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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An Magical Rustic Family Farmhouse In Rural Finland

I hope you're having a great week! The warm weather has finally arrived in Southern Sweden so we've spending lots of time down outdoors making the most of it! The leaves have burst into life, and a drive through North Skåne countryside yesterday reminded me so much of a trip I once made to Finland. Have you ever been? I remember feeling mesmerised by the rolling hills, the wildflowers and my first sighting of a moose grazing in a meadow. It was magical! I wish I'd known about this rural home owned by Hanna and her husband Tomas and their children Frans, Hilda and Eedvin at the time of the trip, it would have been perfect for my Relaxed Rustic book (formerly known as 'Modern Pastoral').  Located in Western Finland, the rustic farmhouse is filled with beautiful vintage and antique finds against a backdrop of 17th century architecture and romantic wallpaper. When the family aren't tending to their sheep and chickens, the children are tearing through the rooms on a trike - just as Tomas' family have done for generations. In the words of the Finns: tervetuloa sisään

How magical! 

I love the Scandi rustic country style, do you? 

I think I'm secretly a country girl at heart! 

Hanna shares daily snapshots of life in the Finnish countryside over on her lovely instagram feed @punainen.pihlaja - well worth a follow if you're looking for some dreamy inspiration! 

Other Finnish homes to love today: 


Have a lovely day! 

Niki

Photography: Hanna / @punainen.pihlaja - shared with kind permission

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Hanna's Swedish Log Cabin in the Woods of Georgia


You can take a girl out of Scandinavia, but you can't take Scandinavia out of the girl. And this is certainly the case for Hanna Söderström - originally from the Far North of Sweden, just three hours from the Arctic Circle, and now living near Atlanta, Georgia. Hanna and her Swedish husband found their wonderful country home by studying Google Earth. Since acquiring the keys, they've carried out extensive work - transforming it from a dated 80's look to a Scandinavian oasis in the heart of the woods. I caught up with Hanna to chat Scandinavian design, texture, DIY and the roll nature plays in her home.   

How did you end up in Georgia?
I moved to Georgia in 1999 to play soccer as an exchange student while I studied business at Uppsala. I ended up getting an internship for Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia and thereafter worked in marketing for a Swedish company here in Atlanta. Later, I met my husband who is also Swedish. His family moved here when he was three. 

How did you find this beautiful property? It's so special! 
We were looking for the greenest spot on Google Earth within 45 minutes of Atlanta, that would never be developed on. We bought this house in 2010, a traditional log cabin that backs on to lake Allatoona and miles of hiking trails. 

It sounds like you found a magical spot - and true to your Swedish heritage - close to nature! I am guessing the cabin didn't look like this when you moved in? 
We have slowly updated the cabin into a rustic modern Scandinavian style living space, while still keeping the elements that make it unique: the stove, log walls, beams and front porch. In 2019 we added another 2000 square feet to the home, including the kitchen, back porch, master suite, finished basement and garage. 

You described the look as Scandinavian modern rustic; can you tell us more about this style and how you achieved it?
Cosy Scandinavian to me, is lighter wood tones and real, natural materials like stone, linen or cotton fabrics, wool and metals. I have applied matt earthy colours and textured walls and collected authentic farmhouse antiques that have a patina, which add to the cosy, relaxed feel. When we first moved in everything was orange and felt very 80s. I painted the ceiling and whitewashed the log walls and we installed lighter oak floors finished with a matt sealer. 

For a more modern Scandinavian feel, I like to contrast all the vintage and antique pieces with modern light fixtures and surprising decor elements. I have a real weakness for designer lights! For me, antiques and vintage need contrasting elements in order to stand out even more. 

You have some beautiful pieces in your home, including the antique Swedish chair that opens up into a table (see above - genius!). Where do you find furniture for your home?
Most of our furniture is inherited or vintage. We brought a sea freight container over from Sweden with all our belongings and furniture. Really, the only things that are new in our home are the textiles, upholstery, lights and some of the art. 


I love all the DIY ideas and hacks you share on your instagram (like the bed - see below). I have always been impressed by how good Scandinavians are at DIY. Would you stay this is part of your heritage? 

It's definitely part of my heritage. I grew up in the far North of Sweden, just three hours from the Arctic circle. There, you're kind of forced to know how to do things yourself, and if you don't know how to do things, you ask your neighbour! That's kinda my mentality. Also, my dad is a skilled carpenter and works with restoring properties. My mum was great at sewing and knitting. 

I love woodwork, painting, sewing and took classes in upholstery. But most of all, I like to learn while doing. I'm not an expert in any area but not afraid to try. That's what's fun and exciting. I like to encourage others (especially women) to try DIY. Usually, it's not as hard as it seems - and that's kind of my motto! 

Before

After
Hanna painted the bed in Annie Sloan French Linen, which works perfectly with the Dry Ground lime wash walls. 
 
I love that your home is so close to nature, and love how you've drawn the surroundings in, was this intentional? 
I feel brining nature inside is inherently Scandinavian. Branches, foraged flowers, pine contes, stones etc. I don't do much seasonal decor, instead we live with the season and let nature decide the accents. It's also important to us to make our food from scratch and pick and preserve mushrooms and berries. 


Hanna and her husband added antique doors throughout out the cabin. The ceiling lights in the bedroom are from American contemporary lighting manufacturer RBW. 


You've created a true Scandinavian oasis! A house like this is really 'finished' but more a process that constantly evolves over time. What's next? 
This has been my dream ever since we moved, and all the details have been played out in my head daily for years. Having this much space is a dream come true and I feel so lucky to have pursued my passion of transforming spaces here - and also for others. There are several areas of our home that still need to be renovated. We have a long journey ahead! 


Beautiful - and so inspiring!

I can't wait for the 'loppis' (flea markets) to re-open. In the meantime, seeing that bed has inspired me to scroll online for vintage and antique pieces that might not be the right tone, but have a beautiful shape. More often than not, you can personalise them to be exactly as you wish! 

Oh, and how amazing is the master suite!

Is there anything that stands out to you?

Take a look at Hanna's instagram @homeathand to follow her latest projects - or contact her directly to find out more about her interior design services. 

If you'd like to see some other inspiration over the weekend - why not take a scroll through the country homes archive - there are some really dreamy Scandinavian homes in there (plus some from further afield too!). 

I hope you've felt inspired by the posts this week on the blog! 

Hands up who's ready for the weekend (both hands shoot up). I've been eying up a book and my new chair for several days now!

Wishing you all a great couple of days, see you Monday!

Niki

Photography: Hanna Söderström @homeathand

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