Family Tales: Cecilie Ingdal on creating a home
Two years ago, Cecilie Ingdal moved from a central Copenhagen apartment to a house in leafy Frederiksberg to get much-needed air, but also to have the space to invite family and friends inside. As editor-in-chief of Elle Denmark, her busy day-to-day life demands a home that inspires calm, leaving her free to focus on what is important to her.
When I was a child my parents often held dinner parties. I can vividly recall sitting in the kitchen eating dinner with my siblings while the adults partied. I liked that there was activity; that there was life. I also liked sitting in my bedroom listening to the hum that emanated from the living room downstairs. My mother didn’t work so she was always at home for us. Home never smelled of freshly baked bread, but it was warm, safe, loving and openminded. At times it was noisy and fun. In many ways, my childhood home is the one I aspire to create for myself today.
I appreciate having the room to entertain many guests at home. I have a lot of light and flexible furniture pieces that can easily be moved around — if I feel like celebrating a birthday at a long table in the living room, say. Having said that, I also want my home to be a place where I feel comfortable spending time alone or together with my daughter. I was never alone in my childhood home so I actively seek out solitude and calm. That’s probably why I’ve decorated using light colours. A simple colour palette incites calm. I gravitate towards colourful objects with simple silhouettes. If a design is more whimsical I’ll get it in white so that it has a more streamlined look.
Home is my sanctuary. My job is very extroverted. I interact with a lot of people during the day and make decisions all the time. The calm environment of home helps me to concentrate on what’s in front of me—from important managerial decisions at work to life in general. I also have a thing for order; I can't focus if I’m surrounded by mess and clutter. My home is filled with relatively simple pieces that don’t distract me. I can just be and enjoy life with my daughter and my boyfriend.
Having worked in print media for 20 years, there is something about tactility that informs my choice of materials. My possessions have many different textures, which I really enjoy touching. It's definitely a basic need, to feed my sense of touch—especially in a world where print is on the decline and the digital increasingly takes up more space.
Like many other parents, I really want my daughter to enjoy reading. We often sit in the armchair together and read a book, or we lie on the rug and talk. Cultivating the sensuality of materials is important to me – and to her, I think.
I fall in love with clothes and furniture very easily. I blame my job, which exposes me to aesthetics all the time. I rarely make impulse buys, even if I feel like it every other minute, because otherwise I'd buy things all the time. I’d rather invest more on a high-quality item. Quality means a lot to me and I'd rather own fewer things or wait until I can afford what I really want.
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