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The Incredible Earthy Green Home of a Swedish Interior Designer

A few years ago I was at our summer cottage when I stumbled across a beautiful photo shoot on the beach. Feeling intrigued (OK, nosey!) I strolled over to find out more. It was the work of Swedish interior designer Sofie Izard Høyer. We've been messaging each other back and forth over the years and I was excited to discover she's recently completed the renovation of her Gothenburg home. As with everything Sofie turns her hand to, it looks incredible! Located in Vasa in the heart of Sweden's second largest city, Sofie lives with her two daughters Mira (14) and Siri (11) surrounded by a wonderful blend of old and new, against an earthy green backdrop. Welcome to their world!

Sofie on furniture: 
"I love to blend old with new and am completely crazy about Danish design, which could be due to my half Danish heritage. 

On colour:
"I love green, the colour of nature! I've used different shades of green from Jotun Lady throughout my apartment as well as a touch of grey. In the open-plan sitting room and dining room, I've used Organic Green. We don't have a TV here, instead we like to hang out, play games, read, and sit and chat for hours. In my bedroom I've applied Green Leaf. In the kitchen I opted for Vallmofrö - which I also applied to the dresser to create a greater sense of calm. In the children's room I went for a lighter Minty Breeze."

On materials:
"I love natural materials with lots of texture such as untreated leather, wood, oxidized brass etc. It's important to me that furniture is sustainable and beautifully made so that it stands the test of time."


On bedrooms: 
"In my daughters' room (below) we didn't want to make it so dark because they often spend time in there during the daytime. In my own bedroom (above), I decided to go for a slightly darker green as I love to lie on my bed and listen to podcasts or audio books by candlelight." 


On decorating: 
"When decorating, I think it's very important to unite the building, furniture and people who live there in order to create a sense of harmony."   






On the future: 
"I love out apartment, but one day, I dream about building and decorating my own house - I love the sea and would love to live near the water." 

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What a beautiful home. A sense of calm oozes from the pictures, don't you think? I love the idea of the three girls hanging out, reading, playing games and chatting! 

Is there anything that stood out to you about Sofie's home? 

Oh, and that beach shot I was telling you about? I managed to find it in her portfolio....



The evening really was as magical as it looks :)

For more of Sofie's work, check out her instagram and website - where you can also find out information about her interior design work. 

Looking for a little more inspiration today?  I love these homes from deep within the My Scandinavian Home archive: 


Small side note: We're now in the Gothenburg archipelagos, winding our way up through the islands by boat. I brought my camera so I can hopefully put together a guide once I'm home - everyone should visit this part of the world at least once! 

See you Friday friends1 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Sofie Izard Høyer, shared with kind permission. 

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Feel Inspired By A Beautiful Stockholm Family Home

On Monday I featured the beautifully calm Stockholm home of Emilie and Fredrik Carmén. And I also promised to share their new home. So vänner (friends), here it is! The family moved to one of Södermalm's oldest houses which was built in 1640 by a bar tender by the name of Hans Marschalk. It's fair to say the bones of this Stockholm pad are incredible: staggeringly high ceilings, eye-catching grid windows, ornate panelling and an original parquet wood floor (I can almost hear that wonderful creak as you walk across it!). The family have opted for a calm, earthy green-grey-beige palette (Almond beige by Jotun) - which they've applied throughout the home with the exception of one of the children's rooms. I have been musing over whether she / he point blank refused! Blue it is then! Industrial Blue to be precise :) Pull up a chair, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the tour!  


Table from Hay, chairs by Asplund

A shaggy rug sets the scene for a cosy sitting room complete with a Normann Copenhagen circus pouf and IKEA sofa (it's the same deep, Söderhalm one I have!). 


The fabulous Monkey Lamp* by Seletti looking cheeky in the corner!


This organic light grey linen bed set* is similar.  


I love the Industrial Blue in the children's room above (with the IKEA desk and storage units painted to match), especially with the pink-brown tones in the chair (from Ikea believe it or not!) and rug. My Allie has the same 'apple apple' print in her room and tells him all her secrets. Apparently, he's a very good listener - despite the small ears! 

All in all, a wonderful, elegant home, don't you think?

Oh, to have bones like that to play with.

Is there anything that stood out to you about Fredrik and Emilie's home?

It's a hive of activity in my own home today since we're leaving for the cottage today - and guests are taking over tomorrow. #SOMUCHTODO! Gaaaaah! I'd better go and help poor Per! It will be so nice once we finally arrive and can put our feet up a little. I hope you've got some nice plans for the weekend too!

Due to the school summer holidays, I'll be winding down the blog a little to three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) until August. I promise to make the posts I do create EVEN MORE inspiring! 

Trevlig helg! 

Niki

Photography: Jonas Gustavsson 
Shared with kind permission

*This post contains affiliate links

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Life Change: A Swedish Family Home In The French Alps

We can all agree it's been one crazy year. Never has the home been so important. It presents a safe haven (although I am aware that sadly this is not the case for everyone) in which we can relax and be ourselves. Living in quarantine / isolation - or simply being at home more - has meant taking stock of where we live, and while there are some who are thrilled with where they live, there are others that will no doubt thinking about making some life changes in the near future! 

For Swedish interior designer Bettina Kapare, her husband and two year old son, it wasn't the pandemic that led to a move abroad - but a search for a more meaningful way of life. In 2019, Bettina and her family left their home in Luxembourg after ten years and moved to a small village in the foothills of the French Alps, just outside Chamonix. Today, they enjoy a slower pace surrounded by nature. I caught up with Bettina to find out how they chose their new location, some of the challenges involved with moving, and how she created a home which merges her Scandinavian heritage with traditional Alpine style. Her story is truly inspiring! 

