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A Vibrant Aarhus Home - Sustainably Decorated, Danish Style

I love Scandinavian homes with tones of earthy green, grey or chestnut accents. But every now and then a Danish home pops up with vibrant hues which catch the light and brighten up my feed. They are like a happy breath of fresh air! Tanja Gotthardsen's apartment in Aarhus is one of those. Her interior is full of wonderful vintage finds and colourful art, and accessories against a backdrop of luminescent blue and pink. I wrote to Tanja to find out more about her lovely Aarhus home and was excited to discover that there's more than to the apartment than meets the eye. Tanja is a huge advocate for sustainability. The Dane runs a consultancy business which helps sustainable brands and businesses communicate their efforts and her home is testimony to her commitment to using sustainable brands. Read on to find out more!

How do you work with brands?
At the mom moment, so many businesses are greenwashing, rather than doing the actual work. I strive to help make the honest, ethical and environmentally responsible brands stand out from the crowd. I also hold public talks, panel debates and run a consumer oriented blog, where we discuss subjects such as material innovation and human rights - subjects that are also touched upon on my instagram

How does your own home decor reflect your ambition?
My decor is primarily made up of second hand finds which I've collected over the years having visited everything from flea markets and thrift shops to more curated vintage boutiques. I also have a few more recent purchases from sustainable brands that I've worked with. 

Are there any particular Scandinavian home decor brands you would recommend? 
For sustainably made furniture, I would look towards TAKT CPH and Make Nordic. Their furniture and materials are certified sustainable, and they put a lot of effort into ensuring pieces that will last a lifetime. Our couch is from Make Nordic

For softer elements, such as cushions, throws and bedding, I would suggest Mumutane (socio-economic), Ordinary Things (organic and socially responsible) and Aiayu (organic and socially responsible). 

For vintage / secondhand I would keep an eye on Curated CPH for art prints and The Basement for furniture, lamps and vases. 

The wall colours in your home are so beautiful - is the paint also from a sustainable brand?
The paint I've used is what we call in danish 'naturmaling' - it's a chalk-based paint without any harsh additives. It's made locally by Linoliebutikken - run by a couple who have developed the chalk-paint over the decades. They use the most beautiful pigments in their paints, and it makes the walls extremely vibrant and changeable throughout the day.  
    

Do you have any tips on how to decorate our homes in a more sustainable way?  
Absolutely. My best tip is to remember that the most sustainable item, is the one you already own. Use as much as you can of what you already have. When you want to purchase something new, be honest and ask yourself: "how much will I actually use and treasure this?" After that, start asking questions about how sustainable it is. Many brands postulate sustainability but can't elaborate. Ask them how they ensure it is environmentally friendly and ethically made. You may initially find it difficult to discern the trustworthiness of their answers, but the very act of asking the question will in itself push for change. 

If you wish to learn more, we're am entire community of sustainability advocates that can teach you how to dig deeper. 

Follow Tanja's instagram @tanjagotthardsen for more info! 

What a beautiful home! - The colours, the furniture, the accessories, everything!

Thank you so much to Tanja for sharing these pictures and talking about how to create a more sustainable home - the Danish way. Truly inspiring! 

My first stop is that paint shop! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. 

How about kicking off the week with a tour of more delightful Aarhus homes? 


Wishing you aa wonderful start to the week! See you Wednesday*

Niki

Photography: Tanja Gotthardsen - shared with kind permission
*I'll be posting three days a week over the summer in order to wind down and spend a little more time with family (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)

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Feel Inspired By A Beautiful Stockholm Family Home

On Monday I featured the beautifully calm Stockholm home of Emilie and Fredrik Carmén. And I also promised to share their new home. So vänner (friends), here it is! The family moved to one of Södermalm's oldest houses which was built in 1640 by a bar tender by the name of Hans Marschalk. It's fair to say the bones of this Stockholm pad are incredible: staggeringly high ceilings, eye-catching grid windows, ornate panelling and an original parquet wood floor (I can almost hear that wonderful creak as you walk across it!). The family have opted for a calm, earthy green-grey-beige palette (Almond beige by Jotun) - which they've applied throughout the home with the exception of one of the children's rooms. I have been musing over whether she / he point blank refused! Blue it is then! Industrial Blue to be precise :) Pull up a chair, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the tour!  


Table from Hay, chairs by Asplund

A shaggy rug sets the scene for a cosy sitting room complete with a Normann Copenhagen circus pouf and IKEA sofa (it's the same deep, Söderhalm one I have!). 


The fabulous Monkey Lamp* by Seletti looking cheeky in the corner!


This organic light grey linen bed set* is similar.  


