The Reason Copenhagen Design Can Be Nasty and Gross

Oh, I struggled with the title this week. I mean. Who’s going to open up a post entitled “My Copenhagen Design Vacation Part II”


yawn… Right? Okay, yes some will, but many won’t.

But, I imagine that “nasty and gross” got your attention.

More about that very soon, I promise




If you follow that hashtag, you can see our pics on instagram and facebook.

And, thanks guys for your kind words about my photography.

I’m pretty anal about it; I must admit. But some of the images today were a little tough to get perfect and the reason is that I took them while running; stopping just long enough to get the camera still. 1,2,3 and off!

Today’s images came from a guided walking tour which includes some things from the first bonus day, but different views.


Many of you know that one of my passions in life is the art of classical ballet.


(Today, was World Ballet Day and I can’t wait to dive in!) In honor of WBD and my Copenhagen Design Retreat, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite classic ballets, La Sylphide, choreographed by the celebrated Danish choreographer August Bournonville.

August BournonvilleAugust Bournonville in the mid 19th century.

His style of ballet is full of light airy jumps and believe me, it takes a tremendous amount of power to make one look like they weigh nothing and that gravity is an inconsequential force.

Please enjoy a few minutes of this beautiful piece danced brilliantly by one of my favorite ballerinas — ever, the astonishing Evgenia Obraztsova and her partner (who’s married to another favorite ballerina, Oleysia Novikova.)


I was incredibly lucky to see Evgenia dance the lead in Romeo and Juliet at the Met 3 years ago. It was an experience I’ll never forget.


If you’re a balletomane, you get it. If you’re not and one of those who says in a whiny voice, “I don’t understand ballet.” Well, there’s nothing to understand. It’s like saying. “I don’t understand banana cream pie.” Beauty is beauty.

If you don’t have time now, please come back when you do. I promise that it’ll be worth it.

Don’t worry, we won’t move on until you come back. ;]

Okay, is everyone back?



While you’re reading today, I have another treat for you.


similar to this one.

One of my favorite pieces of music written by Christoph Willibald Gluck – Dance of the Blessed Spirits from the Opera Orfeo et Eurydice


Okay, Gluck was a German composer. Fine. Sue me. ;] However, he did spend some time in Copenhagen composing an opera for the young “crazy” king Christian VII. Unfortunately, forces stronger than music had a deleterious effect on Christian. We’ll get to him in a sec.


We left our hotel in the Latin Quarter of Copenhagen, a great location, and headed left towards the heart of the city. Immediately we passed a bakery but no time to stop.

However, soon we passed what I later found out is the oldest bakery in Copenhagen.

Now, I did not snap the NAME of the bakery and I could not remember exactly how close it was to the hotel. So, it took the better part of an hour to find it. But I did!


Conditori La Glace - Oldest bakery - Copenhagen Design- DesigntrailcphConditori La Glace – Oldest bakery – Copenhagen


No, we did not stop. But it’s okay. Make no mistake, I did not go hungry for one second. And I got a delectable pastry the next day.

typical winding side street - Copenhagen Denmark - Design retreat 2018 - designtrailcph

We passed many charming side streets like this one.

And then, I heard my trip mates (I was always in the rear because of my photo taking) laughing uproariously. I looked up and soon joined them in a chorus of loud cackling as we galloped through the streets of Copenhagen.


nasty and gross - copenhagen denmark
“Nasty and Gross.”


Oh, you thought I was going to show you a pile of rotting garbage or something? haha. No Way! Copenhagen is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever seen. By the way, N & G is a hair salon.  The Danish do have a keen sense of humor!

Hopefully, N & G refers to how their customer’s hair is before they work on it. :]

Aside from that, I can assure you that I saw nothing even remotely nasty and gross during our fabulous Copenhagen Design Retreat.

As we’ve already had a taste, I want to focus on the Copenhagen Design aspect that I love most. The city has some of the most exquisite architecture I’ve ever seen.


Here are two beautiful doors, I noticed.


