Choosing the pieces that turn a house into a home is, for Bettina Gedda, designer and founder of Danish carpet brand Knothouse, always an emotive process. ‘When I buy art,’ she explains, ‘it is first and foremost because the work can be felt. It can be compared to the feeling you get when you hear a piece of music, it stirs something.’
She takes the same approach to colour. Step into the Copenhagen apartment that she shares with husband Johan and their three teenage children and the first things you notice are the delicate, dusty shades on the walls. From the chalky greenish blue in the living area to the creamy yellow of her bedroom, each has a seductive depth. Even the light beige ceilings lend the sunlight a warmer quality as it streams in through the large arched windows.
For Bettina, perfecting this palette was the first step in the delicate transformation of her home, which is located in an historic building that dates back to 1888. Once owned by the Danish military, today its architectural and cultural importance is recognised by its protected status. Bettina’s aim was to reference the property’s past greatness while giving all of the rooms a new lease of life. ‘The restoration project required immense patience and respect for the house,’ she says, ‘but the quality of the materials, the details and the craftsmanship that went into these buildings made it all worthwhile.’ The result is a home that she describes as ‘a love story between different design periods’.
It’s a fitting choice of words, as, from art to furniture and accessories, the items in this abode all tell a tale. Some represent family connections – look at the collection of vases in the living room and you’ll find one made by Bettina, one by her mother and another that’s a gift from her mother-in-law – while others are her own designs and mementoes of happy times. A lot of the most significant things on display are also the humblest, from books and photographs to small glass objects and boxes bought by friends and fellow students at Rhode Island School of Design and the Danish design school where she studied.
As well as these deeply personal touches, there are also furniture classics from around the world – Italy, France, Finland and, of course, Denmark – that reflect Bettina’s own international influences. ‘We have lived in the US and Malta for many years and, since my husband and I met, we have moved numerous times,’ she says. ‘When you travel a lot you think carefully about what comes with you, so only the things that have real meaning remain.’ It’s a natural editing process, one that has created a home with heart. knothouse.com
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration June 2020
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