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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5 DIY Projects to Try During Quarantine

I wish I could say that I'm an absolute whiz at power tools or a sewing machine, but to be honest, I am a reluctant DIYer. A lot of the DIY or craft projects I find look a little too homespun for my liking, or the effort required to make it look like the real deal is overwhelmingly tedious or calls for carpentry skills I just don't have. But this quarantine has me wanting to spruce up my home in a more resourceful, hands-on way, so I've rounded up five DIY projects for you that are simple, can be mostly done indoors (with the exception of sanding!) and actually look more high-end than you'd expect.

1. Plant Propagation Wall
This delightful wall of plant cuttings DIY is brought to you by Christine Higgs of @forthehome. It's the perfect project for those who've had extra time to mist, primp, sing to and propagate all your plant babies during this quarantine. 

Christine Higgs / @forthehome


2. Textured art
Here's another DIY from the very resourceful and productive Christine, who created some beautiful, dimensional pieces for her home with acrylic paint and modeling paste. She's got a video tutorial on her IGTV if you'd like to check it out! It's the perfect addition to a bare wall or corner that just needs the subtlest touch of texture that won't compete with its surroundings. 


Christine Higgs / @forthehome

Christine Higgs / @forthehome


3. Wireless Pleated Lamp
This is more of a hack than a DIY, but it's still very satisfying to the lazy DIYer! I've been wanting the right ceramic base for a pleated lampshade I found online and for now, settled on a ceramic vase I already owned. But since the lamp shops are closed, and I don't feel like drilling into the bottom of my vase (risky!) and wiring it myself, I was inspired by Lisa Danielle Smith to simply plunk the shade on top of the vase and call it good. But if you'd actually like a functional lamp rather than a decorative statement, there are also plenty of wireless bulb options, such as LED lights controlled by remote control that you can jimmy rig into the vase. Thanks, Janae for that last tip!


Lisa Danielle Smith




4. Trash to Terracotta
When Geneva Vanderzeil found a can of liquid terracotta at her local hardware store, she tried to find as many applications for it as possible. One of her projects was taking a motley bunch of thrift store vases and turning them into some of the lovely terracotta pieces you see here. While this specific liquid terracotta product isn't available everywhere, she's created a DIY chalk paint recipe to give you a similar, textured ceramic look. You can also check out the hashtag #trashtoterracotta on Instagram to see all the people who've been following her lead! 

Before



After
Geneva Vavanderzeil / DIY tutorial


This handy little tool can work wonders on old wooden furniture and decor items with a less than desirable stain (or paint job). If you're looking for a light, neutral, raw-looking finish, you might be surprised at the wood that could be lurking under a shiny, orange-hued layer of lacquer or a dark, mahogany stain. And if you do uncover a beautifully rustic and antiqued wood underneath but still want a protective top coat, I recommend using a water-based, matte polyurethane as it'll still look more raw plus the water-based poly's are less prone to yellowing than oil-based! Cynthia Harper is someone who is constantly making use of her orbital sander and going to town on anything from coffee tables to cheap, wooden bowls from her local thrift store that end up looking like chic, weathered, farmhouse bowls rather than .99 cent castaways. 


Cynthia Harper / Orbital Sander



It's been so fun to share these ideas with you. I hope you've discovered a DIY project you'd like to replicate in your own home! Are there any that stand out in particular?

It's a public holiday in Sweden today and Niki will be back on Sunday. She sends a 'stor kram' (big hug!).

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Ezz

Ezz Wilson is an interior and photo stylist and holistic home consultant based in Portland Oregon. You can find her over on instagram here

First picture by Christina Higgs / @forthehome

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7 Beautifully Simple Easter DIY Craft Ideas From Scandinavia

Easter is a few days away (here in Scandinavia it's one day earlier since they celebrate on Påskafton (Easter Saturday). This year, we may not be able to enjoy large family gatherings, and some traditions may need to be put on hold for another year, but we sure can decorate our homes and bring a pretty touch that will put a smile on our faces! So, if you feel like a little Påskpyssla (Easter crafting), here are 7 of my favourite beautifully simple DIY ideas from Scandinavia, with love: 


1. Eggs with crowns: Boiled eggs with happy faces and pretty crowns like these ones by Norwegian Engla Monica Strand are sure to light up everyone's faces come Easter Day morning! 

