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A Serene Swedish Home In A Berlin Rental

I seem to have fallen into a phase of featuring homes of expat Scandinavians right now - and based on the messages in my inbox, I'm not the only one feeling inspired by them. So, today I thought I'd share the home of a Swede living in Berlin! Ellinor Belvén was born and raised on the island of Kungsholmen in the centre of Stockholm. Ellinor moved to Berlin around 8 years ago and founded SALTY Interiors with her friend Annetta in 2016. I caught up with her to find out more about her home, her journey to becoming an interior designer and how living abroad has influenced her style. Welcome to Ellinor's world! 

Have you always wanted to be an interior designer?
Ever since I was a child, I was exposed to art and music. I started singing in a choir at the age of 6 and continued my journey in music schools all the way up to high school. In addition to the music, I had lots of interaction with architecture and interior styling, as family members were working in the field. Leaving the music path however, I started a new journey into the business administration field with my University degree (Master's in Business Administration & Economics). I worked a few years with numbers, but soon felt a great need of surrounding myself in a creative atmosphere again. And so, after moving to Berlin, I was able to combine my financial skills with the creative, and I worked as a buyer in the e-commerce interior market. This opened up new possibilities, and in 2016 I quit my day job and created SALTY Interiors with my friend Annetta. We have been running our SALTY business for 4 years now and are really happy to see the success we’ve achieved. All those long hard hours are so worth it!

Can you tell us a little more about SALTY Interiors?
SALTY Interiors is a creative agency specialised in interior architecture and visual content creation. We work closely with private clients, interior brands as well as real estate agencies to provide expertise in every work field. We are passionate about creating comfortable and beautiful spaces, working with natural and sustainable materials, as well as keeping the aesthetics light with a minimalistic warm touch. Annetta & Ellinor; both coming from Nordic countries (Iceland & Sweden), we were raised surrounded by design and a general understanding about form and interior style. With a background in interior sourcing & buying we started our business in 2016 and since then we have combined our strength in buying and our desire to create. We look at each project like an empty canvas and an opportunity to create something unique.  

Your home is beautiful, when was it built?
I moved into this beautiful “Altbau-wohnung” (the name in German), which is a house built sometime before the 1930’s. It has the typical “Altbau-features” like high ceiling (approx 3.30m), stucco and ornamented double doors between the two big connected rooms. It’s a 2 room + kitchen apartment, which measures around 75 sqm.
  

How did you approach the interior? 
Since it’s a rental flat, I didn't want to put in too much money into renovation, so I simply did what I could with a small budget. That meant a lot of time spent painting walls! In the two big rooms (living room and bedroom) I have painted the walls in 4 colours, all very different, but still coherent with one another. In the living room I have warm grey on three walls and deep forest green on one wall, and in the bedroom three walls of beige, and one wall of dusty pink. Since the rooms are connected with the double doors, it was important that the colours fit together, in any way you turn your head.









Would you say your style is still very much Scandinavian or have you been influenced by German / Berlin style? 
I would say my style is very Scandinavian. The one element that I love about the German/Berliner mindset however, is that people would prefer to give away old furniture than throw it away, which means that there is furniture on the street (“Zu Verschenken” - to give away) everywhere. I have several pieces of furniture in my flat that I found this way, my kitchen table and bed headboard for example.

Table from Nor11, sculpture by Kristiina, Cooee 'pastille' vase

Despite being fairly minimalist, your home still looks lovely and cosy, how did you achieve this? 
It’s very important to me that my home feels cosy and inviting. I want to be able to relax and feel at ease, and safe in my space. I work a lot with coherent colourways (as already mentioned) and a lot of textiles make any room feel more comfortable. I also love plants and have lots of them on every windowsill and on every table. 


Where do you shop for pieces for your home?
I use a lot of different sources for my interior pieces, either it’s brands that I work with, old furniture that I brought from Sweden when I moved, or I find furniture on the streets of Berlin. But of course, I have my fair share of IKEA furniture too. The trick is to mix old and new and make it your own style. 

And finally, can you share your favourite interior instagrams with us? 

What a lovely, calm home! 

I love the idea of finding items out on the street - they leave pieces out like that in Copenhagen too, but sadly not in Malmö. Do they do this in your city? It must save so much hassle - and also reinforces the idea that one man's trash is another man's treasure! 