I love the Industrial Blue in the children's room above (with the IKEA desk and storage units painted to match), especially with the pink-brown tones in the chair (from Ikea believe it or not!) and rug. My Allie has the same 'apple apple' print in her room and tells him all her secrets. Apparently, he's a very good listener - despite the small ears! 

All in all, a wonderful, elegant home, don't you think?

Oh, to have bones like that to play with.

Is there anything that stood out to you about Fredrik and Emilie's home?

It's a hive of activity in my own home today since we're leaving for the cottage today - and guests are taking over tomorrow. #SOMUCHTODO! Gaaaaah! I'd better go and help poor Per! It will be so nice once we finally arrive and can put our feet up a little. I hope you've got some nice plans for the weekend too!

Due to the school summer holidays, I'll be winding down the blog a little to three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) until August. I promise to make the posts I do create EVEN MORE inspiring! 

Trevlig helg! 

Niki

Photography: Jonas Gustavsson 
Shared with kind permission

*This post contains affiliate links

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An Elegant Danish Family Home in The Heart of Copenhagen

It's always fascinating to see the difference between how a Scandinavian decorates their summer cottage and their urban dwelling. Last week we saw a glimpse of Line Stampe Dahl's dreamy, white summer cottage in Sjællands Odde, North East Zealand. Her home in the city is equally pared-back. But while her summer cottage has a more relaxed, costal vibe - with its white clad walls and vintage furniture - the Danish family's Copenhagen home is more refined. The wonderful turn-of-the-century building provides an elegant backdrop to a living space that has been thoughtfully furnished with iconic Scandinavian design pieces. Look closely and you'll also spot earthy accent walls and even a fabulous circus themed ceiling! Oh, and keep an eye out for the family's little white rabbit, he's hopping about it one of the pictures! 

Louis poulsen VL45 radio lamp, Nofred mouse chair, OK Design OAS table

I love a lemon tree and Line's one in the window is lush, don't you think? I bought one for my my kitchen a few months back. It was looking a little unhappy, so in the end I shoved it out in the garden and just left it there. Not only has it got new shoots but it's actually flowering! Caroline Reichel was right! 

Oh, and the old Copenhagen window frames and sills get me every time. Aren't they beautiful? 



 Source a similar vintage table here*




Louis Poulsen lamp* (as before), painting by Jeppe Eisner



What a beautiful home! So elegant and refined, yet also relaxed. Danish style art it's finest! 

See more pictures of Line's lovely home over at @linestampedahl - and in case you missed it - here's the tour of her pared-back summer cottage

The question is, did you spot the bunny?! 

Niki

PS check-out more drool-worthy Danish home tours in this archive. One of my favourites! 

Photography: Line Stampe Dahl, shared with kind permission. 

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Life Change: A Swedish Family Home In The French Alps

We can all agree it's been one crazy year. Never has the home been so important. It presents a safe haven (although I am aware that sadly this is not the case for everyone) in which we can relax and be ourselves. Living in quarantine / isolation - or simply being at home more - has meant taking stock of where we live, and while there are some who are thrilled with where they live, there are others that will no doubt thinking about making some life changes in the near future! 

For Swedish interior designer Bettina Kapare, her husband and two year old son, it wasn't the pandemic that led to a move abroad - but a search for a more meaningful way of life. In 2019, Bettina and her family left their home in Luxembourg after ten years and moved to a small village in the foothills of the French Alps, just outside Chamonix. Today, they enjoy a slower pace surrounded by nature. I caught up with Bettina to find out how they chose their new location, some of the challenges involved with moving, and how she created a home which merges her Scandinavian heritage with traditional Alpine style. Her story is truly inspiring! 

When did you move to the Alps? 
We moved here from Luxembourg in December last year. I guess you can say we made a complete life change. We left Luxembourg after 10 years. At the same time, I quit my job as a business developer in private banking and started working as an interior designer. It's something I'd been dreaming about and had been studying on the side for some years. 


How did you choose the French Alps? 
We owned a small ski apartment in the Chamonix valley and had been spending countless weekends on vacation here skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. When our son was born, we decided to spend part of our parental leave here and it was during that period we started talking about the possibility of moving here. 

How did you make your move happen? 
At first, it all felt like a farfetched dream. Leaving an organised life and a career in Luxembourg, to go and live in the French Alps. But the more we talked about it, the more we realised that it was what we wanted; for our son grow up in the mountains and change to, what we felt would be, a more meaningful lifestyle, with more family time, more skiing and closer to nature. As the saying goes "create a life you don't need a vacation from".

With that in mind, we started thinking about everything that needed to be put in place. We had to find a house, organise work etc. We thought it was going to be a 5-year plan, but once we'd set our minds to it, the move took less than a year. Somehow everything just fell into place. 

