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An Eclectic 19th Century Swedish House

Jennie Moraeus, Jon and their children Olle (5) and Esther (3) moved into their dream house in Örnskoldsvik (try pronouncing that!) on Sweden's North West Baltic coast six years ago. Over time, they've painstakingly renovated 'Elfvinggården' to transform it into the warm and inviting family home is is today. But acquiring the 1850 house wasn't without it's pitfalls. It was a chance meeting on a cross-country ski track that led them to obtaining the keys! I caught up with Jennie to hear more about the move, her love for DIY and how the family restored the space on a tight budget to become the beautiful home it is today. 

How did you find the house?
"Actually, the house was in an area we weren't very interested in, but we met the estate agent out on a cross-country ski track and she told us we must come and look at a house that was coming out on the market a few days later. When we were at the viewing I mostly went around swearing!! We put in a bid way under the asking price (but the maximum we could afford), never expecting to get it. So when the estate agent called to say it was ours, we simply couldn't believe it! The seller chose us over the higher bidder!

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Did you have a strong vision of how you wanted to decorate it?
After the bidding, we went on honeymoon and I lay on a sun lounger dreaming about the house. Built in the 1850, it was full of light and felt cosy and welcoming even though the rooms were large. When we arrived home we got the keys which was one of the happiest days of my life!

What kind of improvements have you made?
Over the last six years, we've made a series of small and bigger changes. We've mostly carried them out ourselves, with a little help from our parents - and always on a low budget. We didn't actually plan this in advance - it was more that we were careful to ensure each project cost as little as possible. Often you don't need to do re-do everything to make a big change, colour is a great way to transform a room!

How would you describe your style?
I have quite a varied style: a little vintage, a little bohemian, nordic, art deco - all in a crazy, eclectic mix! I still think that the aesthetic is fairly swedish: it's quite common to mix new and second hand pieces to create a cosy living space. 

The wallpaper in Jennie's bedroom was a flea-market find. Etsy is a great source for vintage wallpaper

I note from your Elfvinggården blog and instagram that you're a bit of a dab hand at DIY, have you always been creative?
I love DIY! We have loads of furniture such as armchairs and sofas which I've pimped up with the help of new legs. I'm always collecting old pieces even if they're in need of restoring. I feel it's in my blood as my grandmother was also a collector - I believe everything can be given a new lease of life!

What do you love the most about your home?
It's difficult to put my finger on it, I love so many things about it! That it's old, the handblown glass windows, the big light-filled stairway that allows space for my beloved carpenter's bench, the mature garden  - everything works together to give the house a wonderful feel!

What's next on your list of projects?
Right now we're building a chicken coop (we were hoping to have it ready in time for summer but never mind!). We're also dreaming about building a terrace and greenhouse!

And finally, do you have any favourite Swedish blogs you can recommend?
I wish I had more time to read blogs, but Krickelin, Elsa Billgren and Mokkasin are some of my favourites! 

Loving this hallway floor, it's so striking and relatively easy to create!

Thank you so much for inviting us into your lovely home Jennie!

For more pictures check-out Jennie's inspiring Elfvinggården blog and instagram where she documents her latest home improvements.

Is anyone else dreaming about a similar renovation project - or simple acquiring one of these incredible 19th century Swedish manor houses? Imagine!

Just in case - you might also like to take a peek at this 19th century house on Gotland, an old Swedish house with an outdoor oasis and a beautiful home in Malmö

Have a lovely day! 


PS We're still in holiday mode here in Sweden (currently on the stunning Danish island of Anholt in the middle of the Kattegatt sea) - I hope you don't mind that I will continue to blog every other day during the holidays in order to spend a little more time with the man and our crazies!I hope you're enjoying some down time too!

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Make-Over: A Dated Bathroom Becomes a Tranquil, Moody Oasis

Are you a shower or a bath person? I love a soak in the evenings - the hotter and more bubbles the better! We lived in an apartment for one year without a bath and I missed it so much. To me, the bathroom has always been a place to escape, and unwind after a long day (preferably with a great book and a glass of wine!).  It seems Jeska Hearne, creator of the beautiful blog Lobster & Swan (and owner of beauty and lifestyle shop the future kept) and husband Dean feel the same. The pair recently stripped out their dated bathroom in East Sussex, England to create a tranquil oasis in which "to inhale, exhale and let the peacefulness soothe the senses" and the result is a-ma-zing! 


