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Have You Ever Dreamed Of Running a B&B?


On the dreariest of work days, when the rain is pelting against the window and you've got a pile of stuff to get through, moving to the South of France or rural Tuscany and opening up a bed and breakfast suddenly feels very appealing - don't you think?! Meet Yvonne, a writer and communications expert and partner Micke, a former national middle-distance runner and PE teacher who live in Neffiés, Languedoc, South of France. The Swedish pair looked at over 60 houses before falling in love with this late 19th century former winery. Enticed by the original mouth-blown windows, high ceilings, stucco features, countless fireplaces and handmade tiles, the duo painstakingly renovated the space before opening it up as La Belle Vue guest house. Today visitors are treated to relaxing bedrooms and communal areas furnished with local antique and market finds, a cuddle with their dog Sigge and a pool area with breathtaking views over the surrounding vineyards and the Pyrenees.

Hats make great 'relaxed' wall art (as also seen in the bedroom of Elin's summer cottage) and if the sun gets too much - you can always pluck one off the wall!

When the sun shines (which I can imagine is often!) this lovely, rustic outdoor kitchen is used to serve breakfast.


A Thonet style chair (source vintage ones here*) fits in perfectly in the dining room - and just how pretty are the handmade tiles?!


This rose and khaki colour combination is so pretty! Definitely adding this to the colour charts for my own home! 

FYI I stayed in a hotel recently and they had left basket bags like this for us to use too, they were so handy for the beach and going to the local market - I've now got an entire collection at home! Perhaps something to leave out if you have guests at home too? You can source similar here*.

There's something truly romantic about this bathroom area - imagine a soak looking out over the vineyards?! 


Perhaps we all need to check this place out in in person? See you there summer 2019?!

Check out more pictures here and book here. And a full tour over over on photographer Anna Malmberg's blog.

Or maybe you'll have opened your own bed and breakfast by then? If you already have one, feel free to share the link in the comment section below! And if you're dreaming about starting something entirely different we'd love to hear about that too! My husband would like to sail the world one day... I may need some persuading but I guess it's not entirely impossible.

If you're looking for other lovely places to stay in France I love the look of this idyllic holiday home and in Paris - Hotel Henriette is wonderful. It's where I stayed for the launch of the French version of my book Lagom, the swedish art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life and it was like a real home from home.

Vive La France - and Monday morning dreams!

Niki

Photos courtesy of La Belle Vue / Some taken by Anna Malmberg and styled by Mari Strengheim

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A Magical Weekend at Wanås Restaurant Hotel

I love a weekend get-away don't you? A few weeks back I was invited to visit Wanås Restaurant Hotel, a design hotel on the Wanås estate, deep in the heart of the Skåne countryside here in Southern Sweden. The magnificent estate is also home to a fairytale medieval fortress, a Sculpture Park (Wanås Konst) and an organic farm. Doesn't that sound romantic?! And guess what? It also tied in perfectly with my husband's birthday! Needless to say, I was packing our weekend bag faster than I could say "Ja!". Here are a few pictures I captured from our magical stay.

Wanås has a long history of inviting guests and art lovers, however, it wasn't until May. 2017 the estate opened its first hotel. Located in a converted 18th century building, architect Kristina Wachtmeister (one of the members of the family seat who lives on the estate) joined forces with Amundsen + Jansson to create the eleven room hotel. The team worked hard to maintain many of the original details of the building, including 1 metre thick walls and beautiful beams and created an interior that combines "Nordic design and sustainability, with locally sourced materials".



One of our favourite rooms was the communal lounge. We completely made ourselves at home by the fire with a drink (so perfect for warming the cockles after a snowy walk through the sculpture park!).

Pictures: 'Pappa och jag' by Ylva Ogland and 'En annan väg' by Ann-Sofi Sidén to the right. 







Another thing that makes the lounge toasty is that guests are invited to pour themselves a cup of coffee (or something stronger from the bar) and curl up on the sofa with an art and design book from the library (I might even have added my own one!).  

Kristina was keen to use local resources wherever possible. The stairway leading to the first floor is made from oak from the estate.

All eleven hotel rooms have been individually decorated. Ours had high vaulted ceilings with original beams, as well as a small library of books, specially designed furniture by Christian Halleröd Design and a B&O Bluetooth speaker to play our favourite tunes! It would have been fairly easy to hang out there all weekend!