Got a mo? See more pictures of Ellinor's home on the SALTY Interiors instagram feed and the latest swoon-worthy projects by SALTY Interiors here

Other beautiful Berlin homes:


Have a great day - halfway there folks! Wooop! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of SALTY Interiors

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Before and After: A Run Down Property becomes a Beautiful Swedish Farmhouse

Ever driven passed a dilapidated house in your neighbourhood and dreamt about bringing it back to its former glory? I'd actually parked that thought - until I spotted interior designer Sandra Östlind's beautiful farmhouse. When Sandra bought the property, it was in need of a complete overhaul, which would be enough to put off even the most prolific DIYer. But Sandra and her partner saw it as an opportunity. After a painstaking renovation, which involved a new roof, stripping and painting the facade as well as an interior gut job, Sörbergets Farm in Västerbotten County, Sweden, has become a beautiful light and airy family home. Let's take a peek at the transformation.

Exterior Before

After
For the facade, Sandra developed her own paint colour known as 'Sandras sörvit' - and available through Stuv Butiken. The difference is quite incredible! 

Before
After
Sandra swapped out the old, rotten front door for a new 'Bleckhall Långeskär door from Doorly, painted in her own blend: Sandras Skogsgrön (available at Stuv Butiken as before). The wall light is a classic style for this type of Swedish house - and bought from Ljus Experten.

Before

After
The existing kitchen was stopped out and replaced with traditional Swedish Marbodal units in 'Fagerö Beige'. 




Cabinet Before

After
Slight diversion from the room 'before and afters' here - but I wanted to include this cabinet update as an inspiring reminder of how you can easily transform a flea market find with a lick of paint!

Children's room before

After
Perhaps the craziest renovation of all in this home is the Ebbe's room. It's gone from a derelict upstairs loft space into a beautiful children's room that oozes character and old school charm. I particularly love the wallpaper (from Stuvbutiken) with matching blinds from Ikea and the exposed beams. 

Hallway / entrance before 

After
Sandra sanded down the wood panels on the ceiling before applying 'Helvit' from Herdins Färgverk and pretty 'Dahlia Garden' wallpaper by Boråstapeter. 

Before Entrance

After 
Sometimes you scratch the surface of these old houses and realise the issue is a whole lot bigger than you bargained for. This is what happened with the entrance. Sandra was planning on changing the door (as before), but it turned out the wall was so rotten that she had to replace the entire wall and window. Every cloud has a silver lining though - now their entrance is a lot brighter as a result!

What a wonderful transformation! I live the calming green tones throughout, and the fresh feel of the space. 

It has me dreaming of a house renovation project all over again (don't tell Per!), how about you?

You can see more of Sandra's lovely country home over on her instagram feed @sandrashem

If you feel like marvelling over more before and after reveals, why not delve into this archive - some of the transformations are absolutely incredible! 

I hope you're feeling as inspired as I am! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Sandra Östlind, shared with kind permission. 

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Mindful Decorating: Tips and A Tour of a Cosy Swedish Home in Holland

This grey, rainy Tuesday in Malmö calls for a day indoors - preferably in 'mysbyxor' (comfy track pants) and some very chunky knit socks (although these days I swear by my Swedish Shephard slippers!). Slightly further South, founder of Hemma Interiors Matilda Kristoffersson, a Swede living in Amersfoort, The Netherlands is cosying up at home with her Dutch husband Thijs and their three children Luuk (2.5 years) and newborn twins Joep and Lill. Matilda is an interior stylist who prides herself on a 'feeling first' approach. The mindful home has become a hot topic in recent times, especially as we find ourselves spending a copious amount of time indoors. I caught up with Matilda to find out a more about what it means and garner a few tips. 

Can you tell us a little about your house? 
We live in a terraced house measuring 135 square meters, divided over three floors. On the ground floor, we have our kitchen, dining, and living room as one open space with warm oak floors throughout. On the first floor we have our bedroom, family bathroom and our children's bedrooms  (Joep and Lill share a room). On the third floor, we have an attic space with high ceilings which serves as my workspace as well as a guest room for when my family comes over from Sweden. Both the first and second floor has white stained pine wood floors. I am very traditional Swedish in that I love white walls and light wooden floors. The house is situated on a quiet street in a newly built area with a canal just in front which we can see from our large windows in the kitchen and our bedroom. It is a great place for children to grow up and our son often plays with his friends out on the street in front of our house. 

