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A Danish Summer Cottage Oasis on North Zealand

It's Friday, the sun is shining here in the Öresund region - and it finally feels like summer has arrived!  Yay! In two weeks, school will be out, and - government guidelines permitting (in Sweden it's not currently recommended to travel more than 1-2 hours) - many are hoping this all blows over so they can head to their summer cottages to relax and enjoy the nature! Tine and Christian Hertz live in Copenhagen, but when time permits, they hop in the car with their children and swap urban life for a summer oasis in Tisvilde, North Zealand, Denmark. Acquiring a summer cottage in the picturesque village had been a lifelong dream - and when a small house came on the market, Tine and Christian jumped at the chance. On the small side, the pair built on an extension and carried out a loft conversion in order to make room for the entire family and guests. Today, the family can relax in a rustic, light-filled space where the outdoors merges with the indoors. Ready to transport yourself to a Danish summer oasis? Iben and Niels Ahlberg paid a visit and took these pictures: 









Absolutely beautiful! 

I love the back-to-basics feel and the way double doors can be thrown open to the garden on a sunny day. 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

I have to say, the surrounding area is stunning (I've had the pleasure of visiting several times and photographed two cottages there for my book The Scandinavian Home). A true summer paradise! 

Up for a little more Danish summer cottage inspiration today? It would be rude not to when the sun is shining so brightly here today!  


Right folks, that's it from me this week. Thank you so much for stopping by (I've loved reading all your comments, especially with regards to my wood floor yesterday). 

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxing weekend - I hope the sun shines for you!

Niki

Photography: Iben and Niels Ahlberg - shared with kind permission. Incidentally, if you're looking for prints - check out their online shop North and Space

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Time for A New Wood Floor - Which Sample Is Your Favourite?

Houston, we have a problem. We need a new wood floor. It's not a decision to take lightly - but sadly, ours has bitten the dust! When we moved in over 12 years ago, our open-plan living room featured a dark oak floor throughout. It's a really dark room, so we decided to lighten it up by sanding down the floor and then applying a whitewash. It was only then that we realised that the owners before us had laid a laminate oak wood floor -  and the actual oak element was only a couple of millimetres thick. It looked beautiful to begin with, but over time, cracks started to appear, and the edges of the laminate started to furl. You can catch a glimpse in the picture above as well as the close-ups below! 


It had been bothering us for a while, since a tired looking floor can really bring the entire look of a room down. But the final straw came on New Year's Eve when we had a bit of a raucous party which resulted in a dance-off until 4am (remember those days before the - whisper it - 'C' word?). It was great fun, but our poor floor was not up to it - and great lengths of laminate became dislodged. It was definitely time to get a new wood floor! 

Where to start?!  
Living in Scandinavia, a wood flooring is the obvious choice - and thankfully we don't have a dog so   we're confident that the right wood floor would be a great, sustainable, long lasting option. The natural material helps to draw nature indoors and add warmth and depth top a room. There is an overwhelming array of options out there, but I already knew I wanted one of two looks: herringbone parquet or a wide plank. 

Herringbone Parquet

It's no secret that I've always loved a parquet floor (see my 'all hail the parquet floor' feature) - aren't they stunning?! The herringbone parquet floor in particular is hugely popular in Sweden and many turn-of-the-century homes are blessed with original versions, in all their creaky glory. This particular Boden oak with a matt finish in 'extra white' is absolutely stunning, the only thing is, our townhouse is modern (it was built in 2001 which incidentally makes it 20 years old this year - time for another party?!) so we felt we needed something a little more contemporary. 

Wide plank oak

I've been fan of wide plank floors for a long time. There's something really clean and contemporary about them and yet they still add a lot of warmth to a space (this one is the wide plank SVANSHALL in hardened oak - isn't it beautiful?).  Are you a fan too? Per and I agreed that this option would be the best one for our open-plan living space. 

The brand
Bjelin - one of Europe's largest floor manufacturers - was an obvious choice for us. Their wide plank wood floors are produced not far up the coast and since we're planning to lay the floor ourselves - we like that their planks click together without glue or nails. They also have a great sustainable approach: maximising the use of every log, reusing waste as filler or energy and sourcing raw materials from responsibly managed forests. And finally, they sell beautiful wide plank flooring made from cured the wood, which is super strong (roll on New Year's Eve!). Yay! 