I LOVED the pink tiles with black grouting in the en-suite bathroom. How fab are they? I think I might just have to steal this idea at home? We were also treated to an Ifö roll-top bath (love a good soak, how about you?!). 

After a little chilling, we tucked into the most delicious brunch at the Wanås restaurant. The menu is influenced by its surroundings: "the forests teeming with game, mushrooms, berries, and the organic farm that produces milk and meat, as well as vegetables."

Pictured: RUBN lights & Hans Wegner sofa upholstered in leather from the Wanås estate. 

Note to Local friends - don't miss this brunch if you head to the sculpture park for the day!! Then again, you do kinda want to stay the night or you'll miss out on the four course supper - a true testimony to the chef's vision, and no doubt one of the reasons why the restaurant is included in The White Guide, 2018.

Skåne being Skåne, you can never quite rely on the weather. But as the famous Swedish saying goes: "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing," and Wanås Restaurant Hotel has it covered with a very handy mudroom complete with Stutterheim raincoats (also available here) and different sized wellies for guests to borrow!

So, it was in this vein we wondered out to Wanås Konst which can be glimpsed behind the medieval fortress (home to the Wachtmeister family and often accommodating artists from all over the world working on their exhibits).


Run by an independent, non-profit foundation, the estate houses 70 site-specific contemporary artworks outdoors and inside the gallery. In the winter the indoor gallery (and shop) is closed for a few months (it's open between end of March until December) but there were plenty of incredible pieces to view in the park alone, including works by Anna Hamilton, Yoko Ono and Ann-Sofi Sidén.

Just as we stepped out the sun appeared from nowhere and the golden light filtered through the trees, placing a halo around the snowflakes falling from the sky. It was magical!
 

If you're anything like me and feel the need to touch EVERYTHING, you'll be pleased to hear many of the sculptures are interactive, with some artists even claiming their work isn't complete without people on them, in them or by them. This also makes it a GREAT place for families! 

Featured sculptures: 'Two Different Anamorphic Surfaces' by Dan Graham, 'Together and Apart' by Antony Gormley,  'Old Sow Between The Trees' by Hannelie Coetzee, and 'A House for Edwin Denby' by Robert Wilson. 

I have to say, we were sad to leave! If you're visiting Sweden I can SO recommend a weekend stay at this magical hotel - or if time is of the essence, at least swing by for brunch and a lovely walk (art and Swedish nature - what's not to love?!).

"This year will be colourful, sparkling and large scale. We're very excited," says Elisabeth Millqvist.

And who are we to miss out?!

A big thank you to everyone who made us feel so welcome at Wanås Restaurant Hotel including Kristina, Sofia and Elisabeth! It was an incredible weekend and we can't wait to visit again soon!


Photography: all pictures by Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home except the kitchen, dining table and bathroom which are by Magnus Marding.  

*This was press trip to Wanås Restaurant Hotel, however all words are my own and I only ever recommend places to visit that I love and think you will too!

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20 Instagrammable Places to Stay In Sweden



Are you planning to visit Sweden this summer? If so you're in for an amazing time, there's just so much to see and do! But where to stay? I get countless e-mails asking about beautiful holiday homes, bed & breakfasts and hotels - and I finally put pen to paper (well, er... keyboard to blog). So here it is, a comprehensive list of twenty places to stay in Sweden this summer for budgets big and small. Välkommen till Sverige! 

(I snapped the above picture in Fiskebäckskil - I dare you to try pronounce that - a few weeks ago. If you're visiting Sweden's West Coast this pretty village is a must!). 



Sweden's capital city is a perfect place to start your visit. Not only will you find all the flagship Swedish design stores (we like!), museums, galleries and beautiful architecture - the city is built across a series of islands so you're never far from water.

Ola Ericcson
Ett Hem. 
Hidden away on a quiet, leafy stree, the 12-room hotel was designed by owner Jeanette Mix and interior designer Ilse Crawford with a vision to create a home from home: hence the name 'ett hem' (a home'. In the winter, guests can enjoy plenty of sheepskins, a roaring fire and a soak in a tub. In the summer, the hotel is light and fresh (with a blend of mid-century and contemporary design). The perfect base from which to explore Sweden's capital city. Mind you, you might not want to leave!
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Ash James
The Modern Apartment (sleeps 3)
Looking to live like a local? This modern apartment sleeps up to 3 guests and is on the residential island of Kungsholmen with great access to restaurants and bars (hey, I know what's important!) - as well as good transport links to the whole of Stockholm. And will you take a look at that kitchen?!
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The Architects Apartment (sleeps 2)
This charming 1920's studio in Norrmälarstrand has been renovated by an architect (hence the fabulous decor!) and is nine minutes by Subway to the central station. It's also a short walk from beautiful parks and boardwalks. Loving this one!!

