The Horse Rider's Journal

LILIAN

THEJOURNAL8_LIVING_S64-77

On the Danish East Coast are a great many beautiful wooden summer houses. We have fallen in love with a special one renovated with particular attention to detail. Meet the owner and see the house for yourself.
Photography KAMILLA BRYNDUM / The Horse Rider’s Journal No.8

A small gravel driveway leads up to a flat-roofed house clad in wood painted a light blueish-grey. This gem of a summer house is located on the Danish East Coast, and its owner, interior decorator Lilian Malling, spends her summers here.
The house, originally from the 1930s, was completely renovated seven years ago, when Lilian bought it. “When we began tearing down walls, we found seaweed in them,” she says. “That’s what they used to insulate houses with. That’s how long ago it had been since anything had been done to this place!” She fell for the house’s colonial style, its garden, and the sea surrounding it, and saw a whole lot of potential in the old wooden house.
It took her a year to complete the makeover. “The fact that everything had to be redone didn’t scare me off. On the contrary: That’s what I do, and it’s part of my strength as an interior decorator to visualise what might seem hopeless to others.”
Just last year, Lilian decided to open Malling Interieur, offering her trained eye and services to those finding themselves in a decorating crisis. “With three grown-up children, I needed to start a new chapter in my life,” she says. “Decorating and helping others to do so is my passion, so it seemed natural to start my own business.”
The shop is located right by Copenhagen Harbour, Nyhavn, in an unmissable pink building, where each and every item is carefully selected by Lilian herself. “It’s sort of like a sixth sense, knowing what goes together and what doesn’t. I always get to know my clients very well, because I don’t want to force my style on them, but rather use their own style seen from my perspective.”
You can’t really tell that Lilian has only lived in her summer cottage for six years: It’s a house so well decorated, so full of soul that it seems as if she has lived there always. She has inherited a great many things and is a keen collector, and everywhere you look there are little displays of fossils, small china bowls, and silver picture frames, and the walls are well decorated with paintings, lithographs, and old French posters. “I decorate with contrasts. I mix old and new, and have loved going to flea markets ever since I was a little girl. I painted my room yellow when I was 10 years old and began collecting glass when I was 13 years old, and have continued collecting all sorts of things ever since.”
Walking into the living room, it’s the big window with the view to the luscious green garden that first catches your attention. This is where Lilian has arranged a wonderful sitting area, with big white sofas and soft chairs, and a big blue painting that seems to go on into infinity. An open fireplace reigns in one corner, accompanied by four vintage birdcages hanging on the wall. These have a special place in Lilian’s collector’s heart, and also serve as the logo of her shop. The kitchen has a sort of a French country house vibe
A small gravel driveway leads up to a flat-roofed house clad in wood painted a light blueish-grey. This gem of a summer house is located on the Danish East Coast, and its owner, interior decorator Lilian Malling, spends her summers here.
The house, originally from the 1930s, was completely renovated seven years ago, when Lilian bought it. “When we began tearing down walls, we found seaweed in them,” she says. “That’s what they used to insulate houses with. That’s how long ago it had been since anything had been done to this place!” She fell for the house’s colonial style, its garden, and the sea surrounding it, and saw a whole lot of potential in the old wooden house.
It took her a year to complete the makeover. “The fact that everything had to be redone didn’t scare me off. On the contrary: That’s what I do, and it’s part of my strength as an interior decorator to visualise what might seem hopeless to others.”
Just last year, Lilian decided to open Malling Interieur, offering her trained eye and services to those finding themselves in a decorating crisis. “With three grown-up children, I needed to start a new chapter in my life,” she says. “Decorating and helping others to do so is my passion, so it seemed natural to start my own business.”
The shop is located right by Copenhagen Harbour, Nyhavn, in an unmissable pink building, where each and every item is carefully selected by Lilian herself. “It’s sort of like a sixth sense, knowing what goes together and what doesn’t. I always get to know my clients very well, because I don’t want to force my style on them, but rather use their own style seen from my perspective.”
You can’t really tell that Lilian has only lived in her summer cottage for six years: It’s a house so well decorated, so full of soul that it seems as if she has lived there always. She has inherited a great many things and is a keen collector, and everywhere you look there are little displays of fossils, small china bowls, and silver picture frames, and the walls are well decorated with paintings, lithographs, and old French posters. “I decorate with contrasts. I mix old and new, and have loved going to flea markets ever since I was a little girl. I painted my room yellow when I was 10 years old and began collecting glass when I was 13 years old, and have continued collecting all sorts of things ever since.”
Walking into the living room, it’s the big window with the view to the luscious green garden that first catches your attention. This is where Lilian has arranged a wonderful sitting area, with big white sofas and soft chairs, and a big blue painting that seems to go on into infinity. An open fireplace reigns in one corner, accompanied by four vintage birdcages hanging on the wall. These have a special place in Lilian’s collector’s heart, and also serve as the logo of her shop. The kitchen has a sort of a French country house vibe and is very welcoming, with big display cabinets holding some of Lilian’s amazing collection of glass, pottery,w and china. It’s a place where you just want to hang out for hours, whether it’s cooking in her green kitchen filled with herbs and vegetables, sipping cool white wine at the long wooden table, or curling up in the romantic bay window with a book and a cup of tea.
Guests staying overnight at Lilian’s are in for a treat, as the guest room is just as cosy and welcoming as the rest of the house. Decorated in light blues, with built-in white cupboards and a balcony overlooking the garden, this room reminds you that you’re staying by the sea. “My mother made the embroidery on the wall,” Lilian points out, “and it’s very dear to me. She was very creative, educated as a commercial painter, and I think my creative genes must come from her.”
Right next to the guest room is the master bedroom that also holds Lilian’s home office. This room is immersed in light and filled with the memorabilia of Lilian’s life and travels. This is also where she creates her paintings, humorous little watercolours. “I’ve always loved painting and I also enjoy teaching others. It just relaxes me; it’s a very soothing hobby.”
And last but not least, the garden. Oh the garden. On the terrace, the table is set with beautiful green plates, and for those more in the mood for a nap, two big deckchairs await so that you can just lie back and enjoy the view. An old rhododendron bush goes on for metres and metres; it’s over a hundred years old, Lilian says. The grass is bright green and the magnolias are in full blossom. Herbaceous borders contain everything from rhubarb to all kinds of herbs and perennials. In the greenhouse, Lilian grows tomatoes and squash, keeping her kitchen in healthy supply all summer. “I love my garden,” she says. “It’s so full of life and brings personality to the entire place. It sort of unifies everything.” •
For further inquiries malling@lilianmalling.com