A tiny apartment uses unexpected colour combinations in moody hues to maximum effect, with each acting as a frame for the next
It just felt right when we saw the apartment for the first time,” says Vivi Bang, stylist and interior designer, referring to her Copenhagen home. “Even though there wasn’t a bathroom, the kitchen didn’t work, there was no electricity, the previous owners had been smoking in there for 60 years, our baby girl was 3 months old and I was pregnant again, we still couldn’t resist this crazy project!”
Today, Vivi and her architect partner, Christian Korsgaard, have created a home that has retained a sense of its history while also catering for modern life with custom-made furniture, smart storage, a vibrant colour palette and plenty of art and personal objects.
“I remember when we started to peel off the wallpaper and the smell of old cigarettes just spread throughout the apartment,” says Vivi. “I became a bit nervous that the smell would stay for ever! But Christian was very optimistic. This was our third project together and we are so happy with the outcome. There is a huge amount of satisfaction in seeing your vision come to life.”
Vivi and Christian’s shared style is reflected in their collection of furniture gathered from years of travel or found on eBay and at vintage markets. Vivi’s personal style can also be seen in the decor. “I like to live the same way I like to dress – surrounded by colours and prints but still with a classic touch,” she says.
I try to work from home in the morning before going to meetings or to the office. It’s a good way for me to clear my head
Although the apartment is clearly occupied by two designers, with its chic furnishings and functional utilities, it’s also an utterly unique and entirely personal space.
“Our home should reflect who we are,” says Vivi. “We just do what we think is cool; we collect things that we are drawn to, and we use our home to experiment with new ideas.”
The design-conscious couple are not afraid of testing different wall colours and love the way a room can be transformed by the addition of a new hue. “I like clean lines with a few details, but the Nordic look with white walls is too boring for me, so I spice it up with colours,” Vivi says. The walls in this home come in dusty pink, grey-blue and wine red, among others, and are offset by an original dado in crisp white.
Living & dining
The living room, which leads off the kitchen, is painted in Jotun ‘Tender Green’, which creates a perfect backdrop for the couple’s collection of art and objects. Vivi collects table lamps, many of which adorn her home. Christian’s cousin is artist Lone Seeberg and a number of her works, including a large street art-style painting, can be found on the walls.
The kitchen-dining area has been kept deliberately simple in terms of its furnishings and is painted in Jotun ‘Senses’. This space also doubles as a workspace for Vivi. “I try to work from home in the morning before going to meetings or to the office. It’s a good way for me to clear my head,” she says.
During their renovation, Vivi and Christian decided to move the kitchen into the middle of the apartment. “I love our kitchen and it was a great decision to make it the heart of the whole apartment,” Vivi says. “In order to move it we had to ‘blind’ a double door and create a single door into our bedroom,” she explains.
The black kitchen cabinetry is from Ikea and is finished with a black Corian benchtop. The extractor hood was covered in black-painted steel to keep the look consistent.
“We are in the kitchen most of the time – the kids play here when we are making dinner and a lot of activity takes place in here, therefore it was important for me to just keep it simple,” Vivi says.
Bedroom & bathroom
The kitchen leads directly into the master bedroom which is painted in Jotun ‘Evening Green’. Christian built the cabinets around the bed himself in order to optimise the small space, then painted them in the same colour as the walls to create a clean, unified look.
On the windowsill sits a collection of personal items, such as a brass Buddha given to Vivi by a friend when she worked in China. A lamp from Menu and a vase found at a flea market complete the tableau.
When Vivi and Christian bought their apartment it didn’t have a bathroom, so they carved out a space for one at the end of the hallway. In here Vivi’s instinct for simplicity is once again on display, but enlivened by personal objects and meaningful art.
Lost & found
“We try to be specific in our interior decisions and would rather wait for the right things than go panic-shopping,” Vivi says.
This deliberate approach is clear to see throughout her home, where nothing feels out of place, even though many pieces might appear mismatched or, at the least, eclectic. But those choices are in fact the result of a clear aesthetic that aims to reflect personality rather than the trends of the moment.
“I like to mix new design with vintage,” says Vivi. “Indeed, you could say I spend too much time hunting for special items for our home!
Words by: Vivi Bang and Sally Conor. Styling by Vivi Bang. Photography by: Christina Kayser Onsgaard/Livinginside.