From old backyard house to modern dream home
There were holes in the roof of the old backyard house from the 1930s, and the courtyard was known as one of the city’s more shady addresses. The big brute of a backyard house had been derelict since the end of the noughties when architect Jesper Therkildsen and his wife Karin took it over and created a dream residence with luxurious custom solutions.
Visible structure, brickwork and rafters – and holes in the roof
“I could see that the building had some special proportions and a shape that was incredibly exciting, and also the idea of this old warehouse building, with its visible structure, brickwork and rafters, was just cool to work further with,” explains Jesper Therkildsen, who is used to thinking both creatively and constructively in his work as an architect. At this point he had already built several homes for himself and his family, most recently a modern house with a view of one of Fredericia’s finest natural areas. Now, he had turned his attention – and his love – towards a derelict backyard house in the city with the main street on one side and Fredericia’s green ramparts on the other.
“Karin and I had a good life, a very good life in fact, in our previous house, so this home had to be at least as good, preferably better. Basically we wanted our lives, daily routines and work to fit together better, and we could do that living here, because Karin could have her clinic in the front house facing the street, while I could have my studio here in the back house. I don’t think that you can design a house for your entire life. Every age brings different needs, and make no mistake, we’re at the point now when life should simply be lived to the full,” explains Jesper Therkildsen.
With room for a home cinema, darts room, fitness room, wine cellar and walk-in closet in its 370 square metres, it’s clear that this is a house built for enjoying life.
“This house suits us – and the period of our lives we’re in now.”
New and old complement each other beautifully in the kitchen
The large open plan kitchen-diner has been in sharp focus from the start. With exposed beams and raw brickwork, it bears the marks of the building’s past and works in elegant harmony with the carpenter’s kitchen from Multiform, which has been designed in collaboration with Per Larsen from Multiform Horsens.
“Rather than make lots of small rooms, we’ve tried to use the square metres we have to create a beautiful, special backdrop for experiences. We’ve raised the bar for the project several times during the building process and chosen the best materials, the most fantastic kitchen. We’ve allowed the large open staircase to take up a lot of space, and I’ve used a lot of energy and a small fortune to create the ultimate lighting experience, both inside and out. Our ambition was also to preserve as much of the original building as possible and to retain the structure in a way that meant it still looked old in some respects. Getting a craftsperson to build something crooked on purpose however can be difficult,” laughs Jesper Therkildsen.
There are no compromises in the old backyard house
Just like the rest of the house, the kitchen testifies to Jesper and Karin’s stubborn refusal to compromise on their vision: aesthetically, personally or when it comes to materials. The floors are laid with wide Dinesen planks in Douglas Pine and you can almost taste the enjoyment in the interior, where the backdrop plays an active role in the life Karin and Jesper imagined for themselves when they began the backyard project.
“The old building’s aesthetics have led us much of the way, and the rustic walls and visible structures have presented us with some very special possibilities. For me it’s always been a matter of accentuating the contrasts, as this is where the exciting stuff happens. The kitchen is thus a combination of different elements in smoked oak, steel and white lacquered wood, which stands in contrast to the raw brickwork. Rather than hiding them away, the pipes for the cooker hood are visible and help to create the industrial vibe of the building.
“The design of the kitchen has arisen in conjunction with the space and is about much more than just a new kitchen – it’s about the creation of a space. This is why I chose to use Multiform, a company that can deliver the quality I believe this backdrop deserves. I’m also crazy about the quality and the surfaces of Multiform’s elements – along with the fact that they comprise a flexibility that gives me many possibilities as an architect. The practical solutions are chosen from the functions we want as a family. This is where we disconnect and where we meet, and we’re not above watching a film while we eat,” explains Jesper.
“If I was to do it all again, then I wouldn’t change any of it – and that’s a great feeling.”
It’s in the contrasts that the exciting things happen
“To use a cliché, it really has been like moving into a dream. The reality has exceeded all our expectations, and we have got some fantastic rooms that really do bring us pleasure on a daily basis. “If I was to do it all again, then I wouldn’t change any of it – and that’s a great feeling.”
“Life has also got so much easier since we moved to the city. We have everything within walking distance, both city life and green recreational areas with the ramparts behind us. The other day I took my car into the garage and the mechanic told me that the brakes on my car were starting to rust and that we needed to use them more often. We don’t drive in it anymore!”
Look forward to experiencing more of the house
Jesper and Karin’s large bathroom, which is adjacent to the bedroom, is now a full 24 square metres of wellness and everyday joy. We look forward to showing you more of the house.