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Nordic Design Ambassador: At Home in SoHo with Model/Entrepreneur Camilla Vest

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Nordic Design Ambassador: At Home in SoHo with Model/Entrepreneur Camilla Vest

January 12, 2018

Two advantages of being an in-demand fashion model: the ability to explore the world—and to convince airline employees to let you check all manner of outsized purchases (a radiant smile helps). Camilla grew up just north of Copenhagen and has been modeling since she was 16 (she’s now 44 and still working). She and her husband, Peder Nielsen—the two met as teens back home at a riding stable—have been based in New York City for longer than they’ve lived in Denmark: Camilla arrived at 21 and he soon followed to attend Columbia Business School. Over the years, while so many of Camilla’s colleagues set their sights on acting careers, she’s been fine-tuning her eye for design and returning from jobs with favorite discoveries.

A few years back, Camilla struck up a conversation with a fellow Dane in their kids’ schoolyard and the two went on to launch the Danish import company Goods We Love: See New York’s Secret Scandinavian Design Source. That business has since evolved into the just launched solo venture Objects by Camilla Vest, with a mission to not only represent a small, choice collection of Danish furnishings but also act as a design ambassador and evangelist. The role comes naturally. Camilla’s showroom is her family’s own apartment, a sun-infused, 1,900-square-foot SoHo loft on the top floor of a former silk thread factory. There’s no separate office, nor, Camilla tells us, does she have to do a clean sweep before clients drop in: This is how she and Peder and their two kids, ages 8 and 13, live—minimally and surrounded by cherished items she’s gathered one by one. She invited us over for a look around.

Photography by Matthew Williams for Remodelista; styling by Alexa Hotz.

A long entry hall (with her children’s rooms and a bathroom off it) leads to a large, open living and dining space. Camilla gave the loft the Scandi treatment by whitewashing the walls (“in a universal white, matte, of course”) and floor (“a high-gloss epoxy, like a nautical paint, that can take the place of rugs”).
Above: A long entry hall (with her children’s rooms and a bathroom off it) leads to a large, open living and dining space. Camilla gave the loft the Scandi treatment by whitewashing the walls (“in a universal white, matte, of course”) and floor (“a high-gloss epoxy, like a nautical paint, that can take the place of rugs”).

She represents still-in-production Danish classics made by family-owned companies, and, at home pairs these pieces with other modern favorites, including her Saarinen dining table and Cherner chairs: “They all elevate each other.”

 The apartment came with its streamlined kitchen, which Camilla says is composed of Ikea cabinets with custom fronts of pale gray laminate. Next to the sink, the terracotta planter and Edge Teapot, are by Skagerak (Objects by Camilla Vest serves as the Danish brand’s exclusive US wholesaler). The Kaico Kettle is by Shoei Kogyo of Japan.
Above: The apartment came with its streamlined kitchen, which Camilla says is composed of Ikea cabinets with custom fronts of pale gray laminate. Next to the sink, the terracotta planter and Edge Teapot, are by Skagerak (Objects by Camilla Vest serves as the Danish brand’s exclusive US wholesaler). The Kaico Kettle is by Shoei Kogyo of Japan.
Though barely noticeable thanks to hardware-free cabinets, the marble-topped island has plenty of storage. The family tableware is by Royal Copenhagen; Camilla has been collecting it for years (“when asked what I want as a present, I often mention a plate”). Her husband, she adds, “cares about these things the way I do: He broke a plate recently and felt terrible.”

The fridge is concealed on the cabinet wall, which incorporates a Smeg wall oven.
Above: The fridge is concealed on the cabinet wall, which incorporates a Smeg wall oven.

  The black-and-white light on the sideboard is the Flos Snoopy Table Lamp (Camilla purchased it in Italy and checked it with her luggage). The pendant light is British designer Michael Anastassiades’s Tube Chandelier (“He’s a genius. I checked that too—I have a lamp fetish”). The silver bowls are Georg Jensen designs that move around—the large one was a wedding gift from Peder’s parents.
Above:  The black-and-white light on the sideboard is the Flos Snoopy Table Lamp (Camilla purchased it in Italy and checked it with her luggage). The pendant light is British designer Michael Anastassiades’s Tube Chandelier (“He’s a genius. I checked that too—I have a lamp fetish”). The silver bowls are Georg Jensen designs that move around—the large one was a wedding gift from Peder’s parents.
The brass Ilse Crawford Candleholder on the table also travels, and gets a lot of use: “I always light a candle, even at breakfast or when I’m sitting down to work. It’s a Scandi thing: It makes a good atmosphere.”

The sideboard, like the kitchen cabinets, is an Ikea hack. It displays fluted Lyngby Vases by Danish porcelain company Lyngby. The wire sculpture is a portrait of Peder by Camilla’s sister, Pernille Vest (@pernille.vest), who is a kindred spirit: She’s an interiors stylist in Copenhagen and a regular contributor to Danish design magazine Rum.
Above: The sideboard, like the kitchen cabinets, is an Ikea hack. It displays fluted Lyngby Vases by Danish porcelain company Lyngby. The wire sculpture is a portrait of Peder by Camilla’s sister, Pernille Vest (@pernille.vest), who is a kindred spirit: She’s an interiors stylist in Copenhagen and a regular contributor to Danish design magazine Rum.
A skylight runs down the middle of the living room: “We’re above the clouds here, and the light feels Nordic,” says Camilla.
Above: A skylight runs down the middle of the living room: “We’re above the clouds here, and the light feels Nordic,” says Camilla.