Beautiful neo-classical exterior door - Greek Key- Copenhagen design designtrailcph

Beautiful neo-classical exterior door with a  Greek Key Pattern


There will be more Greek Key Design coming up! Can’t wait to show you where.


wonderful old door - with transom-Copenhagen design -designtrailcph

And I love this elegant door too!


Copenhagen University - designtrailcph-Copenhagen Design Trail Tour 2018 - Jennifer Bertrand- third season HGTV Star

We walked around Copenhagen University – Appropriately Ivy-clad.

That’s lovely Jennifer Bertrand– third season HGTV Star!


Soon, we found ourselves back on the premises of Christian VII’s birthplace, Christiansborg Palace. He was the monarch in the latter half of the 18th century.


In fact, the original palace was built only three years before he was born.


Christiansborg palace 1746-Den_danske_Vitruvius_Christiansborg palace 1746

Alas, the main building burned down at some point.

Christiansbourg palace gates - Copenhagen design tour - designtrailcph

Christiansborg Palace gates


However, it appears that the outside wall and bridge are original.

Christiansborg Palace - Copenhagen Denmark designtrailcph

Today, the main building constructed about 90 years ago, looks like this.


We saw the tower and view a few days ago.


Christiansborg Palace detail

Christiansborg Palace detail. Please check out those caryatids!


Jens Juel (1745-1802) — Portrait of Christian VII of Denmark, 1789 - Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen. Denmark

Jens Juel (1745-1802) — Portrait of Christian VII of Denmark, 1789 – Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen. Denmark

He looks okay there but they say that he was “crazy.” That is Christian, not Jens. Today, however, scholars believe that he may have suffered from schizophrenia and/or was the victim of extreme abuse.




After a few years, it was deemed that Christian was unfit to rule and his half-brother became the regent. I believe this depiction is showing Christian in his own world while the “rulers” were busy with chess. Something like that. Well, this was in the “let them eat cake era.”

The weather was cloudy and it was quite cool. Unfortunately, Laurel left her hat in her room, but I made do with my scarf. We had a quick-lunch al fresco with heat lamps!


Then, the afternoon was spent visiting numerous shops, featuring some of the best in contemporary Danish design that Copenhagen has to offer.


Stileben_dk - Stilleben - prints, books, artwork - Stilleben Niels Hemmingsens Gade

The first stop was a lovely shop, Stilleben 22. I have to confess that this one image is not mine as I forgot to take one. I’m not obliged to but it’s a pretty shop.


Gubi - store - Copenhagen design home furnishings

Next up is a store named Gubi


Jens Juel Selfie 1768 - lovely colors!

Jens Juel Selfie 1768 – lovely colors!

hmmm… Another shot at Gubi, below.


The colors are why I posted the art. But, I do love Juel’s work!


Gubi cool Danish modern design store - Copenhagen Design designtrailcph
I guess it’s true that there’s nothing new under the sun.

That is reminding me that this post about transom windows features another favorite Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi

Our next stop was at the fabulous Ferm Living. I think that this was everyone’s favorite store. And the owner, Martin Neve, could not have been more delightful.


Ferm Living - incredible art wall - home office - Copenhagen design immersion

It is in a wonderful old building and set up like a beautiful Danish home.

This is obviously a home office.

How fabulous is that art wall!


Ferm Home Wallpaper - interesting paint job Copehenhagen design trail

Ferm Home sells all manner of home furnishings, but are known for their wonderful hand-made Wallpaper – But check out that interesting paint job! I found out that they change their decor entirely, every six months! The paint is by a Danish company. The colors look a lot like Farrow and Ball.

I have to confess that I was so taken with the architecture, that I found myself snapping more what was outside, than inside the buildings; particularly when we were high up.

Royal Smushi Cafe building Copenhagen Design

We’ll be visiting the Royal Smushi cafe next time, I believe. It is gorgeous! Inside and out. This was taken out of the window at Ferm Living.

