Glad Midsommar!

The summer solstice was on Monday, but in Sweden, Midsummer is always celebrated on the Friday - so as I pack up and get ready to wander meadows in search of wild flowers, I wanted to stop by and wish you all a lovely Midsummer's Eve! May the sun shine (that would be a first!) and your flowers stay bright! 

Looking to celebrate? See 5 ways to celebrate Midsummer like a Swede. And find the recipe for that luscious looking strawberry and elderflower chiffon cake here

I'll be back on Monday with a Scandi-inspired tour. See you then! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 



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An Endearing Danish Summer Cabin on an Allotment

It's only a couple of days until midsummer, and Scandinavians are gearing up to the big event. The atmosphere in the city is slowly changing as folk load up the boot of their cars, ready to ride out to the countryside. Danish family Nicolai, Sofia and their three-year-old child will no doubt be exchanging their urban apartment to enjoy the long weekend at their charming little kolonihave (allotment house). The small wooden cabin is located in Åbyhøj, a quiet suburb of Aarhus known for Northside festival - a popular 3-day music event. The cosy pared-back abode has everything the small family need to enjoy the summer holidays - including a kitchen, dining area, sitting room which doubles up as a bedroom, and a loft bed. On warm days, life spills out onto the newly built terrace and lush garden. Kom indenfor! 

I love the relaxed summer vibe, mixed furniture and touches of green and blue - a perfect little escape! 

Is there anything that stands out to you? 

Scandinavian allotment houses are really special. I've explained the history behind them here. If you feel like taking peek inside a few more, click on any of the links below:

So lovely! I hope you're feeling inspired too! 


1, 2, 3, 5, and 9: Julie Wittrup Pladsbjerg & Mikkel Dahlstroem / Another Studio
4, 6, 7, and 8: @sofiaganer

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5 Ways To Add Texture To Your Home For A 'Hyggelig' Vibe

MSH partnership: 
What really makes a house a home? An abode is made up of a number of factors: ranging from furniture and personal items, to colour and textiles. But if you really want to create a cosy, warm and inviting living space, especially in a home with a muted colour scheme - it all boils down to texture! 

Natural materials, metals, and textiles all help to create visual interest as well as feel great to touch. They can also do wonders for sound. But more than that, items that bear the nicks and scratches from a past life also hold sentimental value that gives a home its soul. 

In other words, layer your home with furniture, soft furnishings, accessories and wall coverings that ooze texture, and you'll immediately add depth to a space while creating a wonderful, warm, calm and personal home. 

I'm sure your home is wonderfully cosy already - but just in case it could use a little help, I hope these ideas will come in handy, most of them can be incorporated on a shoe-string budget too! 

1. Walls and ceilings
Unless you live in a greenhouse (hey, don't knock, it, remember my greenhouse make-over?), walls and ceilings will make up the largest surface area in your home. Paint them with an even layer of paint and you'll need to work way harder with the rest of the room to make your space feel cosy. Which is why designers love to add a textured finish to the walls that plays with the light and adds immediate interest. 

Exposed materials
In an old house, you're likely blessed with a variety of good, solid building materials - sometimes lurking behind a plastered wall or 'dummy' ceiling. Raising the ceiling and leaving the beams exposed (or semi-exposed as per the whitewashed version in the Scanian farmhouse which features on the front cover of Relaxed Rustic) will add an immense beauty to the room. You can also see the wonderful patina from the wood panelled walls coming through too. With bones like this, you're off to an incredibly cosy start - just add books, a roaring fire and candlelight and you've set the scene for a perfect evening!

Textured walls
In modern houses like mine, you have to work that much harder to break up the clean lines. Adding subtle texture to the wall by using chalk paint (I like Kalklitir) will help to harness the natural light and highlight the nuances in the paint work. Apply with a thick brush or spatula and add as little or as much texture as you dare! It'll make a huge difference to the room - and looks especially beautiful under candlelight. Wallpaper, wood panelling and other coverings also help to create a cosy feel.  

2. Natural materials
Beautiful, raw materials add a subtle richness and depth to a room, plus they feel wonderful to touch and can smell nice too! The key is to add a variety of different textures such as wood, leather, glass, stone, and wool (or on-trend tweed, teddy and bouclé) - the imperfection of the natural fibres will give your home instant soul. 

What would a home be without wood? It's sturdy, malleable, long-lasting and can be used for a variety of items from the structure of the house itself to tables and chairs as well as chopping boards and butter knives. The beauty of using natural wood in the home, is that it's an easy way to draw nature indoors and enjoy all the healing benefits that come with it. I particularly love the patina in wood, and how it ages gracefully over time. Plus, when finished in a nice way, it can feel wonderful to touch and even smell divine!

