A Magazine Editor's Nordic Home
“My dream was to work in an editorial environment, but it was impossible to gain a foothold, so I had to create my own publication,” says blogger and entrepreneur Malene Marie Møller, who quit her job as a receptionist to fulfil her dream of inspiring others in interior design and reporting on the latest trends. That was about four years ago – now the dream has come true and not only has that publication, Boligcious, taken off, but Møller has also started her own online magazine company. We tour Møller’s own inspiring home in a former office building outside Copenhagen, Denmark.
Who lives here: Malene Marie Møller with her kids, Olivia, 14, and Wilfred, 6 More on the owner: Malene founded the blog Boligcious (’bolig’ means ‘home’ in Danish), and has been writing for it over the past five years. She then founded the online magazine company We make Journals, where she is also the editor of the magazine Sohome. Finally, she manages the creative content agency Høeg + Møller. Location: Lillerød, outside of Copenhagen, Denmark Size: 114 square metres, spread over two stories
Møller wants the style in her family’s home to be personal, with many details to explore. “There has to be a ‘Malene style’ here, because there should not be any doubt that I’m the one who lives here,” she says. This so-called Malene style is always there, whatever the latest trends. Therefore, the furniture has not changed place in this charming city house since the family moved into it twelve years ago. It still shines with stylish choices, well thought-through colour and material combinations and personal elements.
After 13 years in the fashion industry, a design technology education from KEA, the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, and lots of unsuccessful job applications, Møller started blogging about housing and interior design.
“In school I went for a short internship as a journalist because I always loved a good story,” Møller says: she tried out her writing skills at Fredensborg Amts Avis, a local community newspaper. “I wrote about old people in nursing homes,” Møller says, laughing. “A couple of years ago I bumped into my former Danish teacher, Grethe, in my local supermarket. I was one of those somewhat disappointing students, and Grethe thought my writing was too sloppy. My written exercises were always too short, and my grades were just about average. ‘You could do much better,’ she had always told me. So, when I saw her that day and she heard that I make a living in part by writing, she was really moved. I swear tears came to her eyes.”
“Actually, I am the daughter of an artist,” Møller says. Her natural interest in art has grown over time, and she has had great success with the ‘Today’s Poster’ feature on Boligcious, which highlights work by Danish and international artists, graphic artists and creative enthusiasts. Her eye for art also means she is able to spot exciting pieces and whimsical illustrations, exemplified by the image wall in the living room. It’s a collection of various photographs and pictures, which has grown over time.
Some of the artists on display are: No17, Staun P, Vee Speers, Bob Noon, Dale May and Maria Torp
Her tips for creating a perfect image wall? First of all, use passe-partouts – picture frames made out of a mat with a cutout in the centre – to give your wall some ‘air’. To keep the display from looking too dark, she suggests not hanging dark photos next to each other. Also, intersperse the darkest illustrations with lighter images. Finally, it’s important to try to create visual similarities between different parts of the wall and to vary the sizes of the images.
The armchair that stands by the corner of the image wall belonged to Møller’s grandfather.
“I clearly remember where it stood in his house,” Møller says – it was always in the room she slept in when she stayed overnight. He used to read the newspaper while sitting there. “We all love to sit in it because it’s in just the perfect spot,” Møller says. However, she also says that it is her dream to replace it with by Lassen’s The Tired Man. “This is the only chair with enough history, age and form to replace my grandfather’s,” she says with a smile – The Tired Man was designed by Flemming Lassen in 1935.
Møller has set up a small work station at the other end of the cosy living room. “I love to sit in a corner with windows where I get light from both sides and can see the open sky,” she says. The work station also makes it possible for Møller to have a good overview of what is happening in the living room when the kids are at home. In addition, the desk is located so close to the door to the second floor that she can hear if her son is calling out to her in the evening. “This table from Skagerak is brilliant. It’s just the right size, and it leans up against the wall, so it hides the ugly radiators,” Møller says.
Office chair: Bent Hansen
In the middle of the living room hangs the item that means the most to Møller: at first glance, it looks like a photograph, but it is actually a painting by the artist Maria Torp. It reminds Møller of her grandmother. “She had crooked fingers, always wore nail polish and had the same bracelet.”
Møller grew up in a very colourful and kitschy home, but based her own decor on the aesthetic of Torp’s painting. To create a calm atmosphere, she has echoed its blue tones and lines in most of the living room. “I love to put brass together with blue tones because it makes the blues look more regal,” she says. She also adds that materials and colours shouldn’t match too much in interior decor.
One is never in doubt that Møller has a unique eye for aesthetics and personal interior design. According to Møller, you can create a good story in almost any home. “It’s like moving boxes: they can be somewhat bland in the beginning, but when you pack your whole life into them, they suddenly become very personal,” she says.
The cosy living room leads directly to the kitchen. “Actually, this was the room where people used to get married in the good old days,” Møller says, as civil marriages had been carried out in this room in the building’s previous life as an office space. There has been a major change since then: the kitchen has been completely renovated, and a lovely terrace has been added outside.
Kitchen, hood and sink: Ikea; tiles: Mosaikhjørnet
“For a long time, I dreamt of having a kitchen that could double as a workshop,” Møller says. She is a little tired, though, of the country style that the bright raised-panel cabinet doors help to accentuate. “However, I believe the beautiful tiles, architect lamps, sink fittings and free-hanging pots give the kitchen a look that I can live with.” She stresses that she loves her kitchen mostly because of the life her family lives in it. There is a great vibe when the whole family is gathered around the dining table.
Dining table: old plank table from Sacre Coeur; legs: Hay; dining chairs: Fritz Hansen
Møller made the dining table out of an old table panel that she combined with legs from Hay. The rustic look creates a sharp contrast with the white floors. “I started painting the floors in the kitchen when we renovated, both for hygienic reasons and because the room looked so dark,” Møller says. “I had a hard time with so many different kinds of wood. So, I chose to stain the kitchen table.” The painted surfaces create a calm to balance out the many pieces of art, bric-a-brac and furniture.
Møller uses the chalkboard in the middle of the kitchen to write down her creative ideas and new plans. “The board is perfect for both adults and children. Even the little ones can reach up to it, and they love it,” Møller says. The busy blogger uses the board to practise spelling tests and math with her daughter, Olivia, and writes small memos and shopping lists on it. “We use it much more often than I would have anticipated,” she says.
The kitchen leads to a lovely wooden deck in the garden.
From the hall, a staircase leads to the second floor. Møller painted the floor black for practical reasons, but also to create contrast with the white staircase. The floor matches this decorative chair, which is the focus of this hallway. The chair is another memento of Møller’s grandparents: it was a gift from her grandmother.
Møller was interested in interior design even as a child. “I remember how I always played with Barbie dolls when I was little,” Møller says. “The best part was designing their homes using detailed drawings and building the walls out of vinyl records.” Her son Wilfred – whose room this is – shows the same talent. “When he plays with Legos, we take photographs of his creations.”
Written by Sanne Kragelund. Photography Mia Mortensen
Original content can be found at Houzz