The bathroom had been in a semi-ripped out state for a while, and the couple longed for somewhere they could relax surrounded by plants and incense!

The pair took inspiration from rustic bathrooms filled with reclaimed treasures and were looking to find "as many beautiful textures and finishes" as possible.

I was thrilled to see one of their sources of inspiration was Nadia Dole's bathroom which James Gardiner and I captured for my first book Modern Pastoral! I'll never forget the peaceful spot, high up on a hill in Vermont which felt entirely private, save for the odd deer and bear wandering passed the window! Check out more bathrooms that inspired their renovation here.


Due to a busy schedule, the bathroom was a year and a half in the making (without a shower or sink - yikes!), and now their haven is finally complete. The space is a delightful patchwork of of items they've bought, salvaged or made by hand against a deep, rich Off Black hue.

"We love the mood and darkness in here, at night we can sink into the bath with the windows open and feel at one with the night air. In the day the sun filters in through the frosted glass and reflects the gold and white highlights of the vases, pots, frames and decorations."

The bath caddy was "made in minutes" from driftwood, this rustic bath tray* is similar,  antique wall mounted brass candle holder.

"The colour throughout is Farrow and Ball Off Black, we used Modern Emulsion for the walls and ceiling and Estate Eggshell for the wooden panelling – (made from upcycled doors that we rescued from a house that was being knocked down in our village)!"

"The handmade curtains around the sink hide a multitude of cleaning products and other bathroom paraphernalia that is uneasy on the eye!" 

Curtain from Green Fibre, the bath and sink taps are by Bristan Renaissance (found on ebay) 

 "Black walls also make a great background for plants, each frond and leaf is visible and highlighted."

Rectangular Shower Tray from Victoria Plum, tiles from Mandarin Stone. 

Be still my beating heart!

Could you imagine going for a look like this in your bathroom? Just in case you're feeling super inspired - there are a load more pictures and a complete write-up of all the items in this beautiful space over on Lobster & Swan here.

Before you get out the sledge hammer - you might also like to scroll through this bathroom archive (loving this traditional Swedish bathroom with a modern twist - one of my all time favourites!).

What does your dream bathroom look like?

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend -  see you Monday!


Photography: Lobster & Swan shared with kind permission.

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A Charming Danish Summer Cottage on the Island of Fejø

It's officially the summer holidays here in Scandinavia. From Smygehuk in Sweden to Rossøya in Svalbad,  OOO's are on, the midnight sun is shining and cool, blue waters are lapping at the shores, waiting for the first of the 'morning dippers' to arrive. Forget fancy holiday plans - many Scandinavian's retreat to summer cottages, where they enjoy a simple life and make the most of what nature has to offer. Every July, part time teacher and part-time PR rep for Stolbjerg Copenhagen - Sidsel Garsdal, her husband Jakob and their two children Carmen (9) and Bror (5) take a 15 minute ferry ride out to their very charming cabin on the small danish island of Fejø to relax, be together as a family and in Sidsel's words: "make magic out of everyday life".
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As with most Scandinavian summer residences, Sidsel's cottage has a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe and has been furnished in a simple, understated way, with no two pieces the same. "Most of the furniture here is vintage / second hand and inherited from our grandparents or bought at flea markets etc." confirms Sidsel.

This differs greatly from year round city dwellings, which often tend to be stricter with a more contemporary touch. "The furnishing here is more playful than in our Copenhagen apartment. I was aiming for a classic Danish summer house look, but also felt inspired by Southern beach houses. This is why I chose to paint the floors turquoise!" explains Sidsel. 

Since life at Scandinavian summer cottages tends to be centred around the great outdoors and soaking up the abundance of light before it starts to fade, nature becomes a central theme indoors too. Sidsel has drawn the surrounding nature indoors using vintage school posters*, plants, pretty botanical themed bedding and a mix of natural textures.