Kitchens in particular, tend to be fairly clinical spaces - especially if you've opted for white. Leaving out a few chopping boards propped against the wall or wood spoons in a container next to the stove are a fast way to add a warm and inviting feel to the heart of the home (as seen in our summer cottage kitchen).  

Stone has always been around in the home in the form of worktops, and tiling. But lately, there's also been a rise in appreciation for handmade pottery (keep a look out for my article in IMM Cologne online magazine on 30th June, 2021!). 

Due to it's hardy surface, stone is particularly popular in the kitchen (marble has been in for a while now, but also Italian Terrazzo with its playful flecks). but I also love to use stone around the house in the form of tables, lamps as well as grouping artisanal stoneware on shelves to make a pretty display. 

Another favourite, glass is a great way to help reflect the light in a room and add interest. Coloured glassware (as seen in my bedroom below), is hugely popular right now, but even clear glass vases and candleholders can really add texture to a room, while helping to maintain a clean, minimalist look.

What better way to add a tropical vibe to the home than rattan! Holiday-feel aside, the woven surface does wonders with the light - allowing it to slip through and cast shadows on the wall. 

It feels like every year a different metal is thrown into the limelight and has it's time to shine! Brass, chrome, bronze, copper - metals help to reflect the light and add another layer to your home. Plus, if the item is high quality, it'll age beautifully too! 

3. Mix it up
Invest in a coffee table and side tables that match and the room is at risk of appearing lifeless. One of the beauties of opting for a muted, earthy palette is that you can throw in a whole load of different materials, and they'll all come together nicely while also giving your home a soul. Take your time to find the right pieces. In my mind, a home is never really 'finished' but an organic, fluid process made up of a load of eclectic pieces from different styles and eras. 

I for one, am a huge fan of vintage! Not only is it a great sustainable option, but the items feel more meaningful and always tell a story. Plus, quite often, there'll be no one with the same piece! It can be time-consuming to scour flea markets and second-hand shops, but your patience will pay off. And if you bring something home that doesn't work  - put it back out there. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure! 

4. Textiles
I see textiles as the final, yet essential layer of the home - the icing on the cake if you like! Curtains, cushions, sheepskins and blankets in a variety of soft, natural materials such as wool, linen and sheepskin are what makes a home feel cosy and comfortable. They can also help to dampen echo from within, and keep the hustle and bustle sounds of the city out - making your home a peaceful oasis! 

Curtains serve a practical purpose depending on where in your home they are and how well insulated your property is. I personally love to use sheer / linen curtains since they still allow a soft pool of natural light through - and I love the rough surface and slight creases that are emphasised by the light - it helps to bring the room to life! 

Pillows / cushions
I love a cushion - they're perfect for bringing in subtle accents and a variety of materials - plus you can place them anywhere, even on a wide windowsill and create a wonderful place to relax! 

Hugely popular in Scandinavia, sheepskin adds an abundance of texture to a space - plus it's incredibly hardwearing and has wonderful insulating qualities. Add it to hard seating, drape it over your sofa or even line your baby's pushchair with it - there is no end to its uses and it really comes into its own in wintertime! 

5. The floor
And last, but by no means least - the floor! Growing up in London, I was used to padding around on a wall-to-wall carpet, which I have to say felt lush underfoot. Wall-to-wall carpets are an absolute no-no in Scandinavia (they're considered unhygienic) - but there are plenty of other ways to add texture to the floor. 
Think wood flooring, stone tiles or brickwork rich with patina (preferably heated from beneath!), layered with cosy rugs (shagpile are particularly popular right now as are vintage styles) for a total treat for your feet! 

What a difference a little texture can be make a to space.

I've only included 5 ways here, but there are thousands more. Feel free to add your own tips and suggestions in the comments below. 

Our appreciation for earthy, organic textures has also extended towards a craving for handmade, artisanal items, where the perfection is in the imperfection. Keep a look out for my article in IMM Cologne online magazine on June 30th, 2021, for more! 


*This post is brought to you in paid collaboration with imm cologne - one of the most international furniture and interior fairs in the world. I can't wait to return again in January 2022. How I've missed fairs! All words and pictures are my own. 

