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A Light and Airy Danish Summer Cottage Oasis

Swedes are still recovering from a magical Midsummer weekend of sunshine, floral crowns and revelry! I had an apartment lined up to show you today, but since the mercury is set to hit 30 c (86 f) in Scandinavia today, I thought a summer cottage by the sea might be more apt! This classic black and white cabin in Tisvilde on Denmark's North Zealand coast, is owned by interior stylist and furniture manufacturer Ophilia Thalund. Ophilia has created an airy, light filled interior in soft shades of white, blue, grey and brown. The sparsely decorated space features items collected over time including flea market finds as well as pieces collected on travels - resulting in a personal oasis in which to relax on balmy summer days!

A classic 'trasmatta' rag rug* - a mat made from scraps of clothing and other leftover textiles - helps to protect the floor in the kitchen. 

In Scandinavian cabins, natural materials and simplicity rules the day! 

A simple white butterfly chair can be easily transported outside when the sun shines! 

A wood bench doubles up as a side table for coffee table books and an antique bottle has been repurposed into a cool lamp! 

Ophilia often sits at this antique desk when she's working up at the cabin. 

This rustic wood stool* is similar. 

Wood panel walls and soft grey-blue shades help to connect the cabin to its coastal location. 

Lovely! I can imagine on a day like today all the windows and doors are thrown open and everyone is flitting between the sea and the garden - occasionally popping inside to collect a drink or slice of watermelon. Just like us! 

Take a look at more dreamy Scandinavian summer cottages today. 

Speaking of summer - the school holidays are in full swing and I will be dialling down to my summer blogging schedule (posting on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays) in order to spend time with my girls - and try to keep the chaos at home at bay (cue: a trail of destruction including coils of wet towels, a rapidly diminishing pantry and a crazy number of glasses in use at any one moment - does anyone else recognise this?). Even so,  it's my absolute favourite time of the year! I hope you are able to take a little downtime and relax too. 

If you're thinking about visiting Stockholm this summer - why not stay in the beautiful archipelagos so you can combine the sea and calm surroundings with the city? Here's a 20% code off for you if you stay at hotel Vår Gårds Saltsjöbaden for three nights or more between 1st - 31st July 2022: NIKISUMMER. I loved it so much last winter I'm taking my whole family there this July! 

See you Wednesday! 

Niki

Photography: Birgitta Wolfgang Bjørnvad / The Sisters Agency shared with kind permission. 

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A Beautiful Midsummer's Eve Table

On Friday it's time for one of the biggest celebrations in Sweden - Midsummer's Eve. It's an event so entrenched in the Swedish culture that it's considered as important as Christmas. It's become my favourite celebration of the year. Put simply, it's magical. Think crowns weaved from wildflowers, dancing around a maypole and playing silly games. Tables are laden with a spread of pickled herrings, new potatoes, quiches, boiled eggs, sour cream, dill, salmon, strawberries, and crisp bread, washed down with beer and schnapps. It's a day spent outdoors no matter the weather (thankfully it looks like the sun will be shining on Friday!) and a time for friends and families to come together and chat and sing and dance under the midnight sun. 

Why not join the celebrations from afar? Here's a beautiful Midsummer tablescape by Linnea on the Swedish island of Gotland (who's beautiful home I featured recently) to inspire you! 

So pretty! 

Looking to join in the celebrations? Here are 5 simple steps for hosting a Swedish midsummer

Single? Swedish tradition says if you pluck 7 different wild flowers and lay them under your pillow on Midsummers Eve, you'll dream of your true love! 

Glad midsommar! 

Niki

PS since I will be busy doing preparations for the big day on Friday, there'll be no post tomorrow. I look forward to blogging again on Monday. Vi ses!

Photography: @leintosinspiration - shared with kind permission.

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18 Ideas to Create a Swedish Summer Oasis - From Basic to Blowout!

The Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea is a true summer paradise. It's a place where wild flowers sway in the wind, and the pin sharp light catches the rocks on the rugged coastline and glistens on the blue of the Baltic Sea. 

Swedes flock there in July and August to relax and catch up with family and old friends while soaking up the long hours of daylight.  

There are many beautiful houses dotted around the island - some basic, some luxurious and everything in between! Today I stumbled across this contemporary oasis on the North east of the island which is currently for sale (I know!) - and I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

Why? Firstly, it had me dreaming of wiling a way a summer here with family and friends. Secondly, more importantly, because although we might not all have the space / budget for everything this wonderful house to offer - there are lots of ideas to steal - both big and small to channel that wonderful Swedish summer house vibe! 

Ready to take a look? 

1. A covered outdoor dining and barbecue area: Summer is all about spending as much time outside as possible and making the most of the abundance of daylight hours. An outdoor  dining / BBQ area is essential. The trouble is, the Swedish weather gods aren't always on our side so a pergola, with fabric to draw across on rainy days is ideal!

2. Solar powered lanterns: who needs to be faffing around with turning on and off outdoor lighting when the sun can do the job for you?  IKEA sells solar lamps like these. They look beautiful hung in the trees at dusk (as seen in yesterday's home tour). 

