A Reno Brought Out the Laid-Back Side of This Denmark Home

Rasmus and Jette Ibfelt’s summer house in the seaside town of Vejby, Denmark, is nothing at all like the couple’s full-time residence in Copenhagen, where the walls are doused in bold paint and art, and the high ceilings and herringbone floors boast a bit of Parisian flair. Their circa-1968 retreat is the exact opposite, and that’s by design. The cottage walls and beams are crisp white; there are just enough bedrooms for the couple and their two sons; and the kitchen, living, and dining areas are all located in the same open room. 

white one wall kitchen
The kitchen, before.
table next to white wall
The dining area, before.

“It’s not about showing off for friends. It’s more about having a place that feels calm,” explains Rasmus, the cofounder and creative director of the brand agency e-Types. And for him, it’s easier to relax when there isn’t a stain-prone slab of marble or dust-coated shelves demanding his attention. In the process of tacking on an extra 100 or so square feet to the house to make way for a new bathroom and third bedroom, the Ibfelts gutted the main room and set out to build a streamlined kitchen and living area that put the focus back where it belonged: the outdoors. 

The Layout

white island

As far as kitchens go, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than a galley. But to really streamline the look, the couple divided the space according to use. One side holds a large island where they can prep food, eat breakfast, display objects, and cook, while the opposite wall is more of a workhorse (it’s got the sink, dishwasher, and fridge). “The island is a sitting area. It was very much about, ‘Let’s put the functionality here, and we can play there,’” says Rasmus.

The Cabinets

wood countertop island

For the construction, they tapped two friends who had helped them renovate their Copenhagen home years ago, but the cabinets themselves came from Reform’s Basis kitchen cabinet line. The off-white flat-slab cabinet fronts and butcher block counters felt as low-key a combination as any. As a reminder to not overcomplicate things, they hung an original blueprint of the house over the kitchen sink. “I love the legacy and heritage of this house; that you’re obviously allowed to adjust according to the times but you don’t destroy the original idea,” says Rasmus.

The Lighting

Rasmus is fully aware that flat-slab white cabinets plus grayish white wood floors can skew IKEA catalog-y, so to add a little more charm to the space, the couple chose lighting with big personality: Grupa’s practical yet playful Arigato lights. The shades of the fixtures can rotate 360 degrees and swivel 125 degrees, meaning they can be adjusted to shine light exactly on the sliver of countertop space they’re working at.  

The Gathering

gray blue dining table

A main driver of the reno was that the Ibfelts wanted the room to feel more connected to the deck—cue the sliding door. The grayish blue table situated in front of the new large opening is a secondhand find they had professionally painted years ago, and the newer mix of chairs is from Please Wait to Be Seated. “Walking in and out without having to open and close the door, that was very important,” says Rasmus. 

items hanging next to door
black pergola

The backyard is still a work in progress. In the past two months, they added an outdoor shower, plus they’re still waiting for the pergola to become fully covered by vining plants, ensuring a fully shaded dining spot. But by not going overboard with additional doors and windows also helped them maintain a fairly unchanged look from the outside. The Ibfelts decided they didn’t want to be those neighbors who ruined the charming little house. Instead they wanted to be the type who, on a whim, invite people over for sunset drinks and fresh strawberries. “The whole point is not to be too big or too much,” says Rasmus. “It should be laid-back.”  

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