The Cosy Rural Home of a Swede Living by a Scottish Loch

As a Brit living in Sweden for the past 18 years, I'm often asked which culture has influenced my home decor style more. I'd definitely say the latter, but I'm sure there's a deeply ingrained British touch there too (there's always a pack of Earl Grey tea in our kitchen cupboard for starters!). I love to see how other homes of those living abroad look. And today, the beautiful home of Patricia Amalia Rodi - a ''Swedish Frenchy in Scotland'' - popped up on my instagram feed. I caught up with Patricia to find out more about her home, how she renovated it on a tight budget and how her past has helped shape her present.

Can you tell us a little about your background? 
My dad is French and I spent lots of my time in France as a child (I even lived in Nice and Paris in my twenties), but I was born in Sweden and grew up there until I moved to Scotland - which is where I've been for the past eight years. I work as an interior stylist, blogger and content creator. 


Your house is lovely, where is it and who do you live with? 
I live in the Scottish countryside, more specifically in a Victorian house built in 1860, overlooking a loch in the Argyll and Bute area of Scotland. I live with my husband Patrick and dog Alva. 


How long have you lived there and did the house require any work? 
We bought the house two years ago and it was a total renovation project. We have restored the whole house ourselves, bringing it back to its former glorying using reclaimed materials. It's been a massive undertaking, but we have learnt so much in the process, from restoring windows, laying floors, plastering - you name it! 

That is an amazing feat! What did it look like when you first found it? 
The house hadn't been touched for over twenty years and was covered in awful carpets and plastic floors. However, some of the historical and traditional features were still intact - and this connection with the past was something we wanted to treasure. The renovation has taken us nearly a year. Since we didn't have the money for a grand reshuffle, or to pay builders (except for our amazing joiner Gareth), we kept most of the layout as it was and worked to preserve the period features. This meant removing the dusty old carpets, sanding floors, laying reclaimed floors, plastering and painting inside and out. It was really hard work but nonetheless incredibly rewarding when you stand back and realise that you have done it all by yourself. 

What have you learnt most from the process?
It has taught me not to rush through the process of putting together a home. Indeed, it can be hard to live somewhere unfinished, mundane, and chaotic. But I've learnt that I need to allow the home to slowly unfold over time so that it rhymes and changes with the patterns of our life. 

How has your background inspired your decor? 
I have always been deeply passionate about interior, food and nature - spending my childhood scurrying between my Father's restaurants in Gothenburg, Sweden where I grew up; the countryside of Southern France where I spent every summer with French aunts; and the seaside of San Remo, Italy, where I just ate too much gnocchi and burrata! My interior style is inspired precisely by my multicultural background and childhood memories of Italian tiles, French antiques and Scandinavian modernism. 

And finally, what do you miss most about Sweden?
Oooh the dreaded question! I love the Nordic farmhouse, vardagslyx (everyday luxury), and the mysig or hygge (cosy) approach to life. I miss these cultural components that are so entrenched in the Swedish lifestyle. I know that I used to take them for granted sometimes, but they really do have a calming impact on everyday life. 

As a Swede, I love to make our home cosy. I think that's why our home is always filled with people. There's always cake (or food) in the house, the candles are lit, the coffee is brewing and there's always a record playing in the background. I really like that Swedes know how to bring a special feel to mundane weekday life. 

Thank you so much to Patricia for inviting us into your cosy Scottish home.

I love the idea of living in a Victorian house beside a loch - it sounds so romantic, don't you think? 

See more pictures of Patricia's home over at @patriciarodi and discover more about her work here. Her blog over at Lovely Life is simply beautiful too!

I loved hearing about how Patricia's past has shaped the decor and feeling in her home. How do you think your past has shaped your home? I'd love to hear in the comments below! 

Would you like to see a few other homes belonging to Scandinavians living abroad? Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa and feel inspired by these: 


Happy Lillördag friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Patricia Amalia Rodi

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Settle: A Rustic Hideaway In A Former Railway Carriage & Boutique Cabin


I have a total weakness for rustic spaces, do you? I spotted this cosy gem of a retreat over at Desire to Inspire yesterday and fell in love! 'Settle' is a retreat in Norfolk, England created by John - who owns and runs a reclamation yard, and his partner Jo - a well-known floral designer.  The incredible resort offers guests a choice to unwind in rustic railway carriages, bell tents or a boutique cabin overlooking woodland and lakes. I'm particularly in enamoured by the railway carriages and cabin which combine earthy textures and heritage materials with contemporary comfort - so, it's just to turn up, light a fire, maybe run a bath (wait till you see the outdoor one!)... and relax

The carriages: 


My eye is on one of the three beautifully restored retired railway carriages. Each offer two berths, a lounge area with a wood burning stove as well as a bathroom and small kitchen - although you might prefer to cook supper over the lakeside fire pit! 

The Cabin

If you'd prefer something a little more spacious, there's also the boutique cabin which looks like something out of a magazine (actually scrap that - it has been in a magazine!). Hand built by Jo and John, the fully equipped cabin has everything you might need for a relaxing retreat - a real home from home! 

The questions is, would you go for the freestanding indoor bath, or the lakeside wood-burning tub? 


Meet you there? 

