Thursday, 23 January 2014

Apartment Hunting - Södermalm Classic Gustavian Living Room

My phone died and with it my internet connection so I am playing a bit of catch-up this week.  I thought it would be a good idea to go back to our Södermalm apartment to get that finished (click here to get caught up).  So lets move on to the living room.

I was going to do the walls a light green but I changed my mind.  Better to save the green for the dining room and go with a nice antique white in the living room.  Farrow and Ball has a great shade for this called Dimity.  I think the best choice for a finish is matte.  Practically, not the best because of washability but the look will be soft and classic.

I found some great antiques at a local antique dealer.  A console with straight Neoclassical lines and some matching stools to flank the console and serve as extra seating.  Above the console we are going to use these fun round mirrors / candle holders.  They break up all the straight lines and keep the room moving, so to speak.  I love the fussy fruit ornamentation too.  

Before we move over to the main seating area, let's talk about the show stopper.  That gem that is going to make this room sing.  I introduce to you the Mora clock.  Swedes know all about these beautiful clocks but in other parts of the world they seem only to have a bit of a cult following.  There is something so intrinsically Swedish about the Mora clock;  Quiet and stately, modest yet commands a room.  The green will make the transition from the kitchen stools and the ochre will tie together the golds and yellows in the living room elements. The round flowing lines of the Mora pick up where the mirrors left off and take us to the main seating area.

Antiques are lovely, but if you fill your room with a bunch of antiques, all from the same era, it comes off as not only impersonal and unimaginative, but boring.  You need to pepper it with other types and eras of furnishings.  With that in mind, I chose the Kensington sofa from Artwood (we'll paint the feet white).  It certainly doesn't hurt that this sofa will be comfortable to sit on and it serves the needs of everyday living.  The tufting picks up the round movement of the mirrors and the clock.  The design is classic enough to not take over but gives just enough resistance to the dainty antiques.  Now we are going to put some straight lines back in with these bold stripped Gustavian armchairs.  Again, we are making the room interesting and engaging.

So now the floor - rugs.  I love big, thick wool or silk rugs.  Like art, rugs should be seen as an investment - buy the best you can afford.  I have two options for you.  If you want to really give this room zip we can go with the bright, bold IKEA rug.  The pattern compliments both the curves and the lines in the room.  The colour says attitude.  The only catch with the IKEA rug is that we may need to fit two together to hold that seating area.  There are slightly differing opinions on this but aim for your rug to be big enough to comfortably fit all the seating area furniture without spilling over to the wood areas.  Option two is this stunning Persian, less of a yellow and more a gold, this is a perfect option if you want to play it safe and is big enough for the space.  It is, however, significantly more expensive than the IKEA version but will certainly last a lifetime

Remember that many of these antiques can be found in reproduction, yes even the Mora clock.  Now you know what you need to look for.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Fresh Design at Formex 2014 - Looking to Spring

I have always been a big lover of winter.  I'm Canadian, Toronto to be exact, and when it gets cold, it gets really cold!  I love snow, the more the better but around the end of January I'm pretty much over it and ready for spring.  Formex showed the Spring / Summer 2014 best of Nordic design this week so let's look forward to Spring.

Scratch what I said last year about my dream BBQ (click here for that), this is the new grill of my dreams!  Stunning design.  This is the type of BBQ a proper Texan could feel fantastic about (isn't that the gold standard? Texas = BBQ), design buffs and fancy Chefs too.

To get your groceries for the BBQ parties you'll be having you are going to need a couple of these chic plastic grocery bags.  These are an original Swedish design first produced in the 50s.  They went out of production when stores went from paper to plastic bags.  Now that we see the err of our ways and are taking care of the environment, these plastic bags are back and recyclable too.

To set the table, you can try these colourful napkins.  Designed for Duni by Swedish Designer Hanna Werning these will look lovely in your beautiful garden, or create a garden in your city digs.

A lovely napkin is a waste if someone doesn't spill something.  Spilled Snaps is always an option of course but why not coffee too?  Here we have a perfect carafe for any occassion - Stelton from Denmark.

