Scrolling

Before and After - My Swedish Home Makeover!

Last night I was clearing out a cupboard and came across the estate agent pamphlet for our house from when we bought it. I knew we'd made some changes over the 12 years but looking back at the pictures made me realise just how far we'd come! At the time, we were living in a small apartment just down the road and when the house came on the market, we knew it would be perfect for us, but it was over budget. And then we had a stroke of luck. No one wanted it!! Being a consistently 'hot' house market, this was incredibly unusual in Malmö, particularly in a popular area by the sea - where homes tend to sell within weeks, if not days. The estate agent explained that potential buyers had turned their noses up at it, saying it 'didn't have the right feeling'. 

When Per and I went to view the property, we understood what they meant. No one lived there (it was used as an occasional city bolthole by a businessman who had a permanent abode in the countryside) and the living space lacked soul. In addition, it featured some pretty questionable decor choices.... and the dark wood wall and floors made the entire space really dark. It felt gloomy and somewhat depressing - hardly a home to aspire to! The price dropped dramatically and became within reach (although still a stretch!). Despite the appearance, we could see its potential, and would be mainly cosmetic. Plus, it meant acquiring a house in the area we so loved! We jumped at it! 

I'll never forget finally getting the keys in our hands and our first night in the house. I simply couldn't believe it was ours! Twelve years, two children and multiple interior changes later, we're still just as happy in our home today.  

Here's how it has changed over time:

Kitchen / Dining  Before 

Kitchen / Dining After

The very first thing we did was give the entire house a lick of fresh white matt paint (with the help of parents Father and Stepmother!). It would serve as a blank canvas until we decided which way to go in terms of colour. Many of the walls remain white today, although we've added some deeper, earthy shades in some parts of the house. 

We also got someone in to sand down and whitewash the oak floors which immediately lightened up the entire living space. 

We loved the existing Marbodal kitchen units and backsplash - they've served us well over time. We kept them and instead focused our attention on installing better appliances such as an induction hob and new fridge and freezer. 


The kitchen lacked work surfaces, so we added a new kitchen island (there was one when we arrived but it was tiny - you can see a glimpse of it here). The unit is just from IKEA but one of those pieces that fell into place and felt like it had always been there!). It's become a popular gathering place (not only for people - but also the daily post, keys and even sports equipment as the kids fly in through the door - yes, it drives me insane!). But it DOES look lovely on the occasional times it's clear (or better still, has a G+T on it!).


Per has owned the wooden dining table for years. it's made of solid wood so can be sanded down and restored whenever the need arises. It's a really timeless piece and something I can imagine always having in our home. There's no marking on it sadly, so we're not sure of the brand. 

We transformed the corner into a reading nook, which has become one of the most popular places in the home - and means we can all relax in the same room, while doing our own thing! At Christmas the daybed is placed in the attic and replaced with a tree! Years back, we even had a bubble chair hanging in that corner

All the storage was in place when we moved in, and as a family of hoarders, we're still grateful for it. We're unsure what they had planned for the recess - maybe a TV? But it serves as a great, cosy dining seat nook today! 

Sitting Room Before





Sitting Room After


I'm not opposed to dark wood walls - they can look fab in a 50's style residence. But since the house is overshadowed by an apartment block, it can get really dark in the afternoons. Painting the wood white immediately lifted the entire living room area. 

For the first few years it looked like this - and then later we changed the sofa (the cover of which is constantly updated thanks to Bemz - you can check out the many transformations here and here) and added a gallery wall. 



 Open plan space on middle floor (before)

Open plan space on middle floor (after)

Confused?! As much as we'd loved to have had a second sitting room, we needed the extra bedroom. So, Per and a friend built a wall (on the opposite side of the wall from the pillow end of the bed are the stairs) - creating an extra bedroom for my teenage stepson. We removed the shelves to make room for the bed and painted the wall a cosy dark blue! See the complete make-over here

Second bedroom before

Second Bedroom After



Allie's bedroom has changed many times over the year - and will no doubt change countless times more as she grows! The original blue shade felt really cold in a North facing room. The first change we made was to paint them a fresh white (as seen here when the girls shared the room when they were small). We later painted the walls a more earthy, warm shade to add a cosy feel when Liv moved into her own room. I shared the DIY make-over here

Top floor sitting room before

That sofa! 

After

The top floor was originally a sitting room - and we kept it as such for the first few years. But slowly we realised no one was using it - which was a real waste as it's one of the most beautiful, light-filled rooms in the house. So, we transformed it into our master bedroom and home office. And never looked back! 

When we first moved up there the walls were white - as seen here

It's been various shades over the years. For now, we've settled on 'blushing peach' by Jotun Lady, which has a wonderful, calm and cosy feel.


We painted the wood floor 'strong white' by Farrow & Ball (which is actually more of a pale grey). Per designed and built the shelves using planks, wire and nuts and bolts from a local hardware store. 

