The corn sways in the fields around Elsebeth and Jens’ country house in North Jutland. From the large windows that open up the farmhouse’s façades to the surrounding countryside, farmer Jens can assess the weather from the very moment he opens his eyes.
“What’s most important for us is that we can look out at the countryside around us and out over the fields. The crops out in the fields are my livelihood, so it’s crucial for me that I can see sun, wind and weather from all sides, from dawn until dusk. It means I can plan what we can do on the farm each day. It’s also important for us to be able to sense the seasons and see the deer that run freely over the fields. It’s important when you’re sitting and stressing over the rain at harvest time,” explains Jens.
This farm is his childhood home – although it was a completely different house that he grew up in. The original farmhouse was a low-ceilinged building from the 1800s that had been extended several times. The interior was outdated and it was in a state that meant there was little point in investing in further renovations. So Jens and Elsebeth contacted architect Lars Bo Poulsen at N+P Arkitektur and asked him to design his idea of a modern country property.
“When Lars Bo (Poulsen, ed.) brought us the first sketches, the first thing I thought was: Hmmm, okay: that’s not exactly what I had in mind! I definitely had to get used to the idea of the house’s very modern lines and expression,” explains Jens. And while Elsebeth was enthusiastic from the very start, Jens has since seen the light through the house’s large, open façades, which today give the family a unique view and sense of the farm’s soil.
An archetypal house
Architect Lars Bo Poulsen took to the task with a clear sense that the house should relate to both Jens’ history in the place and Elsebeth’s more contemporary ideas.
“What was funny about this assignment was that the property owners had very different approaches to designing a new house. While Elsebeth was very modern, Jens had a fondness for references to the classic farm, and the task lay in uniting their expectations,” explains Lars Bo Poulsen. The solution was a very detached house with strong connections to the adjoining yard, which retains the impression of being a ‘real’ country home. The house sits on a raised plateau with a terrace that continues all the way around the property, while the architecture is simple – almost archetypal – in its form.
“We have worked with the most basic house shape: the classic gable with façade lines and pitched roof. Material-wise, on the other hand, we have spent a lot of time on the brick walls and have varied the tone of the joints to make the look of the façade more dynamic,” elaborates architect Lars Bo Poulsen.
The zinc roof also hints at the classic country house, while the huge panes of glass are a far cry from the traditional, small mullioned farm windows. Instead, they welcome nature and the landscape into the home. Elsebeth and Jens have also spent many hours selecting just the right materials for the house. They visited brick manufacturer Strøjer Tegl on Funen to pick out the exact type of brick they wished for, and Jens in particular is happy about the quality of the materials. “The same applies in the kitchen, where we have chosen a quality kitchen in robust materials from Multiform with solid oak wood worktops,” notes Jens.
For Elsebeth, the kitchen has become one of the house’s key elements:
“It was important for me that the kitchen became more than ‘just’ a kitchen but, instead, an integrated part of the house. The open plan kitchen-diner is a high-ceilinged space that is openly connected with the rest of the house – it’s not far to anywhere from here. That’s why we chose a Multiform kitchen, which acts as a piece of free-standing furniture on equal footing with the rest of our interiors. We’ve amplified the size and height of the cupboards, and then we’ve chosen a dark shade, which continues along one wall and accentuates the kitchen,” she explains.
No details have been left out in the well-considered Multiform kitchen, which was designed by Jannie Kjær, Multiform Aalborg. The Form 6 kitchen has internal drawers made from solid oak, a solid oak wood worktop with continuous strips and extra high cabinets, which provide plenty of storage space for everything from dinnerware to tablecloths. There is also an integrated bar and coffee bar. Above the kitchen, a skylight brings daylight, the sky and the seasons down onto the large dining table that takes centre stage in the room.
Bathtub with a view of the farmyard’s old garden
While the ground floor has a practical concrete floor, the first floor has light wooden plank flooring that offers a different sense of space and atmosphere. Elsebeth and Jens’ bedroom is furnished simply with natural materials, grey fabrics and bedside lamps from Artemide.
The bathroom faces out onto the farmyard’s old garden, and the family can start the day undisturbed in this aesthetic, simple room. The wood and woven details create a warm contrast to the stone and concrete.
“We have worked at creating a simple expression throughout the entire house, with particular focus on good materials, both inside and out. There is no wasted space or corridors in the house that are not used and just have to be kept clean. I feel at home in all the rooms, and I love that we can look out at the wide expanses around the house from all sides, and that the light accentuates all of its best features and details. It’s a privilege to be able to build your own home, and we wanted to make sure we did it right. You can’t just move a farm,” concludes Elsebeth.