White walls, statement furniture, great lighting and more than a smattering of global influences add up to the last word in modern style in Danish fashion designer Naja Munthe’s bright and spacious Copenhagen home. Take the tour now…
Naja Munthe, co-founder of the label Munthe plus Simonsen - a favourite of supermodel Helena Christensen – lives in this stunning Danish townhouse with her family. She has put the same laid-back glamour and edgy style of her clothes into the decoration of her glamorous, light-filled home. A big space on one floor, this period apartment in the heart of Copenhagen combines traditional architectural features with modern design. Wanting a home that felt authentic and not too new, Naja peppered the interior with contemporary design and global finds to create a laid-back and cosy feel. “I wanted somewhere that had a soul to it already,” she explains. “Somewhere that gave me an excuse to start all over again.” Which is exactly what she did. Opening up the space between the kitchen, dining and living room, you can see from one end of the house to the other. Perfect for keeping it light and bright - despite the Scandinavian winters.
"We have strong tradition of design in Denmark, which features a distinctive minimalistic style and a lot of classic furniture. My style doesn’t fit this,” explains Naja. “I like things to be luxurious and glamourous but always with a laid-back approach. Whilst I appreciate beautiful clothes and beautiful houses they’re often too perfect. I prefer the finished result to feel more friendly. I wanted to create a home where you want to kick off your shoes and if you accidentally spill the coffee, then it’s not too much of an issue.” By keeping the palette simple with monochrome and earthy tones, Naja has the perfect backdrop for her collection of art, objects and contemporary furniture.
More forgiving than painted floorboards, the limed oak flooring in Naja’s house has a soft, distressed finish and looks particularly good with Scandinavian style furniture. It is a simple technique for bringing out the grain of the wood and giving a whitened look, as if it has faded naturally over the years.
To lime floorboards in a traditional way, apply the lime and beeswax paste to bare wood in circular motions using a ball of steel wool.
Inspired by loft apartments, Naja created a partition between the entrance and the living room with these dramatic panelled windows, painting the metal frames black for graphic effect.
Describing her style as modern and international - but above all cosy - Naja’s favourite place to spend time at home is lying on the sofa and reading a book. For me, it’s all about the couches. They have to be inviting, so you really want to fall into them. The ones in my living room are modern but soft.”
A black lacquered dining table from Gubi serves as a desk, over which Flos ‘Fucsia’ lights hang above.
Naja wanted a kitchen that she could walk all the way around. “I liked the idea of having a central island unit so that there were lots of places for guests to sit whilst I was cooking,” she says. Naja combined glass, steel and wood materials for a slick, high-tech feel. The artworks are a collection from Naja’s life: paintings she’s either done herself or gifts from her family.
Featuring floating bookshelves, which Naja bought from a warehouse, this serene and sparsely furnished dining room doubles as a peaceful library. Mounted to the wall rather than standing on the floor, the shelves, although huge, give the impression of more space. The original beams of this airy space have been used to create divisions between the kitchen and dining room.
The plaster frieze makes a striking statement in this simple space - very typical on the front of Scandinavian homes - as does the black enamel pendant light, originally a floor lamp but adapted to hang over the table instead.
A rich gold leaf wall adds glamour to the bathroom and contrasts dramatically with the black matt tiles and white sunken bath. Drawing the eye to the end of the room, the vintage Moroccan souk-effect wall, not only looks stunning but detracts from the narrow width of the space.
For those who like to soak, a sunken bath is the answer as it feels more like stepping into a pool. Rather than sitting on top of the floor, a raised floor level is created for the bath to be dropped down into.
Leading off from the lounge, the main bedroom of this spacious apartment has a calm and airy feel. The monochrome scheme makes the most of the natural light that floods in. Above the bed, the painting is by Ilse Siesner, who Naja knew from her college days.
An extension to her fashion design, interiors for Naja are all about how the home evolves. “It’s an ongoing process,” she says of her aesthetic. “Rather than sticking to one look, I’ve learnt that it’s better to continue trying things out, rearranging furniture and putting different items together. This way you find new ways that often work better than before.”
Words adapted from: Claire Bingham
Photos: Chris Tubbs
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor