Helen's Cosy Swedish Country Cottage Kitchen


Kindly sponsored by Nordal, thank you for supporting the brands which make features like this possible*:

Last week I spent a lovely few days at Swedish interior designer Helen Sturessons's cottage in the Blekinge archipelago on Sweden's east coast. I'd heard so much about it and was really intrigued to see it in person. The opportunity came thanks to a series of photoshoots which required a cosy backdrop - and her country cottage is just the ticket! A short walk from the Baltic Sea, the traditional red and white cottage was every bit as charming as I had imagined! 

The little 19th century cottage is made up of three small rooms (her family of four share a bedroom when they're here at weekends and in the holidays) and the wooden floors creak under foot as you move from room to room. Masonry tiled ovens and a woodturning stove (in addition to a thermostat) kept us feeling toasty throughout our stay as did some woolly socks and chunky woollen jumpers! Best of all - Helen's Mother turned up with a divine smelling apple and cinnamon pie. 

Here are a few snapshots from a cosy afternoon in Helen's kitchen - which she's kitted out with some seriously beautiful items from Danish brand Nordal - as well as other treasured items. 

When Helen and her family first bought the cottage it had no heating, and they would use the woodburning stove in the kitchen to heat up the room. Once-upon-a-time a father cooked meals for his seven children on this very stove (tragically the mother died when the children were young). These days, Helen has electric heating and the stove is used to keep coffee and tea warm.  

A wooden worktop is used for extra storage and keeping a few useful items at hand. 



Open shelves add to the relaxed feel of the kitchen. I especially love the traditional Swedish 'kryddhylla' (spice rack). Each of the glass pockets are used to store herbs and spices as well as sugar, flour and even small items like elastic bands and string. These days 'kryddhylla' are made of glass (as seen in Helen's kitchen), but you might also see them in a 60s/70s plastic variety or, if made prior to the 1920s, in porcelain. 

Do you have something similar in your country? 


The shelves are laden with glasses and crockery as well as other small items like egg cups and measuring jugs. 


The cottage surroundings portray an ever-changing scene. At the far end of the plot is a woodshed - and beyond that the outdoor loo (the only one at the cottage!). Throughout my stay, a fiery array of leaves swirled to the ground before settling on the rain drenched grass. Helen tells me that the family sometimes see deer and elk wander past, though sadly we didn't see any this time. Even so, we were able to find a load of pretty plants and late autumn flowers in the garden, including this foraged branch. 

Finally fika (a Swedish word meaning taking a break and enjoying a hot drink and a small treat). 

In Sweden you generally eat apple pie with 'cold vanilla sauce' and most would choose coffee - whereas in England we'd go for cream, vanilla ice cream or best of all hot custard with a cup of tea! How do you enjoy yours? 



The pie tasted every bit as divine as you can imagine! I wonder if I can get hold of the recepe - it would be nice to nee able to share it with you. Watch this space!  


And the final touch: candlelight! So mysigt!

I have to say, I can almost taste Helen's Mother's apple pie just looking through these pictures! 

Thank you for a wonderful afternoon 'fika' and for having me to stay Helen! 

I can't wait to share more pictures from Helen's cottage soon. 

If you like the look of the Nordal Danish kitchenware, you can find it in various webshops around Europe here. Please feel free to ask about any other item you see, I'm sure Helen would be happy to share the info! 

Have a 'hyggeligt' day friends! 

Niki

*Thank you to Nordal for this paid partnership and helping to make My Scandinavian Home possible. All words and photos in this post are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

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Back Again! (Plus Our Summer Cottage kitchen Renovation)

Why hello there! I hope you've had a wonderful couple of weeks. Per, the girls and I have just arrived back home to Malmö with a bump after a couple of weeks up at the cottage. How I miss that place, we had such a magical time. I might just have to go back up with the specific aim to write a guide - I have so many tips to share with you in case you're ever on the beautiful 'Bjärehalvön' in Northwest Skåne! It's an area not to be missed if you're visiting Sweden! It would also give me the perfect excuse to return! I also spent a little time thinking about the tiny cabin we're building this autumn in the cottage garden and so looking forward to sharing more of our plans with you later this week (thank you for so much for sharing your thoughts on the windows and windows and doors, I can't tell you how helpful it was!).

