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.
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.)
“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.”
A new French door, inserted in place of a window, opens to an outdoor dining area.
Three more kitchens that apply tradition with a twist:
- A Hushed Old-World Swedish Design by Kvänum
- Art and Soul in a Copenhagen Kitchen
- A ‘Dreamiest Dream Kitchen’ in Yorkshire, England