nearly 100-year-old cottage, overlooking sandy Vejby Strand beach, also has a colourful past, as the former owner, Ørum, knew French Post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguin’s son, sculptor Jean René, who made two beautiful mosaics and a fabulous wood-burning stove especially for the house. The fireplace is adorned with angels wearing pilot helmets, a whimsical reference to Ørum’s past as an air force pilot. The two had met in Paris and, when Gauguin junior came to the Danish seaside, servants were sent in advance to remove the furniture covers and prepare the house for the summer season.
When the Holstein family moved in, the house had been so well maintained that they only needed to re-stain the exterior, give the interior walls a fresh coat of paint and then whitewash the floors for a relaxed seaside ambience. >
CLOCKWISE, FROM ABOVE In the living room, furniture was chosen with comfort in mind. The chair and sofa with practical with loose covers are both by Gervasoni. Coffee table from online retailer Casa Shop. Oars from Greensquare in Copenhagen; floors were whitewashed to suit the coastal setting. The IKEA kitchen leads out to the garden; the family like to entertain and the rustic dining table is usually full of friends. FACING PAGE Large windows overlooking the sea lure you into the living room. Framed artworks from Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen.
They chose an eclectic mix of secondhand furniture and older pieces with a history, to create the relaxed, laid-back look they prefer. The white walls and driftwood tones, together with the odd ornamental oar or two, all perfectly reflect the setting. In a similar vein, sofas are fitted with loose covers, making them a breeze to change and wash.
Hovering 45 metres above the Kattegat, the straits between the North and Baltic Seas separating Denmark and Sweden, the property offers spectacular sunsets and stunning views. “Our favourite place is right on the edge of the water, where we can sit and enjoy the sea or watch the ever-changing weather,” says Helle. “With a 20-kilometre view over the sea, you can spot a storm approaching 20 minutes before it hits the coast.” There they often spend hours gazing over the sea, letting their minds wander or day-dreaming about the delicious fish they are going to grill in the twilight.
In the summer, the family fill their days with swimming and long walks — when they are not working, of course — enjoying the fresh air and that wonderful tired feeling that comes from long, lazy hours of doing nothing much at all.
“Our favourite place is right on the edge of the water, where we can sit and enjoy the sea or watch the ever-changing weather.”
The large timber deck facing the sea has been bleached by the harsh coastal conditions over the years. Pots of gently swaying grass suit the exposed position, with its salt-laden air and brisk sea breezes.
CLOCKWISE, FROM BELOW Helle never tires of that view; showering under the open sky is a treat and it’s also practical for washing off sand; Postimpressionist artist Paul Gauguin’s son, sculptor Jean René, knew the previous owner and created the mosaics on two steps of the house.