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Simplicity Reigns: An Architect’s Pared-Down Summer Home in Denmark

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Simplicity Reigns: An Architect’s Pared-Down Summer Home in Denmark

June 14, 2024

To get to her weekend home in Sjællands Odde, Denmark, Karen Kjaergaard takes an 80-minute ferry ride from big coastal city Aarhus to little port Odden on the peninsula. Once there, life slows down and her mind quiets. Her property is surrounded by a meadow of wildflowers and the house itself, designed by Karen, an architect, channels simplicity. The structure is essentially one rectangular room that was constructed using just three materials: steel, plywood, and concrete. And it’s configurated in such a way that it’s cozy enough for a solo visit but can sleep up to six.

It’s a winning combination: When it comes to the outside, “let it grow wild,” she says. On the inside? Keep it humble.

Let’s take a tour.

Photography courtesy of Karen Kjaergaard.

both the exterior and roof are clad in lacquered steel plates, normally used fo 17
Above: Both the exterior and roof are clad in lacquered steel plates, normally used for industrial buildings or farmhouses, from DS Dansk Staalprofil. Photograph by Jacob Lerche.
the 5,5  by \1\1 meter home is essentially one rectangular room with a core dro 18
Above: The 5,5- by 11-meter home is essentially one rectangular room with a core dropped in that contains the kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, and broom closet. On top of this core is a sleep loft, accessed via a ladder, for guests. The yellow faucet is from Vola and the tiles from Villeroy Boch. Photograph by Jacob Lerche.
a mod \265 wall lamp by paolo rizzatto hovers over a daybed that karen designed 19
Above: A Mod 265 wall lamp by Paolo Rizzatto hovers over a daybed that Karen designed and had made. (See The Enduring Appeal of the Donald Judd Daybed.) The turquoise wall sculpture is by Danish artist Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. The walls and ceiling are clad in plywood from Poland. The floor is finished in concrete. Photograph by Karen Kjaergaard.
on one side of the core is a living and dining area. (the bedroom comprises the 20
Above: On one side of the core is a living and dining area. (The bedroom comprises the other side.) Three-quarter curtains, made with fabric from Kvadrat, help regulate indoor temperature. Artek 66 chairs by Alvar Aalto surround a dining table designed by Karen. “The lamp was made for the house by artist Torgny Wilke,” she shares. Photograph by Karen Kjaergaard
a modern shaker stove by antonio citterio provides the sole source of heating i 21
Above: A Modern Shaker Stove by Antonio Citterio provides the sole source of heating in the home. Photograph by Karen Kjaergaard.
karen&#8\2\17;s bedroom, on the other side of the core. the round featherpl 22
Above: Karen’s bedroom, on the other side of the core. The round featherplate hanging next to a mirror is by Aboriginal artist from Sydney, Australia. Photograph by Karen Kjaergaard
the window frames were made from raw, core pine. photograph by jacob lerche. 23
Above: The window frames were made from raw, core pine. Photograph by Jacob Lerche.
in the core, opposite the kitchen, is a bathroom with a sunny yellow door. phot 24
Above: In the core, opposite the kitchen, is a bathroom with a sunny yellow door. Photograph by Gert Skærlund.

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