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Marianne's Charming Swedish Country Escape

Remember the lovely home of Swedish interior designer and graphic designer Marianne Wikner I featured a few weeks ago? Well, I made a great discovery! Marianne also has a summer house in Österlen, Southern Sweden - and it's equally beautiful! Surrounded by farmland in Grevlunda, the lovely old house is a place Marianne and her partner go to relax and switch off at the weekends and in the holidays. Just like their home in Mariefred, the interior is full of wonderful vintage finds, art items made from warm wood and distressed leather and layers of texture. It also has the same creative feel, yet the palette is made up of a soft, off-white with contrasting dark woodier effecting the surrounding landscape. I hope you enjoy the peek inside! 


I particularly love the relaxed, creative feel of the space as well as the magnificent, high ceiling in the main living room area - how amazing is that? Just imagine that fireplace in wintertime! 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

I love Österlen, it's a beautiful part of Skåne (my adopted home county here in Southern Sweden). I've featured loads of lovely houses from the area before. Here are a few of my favourites:

If you're not already following Marianne on instagram it's an absolute must! You can find her here. I'm so looking forward to following her journey with her new home and seeing more pictures of this place too! 

Have a great start to the week! 


Photography: Marianne Wikner (except image 8 by Malin Poppy Darcy Mörner).

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A Swedish Couple Turn a Mercedes Sprinter White Van Into a Cosy Home

Let's celebrate the weekend with something a little different - and super inspiring! Meet nomadic Swedish couple Indie and Joel who were travelling the world when the pandemic hit. Forced to return home, they decided to pursue their dream of a more sustainable and minimalistic lifestyle and turned their Mercedes Sprinter van into a home. When they first bought the van, whom they've since christened 'Luna', the main compartment was an empty shell, but they immediately saw its potential as a living space. Read on to find out how they converted their little van into a cosy home!


 The pair designed, built and decorated the van entirely on their own from scratch, without any prior experience! Amazing! 

The back of the 2008 van measures 4.3 metres, making her the second longest model in the range - and with a little work and careful planning, enough space to create a small kitchen, social area and bed!

The fully functional van was fitted solar panels, an 84 litre freshwater tank, a fridge and freezer compartment, a 100-amp lithium battery, mains hook up, arctic insulation, and a fully equipped kitchen among many other things. 

You can read about the entire build - which took eight months (including all the items they used) on their 'On the freeside' blog and vlog (in case you're feeling inspired to do something similar!). 


It's hard to imagine that you can create such a lovely, cosy living space in a mere 4.3 metres, but not only have Indie and Joel created a practical, highly functional home, it's also lovely and cosy too! Think traditional kitchen cabinets with cup handles, tiles, wood details and plenty of storage as well as a social area. 

When space is of a premium, it's important to make use of every inch. In the kitchen, the side of the sink has been used to store washing up liquid, soap, chopping boards and utensils. 

The cabinet on the far side was built by hand using plexiglass: ""The idea of a glass cabinet was inspired by the old glass pantries our parents and grandparents once had," Indie explains, "we thought they look so beautiful. So, we created our own using plastic".

"We wanted to create a bright light Scandinavian style interior with a bit of a farmhouse feel", Indie tells me, "the feeling of stepping into a modern cabin in the woods. All the horizontal lines, including the countertops, ceiling and floor, are made out of dark walnut and all the vertical lines (cabinet doors, walls etc) are white". 

The loo and shower are located under the countertop beside the sink. For those of you who love tech / want to read more about the ins and outs - you can find out more information about the van water life and plumbing system here

The spice rack is made from wood shelving and brass pipes - which help to keep the jars in place (follow the steps here). 

A wooden door gives access to the main driving compartment. 

"For us, it was important that it felt like a home; somewhere peaceful", Indie tells me, "we used warm colours to make it feel cosy and it was also important to be able to host friends - hence our big U-shaped sofa".

At night, the table is lowered to make a platform in the middle and two mattresses are added to form a 160 x 200 cm bed with a 24 cm thick memory foam mattress. A comfortable place to wake up each day, looking out over the nature - or end the day, gazing at the stars!

In Scandinavia its customary to take your shoes off when you enter a home - and in Indie and Joel's van it's no different! Simple, low wooden shelves by the entrance provide storage and help to keep the entrance-way clear. 


All in all, one INCREDIBLE project! And such a special home. 

If you'd like to follow Indie and Joel's journey, hop on over to their instagram @onthefreeside - which is full of pictures from the van and the various locations they visit, or explore their website and vlog for know-how on how you can build your very own home on wheels from a white van! 

Feel like reading about a few other inspiring stories involving tiny homes this weekend?

Although not quite as tiny as this van, you might also like to see our plans for the little cabin which we are hoping to start building in September. Exciting!

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend, thank you so much for stopping by! 


Photography: Jennifer Nilsson

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