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A Magical Farmhouse on a Hill In Vermont

One magical, sunny day in 2014, photographer James Gardiner and I made our way up a long, winding track in Vermont, USA. Eventually we came to a clearing, and there at the top of the hill amidst 100 acres of luscious New England pasture stood Nadine Dole's farmhouse. We spent the day shooting the house known as 'The Hill' for my book Modern Pastoral (now re-named to Relaxed Rustic). It would be a day I'll never forget. 

The remote farmhouse is simply furnished with a mixture of antiques, handmade items, vintage finds and wonderful pieces of art. Natural materials and a neutral colour scheme unify the eclectic pieces and work in harmony with the surroundings. The windows open inward and upward, filling the living space with a wonderful cool breeze - and providing uninterrupted views over open fields towards distant mountain ranges. 

Meals and afternoon tea are enjoyed at a 19th century pine harvest dining table. The natural woven seating of the dining chairs is slowly coming unraveled, enhancing the relaxed nature of the home. 

The kitchen is simple yet purposeful and made entirely from salvaged items. 

A row of linen aprons (this lovely linen apron* is similar) in muted makes a delightful display on the back wall. Vintage rolling pins are stored in the pockets. 

A Kasanof's & Paramount Bakeries tin bought in an antique store sits above the green armoire. The impressive 'Blueberry' painting is by John Young. 

Nadia collects art from all over the world. The nude portrait was found in a brocante (a secondhand market) in Maussane, France. Dried honeycombs found in the garden in winter rest on a table found at auction. 

An old schoolhouse light hangs above an ornate mirror and porcelain sink and a simple lion claw tub provides a perfect place for a soak while looking out over the pastures, where black bears, coyotes, wild deer and chickens wander freely. 

You can see more pictures of Nadia's magical home in my book Relaxed Rustic (formerly known as Modern Pastoral). 

I also love following Nadia's latest projects on her instagram

If you're as taken with her style as much as I am, you might also like to keep an eye out for one of her workshops - and if you're lucky enough to be in the area a little birdie tells me she might be opening a small shop, cafe or bakery (or perhaps all three?) soon! 

Discover other incredible country homes in the archive! 

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week!

Niki

PS There's currently a give-away over on instagram to win Relaxed Rustic along with five other interior books. 

PPS If you are one of the first to pick up a copy of Relaxed Rustic online and enjoy it, I'd be so happy if you could leave a review - thank you so much :)

Credit: Relaxed Rustic by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books (19.99 GBP). Photography by James Gardiner - copyright CICO Books. 

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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! 

Niki

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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Plant Tribe: An Inspiring New Coffee Table Book

It's Friday! Woohoo! Not that I have any wild plans ahead - but it will still be nice to put my feet up this weekend, how about you?! One thing I'll definitely be doing is reading my friend Igor Josifovic's new book - PLANT TRIBE. Launched a few weeks ago, Igor co-wrote the book with Judith de Graaff. It's their second book after the best-selling debut Urban Jungle and the pair also run the popular community Urban Jungle Bloggers). If you love plants, you'll love PLANT TRIBE. Igor and Judith delve into the many ways that nurturing plants help nurture the soul and offer inspiring advice for using plants to increase energy, creativity and well-being - and even attract love and prosperity. Say, what?! I'd better pay close attention! The book is also beautifully illustrated with photography by Jules Villbrandt. Here's a sneak peek at Tim Labenda's Berlin home which features in the book - and a few words from Igor! 


What was the idea behind PLANT TRIBE?
We wanted to write a book that changes our perspective on plants from merely decorating our homes and caring for them. We wanted to highlight how plants actually take care of us - making us happier, more creative, more balanced and more at peace with ourselves. All by making our homes more natural and beautiful. 

It takes a huge amount of work to create a book, but the process can be really rewarding. Is there anything that stood out to you?
We travelled throughout the USA, Brazil and Europe to make this book and we visited some amazing creative people in their plant-filled homes. We wanted to hear their personal stories, their bonds to plants, and why plants improved their lives on so many levels. 

We heard stories that made us laugh out loud and moved us to tears. These personal plant stories make the heart and soul of PLANT TRIBE. We hope this will inspire people to look at houseplants in a new and different way. 


