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Copenhagen home that captures the beauty of nature

Interior designer Kate Imogen Wood used pastel colours and curtains to soften the light in this photographers’ retreat

kate imogen wood copenhagen home
Irina Boersma César Machado

The small fishing harbour of Sluseholmen is a largely undiscovered patch of untamed nature on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Inhabitants of the Danish capital would be forgiven for not knowing it’s there, but for landscape photographers Maria Rosendal and Martin Bay, founders of Foto Factory, and their two daughters, this was the ideal place to call home.

Having lived for a time near Edinburgh, the pair had developed a taste for wild beauty [their dramatic ‘Faroe Island’ prints feature in our piece on how to create a gallery wall].

kate imogen wood copenhagen home
Irina Boersma César Machado

The house, a new build, was bought in 2010, and for 10 years remained a plain white box – little more than a window on the world – until, last year, when a redesign turned it into a place as pleasing as its views.

The mastermind behind this transformation is Kate Imogen Wood, a Copenhagen-based interior designer and stylist, originally from the Lake District, who bonded with the couple over a shared love of untamed countryside.

kate imogen wood copenhagen home
Irina Boersma César Machado

Her aim was, she says, ‘to create warmth and softness, while keeping everything very organic. The house’, she adds, ‘had to work as a backdrop for Martin and Maria’s photography.’

‘The house had to work as a backdrop for Martin and Maria’s photography’

When visiting, one of the first things to strike Kate was the magical quality of the light that plays off the nearby water. ‘It can be really bright, which was actually a bit of an issue because,’ explains Kate, ‘typically for Denmark, the couple had no curtains.’ By adding generous linen drapes, she has softened the whole feel of this home.

kate imogen wood copenhagen home
Irina Boersma César Machado

‘Now,’ she says, ‘the light really makes the atmosphere.’

Adding to the patterns the sunlight now paints on the walls, Kate has used a palette of natural hues – cornflower blue, oatmeal and an earthy beige. ‘I wanted the colours to have a calming influence,’ she adds. Throughout this home, an ever-changing array of photographs blends beautifully with the scheme.

This seamless interaction between the outdoors, the indoors and the couple’s work was something that Kate strove to perfect. ‘I wanted everything to blend,’ she explains. There are a few British furniture designs in the mix that speak to her background, but the most important aspect when choosing pieces was to add maximum texture with minimal objects.

kate imogen wood copenhagen home
Irina Boersma César Machado

‘The idea was to inject feeling,’ she adds. ‘Everything needed to be tactile – bamboo chairs, a bobbly fabric on the white sofa and lots of ceramics.’ Even the kitchen, once a soulless black box, was given a new look with bespoke plywood cabinets, sketched by Kate and crafted by a local carpenter.

‘Everything needed to be tactile – bamboo chairs, a bobbly fabric on the white sofa and ceramics’

Martin and Maria have now moved even further away from the hustle and bustle, making a new home in the coastal town of Tisvilde, but this hidden harbour remains their bolthole in the city. Just a 15-minute bike ride from the centre, it is now the perfect gallery and shop, giving visitors a chance to experience the escapism their work portrays. kateimogenwood.com; foto-factory.com


This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration March 2021

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