Samples
It's one thing looking at the pictures on a website, it's another thing entirely testing out samples. We approached Bjelin and tested out as many samples as we could. We wanted to make sure that the wood had more of a grey tint (and not a yellow or beige note that might get more pronounced as time goes on). We also wanted to make sure that the wood wasn't too dark and fitted the design of the room (it's amazing how much a wood floor can change a space!). Here are a few of the wood floors we tested: 

Clockwise from left to right: Loarp, Lyby, Torekov, Arild, Hittarp

Do you have a favourite? 

I'd love to hear about your favourite wood floor style - and any tips and advice you might have from laying a wood floor in your home! Feeling a little nervous!

I promise to update you soon! 

Niki

PS Stop by tomorrow to take a peek around a breath-taking Danish summer cottage, it'll have you dreaming of a summer in Scandinavia all weekend! 

Photo 1: My Scandinavian Home. All other photos: Bjelin

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A Serene Swedish Home In A Berlin Rental

I seem to have fallen into a phase of featuring homes of expat Scandinavians right now - and based on the messages in my inbox, I'm not the only one feeling inspired by them. So, today I thought I'd share the home of a Swede living in Berlin! Ellinor Belvén was born and raised on the island of Kungsholmen in the centre of Stockholm. Ellinor moved to Berlin around 8 years ago and founded SALTY Interiors with her friend Annetta in 2016. I caught up with her to find out more about her home, her journey to becoming an interior designer and how living abroad has influenced her style. Welcome to Ellinor's world! 

Have you always wanted to be an interior designer?
Ever since I was a child, I was exposed to art and music. I started singing in a choir at the age of 6 and continued my journey in music schools all the way up to high school. In addition to the music, I had lots of interaction with architecture and interior styling, as family members were working in the field. Leaving the music path however, I started a new journey into the business administration field with my University degree (Master's in Business Administration & Economics). I worked a few years with numbers, but soon felt a great need of surrounding myself in a creative atmosphere again. And so, after moving to Berlin, I was able to combine my financial skills with the creative, and I worked as a buyer in the e-commerce interior market. This opened up new possibilities, and in 2016 I quit my day job and created SALTY Interiors with my friend Annetta. We have been running our SALTY business for 4 years now and are really happy to see the success we’ve achieved. All those long hard hours are so worth it!

Can you tell us a little more about SALTY Interiors?
SALTY Interiors is a creative agency specialised in interior architecture and visual content creation. We work closely with private clients, interior brands as well as real estate agencies to provide expertise in every work field. We are passionate about creating comfortable and beautiful spaces, working with natural and sustainable materials, as well as keeping the aesthetics light with a minimalistic warm touch. Annetta & Ellinor; both coming from Nordic countries (Iceland & Sweden), we were raised surrounded by design and a general understanding about form and interior style. With a background in interior sourcing & buying we started our business in 2016 and since then we have combined our strength in buying and our desire to create. We look at each project like an empty canvas and an opportunity to create something unique.  

Your home is beautiful, when was it built?
I moved into this beautiful “Altbau-wohnung” (the name in German), which is a house built sometime before the 1930’s. It has the typical “Altbau-features” like high ceiling (approx 3.30m), stucco and ornamented double doors between the two big connected rooms. It’s a 2 room + kitchen apartment, which measures around 75 sqm.
  

How did you approach the interior? 
Since it’s a rental flat, I didn't want to put in too much money into renovation, so I simply did what I could with a small budget. That meant a lot of time spent painting walls! In the two big rooms (living room and bedroom) I have painted the walls in 4 colours, all very different, but still coherent with one another. In the living room I have warm grey on three walls and deep forest green on one wall, and in the bedroom three walls of beige, and one wall of dusty pink. Since the rooms are connected with the double doors, it was important that the colours fit together, in any way you turn your head.









