A house in Humleby, that used to be Kim Dolva’s definition of success, but when he finally ticked the box for the supposedly dream home, it was a lukewarm experience. So, the family decided to relocate to the most charming part of Vesterbro to an apartment with high ceilings and room for all of them. This is where Dolva welcomes us on a warm day in June. The home is reminiscent of its creative owners with references to both music, art, and literature. “A home of compromises,” as Dolva describes it. He is sharing the apartment with his wife, Mette, and their two children, so they have to make space for different tastes.
Since 2006 Dolva has devoted his energy to his prominent carpentry company, Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, known for its beautiful, customized kitchens and furniture. And the entrepreneur can also proudly admit to having built almost everything in his own home. Here, he speaks of home inspiration, career choices, and his most valued possession.
Where do you live?
I live with my wife Mette and our two children at Tullinsgade, Vesterbro. We lived in Humleby where we bought an old house that we renovated completely and thought we would stay in forever. But then all of the sudden the ceilings were a bit low and there were too many stairs, so we sold it and moved closer to the city in this apartment with high ceilings.
How would you describe your home?
It’s a home of compromises. I live here with three others and everyone has an opinion. My wife is very fond of having a bright and organized home and is definitely the type that should have lived in an apartment in Paris. I come from a messy artist-home, but I have come to appreciate having things more organized.
What do you draw inspiration from?
I’m very interested in music and have many instruments around. And my wife is very interested in literature and art. We are both working in creative fields and create things every day, so we seek inspiration a lot. I don’t spend time looking at my own industry as I prefer finding inspiration in music or art. I also grew up with a father whose livelihood was finding new travel destinations, so I traveled all my childhood, and our home was filled with stuff from these travels.
How has traveling so much had an influence on the way you live today?
I suffer from chronic wanderlust. I’m always moving and very present in the moment. Many people feel nostalgic about their belongings whereas I’m not particularly connected to the things we have. If the house was on fire and I could only save one thing it would be my bass case that I bought many years ago in New York. It’s the only thing I have a special tie to.
What’s the story there?
I worked building bass guitars and started traveling to New York where I visited famous musicians who I’d show the instruments. Several started buying and playing them. It was a crazy time. One time I was in this guitar shop on the 14th floor of an industrial building. You had to know it was there. And everything was extremely expensive. Back then I didn’t have much money but, in the corner, I found a bass case by something called Reunion Blues in old, original leather – completely worn out. I thought it was the coolest and asked the owner if he wanted to sell it. He sold it to me for 50 bucks. When I landed in Denmark, I met some of the people we made instruments for, and they offered me 10.000 kr. for the case. So it has followed me ever since. Perhaps there is something symbolic in the fact that it is a case not a bass that has followed me. Today, I just have a bass I bought second-hand in my very nice case.
What gives you a feeling of home?
I can say that quite concisely because we have lived in many places, so I have had to explore what home is. And to me it is the feeling of being able to cut off from the rest of the world and relax. I meet so many people every day, so I need to be able to close the door and just be the four of us together as a family.
What is the first thing you do when you get home?
I sit in the kitchen and talk with my wife. The funny thing is we see each other every day but we always have something to talk about. We can talk for several hours every day.
What or who inspires you most currently?
I’m so lucky that one of my biggest idols is also my really good friend. His name is Jakob Bro, and he is a musician. I was at his concert recently at Den Sorte Diamant where he had put together a team of outstanding musicians. I was completely captivated by the concert and spoke with Jakob afterwards where he told me that they hadn’t rehearsed anything. Everyone played what they heard. I found that really fascinating. I’m very intrigued by improvisation. Creating something in the present. And Jakob really excels at that.
What is the best choice you have made in your career?
Having a company with others so I’m not alone with everything but have a community and some good friends to do it with. We keep returning to the community whenever we face obstacles. So instead of thinking you have to be able to do everything, you can share it between you. That is definitely the best decision.
What excites you most about your craft?
I feel like a painter with a fresh canvas. A plank of a tree can become anything. So, it’s the feeling of processing and creating something out of a thing that is so raw. And all the possibilities and choices that come with it – I think it’s fascinating.
You create things that go on to live in other’s homes and spaces. Do you have any thoughts about that?
I’m going to be making small films about our furniture where Jørgen Leth is the voiceover actually. We have an idea of making films about those everyday situations that the furniture becomes a part of. They are kind of indirect observers of people's lives. I have always been very interested in the social aspect of creating furniture. That you can make a table that gathers a whole family. I enjoy the public aspect of it.
Do you have something you live by?
My father was a lovely and smart man, and he once told me to always keep my path clean. It might be a bit old-school, but I like the thought that you should just behave nicely and have respect for others. Regardless of where you are in society, we are all humans. Those who are privileged must help those who are less fortunate. That is some of what I try to live by.
How does your dream home look?
Having lived in many different places I have discovered that I thrive best in surroundings where there is room for people, not in the sense of square meters but where it’s cozy and easy to be. Through my work I get to see some of the most insane homes in the world, and at first, I was very intrigued by it, but today my interest lies elsewhere. Most important is the demographic. Who will I meet when I step out the door. I love diversity and hate when things become supersaturated. Areas where the houses are similar, and everyone looks the same, are hard for me to live in. But I do dream about an outside area because we don’t have that now.