What was one of the biggest challenges with moving to the French Alps? 
One of the most difficult things turned out to be finding a house. There weren't a lot of options that were within budget. I had dreamt of a renovation project involving an old farmhouse with a huge garden. Instead, we bought a traditional style chalet built in 2008. It has an open-plan living room and kitchen on the ground floor and three bedrooms upstairs. It also has a large basement which we use as a home office and studio. 

How did you approach the chalet interior?
I faced a challenge merging our furniture and my style into the traditional chalet style. For me, interior design is not about following trends and constantly buying new stuff, it's about creating a space for the people who live there. Incorporating functional aspects with a personal style and a homely feel.  

Since we're living here all year round, I didn't want our home to have a traditional 'ski holiday' chalet feel. I wanted to turn it into a home where we would feel at home every day of the year.


How have you merged your Scandinavian design heritage with the Alpine style? 
Being Swedish, I believe the Scandinavian style is in my nature. When we moved, I felt that I wanted to incorporate the Scandinavian style. Both the Scandinavian and traditional Alpine style use furniture with simple but elegant craftsmanship - something I always feel inspired by. But the Scandinavian style has a lighter feel than the traditional Alpine style. In our home, I've brought in a lot of solid wood furniture, but with a light white finish instead of the traditional darker one. My Norrgavel coffee table is a fine example of this. 

Where did you source your furniture? 
We actually brought most of it with us from Luxembourg - including many Scandinavian design pieces. It's a blend of items we have inherited and second-hand treasures that I have been collecting over the years. I'm happy that we brought them with us, because it made us feel instantly at home. And with everything that has been happening in the world lately and the past few months of lockdown and isolation - our house has turned into our comfort zone. 


What do you love most about your new home?
Almost every evening I have been cuddling up on the sofa or on the bed, and looking up at the mountains outside the windows feeling grateful for our new home. I love the closeness to nature and I'm so happy we dared to make the life change. We haven't regretted moving one single day, on the contrary, our life choice feels more meaningful than ever. I have never felt happier.  


Thank you so much for telling us about your move and your beautiful home in the Alps Bettina - your story is truly inspiring! 

***

I'd love to hear about how you feel about your home - is it somewhere you can always imagine living, or has your perspective changed this year? 

If you've always dreamed of moving abroad, I hope Bettina's story has inspired you. Your big move might be more tangible than you first thought! 

You can see more picture of her beautiful home over at @chez_kapare and find out more about her interior design service Kapare Interiors

Fancy taking a peek at other Scandi homes abroad? 


Ahhhh, I love seeing the Scandinavian design heritage merged with other cultures / styles, how about you? 

Ha det så fint! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Bettina Kapare / @chez_kapare with kind permission.

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Hang Out Here: A Dreamy Rustic Loft Under Swaying Palms!

I mentioned yesterday that the weather in Sweden is not great right now - at least, not what you would call 'summer' (a high of 16 degrees (60 Fahrenheit) today - and we live in the South!). The first response tends to be to batten down the hatches at the summer cottage and scurry back to the city. The second for some, if the rain really persists, is to book a last-minute summer holiday abroad! No easy feat this year. So, instead, I'll be dreaming of days at this luxury loft for two, a few steps from a pristine, white sandy beach on the island of Holbox, Quintana Too, Mexico. If the dreamy, cool white interior with boho touches of wood and rattan doesn't grab you - the double bed on the terrace surrounded by swaying palms is sure to seal the deal. The question is, what book to take?! 

At Casa Impala, it's natural all the way - from the concrete floors to the handwoven lighting. We might not all be able to travel right now, but I for one, will be stealing a few ideas to bring a touch of the tropics to my own home!


The mattress stands on a simple wooden structure and a simple cotton beige throw with a pom pom fringe* helps to break up the sea of white and add balance to the room. 

I love this white blanket with pom poms* too (just saying!). 



I'd happily work away from this spot by the window - although I have to admit it would be hard to concentrate with the waves beckoning in the distance!



I love that this loft has two outdoor spaces - one for lounging, another for an evening drink!

The stool reminds me of the ones I use as a bedside table (these vintage stools* are similar).



Those stairs! 

I'd happily hang out here for a loooong time. It could even prompt me to write another book (it would make an amazing writer's retreat, don't you think?!). 

Could you imagine hanging out here under the swaying palms too? 

Read more about Casa Impala onAirbnb! 

Did you get any ideas for your own home? In the advent of the current 'staycation' climate, I've been adding basket bags, straw hats and any other tropical vibes I can think of to my My own home! 

Oh, and in case you're putting together a holiday folder for 2021 or simply looking for some 'tropical' inspiration for your own home - you'll love the holiday home rental and design hotel archives. Perfect for a little dreaming until the sun decides to shine again! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Casa Impala / Airbnb

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