EXPAT LIVING: AN AUSTRALIAN COUPLE’S BEAUTIFUL MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME IN AARHUS, DENMARK

I had the greatest honor to visit my friend’s beautiful home with my camera. This is the second post in my Expat Living series (read the first one here), in which I want to share inspiration and tell stories of the internationally minded, courageous people that have made Aarhus, Denmark their home. What brings them here, what is it like to live here and how their interior & lifestyle has changed while living here. So, welcome to an Australian couple’s beautiful mid-century modern home in the middle of Aarhus!

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This gorgeous home belongs to Kate and Tom. I love the effortlessly beautiful style in their home – everything seems like it was always this way, like they have grown up with all these beautiful pieces of furniture. But no, in fact they arrived in Denmark two years ago, after living in Laos for several years, with only a few suitcases containing clothes, personal items and a few small art pieces and textiles.

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Believe it or not, Kate and Tom have decorated their home during these two years in Denmark almost solely with vintage and second-hand finds (with a little bit of IKEA in there, of course). Here in Denmark the second-hand market is absolutely amazing but still, I really admire how they have done it. They must have spent so many weekends going through the flea markets, antique events and second-hand shops. But yes, it has definitely been worth it!

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The interior style is mid-century modern with lots of teak furniture. But the home itself is in a very old building, built sometime during the 1800’s that had a previous life as a pharmacy along one of Aarhus’ main streets. This creates a perfect contrast, if you ask me!

– We feel so lucky to live in a building with such a rich history. We actually found some old photos of the building in the old streetscape when it was still a pharmacy. There used to be a large ’APOTEK’ sign in beautiful lettering above our balcony – I kind of wish it was still there! Kate says.

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– I think what initially drew us to mid-century modern furniture was the style and forms. Back in Australia we had purchased a few pieces mostly based on our appreciation of the look and feel of them. When we arrived in Denmark we quickly realised what a treasure trove of design we had now had at our fingertips – and the interesting stories we could uncover chatting to the sellers at the flea markets. Behind many of the pieces in our home there is an interesting personal story: how we have found it and where is has been before us, Kate says.

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Artwork: Bugai Whyoulter of Martumili Artists

– I still remember the first purchase I made here in Denmark. It was a small glass pendant light that is now in our bedroom. (Picture above) We found all the lights for our apartment before we’d actually purchased our beds – and we had no idea we had to install them ourselves when we moved in! I found this one through an Instagram seller called @evocative_dk and that was also the moment I discovered the beauty of MobilePay, she laughs.

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I cannot help but wonder at how many plants there are in Kate’s home and how happy they look in this apartment.

– Plants seem to love this place. We’re lucky to have a lot of light year-round and someone told me that plants seem to prefer the older buildings here. We only go for easy-care greenery so luckily we’ve managed to keep everything alive so far! Kate says.

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Artwork in pic above (clockwise from top): drawing by Jihyun Lim, painting by Nyarapayi Giles of Tjarlirli Art, painting by Phuc Van Dang, light by Ola Mirecka.

Kate is working in Aarhus as a cultural project manager and freelance writer. Back in Australia she worked for a non-profit arts organisation and managed an art gallery and, yes, she is very passionate about art and design. When I ask her what she misses from house back home, the answer is clear.

– I do really miss my art collection, but I know when we return to Australia someday we’ll have everything we’ve collected in Australia, Denmark and Laos all together in one place – and that’s definitely something to look forward to! We managed to bring a few small pieces with us to Denmark from Australia and Laos, and collect some on our travels, and we were so lucky to have been gifted some beautiful Indigenous Australian artworks from friends for our wedding last year.

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Artwork (top to bottom): Sofi Antonas and Creature Creature

When I ask Kate about her favourite things in their home, she laughs.

– There are too many to list! But if I had to choose, our bar cart is definitely one of them – it’s such a cool piece and we completely fell in love with it when we found it at a Habegut Market. I’m also a bit obsessed with the pair of Italian chrome chairs, and the brass pendant light that hangs over our dining room table.

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Speaking of designers, I notice that there are not many really famous Danish design classics in Kate’s and Tom’s home.

– There are a few classic pieces I would love to own if we had the budget, but I think when we’re looking to buy a piece we’re not really thinking about the name behind it or if it’s a well-known design. It’s more about if we think it would suit our style and home. I definitely wouldn’t say no to a Safari Chair though! she laughs.

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Sometimes I just can’t believe how lucky I am to have met these wonderful, warm-hearted, creative people like Kate. I am very inspired by her home, her art and their story. Dear Kate, thank you so much for having me!

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Artwork by Gloria of the Spinifex Hill Artists

I hope I was able to bring even a little of this inspiration also for you through these pictures. I’d love to hear what YOU think, so please leave a comment.

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Ceramic (front): small vessel by Sole Ceramics

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P.S. This is a very special post on my blog because it is the first one I am writing in English. The language will probably be English just occasionally, since I really love Finnish. I think my mother tongue is just the most beautiful language in the world and the one I truly love expressing myself in. But we’ll see – and please tell me what you think about reading this.

Lyhyesti suomeksi: Sain ilon ja kunnian vierailla australialaisen ystäväni Katen luona, joka asuu Aarhusin keskustassa miehensä Tomin kanssa. He muuttivat Tanskaan kaksi vuotta sitten pelkkien matkalaukkujen kanssa ja ovat koonneet ihanan kotinsa sisustuksen lähes pelkästään kirppis- ja second hand -löydöillä. Retrohenkinen sisustus muodostaa ihanan kotoisan tunnelman vanhaan taloon, jossa on paljon taidetta ja jossa viherkasvit viihtyvät.

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