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The relaxed Norwegian home of Maja Hattvang

Apart from having a very cool name, Maja Hattvang also has style, and bags of it. But looking through her instagram and blog it's not your usual, classic, Norwegian style. There's a raw, cool edge to it with the slightest hint of glamour (spend a few minutes browsing her inspiring instagram feed and you'll see what I mean). Her signature style seeps into everything she turns her hand to - including the way she dresses, her book (see below) and the way she decorates her home. The Olso apartment is a mix of designer and vintage finds (note how the curved furniture helps to break up the angular architecture and add softness), and although fairly minimalist - piles of books, plants and groups of objects give the space a lovely, relaxed vibe.

Photography: Maja Hattvang - shared with kind permission. Found via SF Girl By Bay with thanks.

So lovely! It's the kind of space you could walk into and feel instantly welcome and at home, don't you think?

Maja's first book is an extension of this wonderful rawness. Naturlig Nok - (naturally) contains a variety of recipes for face masks and body scrubs to soaps and scented candles using natural ingerdients. "Nature is full of things that have proven good effect on the skin, if you only know how to use them." I so need a copy of this, how about you?

Get the look from Maja's home: dining room - 'woman with a fan' by Pablo Picasso, side cabinet from Montana, Flos lightsitting room - Grand piano sofa, knoll diamond chair.

N.B. Maja has recently moved out of this home - I'm so looking forward to seeing what she does next, how about you?!

Have a lovely day!

PS I'm currently in New York and preparing for three exciting events today: An interview with a USA TV channel,  a magazine for my Lagom book - and the Domino Design Blog Awards 2017 (I'll so be needing a cocktail by then!). Excited and nervous all wrapped into one!! Weeeee!

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5 ways to cosy up your home this winter

I've just arrived in New York for the Domino Design Blog Awards tomorrow - so exciting! I love this city! It's soooo chilly though and there's a light dusting of snow on the ground which makes today's post even more apt - it's time to cosy up those homes guys! Here are my 5 top lagom tips (based on my years of living in Sweden!).....

 1. Layer on the blankets and throws - waffle, wool, linen and sheepskins are the order of the day at this time of year. Throw them over the backs of chairs, on the seat of your sofa or keep blankets neatly rolled in a basket so you and your guests can grab them when you feel that draught!

2. Bring in a little nature: fill a bowl with pine-cones, create a rustic wreath, place white hyacinths in a glass bowl surrounded by moss (I love the scent, don't you?!) and add a simple branch of pine to a vase. It doesn't need to be complicated - in fact the more simple and imperfect, the more cosy your home will feel!

3. Create a warm glow - an obvious one, but add plenty of candles - and dot them around your sitting room, kitchen, and your bathroom for a warm, cocoon-like feel. If you've got guests over - why not do as our Nordic friends do and place two outdoor candles outside the door for an extra warm welcome?!

4. Put a basket of slippers by the door -  In Sweden you always remove your shoes, which kind of makes sense if you really stop to think what you've picked up on the soles during the day. Keep tootsies toasty by keeping a basket of slippers and woolly socks at the door so you and your guests can get comfy the moment you walk in.

5. Get the scent going - there's nothing like the smell (and taste!) of Pepparkaka (ginger thins) at this time of the year. Enjoy them with glögg (mulled wine) and blue cheese (a personal favourite). Don't forget to save a few to hang on your Christmas tree. Not into baking? Hmmm, sounds like someone else I know....ME! Pick up ready made pepparkaka dough from IKEA or pierce oranges with cloves and hang them up with ribbon or bundle cinnamon sticks together to create a centre-piece. Your home will begin to smell like Jul in no time!

Get The Look
Circle Candleholder • ferm LIVING • $199
H&M Moss-knit Throw • H&M • $59.99
Wire Basket Large - Black • ferm LIVING • $124.99
Byredo - Cotton Poplin Scented Candle, 240g - Colorless • Byredo • $80
Brass Extinguisher • ferm LIVING • $31.99
Wondershop 15ct Holiday Accessory Glitter Pinecones • $5
Diptyque Baies Scented Candle, 190g • Diptyque • $64

Do you have any tips to add? If so, I'd love to hear them in the comment section below! 

