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Kitchen of the Week: Art and Soul in a Copenhagen Kitchen

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Kitchen of the Week: Art and Soul in a Copenhagen Kitchen

March 14, 2019

Scandinavian contemporary kitchens are known for their pale, stripped-down allure. But this custom design by KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri (translation: Copenhagen Cabinetmaking) plays against type. Equal parts refined and homey, it’s composed of fumed oak, dark stone, and patinated brass mingled with artwork and patterned tiles. A combination island/breakfast counter dominates the floor space. Look closely and you’ll spot the world’s chicest appliance garage. and there’s a true hearth in the center of it all.

Photography by Line Klein (@linethiktklein), courtesy of KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri.

The 323-square-foot kitchen belongs to Rebecca and Peter Elbek—she’s a jewelry designer, he’s a tech investor, and they have four daughters, ages 3 to 18. The family live near the sea in a 19th-century house just north of Copenhagen that they’ve been remodeling in spurts over the last 15 years. Recently, they decided to re-situate the kitchen in what had been the living room because they wanted to start afresh in a space with more natural light.
Above: The 323-square-foot kitchen belongs to Rebecca and Peter Elbek—she’s a jewelry designer, he’s a tech investor, and they have four daughters, ages 3 to 18. The family live near the sea in a 19th-century house just north of Copenhagen that they’ve been remodeling in spurts over the last 15 years. Recently, they decided to re-situate the kitchen in what had been the living room because they wanted to start afresh in a space with more natural light.

The couple worked closely with KBH: “We told them all of our dreams and needs, and they came up with different scenarios,” says Rebecca. “Peter and I started collecting contemporary art when we met 25 years ago, and we have a bit of a fetish for fireplaces; the KBH team were extremely clever in making sure that everything was incorporated.”

Installed by the family when the space was used as the living room, the raised fireplace and firewood niche are framed by Made a Mano lava stone tiles. Note the combination of wood tones: the base cabinet fronts are light fumed oak and the upper cabinets and island top are medium fumed oak (there are also reveal and cut-out handles). The sink counter is Nero Assoluto, a black granite quarried in Zimbabwe.
Above: Installed by the family when the space was used as the living room, the raised fireplace and firewood niche are framed by Made a Mano lava stone tiles. Note the combination of wood tones: the base cabinet fronts are light fumed oak and the upper cabinets and island top are medium fumed oak (there are also reveal and cut-out handles). The sink counter is Nero Assoluto, a black granite quarried in Zimbabwe.
In the back corner, the stove and cooktop are set off by a patinated brass backsplash. The couple selected a variety of drawings and paintings to display. To those concerned about grease and grime, Rebecca says, “everything near the stove and fireplace is behind glass. We think it’s important to ‘use’ art.”
Above: In the back corner, the stove and cooktop are set off by a patinated brass backsplash. The couple selected a variety of drawings and paintings to display. To those concerned about grease and grime, Rebecca says, “everything near the stove and fireplace is behind glass. We think it’s important to ‘use’ art.”

The domed lights are the KBH Lamp in gun metal. KBH was founded in 2006 as a small workshop devoted to applying traditional woodworking techniques to bespoke kitchen designs. The brand has since expanded to include a Copenhagen showroom and online furniture and lighting collection. A NYC showroom is currently in the works.

There are three sets of under-counter fridge drawers and a freezer concealed in the island.
Above: There are three sets of under-counter fridge drawers and a freezer concealed in the island.
The island has rounded corners for ease of use in a tight space.
Above: The island has rounded corners for ease of use in a tight space.
On the other side of the fireplace, the over-the-counter storage includes the aforementioned appliance garage (also known as a tambour cupboard).
Above: On the other side of the fireplace, the over-the-counter storage includes the aforementioned appliance garage (also known as a tambour cupboard).
“When the cupboard is pulled up, there’s space for our kitchen machines and equipment on a pullout tray—very practical,” says Rebecca. (For drinks dispensers like this one, see 10 Easy Pieces.)
Above: “When the cupboard is pulled up, there’s space for our kitchen machines and equipment on a pullout tray—very practical,” says Rebecca. (For drinks dispensers like this one, see 10 Easy Pieces.)
Custom cutlery drawers are one of KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri’s signature touches.
Above: Custom cutlery drawers are one of KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri’s signature touches.
At the end of the island opposite the stove, a section of the counter is topped with brass for setting down hot pots.
Above: At the end of the island opposite the stove, a section of the counter is topped with brass for setting down hot pots.
Challenged to find space to hang pots and pans and kitchen tools, the designers inserted a brass rod under the deep counter and detailed the island with a tall brass toe kick.
Above: Challenged to find space to hang pots and pans and kitchen tools, the designers inserted a brass rod under the deep counter and detailed the island with a tall brass toe kick.
A combination bar and storage cabinet stands at the other end of the kitchen, matched by a pair of glass-fronted storage cabinets near the sink. The leather-topped High Stools are by Space Copenhagen.
Above: A combination bar and storage cabinet stands at the other end of the kitchen, matched by a pair of glass-fronted storage cabinets near the sink. The leather-topped High Stools are by Space Copenhagen.

To see an impressive kitchenette by KBH Møbelsnedkeri, go to The New Nordic A-Frame.

The workshop’s popular pivoting mirror is featured in Model/Design Ambassador Camilla Vest’s Soho Loft (get the details in Steal This Look).

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