Et le pièce de résistance!  Whether you have a green thumb or not, you won't be hiding this garden hose in the snickarbod.  This is called Garden Glory and no kidding!  I got the stink-eye last year when I said we needed a new yellow hose.  Good thing we waited!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stockholm Directory - Indiska

In the spirit of yesterday's post about Indian colour inspiration here's a place to find all kinds of Indian inspired home decor.  Indiska is both a clothing and home decor shop.  They carry the nicest tea mugs as well as some really fun finds - coat hooks, boho curtains and lighting, even crazy chickens. Pop in every now and again to see what's new.

There are Indiska locations all over Sweden.  The website will list the ones closest to you.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Radiant Orchid - Pantone Colour of the Year 2014

Before the holidays Pantone announced their colour of the year for 2014: Radiant Orchid.  To the rest of us this is mauve, or simpler still, purple.  This is a difficult colour to decorate with.  Not too may people like purple, much less use it to paint one of the rooms in their home.  It took a few weeks for me to come up with a way to introduce the colour in a way I could feel good about.  There certainly are very few Swedish examples.  When I think of bright colour I think of India.  India has a rich culture of embracing vibrant colour.  Here are some examples of how Indian fashion, décor and architecture have incorporated into their designs shades similar to this year's Radiant Orchid.  It seems to go nicely with almost every other colour, non?

The above images came from Pinterest, They are not my own.  If you know the origin of any of these images please let me know and I will credit it accordingly.  Thanks.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The First Real Snow

It finally snowed this weekend.  After last year's unbelievable amount of snow, I though I would be happy not to see it this year but snow makes the dark Swedish winter countryside luminesant; it's needed here.  In Canada I could usually feel and smell the coming of snow - I wonder if others have that sense of their mother country climate?  I don't have those instincts here, yet.  I do, however, love snow.  This is what our little pocket of the Swedish countryside looks in the beautiful white snow.

The Swedish Countryside in the Snow

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Stockholm Directory - Iris Hantverk

image via

I'm not sure why cleaning has become synonymous with the new year but it has been a hot topic this past week.  Cleaning is not how I like to mark the special times throughout the year - I do it ALL. THE. TIME. anyway.  If you, however, are itching to clean in the deep dark corners of your home then I suggest you check out Iris Hantverk.  They are a small company specializing in cleaning brushes, handmade by visually impaired crafts people (you can read their story here).  Their product line is small but each piece is lovely and well crafted.  In addition to a carefully curated line of bathroom, kitchen and gardening products, Iris Hantverk carries some of the nicest cleaning soaps.  I've always been partial to natural smelling cleaners, derived mostly from natural sources.  Iris Hantverk's cleaners are delightful for the senses.  So, treat yourself to a cleaning event that smells more like being at the spa.  You deserve it.
(If you are not in Sweden, Iris Hantverk has distributors for their brushes all over the world.)

Iris Hantverk
Kungsgatan 55
111 22 Stockholm

Västerlånggatan 24
111 29 Stockholm

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Welcome 2014

So the holidays have come and gone and we are all still recovering, I'm sure.  The first work week starts one day later here in Sweden (something to do with the twelfth day of Christmas on Monday).  We were also blessed with yet another derailment (click here to see the colourful side of the last one), which kept us in the countryside with three crazy adorable kids.  As a result, the schedule is a little out of whack this week.  Sorry. I did, however, find some great furniture for the Södermalm apartment so I would like to finalize that this week (catch-up here).  We'll get back on track next week (pun not intended but I'm keeping it) with a regular schedule.  We also have some exciting design events coming to Stockholm over the next month, so stay tuned for that!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2013

While we're all recovering from the holiday season, let's take a look back at five of the most popular posts from 2013.

 Savory Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

With most of us thinking about a healthier lifestyle, this soup is delicious and full of vitamins.

Japanese Paper Maché Lamp

A fun DIY that looks great and even the kiddies can do it.

Custom Red Paint

How we got a gorgeous dynamic red paint from basic exterior applications.

 Beautiful Draperies from Inexpensive Tab Curtains

Here's an IKEA hack converting their inexpensive tab curtains into beautiful, lined drapes.

Stockholm Design Week 2013 is where Design Stockholm began, so how appropriate to say a final goodbye to 2013 and kick-off 2014.