Director of International Education at the Hempel Foundation, Bente Mølgaard is a discerning and well-travelled minimalist. The countless weeks of travel were also what resulted in a strong desire for a homely oasis to return to. In collaboration with interior designer Birgit Tarp from Design Circus, the globetrotter has managed to create her dream property in an exclusive townhouse development in Charlottenlund. The property, designed by the internationally renowned architect Lars Gjetz, is a great example of how even a smaller, newly built home can manage to tell personal stories.
The first thing you notice when entering the newly built townhouse is the impressive ceiling height of 5.5 metres and a central claret-coloured wall space that immediately sets the tone for the interior of the property.
Following extensive research into the existing property market and new builds in the area, as well as around Nordhavn, the Charlottenlund project caught Bente Mølgaard’s eye. It was a smaller plot with only five properties in an exclusive “small scale living” development and a rare opportunity to put your own stamp on the property when it came to both materials and layout. The modern architecture elegantly blends in with the surroundings and the private gardens provide opportunities for a homely refuge close to both the forest and the beach, as well as the city.
“One of the deciding factors was that the purchase agreement allowed me to make the changes to the property that I wanted and allowed me to participate in the entire building process. I drew electrical diagrams and pipe layouts, met up with the tradesmen on site and took part in every single decision-making process. As a result, the property became completely my own. Walls were moved to make room for built-in cabinets, the kitchen door was moved so that a large cloakroom could be constructed. More storage was added to the downstairs bathroom and all technology was elegantly concealed in ceilings and under floors.”
Impeccable quality and beautiful design
“I have a very Italian style. Clean, simple lines and not too many ornaments. The few items I have on display all have a story behind them. I travel a lot through work and, when I find something especially interesting, I tend to bring it back home. Perhaps then it will find a place in my home. I generally place a great deal of emphasis on quality and design and I enjoy looking at and living with both these things. Every day, I enjoy opening my handmade Multiform drawers and cabinets, which are beautiful and of exquisite quality. Being surrounded by beautiful design makes me feel happy.”
I have a very Italian style. Clean, simple lines and not too many ornaments.
Bente Mølgaard’s interior is full of artistic treasures, each associated with a story from one of the many special experiences she has had while working on securing an education for some of the poorest children across the globe. With limited ornaments in the property, the larger elements such as the kitchen and the prominent cloakroom had to be well integrated. Design Circus also worked to achieve atmospheric lighting using paired ceiling spots that illuminate selected wall spaces so that the property appears inviting and larger than it really is. This was crucial, as the main space of the property houses the entrance, kitchen, living room, exit to the terrace, stairway, wardrobe and entrance to the downstairs bathroom.
Harmony and context are vital when the space and the number of rooms are limited and perhaps this is why Bente Mølgaard is most excited about her kitchen, the colours and the lighting.
“As the kitchen is an integral part of the living space, I wanted it to be a focal element in which the cabinets harmonised with the walls and appeared virtually invisible. The choice was a Multiform kitchen in smoked oak with an African black Nero Assoluto granite worktop and an integrated cooker hood solution that blends in with the walls. I admire the large wooden drawers made from solid oak every time I open them and they make it extremely easy to keep things tidy.”
“I wanted a large bathroom with plenty of space on the surfaces and in the drawers. It is great to have so much space to put things down when you are using the bathroom, as well as having large drawers in which most things can be hidden away. It makes it easy to keep things tidy. Clean, sharp lines, space for a few simple decorative objects while the rest is put away is just the way I like it,” says Bente Mølgaard.
I enjoy being close to the forest and the beach, while also being within cycling distance of the city centre.
The fact that the property was designed to have such an extravagantly high ceiling at one end results in a fantastic sense of space and makes the property pretty unique. The double ceiling height also means that the property feels much larger than the 96 square metres it actually is.
The top floor of the exclusive townhouse features a stunning bedroom with a grey-scale monkey wallpaper and grey wardrobes supplied by Multiform. The wardrobes, as well as the storage cabinets in the kitchen, were custom-made by Multiform cabinetmakers and painted in the same soft grey tones as the walls in the rest of the property. The upstairs also houses a study and a bathroom, as well as a glass-fronted landing with views over the kitchen.
“It feels so great to reap the fruits of a long building process and to be part of creating your own new home according to “small scale living”. I am really happy with the result and I enjoy being this close to the forest and the beach, while also being within cycling distance of the city centre. This is only possible in Denmark.”