Scrolling

Before and After - My Swedish Home Makeover!

Last night I was clearing out a cupboard and came across the estate agent pamphlet for our house from when we bought it. I knew we'd made some changes over the 12 years but looking back at the pictures made me realise just how far we'd come! At the time, we were living in a small apartment just down the road and when the house came on the market, we knew it would be perfect for us, but it was over budget. And then we had a stroke of luck. No one wanted it!! Being a consistently 'hot' house market, this was incredibly unusual in Malmö, particularly in a popular area by the sea - where homes tend to sell within weeks, if not days. The estate agent explained that potential buyers had turned their noses up at it, saying it 'didn't have the right feeling'. 

When Per and I went to view the property, we understood what they meant. No one lived there (it was used as an occasional city bolthole by a businessman who had a permanent abode in the countryside) and the living space lacked soul. In addition, it featured some pretty questionable decor choices.... and the dark wood wall and floors made the entire space really dark. It felt gloomy and somewhat depressing - hardly a home to aspire to! The price dropped dramatically and became within reach (although still a stretch!). Despite the appearance, we could see its potential, and would be mainly cosmetic. Plus, it meant acquiring a house in the area we so loved! We jumped at it! 

I'll never forget finally getting the keys in our hands and our first night in the house. I simply couldn't believe it was ours! Twelve years, two children and multiple interior changes later, we're still just as happy in our home today.  

Here's how it has changed over time:

Kitchen / Dining  Before 

Kitchen / Dining After

The very first thing we did was give the entire house a lick of fresh white matt paint (with the help of parents Father and Stepmother!). It would serve as a blank canvas until we decided which way to go in terms of colour. Many of the walls remain white today, although we've added some deeper, earthy shades in some parts of the house. 

We also got someone in to sand down and whitewash the oak floors which immediately lightened up the entire living space. 

We loved the existing Marbodal kitchen units and backsplash - they've served us well over time. We kept them and instead focused our attention on installing better appliances such as an induction hob and new fridge and freezer. 


The kitchen lacked work surfaces, so we added a new kitchen island (there was one when we arrived but it was tiny - you can see a glimpse of it here). The unit is just from IKEA but one of those pieces that fell into place and felt like it had always been there!). It's become a popular gathering place (not only for people - but also the daily post, keys and even sports equipment as the kids fly in through the door - yes, it drives me insane!). But it DOES look lovely on the occasional times it's clear (or better still, has a G+T on it!).


Per has owned the wooden dining table for years. it's made of solid wood so can be sanded down and restored whenever the need arises. It's a really timeless piece and something I can imagine always having in our home. There's no marking on it sadly, so we're not sure of the brand. 

We transformed the corner into a reading nook, which has become one of the most popular places in the home - and means we can all relax in the same room, while doing our own thing! At Christmas the daybed is placed in the attic and replaced with a tree! Years back, we even had a bubble chair hanging in that corner

All the storage was in place when we moved in, and as a family of hoarders, we're still grateful for it. We're unsure what they had planned for the recess - maybe a TV? But it serves as a great, cosy dining seat nook today! 

Sitting Room Before





Sitting Room After


I'm not opposed to dark wood walls - they can look fab in a 50's style residence. But since the house is overshadowed by an apartment block, it can get really dark in the afternoons. Painting the wood white immediately lifted the entire living room area. 

For the first few years it looked like this - and then later we changed the sofa (the cover of which is constantly updated thanks to Bemz - you can check out the many transformations here and here) and added a gallery wall. 



 Open plan space on middle floor (before)

Open plan space on middle floor (after)

Confused?! As much as we'd loved to have had a second sitting room, we needed the extra bedroom. So, Per and a friend built a wall (on the opposite side of the wall from the pillow end of the bed are the stairs) - creating an extra bedroom for my teenage stepson. We removed the shelves to make room for the bed and painted the wall a cosy dark blue! See the complete make-over here

Second bedroom before

Second Bedroom After



Allie's bedroom has changed many times over the year - and will no doubt change countless times more as she grows! The original blue shade felt really cold in a North facing room. The first change we made was to paint them a fresh white (as seen here when the girls shared the room when they were small). We later painted the walls a more earthy, warm shade to add a cosy feel when Liv moved into her own room. I shared the DIY make-over here

Top floor sitting room before

That sofa! 

After

The top floor was originally a sitting room - and we kept it as such for the first few years. But slowly we realised no one was using it - which was a real waste as it's one of the most beautiful, light-filled rooms in the house. So, we transformed it into our master bedroom and home office. And never looked back! 

When we first moved up there the walls were white - as seen here

It's been various shades over the years. For now, we've settled on 'blushing peach' by Jotun Lady, which has a wonderful, calm and cosy feel.


We painted the wood floor 'strong white' by Farrow & Ball (which is actually more of a pale grey). Per designed and built the shelves using planks, wire and nuts and bolts from a local hardware store. 

