The lights in Sweden can be seen flickering across the Oresund strait, and the bustling hub of Copenhagen is just twenty kilometres south, yet this house is in the very heart of nature - twenty metres below is a beautiful beach, and behind are acres of woods. It’s a special location, that’s plain to see. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. For Kai Lytthans, the architect who designed it over eighty years ago, camped on-site for four months to ensure it stood in the perfect position in relation to its surroundings and the path of the sun.
Its present owner, Teis Bruun, finds this faintly amusing, but concedes that viewed from the house, the sunrise is spectacular, and that he and his wife, Marie Sofie, and their children Johan (10) and Anna (8) are privileged to enjoy this idyll. ‘From the beginning of June to the end of September we swim every morning in the sea. At weekends we also bike in the woods, or go for long walks. Afterwards, I like to sit and read and relax. I encourage the children to do the same, but this has not been so successful,’ he says with mock solemnity.
When a friend told Teis and Marie Sofie about the house they had no plans to move, yet their curiosity was piqued. ‘It had not been touched since it was built in the Thirties, so it was perfectly preserved, but much worn down,’ recalls Teis, who, like his wife, was instantly smitten by the house and its situation.
Like most modern families, the Bruuns, were after open-plan living, and a light, airy interior. Structurally, this was achieved this by raising the roof 40cm, adding several capacious windows onto the sea, and turning multiple small rooms into a handful of large ones. They also added an extension, which functions as a children’s area. ‘We hoped they would spend more time in there than they do,’ notes Teis dryly.
The interior is characterized by Scandinavian values of craftsmanship and simplicity. The huge white-oiled, oak floorboards seen throughout the house – with the exception of the bathrooms - are key to this look, as is the very pale grey of the walls. Furniture, much of it icons of Scandinavian design, is used sparingly, ditto accessories and art. Luxury comes from the quality of the pieces and the integrity of the materials. There is no busyness or excess, just a delicious sense of calm.
The house also has a Japanese influence, which is seen most clearly in the sliding doors dividing the master bedroom and bathroom, as well as the kitchen diner and the living room. The pattern of the doors echoes the pattern of the original windows.