“Build your home slowly” – how Maj Henriques transformed a rental property in California with his Danish aesthetic

Where I live

Home tours and stylish homes for women we admire to discover their approach to design – and how they’ve created a sanctuary at home that feeds their soul every day. See everything

Maj Henriques and her family moved to Santa Barbara area from Copenhagen just a few years ago. But in the short time they’ve found themselves, the family has already managed to occupy two enviable homes just a short walk from the beach. Both have completely separate, life-giving settings. The first was flanked by a wild, grassy meadow, filled with oaks and wandering nasturtiums. And the other – their current home – sits atop the small village of Summerland, overlooking a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, the distant Channel Islands and the surrounding hills and mountains.

Each space she occupies reflects Maj’s inherent attraction to nature and her subtle ability to bring the soothing energy and colors of the prevailing Mediterranean climate indoors.

Maj Henriques shares his sunny summer land, California home

The creative vibe that hangs around this stunning, sunny home should come as no surprise. As creative director of her own interdisciplinary design and branding agency, Creative Notes, Maj brings her skills to all facets of her life. She has transformed the space into a place that looks and feels like her family’s own, even amid the constraints of renting the property.

Maj’s approach always prioritizes the personal, selecting pieces that exude a strong point of view and can stand boldly in any space while still feeling accessible and warm. She has seamlessly mixed a mix of European designers, both old and new, who at once convey a timelessly stylish sensibility with little need to follow the trends of the time.

In Maj’s words, the goal is soulful. As for not being able to make any dramatic changes to the home, she says, “Being a renter is an exercise in creating a homely and beautiful space that reflects your personality—without renovating.” With cozy nooks to sink into, strikingly cut visual moments and splashes of vibrant color throughout, we think you’ll agree she’s managed to do just that.

Who do you share your room with?

I share my home with my family. My husband, Frederik, and my two children – Magne aged 16 and Hannah aged 13.

What was your goal in decorating your home?

Interior-wise, I like simplicity. I tend to decorate sparingly with statement pieces that can look good anywhere. The pieces I bring into my home must be worth the resources spent on them and therefore must age well. I like to add personal and unexpected things, as well as both modern and vintage.

At the same time, I am very aware that my home must feel comfortable and inviting. It must fit the flow and needs of everyone who lives in it. My home is where I recalibrate. I love everyday spent here.

A home works well when it feels effortless to move from task to task and moment to moment. The goal is for the space to be soulful.

I work from home so I spend a lot of time in my house. Morning coffee, soaking up the sun on my deck, reading, watching movies, an evening glass of wine, cooking and connecting and checking in with my husband and kids are regular routines I enjoy. Occasionally we hold small, intimate and informal dinners with friends. More and more, I prefer relaxed and casual surroundings – and this space is perfect for cultivating those kinds of moments.

You have so many unique — mostly European — designers throughout your home. Can you tell us about some of your favorite brands and parts?

My home is full of modern brands like E15, Magnibergand various pieces from the design collective Valerie Objects. The blue table and stools in the living room and the blue chair in my bedroom are all from Swedish-based Magniberg. Much of my lighting, the incredible double deck chair in my entryway and the multicolored chairs on the patio are from the Belgian duo Muller van Severen, working under the design label Valerie Objects. In my opinion, these are the brands that will become tomorrow’s classics.

I have also collected pieces from designers who are already considered classics, such as Rietveld, Gio Ponti and Le Corbusier. My only Danish furniture are outdoor brands such as Skagerak and Carl Hansenand I have some blankets Line Design. The beautifully textured rug in the living room is from a delicious Danish line called Dimyr Chapel.

Is there a mood or aesthetic that defines the look of your home?

California beach town meets Copenhagen – what I call CoCal.

How would you describe your style in three words?

Simple, sculptural, personal.

How has your design sense changed – if at all – to reflect your new California surroundings, compared to how you might decorate back in Copenhagen?

Here, of course, we have more focus on our outdoor space and the flow from inside to outside. Besides that, I have become very conscious of surrounding myself with long-lasting quality pieces. I prefer when furniture has a sculptural quality so that each piece looks amazing from every angle and in many different rooms. This is an important element when you move a lot.

How did you first discover your home? What spoke to you about the space?

A dear friend made this magical place happen for us after we had to move out of our last rental.

I LOVE our ocean view! I wake up and go to bed surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, in golden pink hues. It is unbelievably beautiful and I would compromise almost anything else for that view.

What role did color play in your decorating process?

I like earthy and calm colors, but I also enjoy a touch of unexpected splashes of color for contrast. For example, the baby blue Magniberg pieces bring something special and surprising to every room.

Do you have a favorite design element or space?

I love, love, love the dining table that my son made for me (in junior high woodshop class!) and my Rietveld armchairs.

What are some ways you’ve creatively worked around the inevitable limitations of living in a rental?

My approach is to have a few really cool signature pieces of furniture, which tend to distract from some of the less beautiful details of a rental home.

What are some of your main design influences, both in your home and work?

I am very much shaped by and rooted in the design scene in Copenhagen. I love looking at Danish magazines like ROOM and Sheet Journal.

Some of the places and people I look to most for design inspiration are the following:

Any decorating wisdom that has helped you along the way? And in that light, any wisdom you’d be willing to pass on?

Build your home slowly so that it reflects your own life and personality. Take the time to get good quality pieces and always add vintage.

Related Posts