The Kelly Green Island in This Danish Kitchen Is Made From the Same Material as Cutting Boards

With two young children – and a longing to see the sky without a veil of smog – Anna Mee Dybbroe Anderson set out to find a summer home for her family just 45 minutes from her Copenhagen city apartment. “I was so hungry for weed, for space,” she says. “We make it here almost every weekend.” The place is a true product of the 1960s — wood floors, wood walls, and wood ceilings — but the architect (and interior designer at Reform) first fell in love with the already planted, mostly edible garden. Also, because of her job (and her father’s incredible carpentry skills), she knew that structural changes would be easy, starting with the kitchen.

Faced with a previously dimly lit, cramped space with too many walls, Anderson tore down almost everything — except for the whitewashed floors and a set of glass doors leading to her beloved outdoor spaces. “I tried to maximize the sunlight,” she says of the yellow and green color palette that followed. Sometimes that weird window you want to rip out can be the best part of future mornings.

Don’t: fix it if it ain’t broke

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen before.

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen after that.

The home’s former owner, a 94-year-old woman who has lived most of her life there, was quite a bit taller than Anderson, who is just 5 feet 4 inches tall. “I think she had the window where she could look through the dishes,” Anderson explains of the narrow opening above the sink. “But I have all the sun’s rays and no view.” Yes, they could have blocked it entirely, but instead they just lowered the feature 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 kids rush in.

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen after that.

Do: Think beyond stone countertops

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen after that.

Now that the space was an open concept, Anderson was determined to steer clear of a traditional “kitchen” look and feel. In order for the area to harmonize with the rest of the floor design, she decided to forego stone or butcher block counters in favor of an unusual choice: high-density polyethylene A 500, also known as HDPE. The surface is more commonly used for cutting boards than full countertops. However, when combined with Reform cabinet fronts in the same material, it gives kitchen cabinets a much more seamless, furniture-like look. Bonus: If it wasn’t for the mess, Anderson could be chopping backyard veggies or herbs right on Kelly Green Island.

Don’t mess with a perfect layout

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen before.

The Kelly Green Island in this Danish kitchen is made from the same material as cutting boards

The kitchen after that.

To avoid costly re-piping, Anderson kept the new room in the exact same layout as the old one. “Working in it felt so natural already; I didn’t want to change that,” she explains. However, the bulky sole upper cabinet had to give way. There’s still plenty of storage space thanks to the oversized island (with doors on all sides) and an antique china cabinet that houses Anderson’s much-loved crockery. She can no longer imagine summer in this country house kitchen: “Now my children are standing by the island and staring out the window with me.”

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