A Greatest-Hits Home for a Danish-American Couple in London

A while back Julie and I were struck by a kitchen by a young architect in London, with a springy palette of pale pinks and greens, painted white brick, and wall of steel-framed windows opening onto a terrace garden. But there was something about it we couldn’t quite put our finger on—until we emailed with the architect and the homeowners. As it turned out, the kitchen (and the rest of the house, all recently remodeled) read like a greatest hits album of Remodelista favorites: Dinesen flooring and cladding, a Plain English kitchen, furniture from Another Country and Studioilse, and lighting from Workstead.

Some backstory: The house is a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse on Groombridge Road in South Hackney, remodeled by London-based Mike Tuck Studio for Catherine and Toke Nygaard, a Danish-American couple who relocated to London from California with their two boys. The request? A house that would suit their design backgrounds—both Catherine and Toke worked in design agencies in San Francisco and New York before starting work at a Silicon Valley software company (Toke) and Net-a-Porter (Catherine)— and what they describe as their “Scandinavian need for raw wood and an English obsession with painted paneling and quaint kitchens.” And the downstairs needed to be designed with accessibility in mind, too; the family moved to London so that the couple’s older son could participate in a clinical trial in the city.

Tuck, who is also a design teaching fellow in architecture at Cambridge University, designed the interiors “to reflect the couple’s love of timber and open fires,” with a kitchen that opens directly onto the terrace and into the rambling parks beyond. Take a look inside.

Photography by Luke Hayes, courtesy of Mike Tuck Studio, except where noted.

the kitchen, with steel framed doors that lead directly into the terrace garden 9
Above: The kitchen, with steel-framed doors that lead directly into the terrace garden on the same level.

The area had history for Catherine and Toke, who met in East London. “We looked for some time and Catherine found this house,” Toke says. “The previous owners kept it in the style of Pippi Longstocking’s quirky villa. The garden was a wilderness of childhood memories and the house came with a story about how the owners had gotten married by the little garden door to the park. That’s just too good not to miss out on.” (The green garden gate at the back of the terrace opens directly onto Wells Street Common, which itself leads into Victoria Park.)