When did you move to the Alps? 
We moved here from Luxembourg in December last year. I guess you can say we made a complete life change. We left Luxembourg after 10 years. At the same time, I quit my job as a business developer in private banking and started working as an interior designer. It's something I'd been dreaming about and had been studying on the side for some years. 


How did you choose the French Alps? 
We owned a small ski apartment in the Chamonix valley and had been spending countless weekends on vacation here skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. When our son was born, we decided to spend part of our parental leave here and it was during that period we started talking about the possibility of moving here. 

How did you make your move happen? 
At first, it all felt like a farfetched dream. Leaving an organised life and a career in Luxembourg, to go and live in the French Alps. But the more we talked about it, the more we realised that it was what we wanted; for our son grow up in the mountains and change to, what we felt would be, a more meaningful lifestyle, with more family time, more skiing and closer to nature. As the saying goes "create a life you don't need a vacation from".

With that in mind, we started thinking about everything that needed to be put in place. We had to find a house, organise work etc. We thought it was going to be a 5-year plan, but once we'd set our minds to it, the move took less than a year. Somehow everything just fell into place. 

What was one of the biggest challenges with moving to the French Alps? 
One of the most difficult things turned out to be finding a house. There weren't a lot of options that were within budget. I had dreamt of a renovation project involving an old farmhouse with a huge garden. Instead, we bought a traditional style chalet built in 2008. It has an open-plan living room and kitchen on the ground floor and three bedrooms upstairs. It also has a large basement which we use as a home office and studio. 

How did you approach the chalet interior?
I faced a challenge merging our furniture and my style into the traditional chalet style. For me, interior design is not about following trends and constantly buying new stuff, it's about creating a space for the people who live there. Incorporating functional aspects with a personal style and a homely feel.  

Since we're living here all year round, I didn't want our home to have a traditional 'ski holiday' chalet feel. I wanted to turn it into a home where we would feel at home every day of the year.


How have you merged your Scandinavian design heritage with the Alpine style? 
Being Swedish, I believe the Scandinavian style is in my nature. When we moved, I felt that I wanted to incorporate the Scandinavian style. Both the Scandinavian and traditional Alpine style use furniture with simple but elegant craftsmanship - something I always feel inspired by. But the Scandinavian style has a lighter feel than the traditional Alpine style. In our home, I've brought in a lot of solid wood furniture, but with a light white finish instead of the traditional darker one. My Norrgavel coffee table is a fine example of this. 

Where did you source your furniture? 
We actually brought most of it with us from Luxembourg - including many Scandinavian design pieces. It's a blend of items we have inherited and second-hand treasures that I have been collecting over the years. I'm happy that we brought them with us, because it made us feel instantly at home. And with everything that has been happening in the world lately and the past few months of lockdown and isolation - our house has turned into our comfort zone. 


What do you love most about your new home?
Almost every evening I have been cuddling up on the sofa or on the bed, and looking up at the mountains outside the windows feeling grateful for our new home. I love the closeness to nature and I'm so happy we dared to make the life change. We haven't regretted moving one single day, on the contrary, our life choice feels more meaningful than ever. I have never felt happier.  


Thank you so much for telling us about your move and your beautiful home in the Alps Bettina - your story is truly inspiring! 

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I'd love to hear about how you feel about your home - is it somewhere you can always imagine living, or has your perspective changed this year? 

If you've always dreamed of moving abroad, I hope Bettina's story has inspired you. Your big move might be more tangible than you first thought! 

You can see more picture of her beautiful home over at @chez_kapare and find out more about her interior design service Kapare Interiors

Fancy taking a peek at other Scandi homes abroad? 


Ahhhh, I love seeing the Scandinavian design heritage merged with other cultures / styles, how about you? 

Ha det så fint! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Bettina Kapare / @chez_kapare with kind permission.

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A Beautiful Stockholm Pad In Calming Green and Grey Tones

Why, hello there! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I'm not sure what's happened to the Swedish summer - it seems to have disappeared!! We've all retreated from the bathing platforms back into our homes and spending summer holiday days (it's not unusual to take up to 4 weeks off and 'staycate' here) cooking, reading and meeting friends for a 'fika' (coffee and a cake) - which, thinking about it, doesn't sound so bad! Some of my friends have actually shut down their summer cottages for the week and reappeared in the city. In honour of the occasion, I thought it would be nice to share a beautiful, calm turn-of-the-century Stockholm apartment with you! Located a stone's throw from Mariatorget ('Maria Square') in the relaxed Södermalm district, Emilie and Fredrik Camén have decorated their living space in calming, earthy tones of green and grey. I particularly love the kitchen, it may be small, but it makes up for it in style and ceiling height! Enjoy the tour! 





What a difference the William Morris wallpaper makes in the hallway! I love the way it matches the kitchen cabinets.

Is there anything that stands out to you about this home?

Incidentally, the word on the street is that Emilie and Fredrick have since moved - and their new place has also been captured by Jonas Gustavsson and Charlotte Frey Svidén. I can't wait to share their new home with you next week - keep your eyes peeled! 

In the meantime, do you fancy taking a nose around a few other Stockholm homes today? 


Wishing you a great start to the week! Hope you're having better weather than us! 

Niki

Photography: Jonas Gustavsson
Shared with kind permission. 

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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

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