How has being Scandinavian influenced your style and work? 
Being Swedish I think home is something really important. It gets pretty dark and cold during a big part of the year, so we tend to spend a lot of time in our homes, and that of our friends. I am very passionate about helping and inspiring others to create a home that truly makes them feel good and “at home” via my company Hemma Interiors (hemma means "home" in Swedish). I do this via my Instagram, my Online Course in Mindful Interior, and a new Guided Room Meditation that I am about to release. 

That sound really exciting, I'll be keeping a look out for your course! How has your interest in mindfulness and your Swedish background contributed to your home decorating? 
I take a mindful and “feeling first”  approach to how I decorate our home. This means that I think about how I want to feel in a space, and then connect this to design and style choices. So there is quite a mix of styles in our home with a more rustic kitchen, minimalistic bedroom, eclectic and classic look in the living room. But our entire home is still very Scandinavian I would say. In order to have a peaceful flow in the house, each space still has a similar color palette and materials; I’m very traditional Swedish in that I love a white wall and natural wood. We buy most of our furniture second hand as I believe that it is the best for our environment and it gives a very personal feeling to a home. I also buy a lot from IKEA (also second hand often) which I hack and upgrade to make my own. This really gives an outlet for my creativity.


Mindful decorating has become a big topic lately, can you tell us more about it?
When people hear I combine mindfulness and interior, they assume that it must mean minimalism and light colors, kind of like walking into a yoga studio. But in reality, a mindful interior does not necessarily mean that it looks in a certain type of way, but rather it is about the power of really tuning into our own personal style and focusing on how you really want to feel in your home, rather than how it looks from an outside perspective. Something I call “Feeling First” interior.

I think how we feel in our homes have become even more important over the last few months as we spend so much time in them now. Our homes are, and can be, so much more than just a place where we eat, sleep and watch TV. It is truly a space that we can use to relax, spend loving time with family and friends, and fully be ourselves in. 
  

How does mindful decorating differ from the usual way you might approach decorating a home? 
Decorating your home in a mindful way, 'Feeling First' instead of 'Design First', flips around the traditional decorating and interior process. You start off by exploring how you want to feel in your home, and then think about what type of colors, materials, designs and styles fit with this feeling. It is about starting from who you are and realizing your own personal style in your home, rather than trying to recreate that of someone else. And by doing so, empowering yourself to be and show who you really are in your home. Because if we are not able to celebrate our true selves in our own homes, then where else?


Do you have any tips for anyone looking to try a mindful approach to decorating? 
To me, the core of mindfulness is to embrace what is and be grateful for what you have in the now - because at the end of the day that is all we ever have - this moment now. By embracing what our homes are right now we can decorate from a place of gratitude and start to truly connect to how we want to live in them. I believe that we all have something that I call “Interior Intuition”, a sort of powerful guiding gut feeling of how we want our homes to look and feel. The trick is just to learn how to connect to it, and trust it. 


Here are three tips to get your started: 

  1. Dare to listen to, and trust, your own interior intuition
  2. Start with gratitude. Embrace what is already there rather than get caught up in the things you don’t like 
  3. Think about how you want to feel in your space rather than how you want it to look

***

Thank you so much to Matilda for sharing her home tour and mindful interior tips. Oh - and a big congratulations are in order on little Joep and Lill! 

You can find out more about Matilda's online courses here.

I hope you found this topic as interesting as I did - do share your thoughts below, I'd love to hear them! 

Niki

Photography: Matilda Kristofferson 

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A Beautifully Serene White Swedish Home

If this beautiful, light and airy Swedish apartment doesn't offer a breather this week, I don't know what will. It's full of light, perfectly balanced and incredibly serene. Yes, I know, it's a little pared-back since it's been staged for sale (there may be someone in the world with a hallway this de-cluttered, but I'm yet to meet them) - but what it lacks in lived-in appeal it more than makes up for in delightful sculptured furniture, fluffy geometric rugs and cloud-like lamps! So why not put your feet up for a mo and relax. You're in for a treat!














I think my shoulders visibly dropped two inches when I saw the bedroom. Who needs to meditate when you can have boudoir like this?!

Are you feeling more relaxed too? 

Speaking of serenity - I'm really excited to be sharing Per's new home office with you tomorrow. It's been a long time in the making (he's been teaching from the kitchen table for a good few weeks now!), but good things come to those who wait, right?! Please do stop by tomorrow if you're curious! 

Hej så länge!

Niki

Photography by Nouvel Interior and Maria Sahlander courtesy of Bjurfors Göteborg

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