The first houses in the dunes were probably built in the 16th century when the area belonged to the Danish king. No buildings from those days have survived.
The major part of the preserved dune farms were built in the middle of the 19th century; only a few were built earlier. Their common trait is that they are all spectacularly beautiful and very visible elements in the Danish building culture.
The building style depended on which materials were available locally.
The bricks were hardened in fire east and north of the fjord, while the claystones were made from 'klæg', which was dug up in the area. The reeds for the roofing were collected at the bank of the fjord, and peat for the ridge of the roof was dug out in the meadows. Calcite for making the white exteriors was made by burning and crushing seashells and limestone from the sea, where they also collected flat stones for the characteristic pikstone pavings. Lumber and metal were gathered from wrecked ships.
The colors of the bricks spanned from bright-red yellow to dark and shiny. This variation occured because the little furnaces, where the bricks were hardened, did not distribute the heat evenly.
The dune farms' chimneys are equipped with bricked chimney pipes and a broad white-chalked base. The number of chimneys let the neighbors and passers by know how wealthy the inhabitants of the dune farms were; the more chimneys, the richer the inhabitants were! It didn't really matter wheather all the chimneys were actually in use.
The thatched roofs have large, unbroken areas and no dormer windows. Both dormer windows and hatches were placed at the lowest part of the roof and often levelled with the facade.
Beautiful, rare stones
The pikstone pavings in yards and along the facades are very unique. They are considered some of the most beautiful and rare things in Danish building culture, and they are paved with stones that have been washed round and flat by the waves in the North Sea. They were paved with the narrow end pointing up and often in beautiful geometric patterns; however, they were not made for decoration alone!
The stones protect the foundations of the houses from the sprays of seawater that often hit the roofs, by leading the water away from the buildings. Finally, they had the advantage that you could avoid the courtyard becoming a pool of mud.