In case you're keen - hop over to Settle to find out more (or simply dream!). 

Shall we indulge our shared love of rustic further today? How about these cosy gems? 


Have a hyggelig day friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Settle, via Desire to inspire - with thanks. 

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A Beautiful Rustic Home in Rural North Sweden

Do you ever romanticise about moving somewhere remote, wild and windswept? I often wonder what it might be like to live in the far North of Sweden, where the sun set marks a month of darkness, the sky lit by the beauty of the Northern lights. Maybe one day I'll make my move. For now, I'll live through others. And one of my favourite homes is that of garden designer Fanny Lindén and her family . You might recognise Fanny's beautiful, rustic home from these Christmas and Spring features. And this morning I stumbled across these images captured by Lina Östling and Mari Strenghielm (see her lovely former home on an island!) who paid Fanny a visit last year. The pictures give you a glimpse into family life and a world where the beauty is in the imperfection. Vintage and antique pieces proudly bear the hallmarks of time, and the doors are thrown open to a world where everyone is welcome - children, cats, chickens and whoever else chooses to wander in! Välkommen! 

So beautiful! 

I love the bright yellow barn door and vibrant Falu red facade, imagine how lovely it looks against the snow in wintertime! 

I can't tell you how tempted I am to live like this (maybe a gap year - as a former Londoner it would be a WAY too big step to make the move permanent off the bat, I'd need to test the waters first!). Could you imagine living somewhere rural? Or perhaps you already do? 

Other Rural Scandinavian homes to love this weekend:


Wishing you a wonderful couple of days - see you Monday! 

Niki

Photography: Lina Östling Styling: Mari Strenghielm - shared with kind permission. 

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A Wonderful, Relaxed Family Home in The Normandy Countryside


Hello there friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!? We're currently up in Stockholm for my niece Ebba's 'studenten' (high school graduation). It's a beautiful day, and the water surrounding Sweden's capital city is sparkling, I'm so happy for her!  Meanwhile, in Normandy, France I'm sure the sun is also shining. Even if it's not, Stephanie, her husband and four children have the perfect shelter. I discovered their wonderful country home over at Decor8 (read the full interview here), and couldn't resist sharing a few snapshots with you here. The interior is rustic yet refined, and filled with authentic items, proudly bearing nicks and scrapes from their past life - give the home a truly relaxed vibe. Ready to take a look? Bienvenue! 


How beautiful! 

I love the simple earthy tones and the wonderful textures.

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

You can see more of Stephanie's home over on her instagram (which she updates almost daily) - and Francophiles will also be happy to hear she's recently opened up an interior shop: Steph Since 1979.  

Before I head off to join in with the graduation preparations (it's a hive of activity around here!) - here are a few other charming French homes to delight in today:


Wishing you all a wonderful start to the week!

Niki

Photography: Stephanie / via Decor8 with thanks.

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Kati's Rustic 19th Century Log House in Iitti, Finland

Good morning! How was your weekend? It was a bank holiday weekend here in Sweden and I spent part of it brushing up my Hygge knowledge in preparation for the filming I am doing with Carl Hansen & Søn in Denmark tomorrow and Wednesday (so exciting - I can't wait to share more info!). For those of you not familiar with the term, Hygge is a Danish word, used to acknowledge a feeling or a moment, alone or with friends which is cosy, charming and special, in a relaxed, humble way. It's a celebration of slow living and focusing on the simple things in life. I immediately thought of aspects of this log cabin in Iitti, Finland. The country house dates back to 1839 and Kati Pilli-Sihvola took on the task to lovingly restore it - being careful to maintain its original hyggeligt charm, while adding modern touches. Kati describes her style as 'country rustic minimalism' - and I feel the interior matches this perfectly! Ready to take the tour? Wool socks at the ready! 

Kati kept the original fireplace - previously used to bake and cook food - and added modern conveniences such as a range cooker and wood burning stove.

Look at that ceiling! Isn't it incredible? Kati has worked hard to restore it and it's a perfect reminder of the history of the building. 


Simple sheepskins, blankets and cushions are a hallmark of understated Scandinavian cosiness, while a vintage cabinet painted in dusty pink provides a perfect spot for bits and bobs. 

It's incredible to think this wall is almost 180 years old! 

In front of it, a basket is used to store extra blankets for when the temperatures plummet outside - or you simply feel like making things extra cosy! 

In the sitting room you can clearly see the wonderful old patina in the ceiling and also the old brick floor - combined with the darker walls, it's easy to imagine how hyggeligt it would feel in the evening under the glow of candlelight. 

Peeling paint on the 'spell' doors and a vintage leather chair adds to the rustic, relaxed vibe. 


What would a Finnish home be without a sauna? And I have to say, I've never seen one as incredible as this. It oozes old world style, and easy to envision generations before beating themselves with birch branches (a Finnish tradition) and feeling a sense of pure relaxation. Today, Kati and her family lovely to relax here.  


What a perfect tour with which to start the week! It certainly has me dreaming about pastoral life! 

For more lovely images of Kati's home take a look at her blog and instagram - they're full of inspiration. 

And here are some other Finnish home tours you might love today: 


Kaunis Suomi! Beautiful Finland! 

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week friends! 

Niki

Photography: Kati Pilli-Sihvola

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