Hay House store - Copenhagen Denmark - Designtrailcph
Our next stop was Hay House which is located in the fabulously gorgeous building here.

Hay House - eclectic mix Copenhagen Design-Rococo inspired iron railing - Danish modern furniture

Hay House is an eclectic mix of Contemporary Copenhagen Design juxtaposed with traditional architecture and this Rococo inspired iron railing. It’s all quite smashing!  As you can see, I’m not the only one snapping pics out the windows!


And for a very good reason!


Copenhagen Street life

Hay House has a wonderful vantage point for shots like this. Ferm Living, I believe is in the dark gray building on the left.


Copenhagen design - architecture

Yes, it says “Hermes.” :]


architectural detailing in historic Copenhagen design, Denmark

I love this detail shot

Bronze man on horse statue- Copenhagen design

At some point we passed this handsome guy on a pedestal. These statues are plentiful in Copenhagen.

charming old building - Copenhagen Denmark

I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this old building. I quipped to my friends. “Imagine having to install draperies on those windows; each one is different.” What a nightmare for a designer!


Retro Villa - vintage wallpaper - home accessories - Copenhagen Design Trail

Our next stop was Retro Villa which has home furnishings, gifts and features hundreds of rolls of vintage wallpaper


 Tortus CPH - hand-crafted earthenwareCopenhagen designtrailcph

Our final stop was at Tortus CPH – which is a shop filled with hand-crafted earthenware created by the very talented Eric Landon– who’s from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, originally!


Tortus CPH - pottery - Copenhagen designtrailcph - Eric Landon demonstrating

We were treated to a demo of how he makes his sleek, sophisticated ceramics. In the background is his kiln. He creates from 500-1,000 of these pieces every year. Most of them are not terribly large and all have simple glazes.

And no two pieces are the same, he says.


Eric Landon demonstrating - in his studio
Courtyard Tortus CPH - pottery - Copenhagen designtrailcph

A shot in Eric’s courtyard. I forgot about this. Someone asked me if I had a chance to see any Copenhagen courtyards.

Phew! We were pooped, but happy. Those with smart watches said that we had walked seven miles and umpteen flights of stairs!


After a short rest at the hotel, we took a cab to this beautiful restaurant– Ravage where we enjoyed a delicious meal.


Ravage - Copenhagen 2018

Then, back to the hotel.

Below, another gorgeous painting by Jens Juel. This one depicting the northern lights in winter. Remember how we saw them in theses gorgeous images from Christian Uhlig?


Landschaft_mit_Nordlicht- Jens Juel -1795

Landschaft_mit_Nordlicht- Jens Juel -1795


We still have three more days, but fewer stops, so I think I can consolidate them into one more post. I hope you enjoyed this immersion into Copenhagen design, both past and present.


50 Responses

  1. I can’t express how much I love seeing your pictures. Being able to travel & see other countries is such a gift. I’m terrified of flying so I can only enjoy seeing the USA from our car.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Oh, I’m so sorry. I used to be terrified too. And, at some point, I realized that for me the anxiety of flying happened only after my brother died.(in 1987 of a heart arrhythmia.) The reality that’s difficult to comprehend is that driving in a car is far, far more dangerous.

      I fully understand however, that the rational mind goes out the window. What helped me the most is reading about turbulence and other topics from a professional pilot. I found out that what feels like the plane is going to lose control is actually exceedingly normal and the only reason the pilots avoid it is for the comfort of the passengers. And very rarely, there are injuries to passengers on the plane from turbulence, but the plane is still moving along at 600 miles an hour. They are built to withstand extreme conditions.

  2. Your posts are always such a treat! Europe is such a feast for the eyes and the soul. With the glorious music playing in the background I was inspired to pour myself a brandy and just exhale. Thank you!

  3. Thank you so much for this article! We are spending Thanksgiving vacation in Copenhagen this year and I wasn’t finding enough on home decor stores to visit–perfect timing!!!