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Any visit to Stockholm in the summer time warrants a boat ride out to the stunning archipelago. Think incredible nature, dips in the sea and relaxing on your very own island.

Henry Trygg
The Island Retreat (sleeps 4)
Calling all nature lovers  - this is your bag! Take over this modern retreat for a few days and your friends will do a double take when you get home (you'll look that relaxed!). Enjoy saunas, dips in the sea and day trips with your very own boat. Word of warning: The Grand Hotel it's not. It has a dry loo and an outdoor shower only - but hey, the seas on your doorstep and cod is on the menu for lunch!
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Sweden's second largest city and the gateway to the magnificent west coast archipelagos, this city is not be missed. Design lovers: don't forget to visit Artilleriet and Grandpa (conveniently placed across from one another!).

Per Pixel Petersson
Airbnb Apartment (sleeps 4)
This lovely apartment in the rooftops of Delsjö is a short walk to the centre of town as well as supermarkets, restaurants and boutiques on your doorstep. Oh and there's a family friendly bathing spot and kayaking just nearby, so bring your sea legs and togs! 
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If someone asked me for the best kept secret in Europe, I'd say the Gothenburg Archipelago. When the sun shines it's my favourite place on earth and represents everything that's wonderful about Sweden in the summertime. Made up of hundreds of islands and skerries, the waterways are laced with clusters of small fishing huts and pretty villages with restaurants selling fresh fish. Go anytime between midsummer and mid august when it's at it's peak and enjoy the atmosphere. Or pack a picnic and make your way out to your own little island for the day.

The pretty old village of Gullholmen snapped from our boat.






Gullmarsstrand Hotel, Fiskebackskil
Treat yourself to a stay at Gullmarsstrand and koppla av (unwind) with nature on your doorstep. Relax in the spa, take a dip in the sea (there's a family friendly beach a stone's throw away), play tennis, take a cliff walk or enjoy the village. The hotel also has Carpe Diem Beds so you're sleep like you're on a cloud! This little village is truly romantic (although I'm a little biased, as it played a major role in my husband and my holiday romance, back when it all started!).
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Strandflickornas Havshotell ('The Beach Girl's Hotel)
If you're looking for something a little more cosy and traditional I can totally recommend this lovely hotel in Lysekil. Every room is different in a truly quirky way and the staff couldn't be friendlier. Oh and did I mention there's a sauna and hot tub on the water's edge too?!
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A House with a View (sleeps 5)
Be king of the hill for a week (or three) in this modern house and enjoy vistas across Instön island and the sparkling waters beneath. I love that it's 200 metres from a secluded swimming bay and a short hop to the sailing capital of Marstrand (well worth a visit too - although prepare to glam up a little!).
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Looking to wile away the summer and experience genuine island life? Located on Sweden's East coast - this lovely Baltic island is a perfect size to explore by bike. Visit wonderful galleries, enjoy local cuisine and wile away a day or two on the beach (word of warning, the Baltic is a little colder than the West coast!). Here are some beautiful Gotland home tours to wet your appetite!

Rodrigo Rivas
Fabriken Furillen, Boutique Hotel Cast your eye to the northeastern corner of Gotland and you'll discover this industrial-chic boutique hotel on the peninsula of Furillen. Formerly a gravel factory, this remote hotel offers two 'hermit cabins' for those who truly wish to get away from it all and enjoy the wild landscape, deserted beaches and wildlife.
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The Farmhouse (sleeps 4)
A beautiful newly built farmhouse that's perfect for a family of four, it has a cute garden for dining alfresco and is an easy walk to the medieval centre of Visby - and personally, I think it looks super boho and cosy!
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Funkis House in Visby (sleeps 6)
A charming house built in the 1930's a mere five minutes walk from the main square in the island's capital of Visby. Think mid-century meets contemporary design (I spy a SINNERLIG daybed and bench designed by Ilse Crawford!).
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A Little Cottage to Call home (sleeps 3)
This idyllic cottage is located a few hundred meters from the small fishing village of Herrvik, and the beautiful nature reserve of Grogarnsberget. Take in the great beaches, seafood smokehouses and local restaurants, but not before you've enjoyed a slow breakfast at the pretty kitchen table!
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If you're looking for somewhere pretty to stop between Gothenburg and Malmö, Torekov's a great idea. I might be a little biased since my husband's family have a summer cottage there, but it really is a beautiful part of the world (and is said to get more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Sweden - now you're sold?!). The pretty fishing village is buzzing with waterside restaurants (in the peak season you're bound to hear a live band or two), a wonderful beach and bathing platforms, golf, the beautiful old spa in the harbour Torekovs Warmbadhus (make sure you enjoy a seaweed bath in a classic lion claw tub!) and seal safaris on the island of Hallands Väderö (pictured above).