I sometimes use the corner of the bedroom as my home office when I'm not at the studio (seen below). Today the wall is dark brown ('Norwegian Wood' by Jotun Lady) but it has also been white (you might recognise it from the front cover of interior book 'Everything In Its Place'!). 

We also transformed the nook (above) into a home office for Per during the pandemic - here's a glimpse

The entire room has become a real haven - and like a mini apartment within a house. We love it! 

I have to say, it's been so much fun to take this trip down memory lane, thank you for humouring me! 

When I have days when I wonder why the progress in our house is so slow (there's a reason I've never shown our bathrooms! - potential project for Autumn, perhaps? Don't tell Per just yet...!), I'll look back at these and see how far we've actually come! 

Our house buying decision also taught me an important lesson. At a viewing, take into account the basic bones of the property (the shape, the era etc.). Don't let the 'feeling' or 'soul' put you off. That's something you can add once you move in!   

If in doubt, check out the before and after archive, it's quite incredible how much you can change a property with a little vision, time, effort and money. And some homes, like mine - might just need a lick of paint! 

Don't believe me? Here are some of my favourite 'before and afters' of all time:


I'd love to hear the story about your home - how you found it, how it felt to finally get the keys in your hand (whether as a renter or homeowner), and any changes you've made! 

Niki

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
7


Per's Best Tips On Laying Hardwood Flooring Yourself







A few weeks ago I mentioned we needed a new wood floor in our open-plan living, kitchen and dining room. Thank you so much to everyone who shared their thoughts on which floor to go for - we loved reading all your comments, they were so helpful! After much deliberation, we decided to go for the Cured Oak LYBY wide plank (28 cm), with a rustic, white matte lacquer finish from Swedish brand Bjelin. We felt the wide plank fitted well with our modern townhouse and loved the light tone with a subtle yet lively, natural rustic touch (being a naturally dark room we were keen to brighten it up as much as possible). The cured wood is also known for being incredibly strong and hard wearing - perfect with the crazies around! Here's a close-up:


Rather than get someone in to install the floor professionally, we (or perhaps I should say Per!) decided it would be more fun to do it ourselves. With the work well underway, I thought it could be interesting to ask Per a little more about the workings of a wood floor, how difficult they are to lay and whether he'd recommend it!

Have you ever laid a wood floor before?
Yes, which actually made me hesitate to do it again as it was pretty difficult to get it right (*laughs*)

Why's that?
I started at one end but left a small gap, which made it tricky to lay the next row and so on. A small error at the beginning meant it took me way longer than it should have done. But the end result was good, which gave me the confidence to give it another go! 

Why would you prefer to lay a wood floor yourself than get someone in professionally? 
I think it's a nice feeling to know you've done it yourself: there's a certain pride in it. Of course, you save money in the process too, which is also a bonus!



Could anyone lay a wood floor?
I would say that anyone could lay a wood floor like this one. This time it was much easier because Bjelin floors have a special locking system which means the planks click into place without the need to use glue or nails. The only time it can get a little fiddly is around places like the radiators - but there's always a solution!

Are there any useful sources if you get stuck? 
Our wood floor came with a step-by-step installation instruction sheet. I also find YouTube tutorials helpful - especially when dealing with trickier areas.

What tools do you need to lay a wood floor?
The only power tool I used was a jigsaw but it would also have been good to have used a circular saw to cut the planks to the right size. You should also wear an eye mask and preferably a work bench and clamp to cut the wood planks too!

Side note: as with any work environment, you should also wear good, protective clothing - such as proper shoes (something I will think about for next time!). Thank you for the 'unknown' for pointing this out in the comment section, very good point and very important! 



How do you prep a room before laying the floor?  
1. Remove the furniture from the room (since ours is quite a large area, we shifted the furniture over to one side and then shifted it back once we had finished the section)
2. Remove the skirting boards and mark the back of them with a pencil so you know exactly where they were (it can be tricky to remember otherwise which can be time consuming later on).
3. Remove old flooring
4. If you're lucky there'll be an underlay already in place, if not you'll need to lay one.
5. Give the surface a clean.

Do you have any advice for anyone laying a wood floor for the first time?
Choose a good quality floor, preferably with a locking system like Bjelin's and dare to throw yourself at the task. Planning things in advance like which side of the room to start and plotting any tricky areas will save time later. If in doubt, get advice from your dealer. Also, measure up to five times before you cut any wood- a stitch in time saves nine! 



Did you make any errors this time? 
Not really. A professional floor layer would probably have made a cleaner job around the radiators, but I found that a special filler matching the tone of the wood did wonders to cover up any imperfections!

How long did it take for you to lay the floor?
Around 3-4 days in total. And no doubt 3-4 years to finish the details (like repainting the skirting boards etc!).

