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Step Inside Maiju's Delightful Home in Vaasa, Finland

I once visited Helsinki in November and was greeted with a sign that said "Nobody in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November. Except you, you badass. Welcome". It's since been hailed as one of the greatest tourism posters ever made! With temperatures hovering around 3 - 4 degrees Celsius in Helsinki this week, they certainly have a point. But there's also a certain beauty to Finland in wintertime, especially if you travel a little further afield. Maiju Saha, husband Janne and three children Paavo (12), Aina (7) and Theo (3) moved to a house in Vaasa on the south west coast of Finland two years ago. Dating back to 1941, Maiju has transformed the house into a beautiful oasis with deep green, blue and grey accents, while ensuring the original features remain intact. The result is a calm, cosy home and a perfect base from which to explore the city, nearby Kvarken archipelago and forests as well as experience the Northern Lights! 

I love this window nook; it looks so cosy and is a great way to capitalise on extra space so that the dining area doesn't take up too much space. The beautiful lamp over the table is a le Klint

Maiju designed the kitchen herself and got it built by a local carpenter. The cabinets have been painted in NCS S7005-G20Y and the walls in Tikkurila 'Merino'. 


The dining area has been painted in Jotun 'Tidløs'. The table is from Finnish firm Peltola Oy and the chairs are a mix of Ton Banana chairs and the Nattavaara chair from Jotex (which only appear to be available in black now). 

But my eyes are on that daybed (which Maiju built herself) - what a perfect little spot to chill! 

Source a similar vintage rattan side table here* (I love this plant stand* but since it's vintage, there's only one. Hurry if you're keen!)

Maiju has painted the living room in Farrow & Ball 'Old White' and used neutral accents and a large rattan rug (this one is similar) which adds a load of depth and texture to the space. 


The pretty wallpaper in the stairwell is Arbutus Woad 7 Russet by William Morris


If you are as taken by Maiju's lovely home as much as I am,  you might want to follow her delightful instagram @maiju_saw and blog Maiju Saw. Her DIY and ikea hacks are great (can you spot the ikea hack in this tour? You'll find the answer and step by step here - it's translated into English at the bottom of the post). 

It'd be rude not to share a few other Finnish home tours with you today:


This post has really got me in the mood for a trip to Finland, I hope an opportunity crops up soon! Have you ever been? 

Hauskaa päivan jatkoa! (I hope this means 'have a nice day' in Finnish!). 

Niki

Photography: Maiju Saha, shared with kind permission

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11 Small Space Tricks to Learn From a Swedish Interior Designer's Home

How does a Swedish interior designer and visual merchandiser decorate a small apartment? With style (as you can imagine!) - but also by being incredibly smart! What Erik Josefsson's Gothenburg home lacks in square feet (it's a mere 52 - or 559 sq ft) it sure makes up for in texture, earthy nuances, beautiful vignettes, Scandinavian design, art and plants - all the while feeling calm and de-cluttered!  I went through it with a fine toothcomb and found 10 lessons we can learn to achieve that elusive balance between clutter-free and cosy! I hope you find something you can apply to your own home, I certainly have! 

1. Leave empty space: empty space (or 'negative space') is just as important as occupied space in a home (especially when size is an issue). It helps to focus the eye, create calm and give you room to breath!

2. Work with texture: even though the wall behind the sofa is blank, Erik has used a paint technique that adds texture to the wall which automatically adds interest without adding clutter. 

3. Display the things you love (and use a lot), hide the things you don't! Bit of an obvious one (sorry!) but if you surround yourself with the things you love, you'll feel happier. Store away more unsightly things behind cupboard doors or use nice storage boxes like the one on the floor (Etsy sell similar vintage ones here*). 

4. Tucked away but still at hand: In small spaces, you can find room for storage in the most unexpected places (I first learned that from the clever home of a danish architect).  It took me several goes before I noticed this little wall-mounted shelf by the radiator! 

5. Group art: This goes back to point number 1 (you know, the one about leaving empty space) - if you group art and other objects you then have more scope to leave an empty space elsewhere). Having said that, it's also nice to pick out one piece of art you really love and display it completely on its own. 

I shared a fail safe way to hang art here (Per breathed a total sigh of relief when I discovered that trick!). The Poster Club* sells prints and frames like these (and ships worldwide) 

6.  Think small and smart: some kitchens are so tiny you wonder if it's actually possible to fit in a table! Small, wall mounted tables like this one are perfect for saving space and creating a table for two! I like the Norbo wall mounted table from IKEA which you can paint any colour you like. 

7. Go dark! Painting a small space dark goes against every rule in the decorating book, but actually many have decided against this and in fact, going for a deep hue in small rooms in the bedroom can make a space feel extra warm and cosy. After seeing Erik's bedroom I kind of regret only painting one wall in my stepson's room - time to paint the rest!

8. Use the windowsill as a side table: I know from previous comments that not everyone has a windowsill (in Sweden we're kind of spoilt on this front) but when space is of a premium, if you do have one, a sill can double up as a great bedside table. 

9. Bespoke bedside shelf: No windowsill? Try a small wall mounted shelf cut to size, like the one seen to the left of Erik's bed. Painting it the same colour as the wall will help to keep the look clean and clutter-free. 


10. Lean-to shelves: narrow shelves that lean against the wall are great for saving space.

11. Hooks and more hooks: I can't tell you how handy I find long racks of hooks - I think we have them in every room of our house. This wooden rack in Erik's hallway is ideal for coats etc - but can also be used for decorative items when not in use. 

Source a similar one here

Isn't his home lovely? I love the use of colour too! 

Did you pick up any ideas for your home? I know what I'll be doing this weekend.... painting Albin's room! 