In the meantime, here's a throwback to the time Per and I renovated and installed the cottage kitchen by hand. It was a true labour of love - and I appreciate it all the more as a result! Thank you so much to Christina AKA 'Farmor' for entrusting us with your kitchen! 

We stripped out the 1970s kitchen - which included a plastic Lino floor, before sanding, plastering and painting the space. Best find: a perfect size mouse hole under the kitchen counters. We'd been wondering how they were getting in! 

Per was in charge (he's a bit of a dab hand when it comes to DIY), and I was his 'sous chef'. It was really hard work, but surprisingly therapeutic! And for once, I was actually quite good at taking instructions from him! 

One of my jobs was to put together all the IKEA kitchen cabinets. If there's one thing I've learnt, it's to follow the instructions by the letter and never miss a step! By the end, I never wanted to see a flat pack ever again! 

Installing the cabinets was the trickiest part of all - and required help from YouTube and multiple calls to the IKEA help line (it was surprisingly easy to get hold of someone!). The main issue was that they have to be exactly in line - no easy feat when you're working with crooked walls from 1936! But we got there in the end! 

You can read about all the details in my final reveal post here

Other than the tiny cabin, I'd really love to renovate the girl's bedroom up there. Although now that I know how much work even the smallest room can entail, I'm dragging my feet a little. 

Have you carried out any renovations recently? Or perhaps you're about to embark on one? I'd love to hear more about it below! 

Now that I'm back, I'm so looking forward to posting regularly again. As always, I'll be posting every other day until the girls go back to school - and then daily from 1st September.  Thank you for stopping by! 

Niki

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3 New lamps At Home from Hudson Valley Lighting

MSH partnership, all words are my own: 
Everyone has a 'thing' when it comes to the home, don't you think? For some it's chairs, for others it might be rugs, or smaller items such as books, art and plants. What's yours? I love all these pieces, but for me, it has to be lighting! I love the way it can be used to create an atmosphere. I appreciate how it's vital for practical tasks such as cooking or reading. And I'm inspired by the way it can be used to highlight the things you love - and hide the things you don't! You also can never really have enough lighting in a home (especially in wintertime), so I'm always on the lookout for something new. 

Recently, I added three shiny new lamps to our living space - courtesy of Hudson Valley Lighting Group. You might recognise the name from the wall sconce in my sitting room. The international brand sells hundreds of lamps, offering everything from pendants to outdoor wall sconces, all with exceptional quality. I'm excited to share the ones I've chosen this time, they've certainly brightened up some dark corners of our house and cottage! I hope you'll feel inspired / get some ideas for your own home too! 

New lighting at the Cottage


Last time we were up at the cottage we installed the Barron lamp in aged brass over the sink. I felt immediately drawn to it since it's inspired by the work of mid-century Danish architects who reduced the glare from electric lighting by applying layers and curved shades. The result is a soft, diffused glow, that immediately feels warm and cosy - or as the Danes would say hyggelig

In Scandinavia, people love to place lighting in the window since it gives off a warm and inviting feel - which is why I chose this position over the sink. But I could also see it hanging in the corner of a room, or next to a sofa (I have a feeling this one might get moved around quite a lot!). But for now, there'll be a lovely light shining from our cottage kitchen window! 

New Lighting in our Home Hallway




A few months ago I shared my latest hallway update, but we were still missing lighting (cue: guests fumbling around in the dark for their jackets and kids emptying the entire content of the wardrobe to find a tennis racket... that sort of thing!). Needless to say, good lighting in the hallway is key, especially on darker days and nights. We were lucky enough to have the power source already, so all that was needed was the actual fixture! 


