Inside Out (Australia)
All good things take time, as this budget-wise apartment reno in a hip Copenhagen neighbourhood proves
Years of preparation and a reworked floor plan have resulted in a sun-filled Copenhagen apartment
Sofie was only 21 when, with a little bit of luck, she purchased a small apartment on the outskirts of Nørrebro, in Copenhagen. The area was then an unpolished pocket of the city, with grocery stores and bottle shops on the street corners, and its very own special and diverse collection of residents. The apartment itself was not everything Sofie had dreamt of, but it was 54 square metres with high ceilings, it was affordable and it was her very own. “I got it for under half the original sale price, so I could live with the fact that it was not exactly the grand palace I had in mind. I could see opportunities in it, and most importantly, I felt at home in this part of the city,” says Sofie, who used all of her savings from working as a model to buy the apartment.
With her savings invested in the property, the renovation had to be put on hold, but Sofie did a few essential updates with help from friends and family. Time passed and Sofie was busy with work and study. For a while, she moved to central Copenhagen with a (now) ex-boyfriend – until she returned again to her little Nørrebro nest and met her new love, Mikael. The apartment, however, had been rented out and needed more then a little love and care. “I was considering selling, but I feel so much at home here in Nørrebro and love our backyard,” says Sofie. “So instead, I decided to give it a proper makeover by renovating it in a more open, bright New York style.”
Sofie teamed up with her friend, Søren, a skilled carpenter, and over a cup of coffee they brainstormed, made a new floor plan and put all their ideas on the table, focusing on opening the small apartment up and creating a space with a New York vibe. “I had so many ideas because I had dreamt about renovating the apartment since I moved in several years earlier,” she says. “It was mostly about creating cohesion and making space for a big living room where we could have fun, cook and hang out.
Other solutions emerged more spontaneously, such as the bedroom doors in glass and wrought iron, which were Søren’s idea.”
The result is a sun-filled space, where daylight now reaches all corners of the apartment through the large glass section that separates the bedroom from the kitchen/living space and emphasises the loft style Sofie was aiming for. A raw brick wall and wooden pillar reinforce the look, together with simple and understated furniture in lived-in leather, details in brass and industrial-look lamps. “I’ve pretty much had this style in mind for many years, and I’ve been buying furniture all along for the apartment as it looks now,” says Sofie. “In fact, my style has only just fallen into place now that the rooms have been refurbished.”
The timing is also perfect, now that Mikael has moved in officially, and Sofie describes the experience as like taking over a new apartment together. “This has been an opportunity for both of us to decorate so it matches our taste,” says Sofie, who also admits the kitchen is entirely Mikael’s. “I’m the type of person who puts an empty milk carton in the fridge and, on the whole, doesn’t know or care much about cooking. Mikael is the one who spends the most time in the kitchen, and he designed it so it would work for him. It’s a completely different dynamic when we have guests now – it’s so relaxed and everyone feels they are more involved in the process of cooking. It’s what we Danes call
hygge. It has become an apartment that suits us and how we live our life – and it is the best feeling to come home to.”