This Thatched Cottage in Denmark Is Surprisingly Sleek Inside
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This Thatched Cottage in Denmark Is Surprisingly Sleek Inside

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By Laura C. Mallonee
Architects John Lassen and Joanna Tench renovate the summer home of their dreams.

When Danish architects John Lassen and Joanna Tench were looking for a summer home to renovate, they cast their eye on a thatched-roof cottage overlooking the North Sea in West Jutland. Built in 1967, it was typical of traditional homes in the area—long, narrow, and oriented along an East-West axis. "It was very simple, and it was exactly what I wanted," Lassen says. It just needed some serious work.

The architects replaced the existing orange cinder-block facade with plaster walls and Pomeranian pine wood shingles, put on a new thatched roof, and installed "stable door" windows. Nestled among pines and fruit trees, its traditional exterior belies the modern interior within.

Douglas fir lines the walls of the entryway. A narrow striped rug adds texture to the white-painted wooden floor from Dinesen.

Lassen designed all the furniture with the exception of a few items, like the vintage Chairman armchair by Henrik Tengler and white IKEA sofas. "To keep it simple, we only used natural colors from wood inside, with everything else being white," Lassen says.

The architects installed plaster walls and a curved ceiling that lets in more light. Its circular design repeats in the entrance to the master bedroom, accessible by a ladder.

Lassen says the biggest key for designing a small space is to keep things as minimalist as possible. "Don’t try to make anything bigger or build an addition. Just remove all bad architecture and create clean, simple rooms."

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A small dining room occupies the space just beyond the living room. It’s furnished with vintage folding chairs designed by Danish architect Mogens Koch that are easily stored for more space.

The kitchen cabinets and fixtures are all sourced from Swan Cuisines. The trashcan is by Vipp. The architects opted to install only a small stove with no oven, as the garden already has a fireplace.

In the bathroom, plain white tiles line the walls and ceiling. The floors are natural stone and the fixtures are by VOLA. Lassen built the sink himself.

A modern stone fence made of galvanized steel mesh filled with stones surrounds the house. "We got the stones from the local stonecutter—they use the stones washed up on the beach, not the stones from the fields," Lassen explains.

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