2. Naturally dyed eggs: Get creative with the contents of your food cupboard and dye your eggs all kinds of natural colours for a pretty display like Swedish stylist and florist Malin Björkholm. Check out this guide on how to make natural dye

3. Hang paper eggs from branches: Follow this YouTube guide to make pretty 3D paper eggs and hang them from branches like Elin Wallin

 4. Wire feathers to branches: channel a popular Swedish tradition and wire colourful feathers to birch branches for a pretty display like Swedish set designer Marianne Wikner!


5. Make an Easter wreath: Decorate your door or brighten up a corner of your home with a beautiful Easter wreath like this pretty one by Kristin Østebø. This YouTube tutorial offers a great step by step guide. 


6. Get crafting with leftover wallpaper: It's amazing what you can create with leftover wallpaper. Malin Mörner shares a lovely DIY here (remember her Christmas wallpaper DIY?!) and Frida Andersson has created pretty birds for a flight of fancy display! The original DIY for these birds is in the book Hidden Places - but if you haven't got time to pick up a copy, I reckon you could wing it (see what I did there?!) by using a bird template for the body and the DIY from Christmas Snöblomma for the wings. 

7. Brighten up your home with paper daffodils! Take a leaf (sorry!) out of Helen Lyth's book and make these pretty paper daffodils. You can find a step by step guide here (it's in Swedish but there's always good old google translate!). 


I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for your home this Easter. 

Are there any that caught your eye? 

You can find more Easter crafting ideas here: 


Wishing you a lovely day friends!

Niki

First picture by Anne Lemonfox and last picture by Malin Mörner

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Let it Glow: 5 Pretty Candle Displays You Can Make In An Instant!

The winter solstice 2019 will be at 05.19 this Sunday, 22nd December (counting down the seconds? You bet I am!). From then on, the days slowly get lighter - PHEW! Anyone else feeling a tiny bit relieved? In my mind, the only saving grace is that the darkness gives us an excuse to light candles, and lots of them, which makes for one very cosy home! On the dining table, in the window, by the sink. As long as there's nothing flammable nearby, there's no end to where you can add a little glow. Here are 5 of my favourite, simple DIY candle displays this winter! 

1. Swedish Advent ljusstake: two weeks ago, Per mentioned in this interview how much he loves the traditional Swedish 7-arm candelabra. I have to say, they do look very beautiful in the window (from the inside and out!). Sadly, they're not easy to find in all countries, but if you fancy something similar, why not make one yourself with different size vintage brass candleholders. So pretty! 

2. Jam jars and pine: everyone has a few jam jars lurking in a drawer - why not make use of them and create these simple tea light holders using garden twine and pine (if you don't feel like lopping them off your tree, ask for a few off cuts at your local Christmas tree market, I'm sure they'd be happy to help! 

3. Moss candleholders: no vintage brass candlesticks to hand? Fill glass jars with moss for an instant candleholder - twine and rosemary optional! Do keep an eye on them when lit though - especially if the moss is dry! 

4. Candles and pine in the window: you can't get more simple than white candles in jam jars and branches of pine laid across the windowsill - and it looks super cosy too! 

5. Simple DIY table wreath: A daily Something has shared this simple DIY candle wreath here. I love the idea of the delicate grey, tapered candles too - so elegant! Could this be something for your Christmas table?

Did anything catch your eye? I'm a big fan of moss and have already made a few candle holders with it at home (I also love to wrap moss around the bulb of hyacinths and amaryllis). 

A quick reminder to be really careful with candles - always blow them out when you leave the room and make sure your home is well ventilated! 

If you'd like a few more Christmas decorating ideas check out: 


There's also plenty of Scandinavian home tours all decked out for Christmas in the archive

Have a cosy day!

Niki

Credits: 1. Christina Strehlow 2. Linnea, Lovely Life 3. Source unknown - Pinterest (tips welcome!) 4. DIY Jewellery ideas (if this is not correct, please let me know!) 5. Pufik Homes 6. A Daily Something

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All Fluffed Up: This Autumns Cosiest Trend (And The World's Most Simple DIY IKEA Hack!

I've kind of got over my end of summer angst and finally starting to embrace the chillier Autumn days, dhow about you? There's something about the idea of layering the home with cosy blankets, warm chestnut tones and lots of candlelight that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! But there's also another cosy item to hit the scene and it's fuzzier than ever. It all started with the re-emergence of the short faux furry Teddy jacket back in 2016 (so called for its 'teddy bear' appearance) - an item that has become a bit of a wardrobe staple in 2019. And now stools, armchairs and sofas are being upholstered in undeniably cosy, super fluffy fabrics too. From The Tired Man armchair to the Banana Sofa (great names!) - this Autumn's seating is akin to a big bear hug - just add tea! 