Did you learn anything for next time?
Next time? Are you plotting something Niki?

Might be...!
After removing the skirting boards and old floor, I'd give the walls and ceilings a fresh lick of paint before I lay the new floor.

Any final words to anyone considering laying a wood floor? 
Laying a wood floor yourself may sound daunting, but if you have the time and energy, it's a surprisingly easy task and you'll feel really proud knowing you did yourself!

***

What do you reckon, do you recognise this from laying your own wood floor? If so, perhaps you have some more tips to share with us. If you're about to get a new wood floor and considering laying it yourself, I hope this has given you the confidence to dive in!

I can't wait to show you the final results next Sunday!

Niki

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
4

Time for A New Wood Floor - Which Sample Is Your Favourite?

Houston, we have a problem. We need a new wood floor. It's not a decision to take lightly - but sadly, ours has bitten the dust! When we moved in over 12 years ago, our open-plan living room featured a dark oak floor throughout. It's a really dark room, so we decided to lighten it up by sanding down the floor and then applying a whitewash. It was only then that we realised that the owners before us had laid a laminate oak wood floor -  and the actual oak element was only a couple of millimetres thick. It looked beautiful to begin with, but over time, cracks started to appear, and the edges of the laminate started to furl. You can catch a glimpse in the picture above as well as the close-ups below! 


It had been bothering us for a while, since a tired looking floor can really bring the entire look of a room down. But the final straw came on New Year's Eve when we had a bit of a raucous party which resulted in a dance-off until 4am (remember those days before the - whisper it - 'C' word?). It was great fun, but our poor floor was not up to it - and great lengths of laminate became dislodged. It was definitely time to get a new wood floor! 

Where to start?!  
Living in Scandinavia, a wood flooring is the obvious choice - and thankfully we don't have a dog so   we're confident that the right wood floor would be a great, sustainable, long lasting option. The natural material helps to draw nature indoors and add warmth and depth top a room. There is an overwhelming array of options out there, but I already knew I wanted one of two looks: herringbone parquet or a wide plank. 

Herringbone Parquet

It's no secret that I've always loved a parquet floor (see my 'all hail the parquet floor' feature) - aren't they stunning?! The herringbone parquet floor in particular is hugely popular in Sweden and many turn-of-the-century homes are blessed with original versions, in all their creaky glory. This particular Boden oak with a matt finish in 'extra white' is absolutely stunning, the only thing is, our townhouse is modern (it was built in 2001 which incidentally makes it 20 years old this year - time for another party?!) so we felt we needed something a little more contemporary. 

Wide plank oak

I've been fan of wide plank floors for a long time. There's something really clean and contemporary about them and yet they still add a lot of warmth to a space (this one is the wide plank SVANSHALL in hardened oak - isn't it beautiful?).  Are you a fan too? Per and I agreed that this option would be the best one for our open-plan living space. 

The brand
Bjelin - one of Europe's largest floor manufacturers - was an obvious choice for us. Their wide plank wood floors are produced not far up the coast and since we're planning to lay the floor ourselves - we like that their planks click together without glue or nails. They also have a great sustainable approach: maximising the use of every log, reusing waste as filler or energy and sourcing raw materials from responsibly managed forests. And finally, they sell beautiful wide plank flooring made from cured the wood, which is super strong (roll on New Year's Eve!). Yay! 

Samples
It's one thing looking at the pictures on a website, it's another thing entirely testing out samples. We approached Bjelin and tested out as many samples as we could. We wanted to make sure that the wood had more of a grey tint (and not a yellow or beige note that might get more pronounced as time goes on). We also wanted to make sure that the wood wasn't too dark and fitted the design of the room (it's amazing how much a wood floor can change a space!). Here are a few of the wood floors we tested: 

Clockwise from left to right: Loarp, Lyby, Torekov, Arild, Hittarp

Do you have a favourite? 

I'd love to hear about your favourite wood floor style - and any tips and advice you might have from laying a wood floor in your home! Feeling a little nervous!

I promise to update you soon! 

Niki

PS Stop by tomorrow to take a peek around a breath-taking Danish summer cottage, it'll have you dreaming of a summer in Scandinavia all weekend! 

Photo 1: My Scandinavian Home. All other photos: Bjelin

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
13

Per's New Home Office (With Beautiful Pieces From Skovby)

Brand story*:
I love discovering new Scandinavian brands, don't you? One of my latest favourites is Skovby. The Danish family business was founded in 1933 by cabinet maker Thorvald Rasmussen. His son Villy Rasmussen and grandsons Preben and Jørgen Rasmussen have continued his legacy - expanding the collection to include highly functional dining tables, chairs, storage, cabinets and other pieces.  with a strong focus on craftsmanship, natural materials and sustainability.

