With two young kids—and a longing to see the sky without a veil of smog—Anna Mee Dybbroe Anderson went on the hunt for a summer home for her family just 45 minutes away from their city apartment in Copenhagen. “I was so hungry for grass, for space,” she says. “We make it up here almost every weekend.” The place is a true product of the 1960s—wood floors, wood walls, and wood ceilings—but the architect (and head of interiors at Reform) first fell in love with the already planted, mostly edible garden. Besides, given her profession (and her father’s incredible carpentry skills), she knew that structural changes would come easy, starting with the kitchen. 

Faced with what was previously a dimly lit, cramped space with too many walls, Anderson tore through almost everything—save the whitewashed floors and a row of glass doors that lead into her beloved outdoor spaces. “I was trying to maximize sunlight,” she says of the yellow and green color palette that followed. Sometimes that weird window you’re thinking of tearing out can end up being the best part of future mornings. 

Don’t: Fix It if It’s Not Broken

The kitchen, before.
The kitchen, after.

The house’s former owner, a 94-year-old woman who had lived there most of her life, was quite a bit taller than Anderson, who stands a mere 5 feet 2. “I think she had the window to look out through while doing the dishes,” Anderson explains of the narrow opening above the sink. “But I got all of the sunrays and none of the view.” Yes, they could’ve blocked it off completely, but instead they simply lowered the feature by almost a foot. Now it sits at Anderson’s eye level, and she looks out almost every morning with a cup of coffee before the children come running in.


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The kitchen, after.

Do: Think Beyond Stone Countertops

The kitchen, after.

Now that the space was open concept, Anderson was determined to steer clear of a traditional “kitchen” appearance. To help the area flow with the rest of the floor’s design, she opted to forgo stone or butcher block counters in favor of an unusual choice: high-density polyethylene A 500, aka HDPE. The surface is more often used for cutting boards than full countertops. However, when it’s paired with Reform cabinet fronts of the same material, it gives a much more seamless, furniture-like appearance to kitchen cupboards. Bonus: If it weren’t for the mess, Anderson could chop veggies or herbs from the backyard directly on the Kelly green island. 

Don’t: Mess With a Perfect Layout

The kitchen, before.
The kitchen, after.

In order to avoid rerouting the plumbing, a pricey endeavor, Anderson kept the new space in the exact same layout as the old. “Working in it felt so natural already; I didn’t want to change that,” she explains. The hulking sole upper cabinet, however, had to go. Storage is still plentiful thanks to the oversize island (with doors on all sides) and an antique china cabinet that houses Anderson’s go-to dinnerware. She couldn’t imagine life without summers in this country kitchen: “Now my kids stand at the island and stare out the window with me.”