The Story Behind Scandinavian House
Karl Ronhave, the founder and CEO of Scandinavian House comes from an old-furniture making family. “As far as I can remember, my family was always involved in the furniture industry,” says Karl. “I recall sitting as a kid behind the big and solid family dining table that was made by my great-grandfather more than a century ago.”
In 1910, Karl’s great-grandfather Theodor Nielsen opened his very first furniture factory. Back then, it was all about wood and design, but for Theodor also about the quality and his passion for producing high standard dining sets to his special clientele.
Twenty years later he helped to establish an organisation which would unite Scandinavian designers and manufacturers, DMI (Danish Furniture Industries). DMI helped to expose Danish furniture design to the world through international exhibitions and it continues to promote and develop the Danish furniture industry until today.
Karl is proud to remind us that one of his great-grandfather’s original exhibitions, ‘Scandinavian Furniture’ is still open to curious visitors in Copenhagen.
Karl’s life was destined to be the one revolving around wood
Karl’s grandfather Carl Nielsen Snr., following his father’s footsteps, developed the business even further, feeding the booming demand for Scandinavian designs into post Second World War America. “One generation later, building on the reputation and success of our wooden furniture business, my father Tom Ronhave, decided to explore the world of luxury leather sofas. “ continues Karl. “Initially he imported Italian leather sofas, but while others were impressed with the quality, my father was unsatisfied. He searched the world for the best leather available, and finally found it in South America.”
It was the quality, so outstanding that ultimately he dispensed with sofas and got into trading leather only. Ironically selling the luxury leather back to Italy.
Born into the world of wood
Around this time, Karl was born in Farstrup. Strait into the world of wood. “My earliest memories are of exploring our family’s furniture factory, seeing the mighty timber beams being carefully moulded and carved into beautiful shapes,” he recalls.
As he grew, so too did his passion for the art of wood crafting. By the time he had finished primary school, he was well acquainted with the entire workshop’s equipment and showed a unique creative spark.
The ‘real style’ is timeless and never goes out of fashion
“My father and my granddad were my mentors,” explains Karl, “They taught me that ‘real style’ is timeless, never going out of fashion, and that ‘real quality’ means that it’s an heirloom, not simply something that can last as long as its warranty.”
After completing his high school, Karl turned to carpentry as a source of income. “Despite my talents for the trade, my ambition was higher, I wanted my own company, and to produce my own furniture.”
So in 1998 he entered Skive Technical School and completed a degree in Wood Engineering. The degree was largely a formality, as he was already familiar with the behind-the-scenes operations of managing a company.
A few years later he was working in Lao as a technical adviser and a production manager of a wood manufacturing company. However, the company’s focus on volume rather than quality was contrary to everything that he believed in. Therefore he sought more satisfying employment as production manager at Scancom Vietnam.
In 2004, following four successful years at Scancom, Karl embarked on the next chapter in his life: Ronhave Furniture and then later turned into Scandinavian House. “Scandinavian House is my own company - my own dream,” he says proudly. “I used 5 years to hone my knowledge in the furniture industry as Managing Director for Interstil Ltd in China, where I lived in Shenzhen together with my family.”
These were years of producing exciting designs and handling a challenging development which gave him the valuable hands-on high-level management experience. “I learned how to source from and work with various Chinese suppliers,” Karl explains. “My vision is to create solid wood furniture, sofa lounges, stainless steel, copper, Ceramic of exceptional quality for demanding customers, with an open design method, allowing for customisation and material mixes.”
Scandinavian House is the result of Karl’s personal passion for furniture, design and manufacturing of high-quality products.
Our pieces display the refined sophistication of Danish design and the flawless craftsmanship of his grand-fathers days.