1. &Tradition 2. Oliver Gustav 3. Paustian 4. Jesper Florbrant / Lovisa Häger 5. Louise Holt Design 6. Suite NY 7. The modern House 8. RandCompany 9. Warm Nordic

Get the look

1. &Tradition Little Petra Chair
2. Paustian Arctander Chair
3. DIY Stool by Lovisa Häger
4. Flemming Lassen Easy Chair
5. By Lassen The Tired Man Chair
6. Danish Cabinetmaker Banana Sofa
7. Pierre Yovanovitch Pappa Bear Armchair
8. House of Hans Olsen Fried Egg Sheet Chair

How To Make Your Own Faux Fur Stool

Looking at Lovisa Häger's beautiful Stockholm home, you'd never guess that many of the pieces are handmade. Stools, tables, paintings - she is without doubt one of Sweden's queen of DIY! If you're feeling inspired by the fluffy furniture in today's post but a little tight on budget, Lovisa's DIY faux fur stool is super simple to make and looks fab!


What you need: 
  • Frosta stool from IKEA
  • A section of thick foam 
  • Black paint
  • Faux white fur 



What to do
  • Before assembling the stool, cut the foam so it's the same shape and size of the seat surface 
  • Glue the section of faux fur to the foam and the foam to the seat
  • Paint the legs black
  • Assemble the stool
Et Voilà!

If you love this, you might like to check out other DIY ideas on Lovisa's beautiful blog An Interior Affair and see more pictures of her fabulous Stockholm home here and on Instagram.

Could you imagine curling up in one of these seats this Autumn?! I most certainly could!

Niki

PS Thank you to the wonderful Ana Degenaar for helping me to compile this post! 

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Before + After: An Attic Becomes A Light + Airy Guest Bedroom

I'm into tricky spaces at the moment - and love seeing how they can be transformed. Today's make-over sees a cramped attic space in an 1800s farmhouse in the Catskills transformed into a lovely, bright and airy guest bedroom. The house is owned by florist turned writer Lisa Przystup and husband Jonathan Linaberry and used as a weekend retreat; a perfect respite from a more hectic life in Brooklyn, New York. The tools? A lick of paint, a selection of charming furniture and some delightful accessories. In other words - completely cosmetic and not costing the earth either! So, if you've got a spot in your home that's currently full of stuff (don't worry, we all have one!) I think you'll find this hands on DIY make-over truly inspiring!

Before




The attic was already in quite good condition when the couple acquired the house and just needed simple updates like clearing out the clobber, a fresh coat paint on the floor and walls and some pretty pieces! 

Honestly - this is nowhere near the amount of stuff we currently have in our attic - in fact, my husband and I would be congratulating ourselves if our storage looked like this! But still, it's not quite guest bedroom ready! 

After

The pair wanted to keep the backdrop monochromatic to fit the look and feel of the rest of the home. They painted the floors in Tricorn Black and the walls in Extra White by Sherwin-Williams. 


A simple belgian linen blind in oatmeal with a black-out lining adds softness to the space while keeping the sunlight out and a pair of pendant lights have been hung from a single power outlet on the ceiling and hooked to either side of the bed to serve as reading lights (I love this idea - Holly Marder did something similar in this bedroom she designed). Magic Linen is a great source for linen bedding* like this! 

Although pared-back, the bedroom has a lot of charm thanks to the blend of old and new - like this chest-of-drawers left behind by the previous owners and a more contemporary leather and brass chair.  The chest-of-drawers is also perfect for guests staying a little longer, my Mother always says "you've never truly arrived somewhere until you've unpacked."

Every guest room needs a little mirror and side table and these fit perfectly against the central pillar. Feathers and other items found in the Catskills serve as a wonderful reminder of the fantastic nature on their doorstep (I was lucky enough to visit the Catskills for my book The Scandinavian Home and I've been wanting to return ever since, it's a magical place!). 

The room is entered via this beautiful reclaimed door which was already in place when they bought the house. They deliberately left it as it was in order to make it a feature. The folding chairs belonged to one of their grandfathers and serve as extra seating when guests come to stay (source similar vintage ones here*). 

