Lars Nielsen is a well-regarded financial auditor, the type of person who is satisfied with only the very best — and he he is making no exceptions when it comes to building his holiday home in Denmark. But he admits that his quest for perfection can be exhausting. We went to have a look at the project which also features an eggersmann kitchen.
Photos: Charlotte de la Fuente | Text: Oliver Geyer
Now that everything is finished, Nielsen can at last connect completely different things with the word ”perfect” when it comes to his holiday home. Things that really matter. For example, his nine-year-old son can go for a short wander in the morning, to climb the cliffs at the bottom of the sea or to herd the sheep on the pastures by the shore. From above, through the panoramic windows, this looks a little like a scene from the children‘s TV animation series ”Shaun the Sheep.” By the time that happens, Nielsen, an early riser, has usually been sitting at the windows alone for a while to simply enjoy the view — until something stirs in the family’s bedrooms at the back of the bungalow, his ten-month-old daughter chuckles, his son comes around the corner and Nielsen‘s wife Pernille makes the first pot of tea for the day in the kitchen. For Nielsen, perfect here also means knowing that he could later go fishing with a friend at any time. Or not. At the top of this busy man’s to-do list is sweet idleness.
It is easy to imagine how Nielsen, who actually lives in Hong Kong with his family and works there as a partner of an international auditing firm, sometimes daydreams during his daily work routine and escapes to this place of longing in his thoughts. But nothing could be further from the truth: ”Dreaming?”, Nielsen asks with a mischievous grin. ”I can just look at my phone. There are several cameras and I always have live images on our alarm system’s app.
AT THE TOP OF THE BUSY MAN’S TO-DO LIST IS SWEET IDLENESS
Nielsen freely admits that he is an incorrigible perfectionist. When he starts something, he has to do it properly. But is he also a bit of a control freak? The smile on his face quickly changes to the expression of a schoolboy who has just been caught. In fact, not everything regarding this dream house — a classic Bauhaus-styled bungalow, which blends harmoniously into the coastal landscape with its dark, earthy brick facade — has been quite so relaxed during the planning and construction phase. He has surely annoyed the workers, if not occasionally driven them insane, the 48-year-old freely admits — and he quickly provides a few examples: He had all the bathroom tiles removed after they had just been laid, because the different shades weren’t arranged in the best possible way to suit the pattern. To set out this pattern, he completely recreated his Hong Kong bathroom as a 3-D model. There was a similar situation with the handmade bricks that make up the outer and inner walls: Nielsen had them specifically produced in different shades of color, they had to be put together in a particular order. Unfortunately, the masons had to take an entire wall apart and build it again.
He admits that sometimes his perfectionism exhausts him too. He had no doubt that his home should absolutely be this classic Bauhaus bungalow but with a roof that protrudes unusally far out. This was not only a challenge in terms of the building’s engineering, it was also difficult to get planning permission — because it deviated too far from local building traditions.
When you visit the friendly Dane in his home, there isn’t any evidence of the control freak. Perhaps his character traits are hidden like the cam-eras which also lie somewhere under the calm and clear surfaces that are easy and soothing on the eye. In general, all this gives off a very relaxed overall effect. The house as the mirror of the personality that built it: relaxation based on perfection.
But why all this considerable effort for a place that is without doubt beautiful, but also very far away for a family who are based in Hong Kong? ”In 2011, after my father passed away, my wife and I wanted to be with our families more often,” says Nielsen. But they did not want to have to always be living out of their suitcases and sometimes they wanted to be able to host their friends. After years of globalized living and working, this house construction was probably also a return to his roots and a more leisurely lifestyle in Denmark: Lars and Pernille both come from this region, their parents‘ homes are only 10 minutes away. The two of them met in a nearby town 30 years ago when they were both teenagers at the business school.
And just as they have always remained faithful to each other, their contact with friends from the area has never faded. Now he has a place where this sense of home and belonging can be lived out. But for Nielsen there was no question that this place should not only be near his family, but also ”close to perfect” — architecturally and in terms of the furnishings.
„I REALLY APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT THEY ALWAYS CREATE INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS“
”We always wanted a large living room with sea view, where you can cook for friends and chat with them while doing so, because the dining table is right next to it. If you want, you should also be able to stretch out on one of the sofas.” This is how he, as the developer, sums up his wishes that have now taken shape in the architecture here. Incidentally, his idea of creating a convivial place for friends also convinced the officials at the municipal building authority. However, he made a conscious choice that it shouldn’t be the classic Danish living-kitchen combination where there is always a large dining table but with a separate living room. Instead, he created a whole ”living landscape” where the kitchen forms the social hub. To the left is a sofa area for watching TV, on the right another sofa corner with a fireplace — and all of it faces the sea.
The final choice of an eggersmann kitchen came about because the brother of a good friend of his builds exclusive lofts in Copenhagen and likes to equip them with eggersmann. ”That‘s when I saw these kitchens for the first time and immediately knew: That‘s a completely different quality,” says Nielsen. So he made his way to the Weisselberg company in Hamburg, Germany, equipped with a few samples of the living area’s defining materials – the bricks of the walls and the floorboards – to find out together with Allan Weisselberg what the perfect surface material for the kitchen could be for this combination. Nielsen was at first fascinated by eggersman’s many stone kitchens, but they would have competed too much with the bricks of the house. So the choice fell on hot-rolled and brushed stainless steel, a material that is still very rare for kitchens and that originates from shipbuilding. How fitting for this place.
Perfectionism that leads to high-end design, clarity and functionality
Nielsen was so taken by this brightly shimmering steel that he felt it should determine the overall picture of the kitchen — from the base cabinets and the dishwasher door to the worktop, cooking island, hanging cabinets and even the extractor hood. This required some extra effort: The steel fronts of the tall cabinets first had to be mounted on aluminum frames, in order to create the required depth for the concealed hinges. Because the door strength increased as a result of this, the corpuses of the tall cabinets had to be mounted with an offset of a few millimeters. This created a uniform front line. In order for the dishwasher door to open and close gently despite its weight, Thomas Weisselberg had special springs installed at Miele. And the cooker hood had to be completely taken apart and then reassembled — this was the only way the steel could be fitted to it. ”These are just a few examples. I really appreciate the fact that they always create individual solutions.” Nielsen was also enthusiastic that eggersmann first completely set up his kitchen before delivery at his request to make sure that everything fitted together with one hundred percent accuracy.
That seems to be true for the Nielsen-eggersmann collaboration, too — it just goes well together. Because their aspirations are the same: perfectionism that leads to high-end design, clarity and functionality. And if everything is right in the end, then it leads to the perfect conditions for relaxation.
Asked if he also prepares the fish he caught himself, Nielsen says: ”To be honest, I prefer to get involved with eating the food.” But his wife loves this kitchen and when they are here, they also like to cook traditional Danish food. The only thing he needs to watch out for, though, is that his love for his country’s culinary delights is reined in a bit, otherwise he would gain weight too quickly. Wouldn’t that be the perfect place to retire to? “We’re going to be here even more often,” says Nielsen, “but not all the time!” Then Nielsen tells us that they are planning something in Copenhagen, too, and that he can well imagine enrolling at university there later — to study architecture. Building the house has given him a taste for it.
More pictures of the kitchen in Lars Nielsen's Danish holiday home can also be seen in our lookbook.
ANOTHER DIMENSION OF KITCHEN
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