One of the biggest draws, is Skovby's strong focus on craftsmanship, natural materials and sustainability and how the furniture combines a strong design aesthetic with innovative functionality - Scandinavian design heritage it's finest!

I've been really keen to experience the furniture firsthand ever since. And this week, I found just the project!

Due to the circumstances we are all facing, right now Per and I are both working from home. As you can imagine this comes with its fair share of, shall we say, challenges! Perhaps, most alarming of all is that I'm having to endure entire maths and physics lessons (Per's a sixth form teacher) - subjects I thought I'd safely left long behind me in my school days!

From Per's side, the main issue has been trying to hold classes via video link from the kitchen table - not easy when you have kids rocking about making themselves sandwiches in the background. So, I thought it was high time to design a temporary home office that he can call his own!



A window nook in the corner of our bedroom presented a perfect spot since the (DIY) shelves were already in place and it's an area that's flooded with light - perfect for online conferences! 

I added a new Skovby #131 Home Desk in solid oak white oil with a top in white laminate (it's also available in oak lacquer, oak solid oil, oak solid white oil, oak white oil with top in black nano laminate, walnut oil and walnut oil with top in white laminate finishes). 

To match, I chose a classic and contemporary SKOVBY #52 dining chair in oak white oil with a hard wearing Brahms 21 seat fabric (check out all the other options here!). 

The devil is in the details - and I love that the desk has a built-in drawer (with soft-closing) for storing paper, calculators, and other bits and bobs. Check out the brown lining too! 


I also love the USB plug-in for charging your phone. In my mind, any form of cable-management is always a welcomed touch - I'm not good with cables! 

In the pics above and below picture you can also catch a glimpse of some of the other pieces I added including a Tip table lamp, two felt baskets for paperwork, Edge vases - and the all important Edge mug (is it just me, or does anyone else remember just how much coffee teachers drink?!). 



This close up also demonstrates the beautiful oak. When carefully maintained (Skovby offer a an entire care collection which helps you ensure your furniture stays in tip top condition) - the furniture can last a lifetime and be passed onto the next generation, a true investment piece, and part of Scandinavia's ingrained sustainability ethos. 




I think Per's one very lucky guy, don't you?! I'm not sure he's ever worked in a spot like this before (trust me, I've seen his staff room!).

Maybe I'll even pick-up on some new math skills along the way (I can actually see Per spitting out his coffee at this!!) - let's just say, we're both grateful my maths lessons are a distant memory!). How were you at physics and maths?! Kudos to anyone who could have worked out the equation below! 

In all seriousness, it feels great to have been able to create an extra home office so we could each have somewhere comfortable to sit during the day. These creature comforts are so important right now, don't you think?

And, I hope this post goes to show that all you need is a good desk and chair (and a few smaller bits and bobs)! I can highly recommend these fine 100% Danish pieces! 

Check out the full Skovby range here and find your nearest stockist

Have a great weekend, stay well! 

Niki

A big thank you to Helen Sturesson for working with me on the interior design and styling for the shoot. 

*This post is a paid partnership with Skovby, however all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and can highly recommend. Thank you for supporting the brands who help me to create fresh content! 

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
9

Beautiful Danish Lamps In My Study - In Shades of Toffee and Smoke

Brand news: 
A few weeks ago, I showed a beautiful photographer's home from the Danish island of Bornholm - and it was a perfect reminder of the sheer creativity on the island. As you're aware, one of my favourite 'makers' is located right there in the Baltic Sea: Pernille Bülow. I absolutely can't get enough of her mouth blown SKY lamps, and Per is mesmerised too (always helpful when the man is on board too, don't you think?!). A few weeks ago Pernille Bülow launched three new beautiful shades: Smoke, Toffee and Green. As a fan of all things earthy, I immediately reached out about the toffee and smoke variant to hang in my home office along with hate clear version I already have. It was like everything just fell into place. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?! 

The mouth blown glass pendants all have unique organic shapes and feel so beautifully smooth. I love the small imperfections too as they show that they are individually made in the atelier. 

For this cluster I have used: Smoke large, Toffee medium, Clear gold medium.  


You can choose between brass / gold or chrome / grey fittings (I love the former for my home) and if tones of brown aren't your thing there are 11 different colours to choose from (they also look great hung individually). 


I love it when a plan comes together! 

Could you imagine having the these beautiful lamps somewhere in your home? 

If you're curious about where else you might be able to hang them, check out how they look in other areas of my home (and in various shades):


FYI they ship worldwide

I love my little home office even more now. In other news: Per is teaching from home right now and there's always a little tussle over who sits here. So, this week I'm turning the window nook in our bedroom into a home office / study just for him. Keep an eye on the blog for the results (and hopefully, one very happy man). 

Niki

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Pernille Bülow, however all words and pictures are my own. Thank you for supporting the wonderful businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible! 

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It
4
 

site by Ana Degenaar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
MORE INFO