Wow! So simple, yet so lovely! 

I'm already wondering if we should finally do something with our attic space - or even somewhere else in the home. 

Are you feeling inspired too?! 

I first spotted this wonderful make-over on Remodelista (read more about the room and see more pictures here).

If you love a before + after as much as I do, you might also like to brighten up your Monday with these:


Here's to an inspiring week!

Niki

Photography: Sarah Elliott, shared with kind permission. Design Lisa Przystup

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Simple Easter Table DIY: Bunny Ear Napkins




If you're looking to do something a little extra this Easter but don't have much time - these bunny ear napkins are so easy to make and look super cute on the table!
THE KIT

- Square napkin (any material - even paper works!)
- An egg (you may like to opt for different colours for each place setting). 
- String or ribbon
- Scissors (for cutting string)
- Baby's breath or other pretty flowers (optional!)

THE KNOW-HOW:


And that's it! Five minutes and you'll have an entire table of bunnies!

Here are mine in action on our Easter table.

Wishing you a lovely Easter break!


PS I'll be back here early next week. 

PS Don't forget to enter the spring give-away to win a TRIWA watch!


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Is Embroidery the New Avocado Toast?!

In my Lagom book I talk about the importance of swapping screen time for analogue activities such as reading, writing a diary and handiwork before bedtime in order to feel more relaxed, doze off quicker and enjoy an improved quality of sleep. So you can imagine how excited I was to see embroidery popping up more in the social media sphere! Pinterest, Instagram (6 million hits!), blogs, DIY magazines, you name it. For those of you shuddering as you cast your mind back to a cold classroom with pricked fingers - fear not, we're talking embroidery with a modern twist and a Swedish start-up has you covered! Founded by Sofia Magnusson, The Folklore Company combines the digital world with old school cross stitch embroidery, meaning that anyone who hasn't done a cross-stitch since primary school can still enjoy the mindful activity and create something wall-worthy too! How fab is that?!


When Marielle at The Folklore Company first approached me I was quick to notice you can buy ready made embroidery patterns too - the 'busy' person in me was incredibly tempted! But then I realised I'd be missing out on the whole relaxation side  plus I'd never find out if embroidery truly was the new avocado toast! I fired off a mail with my concerns and was assured: "it’s really not hard to embroider your own, it’s a little time consuming but a very soothing activity, which is made even more cozy with a cup of tea."

Being a Brit, she had me at the tea. Here's how I got on:

1.  Selecting the pattern. The Design Editor offers a large variety of patterns ranging from more traditional flowers and lace to swallows, hearts and even unicorns! I went for the The Malta pattern - which is one of their best sellers since it's a relative simple pattern (best not to run before I crawl!). 


2.  Selecting the colour: I opted for the pewter grey thread, which I'm really pleased with. On the home run I exchanged one of the birds for a pink thread which I found at home. I think it added a nice little twist do you?!
3. Adding your text, favourite quote or poem: (remember the longer it is the more hours it will take, but then again, the task is not meant to be rushed and March is one looong month!). 
4. Choosing the text style: I chose the Primus Script as I kind of wanted the juxtaposition of the modern quote with the traditional lettering.
5. Ordering the kit: The embroidery kit contains everything you need to get started right away including a needle, fabric, yarn and pattern but I kind of got carried away and ordered the pretty peacock scissors (was tempted with the Eiffel tower ones too), a wooden embroidery hoop, and a thimble!

6. The process: I was so grateful for the very straight forward instructions and the embroidery was truly therapeutic (it's a perfect activity for a long journey, wiling away a few hours at the weekend or simply kicking back in the evenings!).


Once finished I placed the fabric in a black frame and hung it on my bedroom wall! I have to say, I'm so happy with the result!


Keen to make your own? All the information you need to get started is right here
- and the fab team are offering you 15% discount with the code: 15%SCANDINAVIAN up until 31st March. You The Folklore Team girls rock!


Don't forget to share a picture of your masterpiece using the hashtag #folklorecompany, we'd love to see it!


Thank you to the fab girls at The Folklore Company for setting me on the embroidery path and sponsoring this post - I'm already wondering what pattern to create next. Something for my daughter's room perhaps?! Watch this space!


Photography credits: 1 (montage) & 2 courtesy of The Folklore Company / 3, 4 & 5: Niki Brantmark - My Scandinavian Home.

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