I decided on the Estee semi-flush by Mitzi. It's actually available in two colours: polished nickel or aged brass - but you know me, I love a brass look! Usually Per helps me out when it comes to DIY, but actually I did most of the installation myself, it was surprisingly simple (the round glass pendants just screw into place). Admittedly I was wise enough not to attempt the wiring though - being a Physics teacher, that's definitely Per's area! 


I can't tell you what a huge difference this lighting makes to our hallway - it looks way smarter than before, and the Estee emits a great light - which can also be dimmed down with the right switch if you want to make your hall / sitting room / dining area more cosy. Love that! 

If you're curious about this piece, you might be interested to know that there's also a 6-arm version, which would be perfect for bigger spaces. 


I recently installed a mirror and hooks in the narrow section of our hallway (more details here) - which have been great for bouncing around light and also providing space for a (daily) overflow of coats, bags, hats etc. But I really wanted to add some interesting lighting to the area - and the Angela in aged brass by Mitzi fit the bill perfectly. 


I was pleasantly surprised by the weight (it's quite substantial which makes it feel really high quality!). I also love the cable - which is why I decided to hang it this way using a hook - some cables are designed to shine! 

It has a really cosy feel to it when switched on (especially if you use a dimmer switch like I have). Placed next to a mirror, the reflection immediately doubles the light source too, which brightens up this little corner of our home after dark! 

Next step... the hallway tiles - but that's a subject for another day! 

For now, we'll be enjoying the fact that we can actually see something when we arrive home or about to leave! 

Did you have a favourite lamp among these? Or perhaps you're after something different? If so, you can discover the full range of Hudson Valley Lighting Group lighting here

Niki

Photography: Niki Brantmark (and my kids - where I feature!)
Cottage kitchen Styling: Niki Brantmark
Hallway styling: Helen Sturesson

*This is a paid post in collaboration with Hudson Valley Lighting Group, however, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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A Charming Shaker-style Kitchen in a 1000-year-old Mill

How about a little kitchen dreaming today? This beautiful space can be found at the heart of beautiful Cotes Mill - an historic water mill dating back over 1000 years and the site deVOL kitchens calls its home. Wonky old stone walls, low beams and an aged wood floor provide a cosy backdrop - but sure can make fitting a kitchen tricky! I mean, when we fitted our summer cottage kitchen we found the walls to be marginally off, and that was enough to give us a total headache - this is on another level! But with some careful scribing and the right choices, you can do wonderful things, as shown here in The Real Shaker Kitchen whit's wonderful mix of cupboards, dressers and work surfaces. Read on to feel inspired! 

I see, that deVOL had the same problem as us: a windowsill lower than standard cabinets (fairly common in older buildings). We used a curtain to shield the back of the cabinets in our kitchen, but these guys have used a Silestone up stands to keep the run neat, and the work surface contained, which makes it super easy to keep clean, and looks really smart. 

The designers kept the colours of the cupboards and worktops fairly light to make the room feel as spacious and bright as possible - important when the room only has limited natural light. 

Paint colour: Mushroom by deVOL. Worktops: Lagoon Silestone on sink run, Helix Silestone on island. Knobs and handles: deVOL's painted shaker knobs & ceramic cup handles, Cooker Smeg 100cm 'Opera' dual cavity cooker in stainless steel. Taps 'Ionian' deck mounted taps crosshead handles by Perrin & Rowe, chrome finish. 

I think I need to move to an old house (although I'd be hard pushed finding one that's 1000 years old!) - so that I can have a beautiful kitchen like this.

Is this your kind of style too? 

Read more about The Cotes Mill Shaker Showroom  and The Real Shaker Kitchen. And see a load more kitchen inspiration like this here: 


You can also find tonnes of kitchen inspiration (big and small) in this archive

Happy hump day (eeeek, that just doesn't work in British English....!). 

Niki

PS I'll be back tomorrow with a post about an exciting Danish-inspired update to my dining area, make sure you pop back to take a peek! 

