The owner of this chic apartment decorates for Christmas with a traditional yet minimalist aesthetic in mind
One of the pleasures of Christmas is the chance to revisit the past, retelling old family stories, sharing memories of people and times long ago, and digging out all those festive ornaments you’d almost forgotten about, some of them years, perhaps even generations, old.
This sense of the past meeting the present is something Pernille Baastrup Jakobsen loves to express in her home each Christmas. At this time of year, you’ll find her 96-square-metre apartment in Copenhagen softly scented with a mixture of aromas, from aniseed to orange, and the airy, white rooms carefully dressed with just a few simple, modern ornaments. However, Pernille has a way of integrating traditional Christmas decorations into her decor that feels both timeless and contemporary.
“Christmas, to me, has always been connected to traditions,” Pernille says. “I spend Christmas in my parents’ home, with my two brothers, in a small village in Jutland, and it’s a completely family-orientated occasion.
“We all gather before the 23rd of December, when we celebrate my brother’s birthday. The house is full of people and it’s quite informal.
It’s a great time to see old friends and catch up with lots of family members.” In contrast to her parents’ home, Pernille’s festive style is very simple: just candles and a few decorations throughout. However, a real Christmas tree is absolutely essential, complete with beautiful old decorations inherited from her grandmother.
“I love using my grandmother’s things as they can beautifully complement my own, much simpler decorations,” says Pernille, who favours a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
Presents wrapped in white paper and royal blue ribbon have been piled on the floor, and glasses holding single old-fashioned hyacinth bulbs form little tableaux with modern prints. Potted mini pine trees or branches of foliage bring festive cheer to each room, standing out against the white walls, pale wood floors and furnishings in muted shades of blue. Slender white candles placed around the apartment also add a touch of Christmas magic.
The black table from Danish brand Hay has been decorated for a Christmas dinner with friends in pure white and silver, and a collection of Lyngby vases have been filled with red berries and small fir branches gathered from the woods near her parents’ home.
“I would rather decorate my table with a couple of large cones from the woods than run around the shops for the latest decorations,” says Pernille. “It is a pleasure to find things myself, and I’m probably repeating some of the things I have seen throughout my childhood Christmases.” The glasses on the table are antique, and a fir cone placed on each plate completes the look.
The month of December is spent visiting Christmas markets, making trips to Jutland to gather fir and pine cones, and enjoying evenings with friends that are filled with laughter and the spirit of Christmas.
“I love Christmas in its traditional form, but I don’t like my home to be completely transformed,” says Pernille. “To me, it’s a great pleasure to decorate for Christmas and show my guests that I celebrate it, but it is also important to be true to the character of each room. I like to use a bit of red and a lot of white and decorate very much in the old-fashioned style, but without it taking over entirely.”
Rather than having hallways, each room in Pernille’s apartment leads into another, which creates a beautiful feeling of lightness and space, and allows a view from one end of the home to the other. The Christmas tree is positioned so it can be seen from almost every room, but its simple decoration prevents it from overpowering the space.
“Something old and something new, injected with the DNA of an old-fashioned Christmas” is how Pernille describes her festive style. We think ‘old, new and a little bit of blue’ is a pretty great way to live all year round
Words by: Eva-Marie Wilken. Photography by: Martin Sølyst.