I sometimes use the corner of the bedroom as my home office when I'm not at the studio (seen below). Today the wall is dark brown ('Norwegian Wood' by Jotun Lady) but it has also been white (you might recognise it from the front cover of interior book 'Everything In Its Place'!). 

We also transformed the nook (above) into a home office for Per during the pandemic - here's a glimpse

The entire room has become a real haven - and like a mini apartment within a house. We love it! 

I have to say, it's been so much fun to take this trip down memory lane, thank you for humouring me! 

When I have days when I wonder why the progress in our house is so slow (there's a reason I've never shown our bathrooms! - potential project for Autumn, perhaps? Don't tell Per just yet...!), I'll look back at these and see how far we've actually come! 

Our house buying decision also taught me an important lesson. At a viewing, take into account the basic bones of the property (the shape, the era etc.). Don't let the 'feeling' or 'soul' put you off. That's something you can add once you move in!   

If in doubt, check out the before and after archive, it's quite incredible how much you can change a property with a little vision, time, effort and money. And some homes, like mine - might just need a lick of paint! 

Don't believe me? Here are some of my favourite 'before and afters' of all time:


I'd love to hear the story about your home - how you found it, how it felt to finally get the keys in your hand (whether as a renter or homeowner), and any changes you've made! 

Niki

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
6


A Small Relaxed Bohemian Home Filled With Plants

"Your light will always be too bright for someone." I read this quote recently and it really resonated with me. It's definitely true for people - but also for interior design! That's why I love to shake things up a little and try to feature a variety of different Scandi-inspired styles - so there's something for everyone! While yesterday's white Danish summer cottage was about a simple, pared-back way of life with an interior designed to take a back stage to the great outdoors, today's home tour is about bringing nature indoors, and creating a wonderful, relaxed, oasis in the heart of the city!  

Lifestyle photographer Caroline Reichel lives in the greenest district of Berlin with her partner and two cats. Her apartment may be small but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for it in plants! 

As someone who wishes they had more plants, I couldn't resist catching up with Caroline for some green-fingered tips! 

How would you describe your home?
We have a small, two room apartment in an old building with over 100 plants - a small urban jungle! 

What do you love most about filling your home with greenery?
I love to surround myself with plants - they calm me down. Plants grow with me and it's like one big green family. Also, I love the jungle. When I travel, I always go where it is especially green. Now I have my personal little jungle at home and I love it. 

Do they require a lot of care? 
I look after my plants two to three times a week. It's part of my morning routine. I find it very relaxing and a bit like meditating.  

I love how this climber has been trained up and around a mirror! 

Do you have any tips for anyone looking to acquire more house plants?
There are some plants that are very easy to care for and grow quickly - like Devils Ivy. In general, I can say it's better to water plants too little than too much. 

That's so interesting! I've found that the plants I've given up on and just shove out in the back yard to fend for themselves, always seem to thrive ! It makes sense now. 

Do you have a favourite plant?
I love all of them, but my favourite ones are climbing plants (philodendron) and one of my most beautiful plants, I think, is the Anthurium Crystallinum

Finally, your cats seem very happy at home! How do you manage your plants to ensure they do not cause any harm? 
I pay a lot of attention to where I place my plants - and whether or not my cats show an interest in them (particularly if they are poisonous). With my cats, it works wonders to position the plants a little higher. 

I am especially careful with plants that have smaller leaves, for example some ficus plants. They arouse more interest in our cats than plants with larger leaves. The Dragon tree (palm-like) is out of the question for us because our cats confuse it with cat grass because of its narrow leaves - and it's poisonous. 

Thank you Caroline! 

I need to head straight out to a nursery this afternoon and pick out some new house plants. Seeing Caroline's home makes me realise just how much greenery is missing from my own. Do you feel the same?

Even though I don't have a pet (actually that's not strictly true - we do have a hamster named Dexter), I was really interested in what Caroline had to say about how to manage plants around cats. So important, don't you think?

If you'd love to look at more plant inspiration today, you might like to check out more pictures of Caroline's Berlin home here. And there's a ton more 'green' inspiration to be found in the plant archive!

For something a little more permanent - I can also recommend the coffee table books Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants by Igor Josif and Judith De Graaf and Wild At Home by Hilton Carter. 

Speaking of greenery, I spent the day photographing a brunch setting in my small back garden yesterday for Danish brand Georg Jensen. It was so much fun - but being more of an interior photographer I always forget the challenges of outdoor photography - from the changing light and insects to rain showers and pigeon pooh! Even so, I can't wait to share the results with you soon!

Niki

Photography: Caroline Reichel

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
2

A Beautifully Simple White Danish Summer Cabin

When you stand on the Malmö shore you can see the sun setting over the Copenhagen skyline in the distance  - it's the most beautiful sight! Sadly, it's looking like we won't be able to visit to our Danish friends this summer, so I'll be getting my fix from pictures of their beautiful homes instead. I hope you'll join me! Today, I'm taking us on a virtual tour to Line Stampe Dahl's simple, yet charming summer house in Sjællands Odde, North East Zealand (approximately 1 hr 45 minute's drive from Copenhagen). It's an area that comes to life in the summer months, when Danes flock to the cape to enjoy the magnificent nature and white sandy beaches. Line, a landscape architect and keen knitter, and her family love to escape city life at the weekends and in the holidays, to enjoy a more simple life. Their whitewashed cabin is sparsely furnished giving it a wonderful, light and airy feel, and allowing nature to take centre stage!  