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Before & After: A Cookbook Author's Tuscan Kitchen Make-Over

As a Brit living in Sweden - by way of the USA, Scotland and Dubai (scarily, my time abroad outweighs my childhood years in England now!) - I am always fascinated to see the homes of expatriates - and how the cultures intertwine. Emiko Davies is an Australian-Japanese food writer, photographer and cookbook author (her four books include Forentine: The True Cuisine of Florence, Acquacotta, Tortellini at Midnight and Torta della Nonna). Growing up in a diplomatic family, Emiko spent most of her life living abroad. After graduating art school, she ended up in Florence and fell in love with a Tuscan sommelier. Mid pandemic, the pair moved to a new home in a small hilltop town in Tuscany with their DAUGHTERS Mariù (8) and Luna (3). 

Built in 1800, the pair fell in love with the palazzo and its wonderful old tiles, high ceilings with frescoes, wooden beams and 210 cm windows and views over the valley. Plus, it was a few hundred metres from Emiko's favourite butcher as well as an organic produce shop, a good pasticcera and a handful of restaurants. 

Needless to say, the first thing Emiko did when she moved in, was plan and renovate the 220-year-old kitchen! 

Kitchen before

Emiko was thrilled to have a large kitchen (or at least larger than their one in Florence). She was keen to create a practical, reliable and sustainable space - as well as somewhere she and Marco could spread out while cooking. A large dining table would be at the centre - offering a place for friends to sit, and somewhere the girls could play, chat about their day and do their homework while Emiko cooks. 



Kitchen after
Italy was hit hard by the pandemic / lockdown, and Emiko was keen to support local businesses. This led her to Very Simple Kitchen - a young, local kitchen design company in Bologna, who specialise in versatile modules inspired by vintage industrial workbenches. 

The century old table previously belonged to Marco's great-grandfather and had been hidden away in his Mother's attic. It was made by a local carpenter using wood and marble recycled from Angiolino's bar. They cleaned it up, sanded it down and it was good to go! Emiko loves seeing her girls around a table that's steeped in family history. 

The sturdy stainless-steel benches are powder-coated in teal giving the room warmth and the doors hide a dishwasher (Emiko's first!) as well as bins, heavy pots, cutlery and a hidden safety drawer for their vast array of kitchen knives. 

A small room off the side of the kitchen has been converted into a pantry and laundry room. Freestanding shelves provide a spot for their extensive collection of cookbooks. 


Emiko decided to go for a cleaner, modern look without top cabinets - instead, using a rod to hang utensils (and keep them to hand). 

The work surface is made from terrazzo (with peach and green splatters) chosen because it's practical, easy to clean and fairly resistant to stains. Plus, it looks pretty too! 

Emiko and Marco love to cook side by side, so it was important to design a longer worktop they could share. They also chose a larger induction stove from Smeg (a first for Emiko who was looking for a more sustainable and long-lasting option). I have also installed induction stoves (from Bosch) in our kitchen at home and also at the cottage and I'm so pleased with them! 

The cabinetry is built in free-standing units, allowing for a variety of different types of storage. A glimpse into the hallway shows another type of tiling (every room features a different tile!). 

I love this renovation  - and how they kept some of the wonderful details like the tiles (it would have been a travesty to remove those!), plus it looks so warm and relaxed. I can so imagine the family all gathered - Emiko cooking, Marco kneading bread and the girls at the table, how about you?

I'm looking forward to following Emiko's journey to see what they do next in their home! You can find her here over on her blog and also instagram.

Curious to see more kitchen renovation ideas over the weekend? 


Right folks, that's it from me this week! I hope you've enjoyed all the tours! 

We're actually off camping this weekend - my third time ever. The level of kit involved is nuts - but the children are so excited so hopefully it will feel worthwhile once we arrive!  I hope the Swedish weather gods treat us to fair winds and sunshine. And wishing the same for you! 

Vi ses på Måndag!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Emiko Davies

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