Making the most of what nature has to offer includes daily dips - rain or shine. And it's not unusual to see our Nordic friends cycling / walking to the nearest shoreline in their dressing gowns (the more worn the better!) to take their daily dip. "I love being close to the sea," enthuses Sidsel. "We start and end our days by the sea which is a two minute walk from our cabin. In spring and summer it's a house rule to go for a swim everyday."

What an idyllic way to spend the month of July, don't you think?

I love the way Sidsel has decorated their cabin too - relaxed yet with so much character! Is there anything that caught youy eye?

If you'd like to see more and check out snapshots of their home in Copenhagen too, hop over to Sidsel's wonderful instagram feed.

You also might like to check out one of these charming Scandinavian summer cottages: an idyllic swedish summer cottagea beautifully simple retreat on Gotland and a Swedish island cabin. Guh! Our Scandi friends have got it so right, don't you think?!

What are your plans for the summer? (or winter for friends in the Southern Hemisphere!).

If you're heading this way, don't forget your dressing gown!


Photography: Sidsel Garsdal

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A Cosy Danish Loft Full of Plants & Vintage Treasures

Despite haling from London and being very much a city girl, I do love to go out into the great wide open and forget myself for a while. This summer we're island hopping on Sweden's west coast. If you've never been to this part of the world, it's a must! The nature is absolutely breath-taking (keep an eye out on my stories to see more if you're curious - I'd be so happy to share my tips with you!).  Another girl after my own heart is Juila, founder of the delightful blog Copenhagen Wilderness. When Juila's not in her charming, boho loft in the heart of Copenhagen which she shares with her boyfriend Allan, Norwegian Forest cat Elmer, she's staking out remote forest cabins in the Scandinavian countryside. Here's a glimpse into Juila's inspiring world!

Molecular pendant light*, Macrame wall hanging*, Tolix chair*

How did Copenhagen Wilderness begin?
"I started blogging five years ago as a student nurse. I love DIY, plants and interior design so it quickly evolved. Now I also blog about small adventure travels - about giung out into nature and living the simple life in forest cabins and all sorts of other peculiar small 'shelters'. I love city life here in Copenhagen, but I also love the wilderness, so I unite them."

Perhaps this is why Juila's 124 metre square (1334 feet square) exposed brick and white washed loft is also filled with greenery and earth colours, which sit among beautiful Danish design pieces and other second hand finds.

Reema floor cushion*, source a Louis Poulsen pendant lamp here*

Your home is full of beautiful pieces, how do you source them?
"I love old Danish design from the 50's-70's and sometimes I get lucky and find something great on DBA or at a flea market. I love a good treasure hunt!"

The room divider was custom made by @jernogglas using four double doors which can be opened right out to create one large room.  

A lot of your furniture looks beautifully crafted and I also spot many natural textures, was this a deliberate choice?
"I love the idea of buying furniture that's good quality and based on a more sustainable mindset, so I'm also willing to pay more to ensure good quality, that is also based on conscious and responsible sourcing."

I love your concrete floor, did you lay it or was it already in place? 
"We laid it along with a wooden herringbone floor. I've always loved the raw look of concrete and it fits the New York loft look that I'm drawn to. Also, it's practical and easy to clean."

For a similar look, try this ochre bed setand kilim cushion*.

What's next in the world of Copenhagen Wilderness?
"Now I'm looking to buy myself a small forest cabin in southern sweden."

I can't wait to see what it will be like, can you?! Perhaps it will be similar to some of the spectacular cabins Juila has visited in Sweden recently - like Naturbyn floating cabin on lake Eldan?!

I can't believe this cabin is only 6 hours drive from my house - I might just have to pay a visit! Is this your kind of over night stay too? If so, you might like to check out the full feature from Juila's overnight stay here - such stunning pictures!

In fact, if you're visiting Sweden and love to stay in places that are a little out of the ordinary, look no further than Juila's instagram feed, I've never seen so many wonderful places!

Do any catch your eye?!

You can keep an also keep an eye on her latest interior projects and travels on her blog Copenhagen Wilderness.

And for more beautiful Danish interior inspiration, check out these Copenhagen home tours.

See you Wednesday!


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