  4. Laurel, your trip is so inspiring. Would love to know what hotel you stayed in, if you wouldn’t mind sharing that,too. Scandinavia is at the top of our travel short list. Will keep this post in my travel files. Thanks for all your wonderful writing!

  5. I will take my time meandering through this great post later tonight, but had to say—Obraztsova! The arms!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos–from an iPhone. I try so hard and never seem to get these views…Loving Copenhagen through your eyes and now have added it to my bucket list as well. Thanks again for ALL you do–tips and tricks too!

    1. Hi Ivis,

      These images are all cropped and a few of them, I had to put in the heavy-duty editor like the one of the palace. If I care to take the time, I can fix a lot of skewed angles. It’s difficult to get everything straight. The camera can’t be tilted in any direction unless intentionally shooting up or down. And it also has to be at the right height. Sometimes I have to hold it up way above my head, or get down on my knees.

  7. Hi Laurel,

    My son spent his semester in Copenhagen and we planned a family trip to get him settled.
    I loved everything about Copenhagen, too! Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and discoveries with us! I wish I could show you the pictures from the day I flew home – the beautiful Copenhagen waterfront juxtaposed with the interesting, people watching on the 1 train to the UWS NYC!


    1. Oh how wonderful for your son! I used to live on the upper west side too for 7 years. West 78th St. Across the street from where they filmed The Goodbye Girl.

  8. So glad you had a fabulous vacation! It’s fun to organize around a theme – design in your case. And, a like-minded group! I spotted the Georg Jensen sign in the plaza photo. Maybe you checked it out and we’ll see it next post.

  9. Very enjoyable!! What fun!! Thanks so much for sharing it all. … I was just thinking of the ballet the other day, how much fun it was to go with my Mom & Grandmother. (What great legs everyone had, so strong) Then wondering about a pallet of barely pink & black, that I’d never convince a husband of. Although he might have swayed me to use more white. Thanks for the memories & the great photos today.

  10. THANK YOU LAUREL!! Please know how much we appreciate all your beautiful pictures! I want to download them to my screen saver!


    Now go and enjoy yourself…i am quite sure you always do!

    1. Hi Jesi,

      I’ve been back in New York since Sunday night. It was only one week, door to door. But I definitely felt like I had been away for a while. From everyone else’s standpoint, it seems like I should still be there!

  11. Wow! What beautiful scenery (AND well captured!).

    I have to say, I follow you for your fabulous decorating insight and humor…but I love “going along” on these trips because I learn so much about places of which I knew so little. (Actually, I could say that about the decorating stuff I learn from you as well, lol.)

    And the artwork!!!! And I guess everything else.

    I was struck by the esplanade(?) outside Hay House… kind of reminds me of encaustic tile patterns. Neat.

    And “Nasty and Gross” ? A name I can definitely appreciate… Hilarious!

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi En,

      Everything whizzed by so quickly, that I actually had to do a fair amount of research to resurrect it all and get it more or less in the correct order. I didn’t notice the pattern so much while IN it, but only in the photos, can I appreciate how cool it is. The day I took that image was last Wednesday, but some of us were back on Saturday and there were at least four times as many people. Photos would’ve been nearly impossible at ground level.

  12. Laurel, I’d like to make a request if I may…
    Your posts are rather long sometimes, WHICH is GREAT by the way…
    Would you or one of your geek assistants Please Add a
    Back to Top button on the sidebar.
    I keep scrolling up and down constantly to reread and compare.
    Just a thought
    Thank you
    Your fan girl

    1. Hi Susan,

      Sorry about that. I don’t think that is possible however and I’m afraid it might muck something up. An idea, that might help is if you’re on a desktop/laptop would be to open the post in two tabs. One holds your place and the other one is for scrolling, if necessary. Maybe that would work?

  13. Laurel,
    You have Really outdone yourself this time.
    Your post gratifies both my desire and curiosity to glimpse into other cultures.
    The gorgeous architecture, the juxtaposition of the quaint and grand, the colors.
    Thank you especially for all the links which greatly appeals to the book worm in me. I’ve just found More of your posts that I never saw before.
    The inclusion of the ballet and the music…Honestly all we need now is to get a whiff of the bakery, and maybe some of those pastries and we’re set.