Holding your book in your hands for the first time is such a special moment.  What are you most proud of? 
For the book, we worked with our friend and photographer Jules Villbrandt from Berlin. She managed to capture the magic moments, the personal bonds and emotions through her photography. To me, this book is a compound of good energy and positive vibes - just what we need right now more than ever before. 

Igor Josifovic

If you'd like to treat yourself to a copy of PLANT TRIBE, it's available through Amazon, Book Depositary as well as many other online retailers. You can also ask your local bookstore to order a copy or send a request to your library to stock it! 

Having seen a peek inside Tom's Berlin home in the book, I have a really strong urge to fill my home with plants now - how about you?! In case you'd like a little more inspirationt: 


Oh, and how did I not talk about that sculptural light in the first picture? - It's incredible, don't you think?! 

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend friends - see you Monday! 

Niki

Photography credits: Jules Villbrandt for Urban Jungle Bloggers except for the final two which were by Igor Josifovic

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New Interior Design Book: Modern Macramé

A new interior design book arrived on my desk this week and it's an absolute beauty! If you love the fine art of knotting and swoon-worthy boho interiors, you'll love Modern Macramé: 33 stylish projects for your handmade home* by Emily Katz. Not only does the tome include page after page of inspiring living spaces, it also offers a contemporary guide to the traditional art and craft of macramé. From wall hangings and plant hangers to lampshades, swings and even a tent (who knew?!), the book includes 33 achievable projects as well as ideas on how to incorporate the custom hand knotted pieces into your home. Time to get knotting!

//affiliated links marked with *//

Just looking at these pictures alone, which include a wall hanging, plant hangers, a day bed and bath mat makes me feel there's no end to what you can achieve with a little rope!

Feeling inspired?! Pick up a copy of the book here*!

In case you're on the look out for more interior design books for your wall of books or coffee table, there are a ton more to choose from in this archive.

If you have any great book recommendations (interior design or simply great summer reads) I'd love to hear about them in the comment section below!

Have a lovely day!

PS Did you recognise the home of Malia Grace Mau in the third picture down? I featured their beautiful Topanga Canyon home a few months back.

Featured with kind permission from Modern Macramé: 33 stylish projects for your handmade home* by Emily Katz, copyright © 2018. Published by ten speed press, a division of penguin random house, inc. text and tutorial photographs © 2018 by Emily Katz; interior design photographs © 2018 by Nicole Franzen.

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'The Scandinavian Home' Book now in German and Italian / A Relaxed Artist's Home in Oslo

Since I'm at the Salones Del Mobile in Milan right now (picking up the latest design / trend news to share with you!) I thought it would be perfect timing to announce some news for my Italian and German friends: my book The Scandinavian Home is now available in Italian and German (yay! I definitely did a little dance when I received them in the post!). To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to share some snapshots from one of the lovely spaces in the book: the relaxed home of artist Maria Øverbye in Oslo. Located in a former school house, the building is blessed with high ceilings (11 foot / 3.5 metres high to be exact) and large spacious rooms and furnished almost entirely with second hand finds. The result is a unique home which is as quirky as it is charming. I'll never forget the day I spent at here chatting with Maria over a fika and sharing lots of laughs (as well as a busy day of shooting). I hope you enjoy the tour!



 Maria has shunned standard kitchen units, preferring to use individual items found over the years. A modern range oven sits next to a little wooden table picked up at a flea market over 20 years ago. 

"If you have one awkward piece it won't work, but lots of awkward pieces together create coherence."

 Maria and her friends like to swap artwork. In the sitting room, a vintage industrial lamp bought on eBay is used to light up a photo by Benedikte Ugland of an old lady from Gudbrandsdalen.

" Like many Norwegians, I want my home to have a clean, minimalist look. Having many textures in the same room makes it welcoming and interesting."



 "My children were able to play without worrying about damaging anything - and each nick and scratch bring back a memory."


"I like my home to feel unfinished. I love the patina of dry, soft grey plaster. it makes it a little rougher, which I think is beautiful."


Maria's bedroom is a personal haven and somewhere she can go to "be alone from the world." A dramatic photograph by Anja Niemi hangs over the bed. If she's feeling a little more sociable, there's a daybed linked to the kitchen too (seen below).

 Thank you for a wonderful day at your home Maria! 


If you'd like to see more, The Scandinavian Home is available in English, Italian and German  - and you can also order it through your local book shop and library.

