Designing Game of Thrones Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s New L.A. Home

Mayer Rus

The first order of business was getting rid of the television screens.

“In Denmark, we have one television per house, maybe two. Here, there was a television in every room of the house,” says Lonnie Castle, the culture and concept manager of the Copenhagen-based design company &Tradition. Castle is in Los Angeles working on the renovation of Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s new Hollywood home. Her partner in the project is Danish designer Birgitta Nellemann, owner of the Copenhagen firm Binoculars and Chair. Together, the two are transforming a nondescript but promising hillside bungalow into a soulful, transcontinental—California by way of Scandinavia—refuge for Coster-Waldau; his wife, the Greenlandic actress and singer Nukaaka Coster-Waldau; and their two daughters.

Castle and Nellemann invited AD to visit the home as it was being stripped and readied for their clients to take residence this summer. As a preview of what’s to come, the designers brought us along on a shopping excursion to some of L.A.’s most intriguing decorative arts resources. “Nikolaj likes simple, restrained Scandinavian design—lots of light woods and subtle colors,” says Castle, who has been a friend of Coster-Waldau’s for two decades. “The house he chose had too many different materials and graphic wallpapers. Our job was to make it clean and cozy,” Nellemann adds.

Nellemann gives Blackman Cruz’s sheepskin-covered rattan hanging lounge a test run.

The first stop on the shopping journey was J.F. Chen, L.A.’s wonderland of fine antique, vintage, and contemporary furnishings, objects, and art. Amid the kaleidoscopic, centuries-spanning assortment orchestrated by showroom czar Joel Chen and his daughter Bianca, Castle and Nellemann zeroed in on sophisticated pieces with spare lines and simple forms, many of which boasted a Scandinavian pedigree. In addition to chairs by De Stijl master Gerrit Rietveld and a table by the Danish duo Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm, the designers selected furnishings synonymous with classic California design, such as Walter Lamb outdoor seating and vintage vases by Architectural Pottery. “Those pieces seem to have a natural affinity to true Danish modern design,” Castle explained.

Things got a bit more playful at the Blackman Cruz showroom, where Castle and Nellemann tried out a massive beanbag chair covered in soft leather spikes and a hanging rattan lounge draped in sheepskin. “The spiky chair may be a bit much for Nikolaj, but the rattan chairs definitely have the vibe we’re going for,” Nellemann notes. From there, the designers dropped into C Project by J.F. Chen, where they found inspiration in an exhibition of 20th-century avant-garde fashion paired with iconic and rare furniture. The show, "Collision," was curated by Bianca Chen. It remains open to the public through May 24.

Designing Game of Thrones Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s New L.A. Home

Designer Birgitta Nellemann of Binoculars and Chair (left) and Lonnie Castle of the Danish design company &Tradition join L.A. showroom czar Joel Chen in inspecting a massive Tanya Aguiñiga wall hanging commissioned for the shop.
At J.F. Chen, the designers were drawn to the clean lines and sculptural shapes of vintage Architectural Pottery pieces, contemporary accordion vases by Peter Wilday, classic Gerrit Rietveld Zig-Zag chairs, a minimalist chair in the manner of Donald Judd, and a round table by Danish designers Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm.
Nellemann admires a vintage chair by Walter Lamb for Brown Jordan at J.F. Chen.
At J.F. Chen’s C Project space, the designers found inspiration at the exhibition "Collision," which juxtaposes a collection of avant-garde fashion with rare and iconic furniture. Curated by Bianca Chen, the show is open until May 24.
Apparatus’ ethereal Los Angeles showroom was chockablock with spare, elegant lighting and furniture sympathetic to the designers’ vision for Coster-Waldau’s home.
Light wood and other Scandinavian undertones attracted Nellemann and Castle to a Ralph Pucci dining table by Chris Lehrecke and Gabriella Kiss. The chairs are by Lehrecke.
At Ralph Pucci, India Mahdavi’s Cap Martin rattan furniture radiated a casual L.A. vibe.

After lunch—shopping is exhausting—we headed to Apparatus and Ralph Pucci in search of more Kingslayer-worthy merchandise. Apparatus’ divine, sun-soaked showroom was replete with the company’s signature brand of elegant, alluring, and consummately crafted lighting, furniture, and objets de vertu. There was much to admire. At Ralph Pucci, three collections sparked particular interest: the work of the late Danish-American designer Jens Risom; blond wood tables and chairs by Chris Lehrecke and Gabriella Kiss; and India Mahdavi’s Cap Martin collection of rattan furnishings, which struck an appropriate note of European élan married to California charm.

“I could see all these pieces living comfortably in Nikolaj’s home,” Castle observes. “You’ll have to come back when the house is done to see what made the cut.” We’ll definitely be there.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest