A couple weaves color and personality into their stylish space filled with DIY touches.
Artist and photographer Anette Vadla Ravnas and partner Christian Birk infused color and life into their 1903 apartment to reflect their combined love of eclectic decor and vibrant style. “I love this place, but had never imagined that I should live so centrally in the vibrant city,” Anette says. A mix of Norwegian and Danish styles, the apartment is on a cul-de-sac, making traffic minimal on one side with a provincial-like atmosphere surrounded by greenery on the other. The 958-square-foot apartment had once been part of an old home for apprentices from the country who each rented a small room. Several rooms were merged to create the openplan studio apartments with large windows and views of the courtyard. The L-shaped floor plan contains a kitchen, dining room and living room that leads to the bathroom and bedroom. “For us, living somewhere is not only a matter of furniture and colors – it’s also a fascination with the architecture, windows and light. Christian often teases me that I am so preoccupied with windows. It’s almost the most important thing in a room and it was a significant part of why I fell in love with this apartment,” Anette says. Luckily, the two share a similar design philosophy. “We really consider our home as a living laboratory where we test and play with ideas and colors.”
- What: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment
- Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
- Size: 958 square feet
Most things here are homemade
The footstools by the sofa are made from corrugated cardboard bent into a circle. The handmade pillow shaped like an (A) was a gift from Anette’s friend, a graphic designer. On the coffee table are Anette’s glass vases that she painted by pouring acrylic paint inside and rotating it around until the desired look was achieved.
The bedroom features a sea of soothing blue and doubles as Anette and Christian’s office. The vintage map is from Christian’s school days and the light fixture, created from a Gubi lamp purchased from a secondhand shop, is decorated with wires holding cards from friends and some of the couple’s favorite inspirational quotes.
In the living room, an organic feel juxtaposes with geometric, modern shapes. An Eilersen sofa with stackable cushions, a cable reel-turned-table and bright colors bring the look together. Classic earth tones were chosen for the sofa to maintain versatility as tastes change.
Anette painted the portraits of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa, people she admires who add significance to her paintings. They serve to brighten the space while also providing daily inspiration. Anette and her mother hand-crocheted this colorful rug together.
We really consider our home as a living laboratory where we test and play with ideas and colors.
Tired of the exposed cupboard shelves in the kitchen, Anette and Christian put old, salvaged wooden boards over parts of the cabinet they wanted covered up. The result is raw and industrial, which enhances the room’s modern feel. Above the sink hangs a photo that Anette took, printed on a Plexiglas plate.
The bathroom is decorated with neutral tiles in a calming charcoal gray, while yellow accents liven the space. The olive oil can on the footstool is a memento from a trip to Italy.
A bright, unexpected color palette allows the couple to express their bold sense of style. Soft pastel colors like pale yellow, gray and mint are mixed in with primary colors that take center stage, such as the lemon-colored ladder in the living room. Anette loves to play with complementary colors that provide the space with “a little edge.”
Another unique form of expression that also kept the design under budget is the couple’s handcrafted, upcycled furniture. Anette designed the dining room table from a rusty frame and coarse, whitewashed oak planks. The footstools in the living room are made out of corrugated cardboard in circular shapes. Above them, a paper bag with a beautiful graphic design was framed for instant art. Anette’s father’s workshop lamps created the perfect lighting in the kitchen, and in the hallway, you’ll see nine white plastic crates spray-painted green and arranged into a nifty rack with wheels.
“Most things here are homemade,” Anette says, who gathers inspiration from magazines and Pinterest. “I think that our expressions are very much our own and that the things we surround ourselves with are things we like, which we have spent time and energy on.”