    1. Hi Susan,

      I forgot to take a photo of my pastry. It looked quite like our “Danish” pastries, but instead of cheese, it was vanilla custard and the pastry itself, was quite rich and buttery.

  14. The most beautiful post. What an amazingly beautiful place Copenhagen is! I didn’t know I wanted to go there, but now must add it to my list! Thank you for sharing your adventure and showing us the splendor all around!

  15. Another wonderful post, Laurel. I love the old red brick building with the crazy windows, and those doors–sublime! ! Are you going to talk about your food at all? Did you take any pics of that? I know it’s not design, but I’m curious about what a delicious meal in Copenhagen would be.

    I clicked on the post about winter in the north–gorgeous! My husband is a pilot and used to fly over Greenland on his way to Europe. He loved seeing the Northern lIghts from the cockpit, as well as taking photos of the frozen tundra. I had no idea it was so beautiful down below. I am going to share this post with him–I think he’d enjoy reading your blog.

    Thanks for all the brain candy!


  16. Loved all of this! The music, photos, architecture. I’ve been many places in Europe, but not Denmark. Thank you so much for the guided tour!

  17. Loving these photos Laurel as they bring back memories of a wonderful trip last July. I visited many of the places you have photographed and and say they are every bit as lovely as they photograph. I hope to go back next year on route to the Arctic Circle. Needless to say I am a lover of cold destinations but it is a very long way from Australia!

    1. Holy Crap! That is insanely far! You must love to fly. I’m curious where you are going to go above the arctic circle. I would love to experience the midnight sun and never-ending twilight.

  18. Hello Laurel, What an extraordinary and beautiful trip to Copenhagen. There are well designed and built buildings everywhere. Your photos almost look more like a Hollywood set than a real city.

    Congratulations on getting the Reply box back. Weird problems sure have a way of cropping up with computers and blogs.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Yes, I’m so glad we got that subscribe to replies box back. Or rather, Tim Gary did. He’s a genius. And yes, it really does look unnaturally perfect in places. And that one shot that I accidentally got straight with the one point perspective. Did you notice how evenly the “extras” hahahaha wearing red were spread out? You would’ve thought that I was shouting out. “You, in the red, could you hold back ten seconds because you’re too close to the lady in front of you also wearing red.” haha

      But, there’s certainly enough authentic patina to keep this girl happy. Wait until you see the antiques! The only thing is that every where you turn, there is construction/renovation; not unlike Manhattan where there’s scaffolding everywhere. However, there’s certainly plenty of beauty here too. In fact, some parts looked quite familiar. I imagine that the architects had similar origins? That would be interesting to learn more about.

  19. No Laurel, I wasn’t disappointed, I was thrilled at this post. You outdid yourself this time with stunning photos as always, with art, architecture, music AND ballet. Surely you don’t take these with an iPhone, do you?! Fabulous photos. The music from Gluck’s opera Orpheus et Euridice is one of my favorites too!! If you or anyone is interested, Jascha Haifetz plays a wonderful rendition of this beautiful melody on the violin. It’s on youtube under “Jascha Haifetz plays Melodie by Gluck” and it’s a favorite of mine. I look forward to viewing the ballet video. As a lover of music, I am eternally grateful to the Germans for giving us not only Gluck, but Handel, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Strauss, Mendelssohn, Telemann, and the sublime Johann Sebastian Bach. I’m enjoying Copenhagen vicariously through these posts – such fun – and maybe one day I’ll get there in person. In the meantime, thank you and enjoy the rest of your visit !

  20. What a wonderful trip! Such beautiful architecture! How lucky you were to be able to see a demo by one of my favorite potters, Eric Landon! Enjoyed seeing and reading all about your trip. Can’t wait for your next post!
    Kathie Pifer

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
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