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