The Penguin Lounge Chair standing against the column is part of a small collection of Ib Kofod-Larsen designs from the 1950s that are faithfully reproduced by Brdr. Petersen, twin brothers whose work Camilla represents in the US and retails on her website. (See them and their line in Object Lessons: The Penguin Chair, a Midcentury Best Seller Is Back.)

The OGK Safari Daybed is another classic—and Remodelista favorite—in Camilla’s stable.
Above: The OGK Safari Daybed is another classic—and Remodelista favorite—in Camilla’s stable.

Cabinetmaker Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen came up with the design in 1962 for his son’s camping trip. It’s put to constant use in the loft: “Our kids use it to chill, and while Peder cooks, I lounge on it. It’s also our guest bed—we just add a thin mattress; it works for both kids and adults.”

The fiddle leaf fig tree stands in an antique French zinc planter (from Fil de Fer in Copenhagen) that was a surprise from Camilla’s mother.
Above: The fiddle leaf fig tree stands in an antique French zinc planter (from Fil de Fer in Copenhagen) that was a surprise from Camilla’s mother.

The daybed collapses for easy storage (and there’s also an OGK Safari Chair version of the design.) The patterned pillow is made from vintage Swedish fabric and the pale pink Simple Linen Pillow is from Hawkins NYC.

Camilla and Peder carved their bedroom out of a corner of the living room by putting up a simple partition. “We needed a third bedroom and the living room was so huge, there was dead space.”
Above: Camilla and Peder carved their bedroom out of a corner of the living room by putting up a simple partition. “We needed a third bedroom and the living room was so huge, there was dead space.”

The wide opening (with sliding door), she tells us, is the key to the addition’s success: “When you come from a lofty space to a small room, if you keep the doorway wide, the small space doesn’t feel so tiny. Initially it was too small, and then we opened it up and that made a huge difference. We also just about always keep the door open.”

The couple make their bed with his-and-hers goose down duvets from Copenhagen department store Illums Bolighus: “These are a Danish tradition that are like a rite of passage: You start with a baby size, then junior, and it’s a big deal when you get your adult size. They’re extremely light and fold up to almost nothing, so they sometimes come with us when we travel—it’s hard to be away from them.”
Above: The couple make their bed with his-and-hers goose down duvets from Copenhagen department store Illums Bolighus: “These are a Danish tradition that are like a rite of passage: You start with a baby size, then junior, and it’s a big deal when you get your adult size. They’re extremely light and fold up to almost nothing, so they sometimes come with us when we travel—it’s hard to be away from them.”

The bookshelf outside the room is part of the modular Vivlio system from Skagerak, which can be used as a side table or stacked as a screen.

The living area is Camilla’s ode to Danish designer Poul Kjærholm: “His work is so minimal and timeless. I bought my first piece when I was eighteen with my first modeling money.” That was one of the pair of PK22 chairs shown here. When the wicker got worn out, she contacted Kjærholm’s son, and, at his suggestion, carried the frames back to Copenhagen, where he had his father’s weaver remake them.
Above: The living area is Camilla’s ode to Danish designer Poul Kjærholm: “His work is so minimal and timeless. I bought my first piece when I was eighteen with my first modeling money.” That was one of the pair of PK22 chairs shown here. When the wicker got worn out, she contacted Kjærholm’s son, and, at his suggestion, carried the frames back to Copenhagen, where he had his father’s weaver remake them.

The square marble-and-stainless-steel coffee table is the PK61 and the daybed is the PK80, both still in production from Fritz Hansen. And because Camilla believes in mixing things up—and in injecting comfort—the brown leather sofa is a departure: It’s the Life Steel by Spazio Schiatti.

The loft occupies what had been the office floor of the thread factory. Camilla and Peder’s son’s room retains its original frosted glass door.
Above: The loft occupies what had been the office floor of the thread factory. Camilla and Peder’s son’s room retains its original frosted glass door.

Plywood shelves built from hardware store parts display not only books and magazines but also favorite souvenirs and gifts, including a vintage Kay Bojesen Teak Monkey that Peder’s grandmother brought for them when she was 90. Read about the copper cube candleholder in The Kubus Goes Glam.
Above: Plywood shelves built from hardware store parts display not only books and magazines but also favorite souvenirs and gifts, including a vintage Kay Bojesen Teak Monkey that Peder’s grandmother brought for them when she was 90. Read about the copper cube candleholder in The Kubus Goes Glam.
The black-and-white bathroom has a Duravit sink and nickel faucet. It’s most asked about detail is the KPH Mirror, which Camilla carried on a plane with her from Copenhagen (it’s also available from Garde in LA). She uses Lyngby Vases as toothbrush holders, and not surprisingly, keeps a Vipp Pedal Bin.
Above: The black-and-white bathroom has a Duravit sink and nickel faucet. It’s most asked about detail is the KPH Mirror, which Camilla carried on a plane with her from Copenhagen (it’s also available from Garde in LA). She uses Lyngby Vases as toothbrush holders, and not surprisingly, keeps a Vipp Pedal Bin.

Off the entry, a Dante Memoir Accordion Coat Rack from Garde LA provides hooks at the perfect heights for all family members. The wire chair is a vintage Harry Bertoia.
Above: Off the entry, a Dante Memoir Accordion Coat Rack from Garde LA provides hooks at the perfect heights for all family members. The wire chair is a vintage Harry Bertoia.

Follow Camilla on Instagram at @objects.nyc.

Nordic design fans, browse our Scandinavian archive for many more of our favorites, such as:

Product summary  

Lyngby Porcelain

Lyngby Vases

$80.00 USD from Design Within Reach

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