Book Update News: Meet Relaxed Rustic

I've got some exciting news to share with you today! My first book Modern Pastoral has had a make-over! My publisher in London (CICO Books) decided to give it a new name - changing it to 'Relaxed Rustic' and they've also changed the cover to this shot from a stunning Skånegård near our cottage (the full tour is in the book) - the content inside remains the same. 

I wrote this book in 2014 and it was released in 2015 (remember the sneak peek? I was crazily excited!). Having opened it for the first time in ages this morning, I was happy to find that the nature-inspired interiors are still just as relevant today - they have a beautiful, timeless appeal. 

If you didn't pick up a copy of Modern Pastoral - perhaps you might like to treat yourself to a copy of Relaxed Rustic this summer? It's available on all the usual sites such as Amazon, but you can also go closer to home and ask your local book shop or library to order a copy. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it / styling the pictures! 


PS My publisher is giving away a copy of Relaxed Rustic along with a selection of other interior books on instagram this weekend - keep an eye on @myscandinavianhome to enter! 

PPS I'm looking forward to sharing one of my favourite home tours from the book on Monday! 

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My new book!

This year I've been tinkering away behind the scenes on a new book. And now it's finally time to reveal a little more about it! So exciting! While my first two books focus on interior design, my new book is centered around the Swedish philosophy of 'Lagom' meaning 'not too much, no too little - just right.' I moved to Sweden in 2004 and over the past 13 years a lot has happened -  marriage, children, work.... But also, while I'll still always be a Londoner at heart, I've slowly adapted to the Swedish way of life. My home is clutter-free, I ride my bike everywhere (even in the snow!), I take walks along beaches and in the forests and I finish work on time (clock-watching? who me?!). And something truly unexpected has happened - I've become calmer, more content and ultimately..... happier! In 'Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life'  I've drawn on my observations of life in Sweden - from how my Nordic friends decorate their homes, take morning dips, go mushroom picking and enjoying a fika (a break with a coffee and a little treat) to how they celebrate holidays and other big events, raise their children and even strike a balance with the world around them. I hope you'll enjoy the many tips, craft ideas and even the odd recipe as much as I have  compiling them for the book!

'Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life' is now available to pre-order here!

It's such a wonderful moment to see a book come to life. Thank you to my publisher HarperCollins who has been so supportive of all my ideas from start to finish and the talented Swedish illustrator Petra Borner for the beautiful illustrations throughout the book! I can't tell you how generous my Swedish friends (and others further afield) have been throughout the process - from trusting me with their knowledge, to sharing experiences and providing recipes - tack så mycket! And finally, a huge thank you for reading my blog and following my feeds on social media, you inspire me to share my experiences of Scandinavian (and more specifically Sweden) - and this book would never have been possible without you!

I hope you enjoy it!

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My new book: The Scandinavian Home

Today is a very exciting day here at home .... my new book The Scandinavian Home: Interiors inspired by light has officially launched (*does a little dance*)! It's been a year or so in the making - having visited homes across Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. From a magical mountain cabin in Norway and a contemporary Helsinki town house to a beach house on the North coast of Zealand, Denmark each dwelling is as incredible as it is inspiring and has a wonderful story to tell.  I've arrived home brimming with ideas - but most of all I've learned that it's amazing what you can achieve with a little imagination.  I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all of you for reading my blog and your wonderful support over the years, without you this book would never have been possible. And I'd also like to pass on my thanks to all the wonderful home owners who so gracefully opened their doors and welcomed us inside. I dedicate this book to all of you! Here's a sneak peek....

The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books £19.99. Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books

This is only a small selection  - if I could I'd have shared the entire book right here on the blog with you! But there is something incredibly cosy about finding a quiet spot and enjoying a cup of tea and a good book, don't you think?

I have so many wonderful memories from the experience. One of the most memorable of which was visiting the home of Norwegian interior designer Tone Kroken on a beautiful summers day. Her house is on an island in the Norwegian Fjords and accessed by a floating pontoon pulled along on a rope. Tone's house was full of items she'd picked up at flea markets and auction houses from all over the world. But she'd also transformed new items too. For example she'd bought a mirror for its shape but hated it's shiny new look, so she placed it in the garden for two years where it lay under autumn leaves, a foot of snow and in the scorching summer sun. It now takes pride of place on the mantel piece looking like a prized antique!

On the same trip we visited the wonderful Norwegian 'hytte' of Marianne, founder of Slow Design Studio. Inspired by a 'seter' (a traditional Norwegian Mountain farmhouse used for summer pastures), the family has transformed a small rustic cottage into a state-of-the-art cabin. Not only does it have magnificent vista's over the valley, nearly everything within has been handcrafted by Marianne including cushions, throws, wall hangings, side tables and clothes hooks. Truly inspiring! You may recall that my family and I went back to visit the hytte in January for a few days and it was equally beautiful in the snow!

If you'd like to pick up a copy and browse all the homes, it's now available on Amazon here (among other places).

I really hope you feel as inspired as I did writing it.

Have a wonderful day! 

The 'Green Home Book': inspiration for plant lovers

One of the trends I love right now is 'urban jungle' or the idea of filling your home with plants. Greenery is said to have many positive benefits including providing cleaner air, boosting your mood and even enhancing concentration and memory (yes, really! I discovered many other benefits too here). But above all else, they do look lovely, don't they?! I mean, what would a home be without plants and flowers? That's why I was so happy to discover the 'Green Home Book'. The tome was created as result of a collaboration between Finnish creatives Riikka Kantinkoski (I once featured her beautiful home here) and Susanna Vento and includes beautiful photography taken in homes across Finland as well as simple tips on how to care for plants. Here's a sneak peek....