Photograph: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home




Torekov Hotell and Spa
I've never stayed at this spa hotel but know many friends who have, and they came away well fed, rested and glowing! Plus if the sea is a little frigid for your liking, this joint has a pool!
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Airbnb Guest House (sleeps 4)
Enjoy your own house set among farmland between Torekov and Båstard and make the most of what both towns have to offer (as well as all the nature in between!). 
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My adopted home town of Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and totally worth a visit! From the cobbled Stortorget and Lilla Torg (big and little squares), museums, galleries and parks to the bathing platforms at Västra Hamnen and beach at ribbersborg - you'll never get bored. Plus Copenhagen is a quick train ride over the Öresund bridge (yes that's THE BRIDGE!). For more ideas you can check out my city guide here.









Duxiana hotel Malmö
'Bright lights, big city, great sleep' reads their slogan - looking at this bedroom and knowing the location in the heart of the city I can well believe it! Also, there's nothing like a hotel breakfast, right?!
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The Malmö Apartment (sleeps 2)
Sometimes the best things come in small packages and this little studio between Triangeln and Möllevången (AKA the funky, boho side of town) is the perfect pad from which to explore. 
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A house by the Sea (sleeps 5)
If you love beautiful interiors, architect and being by the sea, this is your pad! Once featured in Elle Decoration, this lovely space is a short cycle through the park to the centre of town and has the sparkling Öresund sea on it's doorstep!


 Intrigued? Take a little look behind the facade of more of Malmö's most beautiful homes here


Österlen

If you're looking for a holiday that combines a city break with nature - Malmö and Österlen are a great combination! Situated in the Southeastern corner of Scania, Österlen is famous for its rolling hills, stunning coastline, small villages, apple orchards and farmland. It's also home to many artists who are inspired by the magnificent light.

Mellby Klockagård Bed & Breakfast, Kivik
This charming B&B is located in Kivik, one of my favourite villages along the Österlen coastline. Enjoy your charming bedroom (no two rooms are alike), relax in the beautiful garden, enjoy seasonal food or wonder down to the waters edge. You can't go wrong with this gem of a place! 
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Krickelin
In case you're wondering about those artist's home - you can step inside some of Österlens most charming homes here - I have to confess, I dream of owning an old house in this area, with a pottery wheel and plenty of space for all my family to visit one day! A girl can dream, right?!

WANÅS RESTAURANT HOTEL
In a few weeks time I'll be checking out this hotel first hand and I can't wait!  Located in North Skåne and surrounded by a majestic beech forest, Wanås hotel and restaurant is nestled on a historic estate complete with a magnificent sculpture park Did I mention that the interior combines vintage furniture and contemporary art with natural materials; limestone floors and wooden details and there's a restaurant offering Nordic farm to table cuisine? Yep, my kind of place too! 
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I've no doubt missed hundreds of incredible places to stay (not to mention great Swathes of Sweden crying out for a visit!), but I hope this guide helps as an initial first step! Please do let me know if you have any personal recommendations in the comment section below, we'd love to hear them (and of course, visit one day!). There'll no doubt be a follow up guide once the winter season begins. In the meantime, I'll continue to explore - and perhaps our paths will cross in the process?!

Have a wonderful stay!

Niki
(with lots of great help from Ana!)

PS Why not go the whole way and pick up a copy of Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy life to read while you're there and The Scandinavian Home once you're back?! Yes, I know they're both my books, but still - I'm proud of them and think you'll find them inspiring! 

PPS Other useful Resources (where to stay, what to do and where to eat):

1.  Visit Sweden
2.  Stockholm
3. Stockholm Archipelago
4. Gothenburg
5. Gotland
6. Gotenburg Archipelago
7. Skåne County
8. Torekov.se 

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