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Kitchen of the Week: A Scandinavian Design with a Proper British Accent

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Kitchen of the Week: A Scandinavian Design with a Proper British Accent

June 13, 2019

As the keeper of a vintage, ice-box white kitchen, I can’t help but wonder about life with a bit more color—and space, too. I look at classic British design as interpreted by Plain English and deVol and dream of making dinner surrounded by a new paint palette and pantries galore.

Sara Aagaard, the owner, with her interior designer mother, Frida Frank, of Copenhagen design emporium Shop Dora, felt much the same way. She and her husband and their two young boys are the lucky occupants of a grand 1928 villa in Copenhagen’s Frederiksberg. Ready to combine and make over their existing formal dining room and small kitchen (“hidden from the rest of the house from the days there were maids”), she took inspiration from the Brits. “But I didn’t have the energy to start a dialogue with an overseas firm,” she says, by way of explaining that to get the look, she and her designer, Frida, ordered classic fittings from Swedish company Kvänum, specialists in traditional, top-of-the-line millwork. They specified it be painted in Farrow & Ball shades—dusky green and wild-card orange—to create an airy, ethereal space that feels both old-world proper and fresh. And yes, unmistakably English cast in a magical Scandinavian light.

Photography courtesy of Kvänum (@kvanumofficial).

The family took over the existing kitchen, dining room, and stair to create a roomy new open space—one with 10-foot-plus ceilings. The kitchen features Kvänum’s Broby cabinets and shelving in Farrow and Ball’s Studio Green, one of our 10 Architects’ Moody Paint Picks.
Above: The family took over the existing kitchen, dining room, and stair to create a roomy new open space—one with 10-foot-plus ceilings. The kitchen features Kvänum’s Broby cabinets and shelving in Farrow and Ball’s Studio Green, one of our 10 Architects’ Moody Paint Picks.

Kvänum offers the cabinets in 12 others colors and applies them not only to kitchens—this one is known as Broby Studio Green—but to dressing rooms, laundries, and baths. The company describes the design as “turn of the century” in style: “a traditional recessed door hand painted on ash with visible hinges.” The new floor is oak in a herringbone pattern. (Thinking of installing your own version? See Remodeling 1010: The Difference Between Chevron and Herringbone Patterns.)

The bracketed shelves are usually faced with framed-glass cabinet fronts, but are here left open—Sara refers to them as “bookshelves” and says, “I didn’t want everything to be hidden in cabinets—it looks so boring and museum-like. I like that this is a bit messy.”
Above: The bracketed shelves are usually faced with framed-glass cabinet fronts, but are here left open—Sara refers to them as “bookshelves” and says, “I didn’t want everything to be hidden in cabinets—it looks so boring and museum-like. I like that this is a bit messy.”

“Since the kitchen is used by two adults and two kids, it had to be designed for everyday life,” she adds. “We painted the cabinets dark green so that fat fingerprints are hidden. In sunny weather, it’s very, very green, and when it’s cloudy it shows as almost black.”

 Set in a Carrara marble counter, the sink has a show-stopping brass mixer faucet from Danish brand Toni Amatur. The brass and opal glass globe ceiling fixtures are Michael Anastassiades’s Double Angle and Triple Angle lights.
Above: Set in a Carrara marble counter, the sink has a show-stopping brass mixer faucet from Danish brand Toni Amatur. The brass and opal glass globe ceiling fixtures are Michael Anastassiades’s Double Angle and Triple Angle lights.

A new French door, inserted in place of a window, opens to an outdoor dining area.

The hand-painted finish is visible on close inspection—and “when there are nicks and scratches, we just erase them with a paint brush,” says Sara. The cabinet pulls are vintage British—Sara oversees Shop Dora’s antiques department and collected them over time. “It was hard to find thirty-four matching pulls; after looking for months, I decided it was even more charming that they’re not all exactly the same.”
Above: The hand-painted finish is visible on close inspection—and “when there are nicks and scratches, we just erase them with a paint brush,” says Sara. The cabinet pulls are vintage British—Sara oversees Shop Dora’s antiques department and collected them over time. “It was hard to find thirty-four matching pulls; after looking for months, I decided it was even more charming that they’re not all exactly the same.”
The oak island is designed as a work table with an inset stove top. Inspired by Plain English’s daring color combinations (see for instance A Polychromatic Dream Kitchen in Hackney and its British Standard Design in Bold Blue), it’s painted Farrow & Ball’s Blazer. Two of the drawers are real and one is false “so there’s room for legs and high chairs.”
Above: The oak island is designed as a work table with an inset stove top. Inspired by Plain English’s daring color combinations (see for instance A Polychromatic Dream Kitchen in Hackney and its British Standard Design in Bold Blue), it’s painted Farrow & Ball’s Blazer. Two of the drawers are real and one is false “so there’s room for legs and high chairs.”
The fridge, freezer, and ovens are incorporated into a cabinet wall.
Above: The fridge, freezer, and ovens are incorporated into a cabinet wall.
The room is painted Nights in White Satin, a color from Danish firm File Under Pop that changes in the Nordic light from a warm white to palest pink (for similar shades, see Architects’ 10 Favorite Warm White Paints). The back of the space opens to the dining area, and the French doors overlook a terrace and garden. See more of the space and its furnishings at Shop Dora.
Above: The room is painted Nights in White Satin, a color from Danish firm File Under Pop that changes in the Nordic light from a warm white to palest pink (for similar shades, see Architects’ 10 Favorite Warm White Paints). The back of the space opens to the dining area, and the French doors overlook a terrace and garden. See more of the space and its furnishings at Shop Dora.

Three more kitchens that apply tradition with a twist:

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