Leanne Ford's Beautiful White Guest House Cottage


Trends come and go - and to be honest it can be hard to keep up. The good news is that the talk in the industry right now is very much about filling your home with things you love and that make you happy, no matter how eclectic. 

Personally, I find it hard to settle on just one looks - and I'm often pulled in different directions based on what I've seen and feel inspired by. As a result, I always admire people who have a distinct signature style. American interior designer and TV personality extraordinaire Leanne Ford has a penchant for milky tones - and even when the interior fashion pack are starting to sprinkle their home with colour, Leanne has stuck hard and fast to the look she loves. And she does it so well!  

Read on to take a tour of Leanne's guest house cottage in Pittsburgh (captured by Erin Kelly, styled by Hilary Robertson) and discover how she makes a white-base home sing! 

Patina: Leanne is passionate about vintage and antique pieces which show the markings of a past life. The rich patina is perfect for bringing texture and interest to a space. 

Imperfection: White can quickly become sterile if it is too rigid. Leanne's cottage is filled with second hand items, touches of nature and handmade pieces. Look closely and you'll notice the finish on the walls, beams etc are fairly rough too. The imperfection helps to add a relaxed, warm and inviting feel. 

Collections: while the overall look of the cottage is fairly pared back, you'll find collages of items that have been grouped together in a wonderful way. 

Tone on tone: the overall look might be 'white' but it's actually an array of tones ranging from white and cream to dark brown and even a hint of black. The subtle contrast helps to add interest and harmony to the space. 

Unusual pieces: take a close look at the dining area and sitting room and you'll find fascinating furniture with entirely unique forms. It takes time to find pieces like this - often requiring hours of scouring flea markets and second hand stores, but when you find those treasures, you're truly rewarded! 

Drawing nature indoors: Leanne's cottage is filled with natural materials including wood, paper and jute adding to the calm feel. It can be tricky to have real plants in a guest house since they require too much maintenance. Leanne has got round this with plenty of dried plants and flowers. 

Oversize: while the colour scheme might be neutral, the size scheme is not! A series of oversize linen pendant lamps (from Imprint House), combined with miniature pieces (like those chairs we saw hanging from a hook) help to add impact to a space. 

Play with texture and light: the light naturally accentuates the texture on the rough stone walls, 3D art and wood beams on the ceiling to add interest to every room in a subtle way. 

ooooh, so beautiful! 

This makes me want to go out and scour flea markets all weekend - how about you? 

If you're curious about the project and many of the fittings and items you see, there's a full write up about it in Domino magazine here

While Leanne was the mastermind of the look for this guest cottage, for the shoot, Erin Kelly worked with stylist Hilary Robertson who's books I absolutely love! Check them out here

If you've got time to pour another coffee and sit a while longer today, head on over to Leanne's website to see more of her projects. And don't miss: 


Ha det fint! 

Niki

Photography: Erin Kelly
Styling: Hilary Robertson 
Shared with kind permission

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A Bright, Light and Playful Swedish Home

Hej allihopa! I felt like sharing something light, playful and different today - and this wonderful house fit the bill perfectly! Featured on instagram as @tegelsnackan the Swedish owners of this red brick house in Helsingland in central Sweden love their blonde wood and pops of colour - all set against a fresh white backdrop. They have also thrown in some fun chequered patterns and a few stripes for good measure. 

The result is a light and airy house that lifts the spirits, no matter the time of year, but especially when the winter darkness sets in (with a six weeks to go until the winter solstice, I'd say most parts of Sweden are already there. 

I love the uniqueness of this home and hope it feels you with ideas for the week to come! 

From the exterior you can already see that the owners have dared to be different with a bright red pergola and red window frames to match! 

This red theme is continued throughout the interior. 

If I am not wrong, I think this is the Arc vase by Danish brand Hay. The original format was 'mirror'  and the owners have painted it fire engine red! 

Also, spot the horse on the shelf? This is known as a Dalahäst (Dala horse), and is traditionally carved out of wood before being hand painted. It originates from the county of Dalarna - and has become a popular symbol for Sweden as a whole!

From a distance the checks in the hallway look like tiles, but look closer and you'll see that they have been painted onto a wood floor. This is a trick swedes have used for hundreds of years. Tiles have traditionally been very expensive where as it doesn't cost much to buy paint to create a similar affect. I have always loved this idea! 

A lick of yellow around the room ensures the sun is always shining, even if it's grey outside! 

Also, check out the IKEA storage used as a wall mounted bedside table - very clever! 

Aaaaah, I so enjoyed this tour, did you?  It's fun to see something different. Very refreshing! 

Are there any ideas here that you can imagine using for your own home? 

If you're not already following @tegelsnackan on instagram, hop over right away! 

Wishing you a fabulous start to the week! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of @tegelsnackan, shared with kind permission. 

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Mia's Serene Stockholm Apartment is Full of Texture

I forgot to say happy halloween yesterday! Here, it was absolutely tipping it down all say so we had some very wet witches and ghouls appearing at our door. Full cred to them for weathering the storm for a handful of sweets! 

With all this rain, more rain and then some, everyone except the 'trick or treaters' have been hiding at home under a blanket - and this is where I think Swedish homes really come into their own. They are just so lovely and serene - like an oasis of calm even on the stormiest of days! 

Mia, a psychologist, and her family have a beautiful apartment in Stockholm which is the epitome of calm. Think soft, natural tones, lovely paintings and floral displays. Plus the entire apartment is layered with texture in the form of natural materials such as marble, sheepskin,  wood, linen and a very fluffy rug! 

I hope Mia's home leaves you with plenty of ideas for your own living space, I for one love the kitchen bench - such a clever way to squeeze in a table for four in a narrow space! 

Enjoy the tour!  

Lovely!