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback so far - and also to Vogue for including it in their recent round-up of design books - it means so much!  

Ciao for now!

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

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New Interior Book: How The French Live

Heads up (or noses in?!), there's a new interior book on the shelves! Curator of one of my favourite blogs French By Design (if you don't follow her already, it's a must!) Siham Mazouz launched her debut tome How the French Live last month - and it's a beauty! Si moved from the South of France to the USA nine years ago. The book features fourteen French homes each with their own relaxed, yet chic style and every chapter closes with a family recipe to prolong the warmth of the hospitality they've shared. I caught up with Si to find out more.


"Modern French families tend to mix and match décor elements from different eras and styles to create unique interiors that represent them."




I know just how much work goes into a book and was so impressed you wrote it, did the styling and took all the photography - what a feat!!
"I wrote all the content and shot all the pictures but the styling credits go the homeowners. They did an amazing job preparing their home for my visit; I really wanted this book to be an authentic window into the French culture and these families' lifestyles, so you'll see electrical cables and hidden objects of 'real' life, because this is how an interior really looks." 

"(In France) meals are a way to connect, to exchange, to build memories. I therefore asked each family to share their signature recipe".


What would you like people to take away from your book?
"I’d love for people to approach their décor in a simpler, more intuitive and authentic way; let go of rules and pressures to fit decor standards (less house) and focus on what really matters (more home). In the end, our home is where the magic happens and where we build memories with people who matter to us; Have fun decorating your nest and let your home tell your personal story!"



What are your fondest memories from the project?
"My fondest memory is by far the human connections I made while visiting these 14 families. Because I was a one-woman show, I was recording all conversations on a small recorder while shooting the space and chatting with the homeowner. It led to deeper exchanges and a whole new approach to décor: the human story behind the space I was photographing. This was amazing."

It must feel so personal to you - what was it like finally getting the book in your hands? 
It was a surreal moment; I was an emotional mess, bursting of joy and tearing up with emotion at the same time, when I finally held my first physical copy of How The French live. It was so strange to see all my work, edited through months and months of work, copywriting while listening to hours of vice recordings, caption writing, all gathered in one book. I felt proud and very humbled at the same time, I still do when I turn the pages of the book and I often have a smile on my face because I remember my encounter with each of these lovely families.



Thank you so much for telling us about your lovely book Si! I know I'll be dipping in and out for inspiration (and the odd recipe like the grilled fig and burrata salad!).

If you'd like to pick up a copy it's available here:

How the French Live: Modern French Style

Have a lovely day!


All Photography (except the cover shot and spreads which I photographed on my kitchen table earlier today!) are by Siham Mazouz for How the French Live, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

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Beautiful inspiration from 'Your Creative Work Space'

What does your work / creative space look like? Do you love to sit there and tinker away? I'm sure you're familiar with mine, although more often than not I'm elsewhere - at the kitchen table, on the sofa, in the window, a nearby communal workspace or in a café. A wise friend told me recently that if you don't use a zone (it might be for no other reason that it simply doesn't feel right!), it means it's either in the wrong place, or you have designed it in the wrong way for the task. So true! A few days later the beautiful book Your Creative Work Space: The Sweet Spot Style Guide to Home Office + Studio Decor by Desha Peacock landed on my desk. It was a sign! Known for her eclectic style and helping others see the possibility within themselves, their homes and personal style, Peacock advises that 'your physical setting can either hamper or elevate' your creative calling and offers tips on designing a creative workspace that will inspire the work you are meant to do. The book is packed with beautiful work spaces belonging to artists, designers, craftspeople, writers, and stylists - all of which will make you want to revamp your office in a heartbeat. Here are a few of my favourites:








Aren't these spaces just so inspiring?! Does it tempt to you to pick up the book and make some changes? I can't wait to get started - watch this space!

Your Creative Work Space, by Desha Peacock is published by Skyhorse Press, NYC and is available
here.

Oh and good news, you can win a signed copy over on Instagram today! Yay!

For more workspace inspiration you might like to check out my office space/studio archive (featuring more of Justina Blakeney's fabulous LA studio, the magnificent Studio Slow and Holly Marder's atelier!).

Have a lovely day!

Photography credits: 1 + 2. Justina Blakeney 3. Anisa Rrapaj  4. Johanna Stark's home office by Emil Larsson 5. Sara Banner.  6. Leslie Woodward

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