Have a cosy day and stay warm out there! x

PS thank you so much to wonderful Ana for helping with this post - can't tell you how happy I am to work with you!

Photo credits: 1. The home of Christian Duivenvoorden of online shop Artilleriet  (Residence magazine. 2 - 6 & 8. Neptune 7. Melanie Barnes / Geoffrey and Grace (FYI this is such a beautiful blog. Find out about their slow living retreats here).

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A magical Norwegian mountain cabin

Just how much do you love the sound of staying at a cosy mountain cabin at this time of year?! Last summer, James Gardiner and I went to photograph the most magical Norwegian hide-away for my book: The Scandinavian Home. Located near Lillehammer (scene of the 1994 winter Olympics), the delightful timber cabin belongs to Marianne and Jon and their two children who love to ski in the winter and hike or simply hang out and enjoy the nature in the summer.  It's hard to imagine that when the pair first acquired the property it was completely run down and off the grid. "For the first five years, we had to bring our own water and ski down from the nearest road," Marianne confided. The pair kept the original building and created a magnificent extension, inspired by a traditional Norwegian seter. Today it's a beautifully cosy, magical mountain hide-away and the perfect spot to sit and recover from a day on the cross-country ski tracks or simply get away from it all.

Many of the items in the home - including the side table by the window, knitted chair cover, artwork, lamps, coat and towel hooks and cushion covers  - have been handmade by Marianne who runs Slow Design Studio. The mid-century armchairs were a flea market find (source similar here).

Wall-to-wall seating is made cosy with the use of ex Norwegian army blankets, an abundance of locally sourced sheepskins (pick up similar here), and a ton of cushions.  Clever in-built storage storage beneath the seating is used for candles, spare blankets and everything in between.

An Ay Illuminate pendant light hangs over the table which is surrounded by Tolix Marais chairs softened with sheepskins. One of Marianne's beautiful knitted lamps which she sells through her online shop can be glimpsed on the wall behind. The floor is made from concrete with underfloor heating. They can turn on the heat and lights remotely so that it's already toasty when they arrive. So nice and welcoming!

The kitchen was designed by Marianne and made by a local carpenter using old barn wood. If you look closely you'll see the leather pulls - which have been made from old reindeer reigns.  The backsplash is made from copper which has been treated with acid to give it an aged look. 

A huge sliding barn door can be opened up to allow the warmth of the sun to penetrate the dining area - or closed to buffet the wind and snow storms and generally keep the cold at bay. Simple pine table and benches provide an ideal spot when the sun comes out.

You can see more of this cabin in my book - The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books. Photography by James Gardiner. ©CICO Books.

I was so mesmerised by the area that six months after the photo shoot, I returned with my family. Marianne and her family were kind enough to invite us to stay in the cabin.  The vista was equally stunning in winter time, when temperatures can plummet to minus 25 degrees celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) brrrrrrr! The light was crystal clear and we spent our days on the nearby ski slopes, intermittently diving into mountain cabins to warm-up over a hot chocolate (the girls), and glögg (the man and I!). A sauna back at the cabin worked wonders to warm the cockles and we'd spend the evenings on the long seat looking out over the panoramic views of the undulating snow-covered landscape. As the sun went down the valley was dotted with the glimmer of head torches as cross country skiers made their way home. It's a site I'll never forget! Here are a couple of snowy snaps I took during our stay....

The family enlisted the help of Marianne's sister, architect Benedicte Sund-Mathisen of Suma Arkitektur to extend the cabin and create frameless windows.
The original timber cottage dates back more than fifty years. Poles at the side of the road help snowploughs locate the road after a particularly heavy dump of snow! I have to admit we got stuck more than once (even though our car has specially adapted winter tires!) - and I learned a few new Swedish swear words in the process!!

Although the days were short, when the sun shone the light was crystal clear and the girls loved sledging on the slope in front of the cabin.

Aaaaaah, how I'd love to visit this region again one day. 

In case you'd like to find your own magical Norwegian mountain hide-away this winter, try Airbnb! Perhaps we'll see you there?!

Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm!

