Before And After: A Californian Mountain Living Room Gets A Scandi Makeover

I had the pleasure of working with American interior stylist and blogger extraordinaire Emily Henderson on a greenhouse make-over in Upstate New York exactly two years ago (funny how time flies, it feels like only yesterday!). In the minibus back to our hotel one evening Emily excitedly told me about a 1960s mountain fixer-upper she had just bought in Lake Arrowhead, an hour and a half from LA. I was really curious to see what she'd do with it. You can imagine how excited I was to learn a little later that she'd gone for a Scandi theme! Yay! Long may this 'Scandifornian' trend continue! I've been eagerly following the renovation process and last week the house was finally completed. Short of posting the entire house (tempting but would probably make the Guinness Book of Records), I thought I'd share the before and after pictures from the sitting room since it sets the scene for the rest of the home and strikes a delicate balance between light and airy and super cosy. Let's take a peek. 


Are those wall-to-wall carpets I see? The soft layer no doubt feels super cosy to walk on, but we all know that in the world of Scandinavia design a wall-to-wall carpet is an absolute no-no! 

Another thing that stood out: the bannisters. Decorative cast iron bannisters might have a place in a more traditional home (especially in warmer regions), but in Scandinavia it's all about the clean lines and simplicity! You can also catch a glimpse of the kitchen in this picture - imprint the image on your mind, we'll come back to it in the after pictures! 

Seeing these before shots, there's no denying that the space has great bones and interesting architecture. But it was in need of a little TLC. And that's exactly what Emily and her team gave it. Let's take a peek at the after pictures...


It really is amazing how much lighter and airier it feels with a wood floor and rug instead of a wall-to-wall carpet. And look at that floor to ceiling banister?! Love it! 

Holiday homes are all about the lounging - and I have a feeling that low, deep vintage sofa (from Gallery 7 / chairish) would be hard to get out of come Sunday night! Love the soft grey shade and seams too! 

Layers of texture give the room warmth - which is especially important when you've opted for a neutral colour scheme. There are so many different materials at work here - from wool and cotton to marble, wood, leather and stone. 

Remember the bubble rock stones on the fireplace in the before pictures? They are still there but hidden under a layer of light plaster, hence the more subtle finish, yet still lovely and raw finish. 

Remember that kitchen shot earlier in this post? It's no secret that Scandinavian's love open-plan living spaces and by removing the kitchen wall in this room, the space opens up in a whole new way - allowing natural light to reach the darkest of corners.

Large white sheepskin rug*, vintage mango wood table from Chairish, these leather and wood bar stools* are similar to the ones seen. 

What a transformation! 

It just goes to show what you can do to a space with a little TLC (and no doubt a LOAD of hard graft!). 

Is there anything you love in particular?

You can read more about the Mountain House here

Oh and check out more inspiring before and afters here (one of my favourites has to be the converted welding plant - so incredible!). 

Ha så fint!


Photography: Sara Ligorria-Tramp - shared with kind permission. 
*Affiliate links


  1. I just want to know how to do those balusters!


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