It's no secret that the weather in Scandinavia in the summer can be a little, shall we say, unpredictable - but nothing that a wood burning stove can't fix. The fire adds instant hygge too! 

Simple wood furniture and a Beni ourain rug (source a similar one from Kanyamakan*) are perfect for adding a touch of warmth to the white open-plan living space.

One of those slow frosty mornings when you bring the duvet with you and chill in the early sun.

I love it when a ceiling has been knocked through to reveal beams - it makes a room feel instantly more spacious (rem ember this Danish coastal home?). The panoramic window is fabulous for letting in great bites of nature. 


When you have windows like this, it's perfectly acceptable to wear a sun hat and sunglasses indoors!

The iconic Le Klint scissor lamp* - what a beauty! 


Bunking up. I've  realised over the years, that my children love to live in close quarters, the smaller the space, the cosier they think it is. They'd be so happy to arrive at Line's cottage and discover we were sharing a room!


What a lovely way to spend the summer holidays! It doesn't need to be more complicated than this, do you agree?!

Line sometimes rents her wonderful cabin out (for future reference!). If you're interested, keep an eye out on her inspiring instagram feed for info! 

And if you love knitwear, check out Line's latest pieces here (she's currently working on a home page). 

As always, I can't resist sharing a few other idyllic danish summer cottages for you to dream over today: 


Oh, how I'll miss Denmark this summer! Here's hoping they might open the borders soon! 

Wishing you a dreamy Wednesday friends! 

Niki

Photography Line Stampe Dahl

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
2

The Wonderful, Playful Loft Of A Furniture Designer

Oj oj oj, do I have a treat for you today. And I love that it's so different from yesterday's rustic, farmhouse tour too! This stunning loft in Bielefeld, in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region of north-east Germany serves as a home and workspace for Lilli, her husband Sascha, a furniture designer, and their two daughters (16 and 6). The light and airy space has been sparingly furnished in a thoughtful way: selecting only pieces with exceptional design including many of the pair's own designs, IKEA hacks and a few design classics. I had a chat with Lilli to find out more about their wonderful, unique home. 

What do you do for a living? 
We live and work under one roof and love to openly connect all areas of our lives. Sascha is a freelance furniture and interior designer and I love working in the field of marketing and social media


Can you describe the layout of your home?
Our home is not very big - it has an open-plan kitchen and dining area and two bedrooms, and we have no living room and therefore no sofa. But is more important to us that it is beautiful, than it is practical! 

I'm so curious - how do your daughters find not having a sofa? Mine have been spending half their school summer holiday flat out on ours! 
Haha! She hangs out on her bed - it's her sofa!!

Where do you hang out as a family? At the wonderful dining table?
Yes, we love to play a lot of games as a family, and if we watch a movie, we'll do it together in our bed. 

That sounds so cosy!

The geometric light is from Schneid studio and the table is one Sascha's own designs. 

Can you tell us more about the furniture in your home?
We have many of our own designs and we also have exceptionally designed pieces by younger, designers, as well as a few IKEA hacks and some design classics. We attach great importance to high-quality, sustainably produced furniture and home accessories and therefore prefer to have fewer, but more special things. 

The chair in your dining room is so unique, where is it from? 
The chair is from Japanese sushi restaurant Nihombashi in Berlin. My husband fell in love with it and negotiated with the owner until we could take it home with us! 

I also love the kroko (crocodile) low table (designed by Sascha) in your dining area - and notice that many items in your home are playful, is this something you're drawn to?
We love design that is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously but is still aesthetically pleasing! 

The lips are from Italian brand Seletti - who I see, are currently selling some fabulous face masks too (with proceeds contributing to the Italian multiple sclerosis foundation), the clothes hanger is by designer Florian Saul and the side table is from German brand e15.

And finally, I love the use of colour in your home, have you always been a fan of bringing in bright hues?
In recent years, our loft has become more and more colourful. We love strong Bauhaus colours and earthy, soft nude and red tones. We also like plants, so it's getting greener by the day. 


The bed and smiley steps are one of Sascha's own designs.

Thank you so much for showing us around your home Lilli! It really made me smile in so many ways! 

You can see more pics on her fab instagram feed @kitschcanmakeyourich and check out all of Sascha's furniture designs over at Art can Break your Heart - as well as shop for fabulous pieces in their online shop

Is there anything that stood out to you the most about Lilli's home?

Leaving you with a few other playful homes today: 


Sending lots of love from a rainy Sweden today! 

Niki

Photography Benjamin Janzen 

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
0
 

site by Ana Degenaar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
MORE INFO