Photos from 'Green Home Book' by Riikka Kantinkoski and Susanna Vento.

Ah so inspiring. I must pick up a copy as soon as possible!

Doesn't it look lovely?

If you're a bit of a plant lover you'll also love these snapshots from the beautiful home of Jeska Hearne, the Brownstone of the owner of plant interior design company, and the bohemian home of a florist.

Oh, and I love this DIY idea - how fab? 

Have a lovely day!

PS I think the reason I'm thinking about books today is because I'm sitting at the library researching a new project (more to follow soon!). It's actually the perfect place to sit and work as it's super quiet and overlooks the park. The only problem is my typing is so LOUD!! I think I might need to sellotape cotton wool to my finger tips next time!

PPS I have such an exciting Swedish summer cottage to share with you tomorrow - it will have us all dreaming of balmy summer days!  

Boho interior inspiration with sustainable living tips and tricks

While yesterday's interior inspiration was about keeping it simple, today's is about keeping it real. And IKEA's new book Kinder Homes is absolutely crammed with inspiring, creative tips, tricks and ideas on how to do this. From saving water, energy and waste to recycling and reuse, the book helps us to lead a more sustainable life at home - and judging by the imagery, make our interiors beautiful at the same time. Really, what's not to love?!

I can't decide if I prefer the more modern look of the first three images or boho rustic look of the last three? - which do you prefer? Either way, it looks like there's plenty of inspiration for all and we get ideas on how to live more sustainably too. Perfect!

The book is available in IKEA stores, and it's worth checking out the IKEA website for some of the items you see in these spaces (I spy a lot from the lovely SINNERLIG collection), but for others I'm loving this vintage industrial desk chair (quick snap that up!), Swedish rag rugs, rattan daybed and a silk kimono rob.

Other links I love today....

Pretty balcony inspiration. Or....if you fancy staying in bed.

I've finally found where to buy those clay urns we keep seeing in home tours (beautiful?!)

Love the look of a kilim rug against concrete.

The cutest side table.

I do like the idea of throwing caution to the wind and buying an old bakery on the beautiful Swedish island of Gotland. how about you? Sadly this was sold a few years ago, but it doesn't stop me dreaming! More homes from Gotland (incase you missed them) include this, this and this - heaven!

Right folks that's all for me, have a lovely day and see you tomorrow!

PS To you wonderful style gurus out there, I'm looking for a spring bomber jacket for my 7 year old (who's more the height of a 10 year old)  - any tips? This one could be cute?

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Sneak peek / Win a signed copy of my book - Modern Pastoral

Do you ever feel the urge to up sticks and move to the countryside? Somewhere perhaps, that's just you and your family, and the bears, deer, and foxes outside your window? Although I live in the city, my family and I love to head to the nearby forest or our cottage on Sweden's west coast at the weekends. This desire for a pared-back lifestyle and allowing nature to help eradicate the stresses and strains of daily life inspired me to write Modern Pastoral, published by CICO Books. Photographer James Gardiner and I visited 10 beautiful homes across Scandinavia and USA (all in the name of work - honest!). Although varied in style, the homes are centred around a back-to-basic lifestyle and embrace the nature on their doorstep. The book is available in stores now! Here's a sneak peek....

Images extracted from Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books, photography: James Gardiner.

These images bring back so many wonderful memories! Here's a picture by picture run down:

1. (Front cover). The beautiful stone cottage belonging to Fabio, Laura & Matteo Ferrara who divide their time between New York City and the fabulous Westwind Orchard in the Hudson River Valley, Upstate New York. When we arrived they made us the most delicious brunch using fresh produce from the farm.

2. Striking Milkweed Barn in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Delaware County which Bill Hovard (Hudson Made) has transformed into a permanent home.

3. A study / dining room in a Scanian farmhouse (those beams), here in Southern Sweden owned by the Montan family (if you like the look of this room you should see the barn!).

4. The magnificent rustic barn on Westwind Orchard used for entertaining friends, family and guests as well as testing ingredients for produce sold in the farm shop.

5. A light and airy bedroom in the afore-mentioned Scanian farmhouse. When we took this picture it was pretty much dark outside. James took this image with a really long exposure and we couldn't even breath we had to be so still!

6. A cosy wood burning stove and reading corner in a cottage on the North coast of Zealand, Denmark.

The give-away is now closed

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Fab Nordic interior decorating book

I am often asked via e-mails or Facebook if I'd recommend a Scandinavian Interior Design book. Then this little gem of a book by Danish couple Iben Ahlberg & Niels Ahlberg popped into my inbox. Developed for iPad and downloadable from the iBook store; 'New Style Generation GEN.TWO', presents 'an elegant mixture of cosmopolitan, wilderness and vintage' and in my eyes ninety pages of general Nordic interior fabness!

New Style Generation, Photographers & writers: Iben Ahlberg and Niels Ahlberg 
I'm planning on stealing half an hour this Christmas to sit and enjoy the iBook in a quiet corner by the fire, luxury!

This afternoon I'm off to see my little girls in a 'Luciatåg' (St Lucia train) at their nursery. My four year old is dressing up as St Lucia with a candle crown and my two year old will be a little gingerbread girl. I told them to sing nice and loud as I left them this morning and my eldest said 'no, the teacher says we have to sing at the same height as all the other children'! Ah well! Since it's well below minus and snowing there'll be glögg and pepperkaka to warm the cockles after the performance :) I can't wait!

Have a lovely evening and happy Lucia!

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