As a college student in an old New England mill town, I spent much of the 90s living in converted Victorian mansions well past their prime. Since then, I’ve property-lusted after places like Charlize Theron’s eclectic Victorian apartment in Sweet November, Anne Hathaway’s bohemian studio in Love and Other Drugs, and Amelie’s timeworn Montmartre flat. Now, two divorces and 20 years later, this gorgeous new-to-me c.1911 vintage apartment pretty much fulfills every vintage apartment fantasy I’ve ever had… except for the bathtub. There’s never a bathtub in Denmark!
Tucked away on a quiet street in an owner-occupied building, this tiny 62 square meter two room apartment feels like it’s been waiting 107 years for Opie and me to arrive. As I wrote in my last post, everything aligned for me in buying this apartment. It came on the market at a critical time, it was a fair negotiation, and it more than satisfies my lust for a vintage apartment with tons of character and some to spare :)
I’m still decorating so I only have realtor photos to share, but here’s a peek at one of the best little apartments in all of Aarhus…
My Vintage Apartment: Balcony
Recently added off of the bedroom, they did a pretty good job aligning it stylistically to the rest of the apartment. It’s heated, so it’s practically a third room for much of the year! It’s got olive trees, a lemon tree, and one of the nicest courtyard views in the city. I can’t wait for spring :)
My Vintage Apartment: Bedroom
Exposed brick, a balcony, and a whole wall of closets… it doesn’t get much better than this! I’m thinking about installing a small clawfoot bathtub in the corner against the brick wall. It’ll all make sense when you see the bathroom.
And I can hear church bells! I’ve always wanted to live in a place where I could hear church bells.
My Vintage Apartment: Living Room
That nook. That dentil molding. The plaster ceiling decorated with seashells and dolphins because it’s close to the sea. Could this room be any more perfect?
My Vintage Apartment: Kitchen
One of my Danish real estate pet peeves is the white Scandi-modern kitchens that seem plague 98% of houses and apartments regardless of their heritage. Fortunately, the previous owners renovated this one with the building’s history in mind. Not only is there more storage space than I can use (no small feat in 62 m2), but it’s so adorable that I’ll forgive them the baby boy nursery blue walls and the induction cooktop.
My Vintage Apartment: Bathroom
The bathroom is about a meter and a half long and less than a meter wide!
When the apartment was built, everyone shared a common bathing area and toilets. At some point, private water closets (literally water closets) were added to the back stairway. Unfortunately, mine isn’t heated. I have a heated balcony and an unheated bathroom… go figure!
Showering in this bathroom is interesting in a quirky way that could be fun for a weekend in an Airbnb but is a bit tedious for everyday life.
It’s a good thing I’m tiny because showering takes place in the small space between those two shades. When I’m finished, I have to dry the floor, the walls, and the shades because the water in Denmark is extremely hard and will make a mess otherwise. Then I open the window to help it dry the rest of the way. Do you know how cold it is in Scandinavia in February? I swear one morning there’s going to be ice in the toilet!
Fun fact: The back stairs are the only way to the community laundry room in the cellar (former shared bathing facilities), so the first time I met one of my neighbors was in a towel coming out of the shower as he was on his way to the laundry room. OMG!
Making This Vintage Apartment My Home
When I moved in, my best friends in the whole world (hi, Vicky & MacGyver!) drove 7 hours each way and spent a long weekend in Aarhus to help me get the place in order. Best housewarming gift, ever!!!
We (ok, mostly they) worked like crazy and got the walls and ceilings patched and painted, a new kitchen sink installed, light fixtures and curtain rods hung, and they even helped with switching out my induction cooktop for gas. I’ve been pining for a gas cooktop since I left the States in 2010!
By the end of the weekend I had a blank canvas to work with. As wrote in an earlier post, I sold most of my vintage things when I got married. I’d been collecting vintage furniture and housewares since my early 20s, so it’s going to take awhile to find the perfect things again, but I’ve been lucky in the thrift shops so far.
I’m carrying over some elements from my first Danish apartment, but living in Denmark for nearly 8 years has definitely influenced my taste. This apartment will have a definite Scandinavian feel to it with some Danish midcentury modern furniture and mostly white walls, but you’ll know it’s mine by the vintage velvet furniture, thrift store art, fairy lights, and lace curtains.
It really is pretty perfect…