3. Outdoor kitchen: If you can't take the heat, create an outdoor kitchen (if you only have a small outdoor space or balcony, mini versions are possible with some creativity!). A perfect way to prolong your time outdoors and save from shuttling everything to and fro on trays! 

See more outdoor kitchen inspiration here and here

4. The double sun lounger: there's something luxurious about a double lounger, don't you think? Pick one that can lay flat or prop up so you can enjoy a book or a siesta at whim! 

Note, bamboo is not very weather resistance so best kept under a covered terrace. 

5. Permanent Cover: let's just say the weather in Northern Europe doesn't always do what we want it to do. A covered terrace is ideal for ensuring you can still enjoy the great outdoors on rainy days - and it's perfect for shade on warmer days. 

6. A sauna: On chillier summer days, a sauna is a perfect way to relax and feel some much needed warmth. But on winter days it' really comes into its own. And the health benefits are numerous!

7. An outdoor shower: why wash off in a steamy bathroom, when you can lather under an open sky? 

8. A swing: There's no better way to bring out the child in you like a swing. In my mind I'm already sitting on it overlooking the pool with a drink in hand, how about you? 

9. A comfy outdoor social area: a perfect spot for relaxing with friends and enjoying a fika (the swedish ritual of enjoying a coffee and cake) - or better still, a pre-dinner aperitif! 

10. Somewhere to take a dip: this house has a wonderful pool - and I can totally see myself drifting around on a lilo - I mean, how lovely! But if like me, you don't have the space / budget, how about a small plunge pool or wilderness bath / hot tub? Or a nice cool dip in a nearby sea / lake / stream is also a wonderful way to cool off! 

11. Sports: table tennis, badminton, darts, Kubb (a classic Swedish garden game), croquet... it doesn't really matter which you decide on, it's just fun to have some social activities to enjoy in the sunshine!

12. A relaxed indoor kitchen: At the Swedish summer house it's all about keeping life as simple as possible and the indoor kitchen should reflect this. Simple open shelves allow for a relaxed, 'grab and go' feel and natural materials like wood and stone help to bring the outdoors in. 

13. Let there be light! The Scandinavian winters are dark, so when the light returns it's important to embrace it. Glass doors help light to flow through to rooms further away from the window. A simple curtain can be pulled across for privacy. 

14. Hooks and more hooks: there's no simpler way to store your summer clothes than a rail of hooks. Besides, all you'll be needing (with any luck) is a robe, bikini, kimono and sunhat! Oh, alright then, maybe a cardi / jumper for the evenings. And a raincoat.... but let's not get bogged down in the details! 

15. A simple dressing room area: a mirror, hooks and chest-of-drawers = a basic walk-in-wardrobe, Swedish style! 

16. A space to work: A quiet place by the window will help you to feel connected with the great outdoors and keep that holiday feel alive while you work! 

17. A simple outhouse for guests: when it comes to the Swedish summerhouse, it's about accommodating as many people as possible - whether that's extended family or friends passing through for the night. I for one, would be perfectly happy to wake up in this little poolside cabana! But I've also seen garden sheds transformed into wonderful little guest houses (size permitting of course!). 

18. Bring your own bedding: In Sweden, it's customary for guests to bring their own sheets, duvet covers, and pillowcases and you provide the bed, pillow and duvet. Which means less work for everyone, and more time catching up! 

So many ideas - I for one would love a table tennis to have outside at our little cabin this summer - so fun! I might just have my eye on a double sun lounger too.

Is there anything that stood out to you?  

For more ideas on how to spice up your outdoor space, Scandi style, see: 


Kram! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Bertwig with thanks 




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A Charming and idyllic Swedish Country Home in Summertime

The Swedish country house of interior stylist Anna Furbacken would look perfectly at home in an Astrid Lindgren tale. It's so idyllic! Nestled in the countryside in central Sweden, the historic croft is made up of one larger house and several outhouses positioned astound a central lawn - making it a perfect venue for parties like midsummer this Friday! 

Anna has been renovating the house over time to create a home where she and her family can relax and be themselves, both outdoors and in. The interior offers a refreshing respite from the 'perfect' living spaces we're so used to seeing these days, offering a wonderful glimpse into family life on the farm. Look out for antique furniture, an array of vintage lights and soft, earthy, muted tones - as well as refreshing glimpses of laptops, cables, messy cushions and the odd margarine tub. 

Outdoors, there's plenty of seating to go around with a chilled bamboo sitting room area, hammocks and a long table with a mix match of chairs. It's the kind of place, you'd be happy to pull up a seat and stay for a while under the midnight sun. 

Note the choice of panelling in the kitchen (I'm all into panelling having installed it in our cabin. See my panelling guide here) - Anna has opted for a traditional bead panelling which perfectly matches the history and style of the house. 

The pendant you can catch a glimpse of in the picture above has become really popular in Sweden among the boho living aficionados, it's from HK Living

I'm sure many happy childhood memories will be made at this beautiful house. And what a glorious place to spend midsummer's eve! 

Could you imagine wiling away your summer days here? 

See more of Anna's home over at @annfurbacken and more about her work as an interior stylist here

Here's a peek inside a few other Scandinavian country homes this bright and sunny Monday: 


Kram! 

Niki

Photography: @annfurbacken shared with kind permission

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