Danish Modern Home Design Meets American Comfort
With appreciation for her native land’s designs, Louise Fischer returns to her Danish roots and mixes inspiration from her world and travels at home and work.
Photography by Ken Stabile
Louise Fischer grew up in Demark, in a house that reflected her parents’ travels, specifically their time living in Japan. So Fischer, since childhood, has been exposed to the idea of living in different countries and experiencing other cultures. When she finished her business degree at Copenhagen Business School, she moved to the United States.
With a desire to work in a creative field, Fischer gave herself three months to land a job at an advertising agency in New York City. That first job led her to a life filled with travel (she even lived in Paris for a while) and the influences of talented designers and premium brands. Through the years, she honed her keen sensibility of design and style, which led her to her current business, an e-commerce site called ShopKontrast.com, or Kontrast for short.
Today, Fischer and her family live in a stately yet accessible center hall Colonial in Larchmont. (They love the European touches and community Larchmont offers.) It is there that Fischer runs Kontrast, a business centered on a curated collection of Danish home décor. Fischer has come full circle to embrace Danish design and her heritage while incorporating her experiences of living in different countries, her personal warmth, her love of rich woods influenced by French and Japanese design, and the comforts of American style. “After all those years abroad, I felt an almost gravitational pull back toward Danish things. It just felt like the right time professionally and personally to reconnect with my roots—but on my own terms,” Fischer says.
Decorative pillows rest against a classic ticking covering the chaise. A neutral, yet patterned rug adds depth and layering to the room’s texture and patterns.
Upon entering her home, and throughout, one is struck by the light and openness of the space. Fischer responded to this aspect of the home’s architecture, finding the airy quality similar to Scandinavian design. In every part of the house, Scandinavian design components mix with American furnishings. That contrast is most evident in the great room, where the living space is split into two seating areas.
Louise’s love of rich materials and simple lines comes through in the dining room.
A collection of pillows from Shop Kontrast can be seen throughout the house and add a cozy, warm feeling, while still being very modern; For the entryway, Louise purchased the Serrat mirror from www.madegoods.com, and she displays some of her own pieces from Shop Kontrast including the Line Candleholder and Kubus Bowl.
Blue velvet sofas and brown leather chairs define one side of the room for family time and watching TV. The other half of the room has a more formal quality. In the latter half, furnishings are a mix of florals, solids, and ticking fabrics in linen. The overall palette is natural with splashes of royal blue and yellow. Wood and brass finishes add the lush tones Fischer likes. One can see and feel Fischer’s affinity for Scandinavian design: A beautiful mix of whites and neutrals is awash in natural light in an uncluttered and understated space. “The magic happens when you mix things up and pair that bareness with richer materials, shapes, and colors,” Fischer says. “I think what is really interesting is how many Danish home accessories and furniture pieces mix great with other styles. They are like a calm, more structured respite amongst perhaps richer and more colorful pieces.”
The house has an open and expansive quality. Yet, the warm woods, unified color, and layered textiles create an overall warmth and continuity you feel throughout the house.
The home’s dining room is simple and elegant. A bare floor sets a modern tone while showcasing wood floors. A traditional window treatment of white and pale blue linen anchors the room and adds warmth while still letting sunlight in. However, the real stars of the room are the custom-made Italian dining table and console and the Japanese print. The Gustavian-inspired dining chairs in warm white with gold accents add a modern counterpart to the rich wood of the room’s other pieces.
Entertaining with family and friends is a big focus. The kitchen, which is Fischer’s favorite spot in the house, is an ample space with traditional wood cabinets in a warm oyster white finish. This is where, as Fischer says, the hygge happens. Hygge is a Danish word that describes an atmosphere of warmth and conviviality derived by being with loved ones and enjoying the moment. Key components for setting the mood for hygge are candles, home accessories, good food, wine, and an overall welcoming spirit.
Classic cabinets in oyster white frame a pro-style range in the kitchen. The textured tile backsplash adds to the general layering of tone and material seen throughout the house. The kitchen table and chairs are a seamless mix of modern lines mixed with warm wood tones.
There is a lesson to be learned when looking at Fischer’s home and when shopping Kontrast: Design is a reflection of who we are. “Your taste evolves all the time, as you get exposed to new things and have new experiences,” Fischer says.
The result? Classic Danish sensibility mixed with modern warmth and texture in which all can share.
To find out more about Fischer and her business, please go to www.shopkontrast.com.
Lessons From Louise
Mix and match. Don’t be afraid to mix styles, as long as there is some thread that ties them together and/or as long as the pieces contrast with each other in a way that is interesting to you.
Start with a signature piece and build around it. If it’s something you inherited or found during your travels, or simply something you found and love, take one element of it—a wood, a metal hinge, a color—and let it inspire the pieces surrounding it.
Go high/low. Pair a pricey reclaimed wood table with inexpensive chairs. We did, in our kitchen. Spend on what matters most to you and your signature pieces. The rest will come.
Think about color holistically. Don’t choose the same palette everywhere. Many people make that mistake, and though it may look beautiful, it all looks similar. Rather, tie the house and the rooms together with colors that flow.
Don’t be afraid to bounce things off other people. I do it all the time. I put images of items I am considering together on one page and send it out to a few people whose tastes I trust. That is not a weakness of your taste at all; it will help you.
• Shop owner Louise Fischer shares picks from her curated collection, Kontrast.
• FERM Living mohair throw. It’s light as air and luxurious. The colors and designs fit in anywhere.
• Kubus bowl by Lassen. It’s not what the American eye is familiar with, but the structure contrasts with warm woods and richer textures, and it is unexpected and versatile. It comes in many different finishes that give it a different feel, depending on what you choose. I prefer the white personally, but the copper one is ultra luxurious.
• Large vase from Louise Roe. It comes in clear or smoke and has some unique texture to it that carries well in any room.
• Sunflower linen pillow by Nord. The beige and brown palette fits in a lot of places, and the linen gives it a rustic-casual look.
• Grey Omaggio vase from Kähler Design. This fits with grays, blues, browns, neutrals, and pastels, and has a classic look.