PS You must check out this rustic log cabin too! Guh!

PPS If you're Christmas shopping this weekend our scandi-inspired adult and children gift guides might come in handy!

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Scandinavian Inspired Gift Ideas for Kids / 2017

Being Mum's to little ones ourselves, Ana and I have trawled the net for the most beautiful Scandi-inspired children's gifts this year. The criteria: items we know our kids would love and that look fabulous in the home too! 

We hope our picks help you find pressies for even the most fussy of children and that you'll love them too.....

Scarf Oeuf NYC • $144
ENCORE ! Small Loft • $153
FUNKK Letters Felt Message Board • $125
ZOÃ RUMEAU Cloud light • $194
Grandma Giant Octopus Soft Toy • $143
FJALLRAVEN Mini Kanken Backpack • Fjallraven • $111
La Sardine DIY Camera White • $140
Painted Oak Songbird • $119.05
KEORA KEORA Cat Rattan Saddlebag • $88–398
Sons + Daughters Lenny Sunglasses • $134

FERM LIVING KIDS Terrazzo Boxes - Set of 3 • $51
Georg Jensen - Elephant Figurine - Set of 4 • Georg Jensen • $85.61
PEACE AND WOOL Blanc Bonnet & Bonnet Blanc DIY Knitting Kit • $80
FERM LIVING KIDS Pineapple Cushion • $86
FANNY AND ALEXANDER Wooden Camera • $80
Organic Cotton Children's Backpack • $86
MAIN SAUVAGE Wold Soft Toy • $89
FERM LIVING KIDS Organic Cotton Party Cushion • $62
Small Mushroom Lamp Jade Green • $63
Donna Wilson - Mini Knitted Blanket • $90.96

Ferm Living Party Memory Game • ferm LIVING • $25
Bold Tuesday • FIND IT USA • $24.90
Stars garland • $45
FERM LIVING KIDS Children's Green Polka Dot Apron • $40
Star Cushion Stone grey • $27
Mugg Mumindalen, Snorkfröken • $15
BUHO Pompom Lurex Hat • $51
DONNA WILSON Cat ceramic plate • $42
BRIKI VROOM VROOM Decorative Wooden Mushrooms - Set of 4 • $40

Happy shopping!

Niki & Ana

Photograph (top): my children's feet photographed by Kimme Persson /  stylist - Genevieve Jorn.

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Old meets new in stunning Vrångsholmen

Well hello! I have to confess I feel a little worse for wear today (totally self-induced of course!). In fact, I could totally see myself rocking about in this beautiful space - with it's lowered lighting, and soothing, dark, earthy tones right now. The striking images are the result of a shoot by (the a-ma-zing Gothenburg store Artilleriet, using Vrångsholmen as a backdrop. Vrångsholmen was originally built to save children from the dangers of city life by providing a safe rural haven, these days it's run by artists, artisans, musicians, dancers and architects who use the space for artistic productions, rehearsals, courses and educational activities.

Photography courtesy of Artilleriet with thanks.

I love the peeling paint and scuffed floors, there's something almost poetic about the space.

That ghost sofa totally has my name on it! 

Is there anything that stands out to you?

See more pictures and find out about all the items featured here! And while you're there - I can totally recommended browsing the Artilleriet Christmas decoration- *sigh*!

Have a lovely day! 

PS how wonderful would be to attend a course or workshop in Vrångsholmen? I'm keeping an eye out now.... will keep you updated if I spot anything!

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Joy in every cup!

Living in a land of coffee lovers and a pretty big fan myself (I do love my fika breaks!), you can imagine my ears pricked up when I heard Nespresso was launching a Limited Edition Festive Collection (even more so when I heard it was candy-inspired!). And then I received an invite to attend the launch at the fabulous Nespresso Flagship Boutique on Regent Street in London (I think it took me about two seconds to RSVP!)! At the event we got to sample the Nespresso Limited Edition Variations Confetto, which is made up of three divine variations inspired by traditional candy. 'Snowball' has a subtle taste of cocunut and vanilla, 'Orangette' contains notes of orange peel and a hint of chocolate and 'Liquorice' has a distinct flavour of licorice roll candy notes, all of which have been married with the Nespresso Livanto coffee blend (a well-balanced Espresso characterised by a roasted caramelised note). *Mouth waters*. 

