Cul­tural cross­roads

The own­ers of this eclec­tic fam­ily home have man­aged to com­bine stately pro­por­tions with com­fort thanks to an East meets West aes­thetic

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En­ter­ing this el­e­gant neo­clas­si­cal villa is akin to a visit to Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum. Not only does it have the same grand stature and echo­ing vol­ume, it also hosts count­less cul­tural trea­sures. Orig­i­nally built in 1925 for a to­bacco mer­chant, the house was ac­quired by the Wil­son-thun fam­ily in 2003 and they spent a year restor­ing it. Vibeke, her hus­band Thomas, and their sons Fred­erik, Chris­tian and Ja­cob moved into the prop­erty in 2004.

Far and wide

The villa, lo­cated in Rung­sted Kyst, north of Copen­hagen, has de­sign in­flu­ences from across the globe. ‘I love the idea of a cul­tural col­li­sion with the East,’ says Vibeke. The cou­ple’s com­pany, Wil­son-thun, sources ex­quis­ite hand­wo­ven car­pets from Mo­rocco and Nepal. Trips abroad to these coun­tries, as well as to Egypt, In­dia, Viet­nam and Ti­bet, have driven the bold and di­verse in­te­rior choices. The first and most strik­ing ex­am­ple of the Wil­son-thuns’ eclec­tic style is the en­trance hall. ‘I was in­spired by a visit to the Red Fort in Delhi,’ says Vibeke of the jaw-drop­ping dou­ble-height space, which has dis­tinc­tive niches filled with dec­o­ra­tive screens painted white.

The cou­ple’s ren­o­va­tion plans were am­bi­tious, and un­der their watch the house has been trans­formed. ‘The kitchen was de­mol­ished and then com­pletely mod­ernised,’ says Vibeke. ‘Walls were built, pan­els and cor­nic­ing added, as well as ra­di­a­tor cov­ers, and win­dows and doors were painted white. The house was fully re­dec­o­rated and ev­ery­thing was done with the up­most re­spect for the pe­riod de­tails.’

dec­o­ra­tive di­rec­tion

Early on in the ren­o­va­tion process Vibeke dis­cov­ered that an­tique Chi­nese lac­quered fur­ni­ture suited the house beau­ti­fully, as it placed em­pha­sis on the sym­me­try the ar­chi­tect orig­i­nally in­tended. ‘I love these pieces be­cause they are sim­ple and func­tional, yet mas­cu­line,’ she says. ‘They also pro­vide a coun­ter­point to the pale colours we’ve used.’ The sense of bal­ance and poise is pal­pa­ble in each room, in turn con­tribut­ing to a wider at­mos­phere of calm. Bud­dha stat­ues sit on var­i­ous sur­faces and ap­pear to send out their own med­i­ta­tive res­o­nance. Monochro­matic, yet lux­u­ri­ously soft, Ber­ber rugs an­chor a paint pal­ette that is pur­pose­fully neu­tral. ‘We kept it sim­ple to draw the eye to the fur­nish­ings and or­na­ments,’ says Vibeke.

sea­sonal cel­e­bra­tions

‘We love to cel­e­brate Christ­mas among fam­ily, with our boys re­turn­ing with their part­ners,’ says Vibeke. ‘We will go out for walks in the woods be­fore re­turn­ing to sit in front of the fire with a good book.’ Dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, the house is dec­o­rated with pine cones, vel­vet hearts, plenty of can­dles and a cedar Christ­mas tree. ‘An­other Yule­tide touch are the fruit bowls laden with the rich bur­gundy colour of pomegranates or garnet red ap­ples,’ says Vibeke. It is in win­ter that the villa’s Dan­ish iden­tity be­comes stronger, with fires lit, thick blan­kets on show and a sense of hygge cosi­ness per­vad­ing. A home where dif­fer­ent worlds col­lide, time spent in the villa is both trans­port­ing and re­lax­ing in equal mea­sure.

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