Danish House Tour: Julie and Soeren's Life on the Water

Danish House Tour: Julie and Soeren's Life on the Water

Jill Slater
Mar 5, 2008

Name: Soeren and Julie

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Size: boat offers a total of 2,000 square feet (their home is 900 square feet) — Soeren's brother lives in a separate apartment in the boat

Years lived in: 5 months

Sitting in the living room is an active experience. While taking in the great artwork, the space rocks ever so gently. Soeren, an electrician and former school teacher and Julie, an children's art education specialist bought a house boat on one of Copenhagen's waterways about a year ago and transformed it into their hip home for the foreseeable future.

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The boat is huge. During the renovation process, Soeren and Julie had it moved onto dry land. According to Danish law, however, the boat must be in the water to be considered a home. So, for the past 5 months, after about 6 months of work, their 2000 sq. ft boat has been afloat--home to Soeren, Julie, and Soeren's brother, a chef and musician.

Soeren and Julie each dreamed of living on a house boat before they ever met one another, so when the opportunity arose to buy this boat from its owner, they acted without hesitation. Like many Danes, they are not afraid of DIY. Prices for professional contractors are prohibitive so it is not uncommon for home owners to roll up their sleeves and get to work. As long as Soeren and Julie are on the water, they pay no property taxes, have "land" reserved for their home, and don't have to get any construction permits from the city!

The context is surely unusual, but the rooms themselves feel at once inviting, lived-in and sleek. Soeren is just getting started. He has a lot more plans, including building another room atop the hull and finishing the lower quarters. As they live in the space, they will continue to refine, and continue to celebrate their freedom on the waterways of Denmark.

Style: DIY, relaxed, maritime, nordic
Inspiration: A lot of things... but we like to use what we have, and what we easily can get. We like to find inexpensive ways to make our home look expensive. Of course being that close to the water is an inspiraton in itself.
Favorite Element: The top floor and it's big windows and the hammock on the same floor.
Biggest Challenge: Everything is a challenge on this boat. There is not one single proper straight line or right angle on board.
What Friends Say: They say it feels like being in a summer home, and that they feel relaxed when they are here. They also say they wished they had the nerve to do what we have done, and that we must be a little crazy...
Biggest Embarrassment: That we haven't finished a single room completely. There is always something left incomplete--paint and things like that.
Proudest DIY: Since we did everything our selves, we are just proud that we dared to take on this project. One project of which I am particularly proud is the central heating. I thought it would be hard to install and to make it work, but it was quite easy and it keeps us very warm.
Biggest Indulgence: The hammock if I understand the question right?
Best Advice: Just go for it! You can always change it or move again!
Dream Source/Approach: To live a simple life and try not to become too square and locked in our way of thinking.

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Do you have an idea for a house tour? Let me know! jill@apartmenttherapy.com
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