You can see more of Erik's home over at @erinterior and take a peek at his latest projects here. Incidentally Erik was one of the creatives behind this stunning Swedish home I featured last week (I'm still reeling from the tour, how about you? Wonder if anyone has snapped it up yet!).

Other small space inspiration:

10 small space hacks to learn from a Danish apartment
10 ways to turn a pokey top floor flat into a swoon-worthy living space
A tiny cabin and pottery studio in the woods

I see the tiny cabin has just come on the market - Vermont anyone?!

Ha det så fin!

Niki

Photography: Erik Josefsson shared with kind permission
*this post contains affiliate links which means I might make a very, very tiny amount of money if you click on the link and buy the item. 

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A Charming & Relaxed Swedish Home In Blue And White

Hejsan! It's one of those weeks where I'm constantly on the back foot - anyone else experiencing that? I'd never leave you high and dry without some beautiful interior inspiration though - besides this lovely Swedish space has been the highlight of my day! The blue and white colour scheme and relaxed nature of the space caught my eye. There's also a load to love - including the mix and match furniture, books, plants and art  which give the place in Kungsladugård, Gothenburg it's soul! I hope you feel as inspired as I do by this lovely home! 

It's so hard to find lovely old tables - but a close-up of this one reveals it's been handmade (possibly using IKEA legs and a door or other reclaimed item). So clever - and actually not that difficult to cobble together if you fancy doing something similar. 


The sitting room reminds me a little of the beautiful Varberg home of Kristin Lagerkvist 8(you can see a glimpse of her living room here). 



There are a few lovely things at play in the space above - including a wooden cabinet which has been painted in the same colour as the wall, Elfa shelves lined with books and other treasures and a simple grey sheepskin* draped over a mid-century chair - all of which make it feel personal and cosy!



So charming, don't you think?

Is there anything that stood out to you?

I'm still thinking about the Elfa book shelves (not just in the sitting room, but also in the hallway) - and wondering where I might be able to fit more shelving in my own home (so many books, such little time... and space!).

The blue and white theme has me thinking about the subtle coastal tones in this danish cottage, a striking blue and white Swedish home full of contrast and the details in this striking Danish house. Blue will always be one of my favourite shades - are you a fan too?

Right, better get on, so much to do! Eeeek!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Kvarteret Mäkleri

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A Soothing Colour Palette of Blues and Greys in a Swedish Home

Tjena! Lately Per and I have been thinking about moving house - mainly to get a bigger garden (from my side), I think he said something about a tool shed....(maybe he's resigned to the fact that he's the My Scandinavian Home DIY main man!). But, having taken a few months to look around the ruthless housing market that is Malmö right now, we're getting major cold feet and considering making changes to our house instead - have you been through this thought process too?! If we stay put, one of the first things I'd update is our kitchen and open plan living area (potential mood boards to follow!). I think this is why this Swedish apartment appealed so much to me this morning. Look at that blue / brown combination! I also love how they've painted the underside of the dining table to match. The rest of the apartment has been painted in subtle nuances of grey which complement the blue in a beautiful way and help bring the entire look together. All in all, a truly inspiring palette! 




The kitchen cabinets and brass knobs are both IKEA.

This soothing colour palette from Jotun Lady is similar to the one in the kitchen:

On trend brown and amber tones compliment the greys and blues and add warmth. 

The Little Petra armchair looks like a big bear hug! I could totally do with a cup of tea in that very spot right now, fancy joining me?!

The same tones are carried through to the bedroom.

This cushion is very similar to the one seen (it appears slightly darker in the picture but I have the same one on my sofa and it's actually lighter in real life). Source a pretty ruffled bed skirt here*.





We were at the summer cottage this weekend and every other person at the 'morgonbrygga' (morning swimming bridge) was wearing an old dressing gown and pair of clogs like the ones in this hallway. Another observation: if you truly want to fit in the next time you're in Sweden you're going to need a fairly battered pair! Sadly I don't have any either - but a quick search uncovered a treasure trove of vintage clogs and even a pair of wood and leather Scholls*

Vintage Swedish footwear aside (!), is there anything you love about this home? Could you imagine going for a colour scheme like this? 

Pull up a chair and drool over a load more Swedish homes in this archive

Have a wonderful start to the week! 

Niki

Credits: Entrance
*Affiliate links

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In Sweden, Singing the Mid Blues In An Urban Apartment

I've been noticing mid blue is on the rise in homes in Scandinavia, and the good news is, its way easier to pull off than it's even darker cousins. This one-bedroom apartment in Gothenburg has been painted in Blåis by Jotun Lady, with touches of bright white for contrast, as well as subtle brown and beige accents. Look closely and you'll also spot many of the lovely original 1920s details, such as high ceilings, parquet flooring and a glass panel door. All in all, a truly lovely home, just waiting for someone to move in and make it their own! Gothenburg anyone?

The cabinet fronts have been spray painted in the same deep Blåis - Jotun Lady hue as the walls and for a cohesive, contemporary look.




Try The Poster Club* for similar prints and frames (ships worldwide), Mirage blanket.





What do you think? Tempted to go over to the dark side, even if it's just the one wall?! 

I love how this blue appears darker or lighter depending on how the light hits it. I actually thought each room was painted in a different colour at first glance, but Bon Interior assure me it's all one tone! 

In case you need a little more persuasion, here are some other lovely Scandinavian homes in dramatic, dark tones: 


Or you could just snap up this apartment (it's for sale!). 

I'm off to take it easy after a very long day on set yesterday. It all went well though and I can't wait to share the results with you in October. Phew!

Do you have any fun plans for today? 

Niki

Photography: Alen Cordic
Styling: Bon Interior
For: Bjurfors
*Affiliate links

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