The wall mounted desk is such a clever idea - you can find a similar one here*

And those of you who have been curious about where swedes store all their clothes (winter, summer etc) I hope this floor to ceiling closet has provided some closure! No doubt, there is some kind of extra storage in the apartment basement too - there usually is. 

See more of Mia's apartment and the family's summer cottage on her instagram @madebymor

See more serene living spaces here: 


This is not in Stockholm, but I just stumbled over this 'sofa make-over' Helen and I shot in her apartment   - it was such a fun day! 

Despite the calm home tour, it's all a little frantic here today. I'm on the early morning train to the IKEA headquarters in the forest for a meeting, and then racing back as my youngest and I are heading to London later today to visit my mother, sister and family (it's half-term here). Plus I am hoping to visit my wonderful editor from Simply Scandi magazine for whom I write a regular column. Guess what's on the forecast? More rain of course! 

Hope you're having a great week and that means your sunshine! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Mia / @madebymor.

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White and Brown tones in a Serene Swedish Attic Apartment

Tjena! Welcome back to the blog on this bright and sunny Monday! Oh, have I got a lovely Swedish apartment to share with you. but first, allow me to set the scene. 

When I was at Edinburgh university in Scotland, my flatmates and I always rented a top floor flat without a lift. It was what we could afford at the time and our young legs could bound up the four flights morning, noon and night without a problem - although it was infuriating to get to the ground floor only to realise you'd forgotten something. 

This beautiful maisonette in Gothenburg is located on what us Brits would refer to as the 'second floor' (Swedes would say third floor) - which in my mind is way more manageable. Plus, your efforts are really well rewarded thanks to stunning decor! Think dark wood beams, white-washed stonework, charming wood floors and a rooftop terrace high above the streets of Sweden's second largest city! Not only that, but it's been impeccably decorated in a sea of milky, natural tones. Be still, beating heart! 

If my university flats had looked anything like this, I'd still be there today! I hope you feel inspired by this beautifully decorated Swedish apartment too. 

It's all about the curves when it comes to the coffee table, Pacha-style armchair, Lato side table, vase and pendant light (the Nelson is similar). 

Can you spot the TV? 

Look at the layers of texture too - the sheepskin, blankets, wall hanging, curtains all help to add warmth, 

A little nook by the window is used as a home office space - perfect for capitalising on natural light. 

A Best lite, antique desk and In-between chair make a great combination. Sadly, my desk does not look like this today. 

Warm brown tones in the kitchen have been paired with white upper cabinets to ensure a light and airy feel. 

A Ferm Living desert lounge chair in the corner of the kitchen is perfect for a morning coffee!


It's common to have a washing machine in the bathroom in Sweden (unless there's a communal laundry in the basement of the flats).  

I was asked the other day about the lack of clothes in Swedish homes. Looking at the above hallway, it's a valid question! Despite the Scandinavian 'less is more' philosophy, owning one coat, one bag and one pair of shoes is a push for even the most dedicated of minimalists. Trust me, the average swede has way more kit than this! Some of the homes I show, like this one, are on the market and have been styled for sale - which means a whole load of stuff has been removed. One of the thoughts behind this is that removing personal items such as photos and clothes makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in the property. Makes sense, I think! 

Overall, a really lovely apartment - could you imagine living here? I certainly could! 

Have a great start to the week!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Stadshem with thanks.

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Shades of White in a Swedish Country Home on Gotland

In need of a little escape today? Buckle up friends, we're off to a serene country home on the Swedish island of Gotland

Julia Khouri lives in the North of the Baltic island with her husband and four children. Her home is a sea
of serenity with milky white shades throughout. "A light and simple look has always appealed to me and gives me a harmonious feeling at home," she explains.

Keep a look out for the mix of materials and texture which help to add interest and cosiness, the tiled masonry ovens and the blend of old and new (that bathroom cabinet!).


Have you noticed fee-standing range-style ovens creeping into Scandinavian homes more and more lately? This one is by Smeg.

The mix and match items - including a Little Petra armchair and antique table in the sitting room are lovely! I really appreciate a combination of old and new. 

It's not always easy to throw objects of different styles and eras together, but it works really well here because they share similar tones. 

You'll spot vintage glass cabinets throughout Julia's home. Not only do they look nice, but they also provide great storage. They are also hot property right now, but if you're prepared to get the paint brush out, you can still find one for a steal! 

I don't feel like I show enough TVs in the home tours - so here is an example! I like it when they are more of a side show than a focal point, as seen here, do you agree?

The master bedroom is also on the ground floor. Notice how Julia has added lace inside the cabinet, which adds a soft, romantic touch and also helps to hide the items inside for a calmer look. 

I really appreciate the way Julia has found furniture to fit all kinds of nooks in her home - seen here in the window (old Gotland homes often have deep walls like this), and also in the bathroom. 

It's no easy feat when you are working with vintage / antique finds. If you're looking for an item in particular for your home, it's important to know the measurements in advance and carry a tape measure with you. Or you can do what I recently did, find something you absolutely love, buy it and THEN work out where to put it. After all, a coveted second-hand item of beauty is not always easy to find, so you have to seize the opportunity when it arrives (if you have the space to store it)!

The bathroom has been renovated in a classic, timeless way. 

I have to say, out of all my years of blogging, I've never seen a bath this small in Scandinavia! I have been in one though - many years ago as a child on a visit to Morzine, France. I found it very relaxing - mainly because I didn't need to share it with my sister for once! It's a great idea if you'd love a bath but don't necessarily have the space. 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Julia's home as much as I have, and it has left you feeling inspired. 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

See more country homes today - or if you're looking for urban inspiration, check out the Danish apartment archive - it's one of my favourites! 

Kram! 

Niki

Photography Julia Khouri, shared with kind permission

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