Vedbæk House

In a house built back in 1911 by architects H. Wright and E.V. Marston, Founding Partner at Norm Architects Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen has created a beautiful home for his family with great attention to detail, light, and atmosphere – and with the utmost respect for the historic elements within its structure. 


Copenhagen, Denmark


Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen





The house was built in 1911 by the architects H. Wright and E.V. Marston. Wright was the city architect of Copenhagen at that time and the builder/owner of this house – Fritz Johannsen – had seen a little house that Wright had done previously and got the idea for this house – Rosenhøj (meaning Rose Mound). In the late 19th century the wealthy citizenship of Copenhagen started to construct summer villas north of Copenhagen along the coastline. Vedbæk was just a small fishing village at that time, but with a wonderful location close to the city and both forest, fields and water all around – as today. The location of this house is on the grounds that used to belong to a small wooden hotel in Vedbæk that burnt to the ground in 1898. At that time architecture from Southern Germany and Northern Italy was very much in vogue so it is built in a Tyrolean manner with the very high roof line and the wooden balconies overlooking the sea. I don ́t think the house is that beautiful from the outside. But it is very peculiar and definitely has character. The addition to the house – where the bedroom and bathroom is today – was built as a conservatory or winter garden 2 years later in 1913. Fritz Johannsen had been travelling a lot to both Italy and France and was very inspirited by those places and you find many elements in the house from his travels. You also notice the very eclectic style in the interior with the ornaments on the wall going from neo-classicist to Art Deco.

“I think it’s extremely important to find the most important and striking elements of a historic building and then use simple and contemporary elements to underline and emphasize those qualities,” he says of his approach to the creation of the home.

 Arriving at the cohesive and balanced home that it is today has been a time-consuming journey, as the house had become a complete patchwork of multiple styles over the years. For a start, the house had seven different floor types in seven different layers and the back part of the house was a modern addition, which didn’t feel integrated inside the house. So, they decided to tear almost everything out and start all over – only keeping the most beautiful and original details and ornaments.

“We took up all floors, levelled them and cast a magnesite floor as an industrial contrast to the ornamented, historic walls and ceilings. It has a clear reference to the Italian Stucco Lustre technique used for walls with marble renderings. It made the house much more unified inside and really put a focus on the beautiful original decor. We then made some niches in the walls here and there to give the daylight a change to pass through the otherwise dark rooms, highlighting different elements and textures on its way to create a stimulating environment.”


Vedbæk House