Would you say your style is still very much Scandinavian or have you been influenced by German / Berlin style? 
I would say my style is very Scandinavian. The one element that I love about the German/Berliner mindset however, is that people would prefer to give away old furniture than throw it away, which means that there is furniture on the street (“Zu Verschenken” - to give away) everywhere. I have several pieces of furniture in my flat that I found this way, my kitchen table and bed headboard for example.

Table from Nor11, sculpture by Kristiina, Cooee 'pastille' vase

Despite being fairly minimalist, your home still looks lovely and cosy, how did you achieve this? 
It’s very important to me that my home feels cosy and inviting. I want to be able to relax and feel at ease, and safe in my space. I work a lot with coherent colourways (as already mentioned) and a lot of textiles make any room feel more comfortable. I also love plants and have lots of them on every windowsill and on every table. 


Where do you shop for pieces for your home?
I use a lot of different sources for my interior pieces, either it’s brands that I work with, old furniture that I brought from Sweden when I moved, or I find furniture on the streets of Berlin. But of course, I have my fair share of IKEA furniture too. The trick is to mix old and new and make it your own style. 

And finally, can you share your favourite interior instagrams with us? 

What a lovely, calm home! 

I love the idea of finding items out on the street - they leave pieces out like that in Copenhagen too, but sadly not in Malmö. Do they do this in your city? It must save so much hassle - and also reinforces the idea that one man's trash is another man's treasure! 

Got a mo? See more pictures of Ellinor's home on the SALTY Interiors instagram feed and the latest swoon-worthy projects by SALTY Interiors here

Other beautiful Berlin homes:


Have a great day - halfway there folks! Wooop! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of SALTY Interiors

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Before and After: A Run Down Property becomes a Beautiful Swedish Farmhouse

Ever driven passed a dilapidated house in your neighbourhood and dreamt about bringing it back to its former glory? I'd actually parked that thought - until I spotted interior designer Sandra Östlind's beautiful farmhouse. When Sandra bought the property, it was in need of a complete overhaul, which would be enough to put off even the most prolific DIYer. But Sandra and her partner saw it as an opportunity. After a painstaking renovation, which involved a new roof, stripping and painting the facade as well as an interior gut job, Sörbergets Farm in Västerbotten County, Sweden, has become a beautiful light and airy family home. Let's take a peek at the transformation.

Exterior Before

After
For the facade, Sandra developed her own paint colour known as 'Sandras sörvit' - and available through Stuv Butiken. The difference is quite incredible! 

Before
After
Sandra swapped out the old, rotten front door for a new 'Bleckhall Långeskär door from Doorly, painted in her own blend: Sandras Skogsgrön (available at Stuv Butiken as before). The wall light is a classic style for this type of Swedish house - and bought from Ljus Experten.

Before

After
The existing kitchen was stopped out and replaced with traditional Swedish Marbodal units in 'Fagerö Beige'. 




Cabinet Before

After
Slight diversion from the room 'before and afters' here - but I wanted to include this cabinet update as an inspiring reminder of how you can easily transform a flea market find with a lick of paint!

Children's room before

After
Perhaps the craziest renovation of all in this home is the Ebbe's room. It's gone from a derelict upstairs loft space into a beautiful children's room that oozes character and old school charm. I particularly love the wallpaper (from Stuvbutiken) with matching blinds from Ikea and the exposed beams. 

Hallway / entrance before 

After
Sandra sanded down the wood panels on the ceiling before applying 'Helvit' from Herdins Färgverk and pretty 'Dahlia Garden' wallpaper by Boråstapeter. 

Before Entrance

After 
Sometimes you scratch the surface of these old houses and realise the issue is a whole lot bigger than you bargained for. This is what happened with the entrance. Sandra was planning on changing the door (as before), but it turned out the wall was so rotten that she had to replace the entire wall and window. Every cloud has a silver lining though - now their entrance is a lot brighter as a result!

What a wonderful transformation! I live the calming green tones throughout, and the fresh feel of the space. 

It has me dreaming of a house renovation project all over again (don't tell Per!), how about you?

You can see more of Sandra's lovely country home over on her instagram feed @sandrashem

If you feel like marvelling over more before and after reveals, why not delve into this archive - some of the transformations are absolutely incredible! 

I hope you're feeling as inspired as I am! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Sandra Östlind, shared with kind permission. 

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