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How a clever couple renovated their chic 1930s apartment in just 10 weeks

Somehow this 1930s apartment was renovated and filled with soft colour in 10 short weeks – just in time for the arrival of daughter number five.

Having four children and expecting a fifth might cause most people to put any thoughts of a major home renovation in the too-hard basket. But not Christina and Anders Monberg. They’d fallen in love with a roomy (145sqm) 1930s apartment in Brønshøj on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Despite the extensive renovation that was required, the couple could see exciting opportunities, but with their baby due in just 10 weeks all the work had to be done fast.

The couple took possession of the two-level home at the start of June last year and immediately got to work. Walls were moved, new flooring installed, kitchens and bathrooms renovated, and cabinets built and painted throughout the apartment. Astonishingly, in just two-and-a-half months they and their tradies managed to turn the worn-out apartment into a welcoming home, and by mid-August the family moved in, just a week after Christina had given birth to a fifth daughter, Celine.

“I’m impatient when I first start a project, and everything has to happen at once,” says Christina. “When the tradespeople were missing a certain tool to put the stove in, I ended up visiting four different stores on the same day, because I just wanted the project done. When I start doing something, I go all in and don’t give up.”

And if she loses patience waiting for others to start a job, Christina will do it herself. For example, she made beautiful covers for the radiators and masterminded the built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms.

“I think it is fun to make your own furniture. It’s fantastic that with a small amount of money you can make a cheap piece look completely different”

Christina is also creative when it comes to furniture – she can turn the dullest IKEA dresser into something personal and has transformed several wicker pieces for her home just by painting them. “I think it is fun to make your own furniture. It’s fantastic that with a small amount of money you can make a cheap piece look completely different,” she says.

She also makes tables in her basement workshop, using wood and colourful tiles that she cuts herself. At first, she just made them for herself and a few customers, but production kicked up a gear when a floristry business ordered eight.

“I stood there, in the winter under a tarpaulin in my grandmother’s allotment, making them, because at that time we didn’t have enough space at home,” she says. “So I’m glad we now have a basement for all my furniture projects.”

As well as making much of the furniture in the apartment, Christina has given it a warm, uplifting ambience using matte mineral paint in soft and deeper pink, moody blues and interesting grey-greens and pale greys. Despite the variety of colours, they connect beautifully with each other – and also act as a reminder of those frenzied couple of months when a pregnant Christina lent a hand with the painting in order to get it done in time.

The pair’s tenacity and hard work has paid off now as the family enjoy their new home. “It’s nice to have finished something that at one point looked completely unrealistic,” Christina says. “But we are both types that will soon miss doing new projects, so in a while it may look totally different here!”

Words by: Mette Kristine Brinch. Photography by: Christina Kayser O

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