Some of us feel we were born in the wrong era. Others are convinced there was some cosmic mix-up when they look around at the folks they call family. For Dane Maria Toft, she has an inkling that in another life France was home. Childhood vacations to Paris and the Cote d’Azur reinforced that feeling, as Toft grew to appreciate everything Gallic, from food to films.
Originally from a town just outside Copenhagen, Toft has long resided in the capital’s Frederiksberg district, an upscale area with plenty of green space and a small-town ambiance. “You have amazing old buildings, cool cafes and must-visit restaurants,” relates Toft. “It’s like a mini Paris. I couldn’t imagine living elsewhere.”
After years of representing French and Danish fashion brands, Toft – who has long made a habit of frequenting flea markets across France to decorate her home – decided to open her own home furnishings business: Boho Habits. Chock-a-block with vintage furniture, housewares, textiles and objet d’arts, the shop mirrors the eclectic dynamism that radiates throughout the commodious, sunlit rooms of her own apartment.
Bohemian at heart, Toft practices an intuitive, often in-the-moment approach to collecting the things that define her environment – one that is not so easily defined. There’s a rough-around-the-edges romanticism to her interiors, something akin to the quality expressed many years ago in photographer Deborah Turbeville’s book “Unseen Versailles.” And it’s just not the things she assembled that create an allure, but the way they are dispersed. She may hang art salon-style, but the pictures in that panoply are
as disparate as can be. A massive urn that would be the focal point of a well-orchestrated garden, sits untenanted in a corner of her dining room. In the salon, a take-a-load-off bergère seems to wander away from its companion sofa and coffee table.
It’s not that Toft doesn’t have some idea of what she wants to achieve in a room; it’s just that she never knows, for example, whether it’s a secretary or a torchiere that will give that corner the sense of height it needs. All sorts of things find their way into Toft’s home – a stag’s head, a fencing mask – objects that many of us might be intrigued with but would not know what to do with. There’s a painted wood table so worn it looks like it ought to be doing duty as a workbench in a garage, as well as an Art Deco beauty topped with peach-hued glass. If ever a home were greater than the sum of its parts, it’s Toft’s. “Decorate with your heart,” she urges, “surround yourself with the things you find important, without thinking if they are right or a trend. Mix, in all ways – patterns, textures, colors. More is more.”
Photography by Iben Ahlberg.
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