To add a pop of colour, pattern and fun to the collection, Nespresso collaborated with talented artists Craig & Karl, who were also in attendance, and who's designs can be seen across a selection of accessories (such a perfect gift for design and coffee aficionados, don't you think?!).

Having sampled all the Variations (many times now...!), I can safely say they're all as delicious as they sound, but I do have a particular weakness for Variations Confetto Snowball. You can try for yourself by heading to Nespresso online here.

Which one do you most like the sound of?!

Have a lovely day!


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Nespresso, however all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too.

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The lovely home of a Danish artist

Why, hello there! It's miserable outside today and probably never really going to get light, but I don't mind because it's my biiiiiiiiiiirthday! Now, I know you're not really meant to make a song and dance about these things, but you know, life's short and I actually really do like to sing (not very well) and dance (even worse) each year on this day!! It kicked off beautifully with a surprise 'full english breakfast' (no easy feat in Sweden, and the man and my girls nailed it!!) so things are going exceedingly well..... Anyway, I digress, I've prepared a post featuring the most fabulous Danish apartment for you today. Owner, Anne Aarsland is exactly the same age as me (that young? I hear you say!). The only difference is that she lives and works in Copenhagen and is "an astronomer with a liberating legendary approach to painting." Anne's work is characterised by stripes, dots and triangles in all angles and constellations, using repetition and abstract pattern formations to develop and change the shapes and can be seen throughout the living space. On with the tour!

Aaaaah, what a great home! Anne's art totally makes the space, don't you think?! - and rightly so!

The high ceilings, spacious rooms and general style reminds me a little of the home of Karen Maj Kornum who's home I posted about here and here  (and also featured on the front cover of  my book The Scandinavian Home). What do you think?

Get the look: Anne's artwork and limited edition paintings, saucer pendant, AJ floor lamp, wishbone chair, Artek chair, Ligne Roset Togo sofa.

You can follow Anne's latest projects and see more shots of her home and studio over on Instagram

If you'd like to see more artist's homes today you'll love this relaxed, vintage style home,  an artist's studio and home in Stockholm and a former artist's studio converted into a beautiful home - makes me wish I was a little better at painting!!

Have a lovely day!!

PS - I received the best birthday surprise  - My Scandinavian Home won Best International Design Blog in the first ever Domino Design Blog Awards - weeeeeeee! Thank you so much to everyone who voted, it really means the world to me. A feature about My Scandinavian Home is now live on Domino here if you fancy a read!

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A Swedish home reminiscent of the Nordic winter landscape

It was a while since I featured something with monochromatic appeal which is why I was excited when this popped up on one my favourite Swedish blogs Stil Inspiration today. Located in Örebro, The space belongs to Maria Karlberg, an interior designer, blogger and "creative Mom to a magical daughter." The clean lines and marriage of black, white and wood furniture with a concrete floor remind me of the beautiful starkness of the nordic landscape in winter, while soft textiles and textured surfaces add a warm and inviting feel. No wonder it caught the eye of Pella Hedeby and Sofi Sykfont who captured it for this months' edition of Elle Decoration Sweden! Enjoy the tour!

So striking! I particularly love the dining space and bedroom areas.

.....And that stonewashed linen bed skirt against the concrete floor is so beautiful! (this bed skirt / coverlet is similar!). 

Is there anything that stands out to you?

A few items I know and love: dining roomMenu Afteroom dining chair, Kubus bowl (black). Office - Lampe gras. Bedroom - ConceptBetong bedside table, Muuto wood lamp.

Pick up a copy of this months Elle Decoration Sweden (it's a beautiful magazine for inspiration even if you don't understand Swedish!) to see the full tour.

And if you're up for a little more monochrome inspiration today, put your feet up and enjoy this archive

Have a lovely day!

PS I had a great evening chatting with the guys at LiveHappy about my Lagom book - the podcast is now live if you fancy a listen! 

Photography: Sofi Sykfont /  Styling Pella Hedeby (shared with kind permission).

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site by Ana Degenaar