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A Striking Holiday House By The Sea in Rural Iceland

Iceland. What an incredible country. Have you been? Per and I had the pleasure of visiting over a decade ago and we were absolutely mesmerised! We took the coastal road South, taking in waterfalls, glaciers, icebergs, and volcanic peaks on one side, and the rugged coastline on the other. Along the way, seals would pop their heads out above the icy waters and eye us over the black sands. The nature was lit by 24-hour sunlight and was as raw, striking and dramatic as you can imagine. After four days we left feeling we'd only just scratched the surface and agreed to return one day. I was reminded of this promise when I stumbled across The Black House this morning. 
   
Located at the foot of mount Hafnarfjäll along the shores of the rugged Snæfellsnes peninsula, the house was designed by Icelandic interior architect Rut Káradóttir. The simple clapboard frame was inspired by the humble 18th century coastal houses typical of the area, which were often treated with natural tar to shield the facade from the harsh climate. Inside, the magical open-plan living space combines a rustic vibe with contemporary touches and the deep, dramatic tones emulate the stark drama outside the window. Enjoy the tour! 




So incredible, don't you think?! 

I think this house is a sign that we need to return and explore more of this incredible Nordic country as soon as possible!

Did I mention it's available as a short-term holiday let too?! I KNOW, RIGHT?! 

FYI - the house sleeps four and is available to rent through Boutique Homes.

Meet you there? 

If you've been to Iceland and have any tips, please do share below! I'd love to hear them! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Boutique Homes.

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The Soot House: A Beautiful Cabin Inspired By Rugged Landscape

What do you get if you combine a sculptor with a builder? The Soot House, that's what! Sculptor turned builder Anthony Esteves built the Soot House by hand, combining his learnings as a sculptor with newly acquired high-end building techniques. The charred black structure was inspired by the 'ghostly quality' of 17th century New England homes and the wild, craggy landscape of Spruce Head, Maine. Today Anthony, his wife Julie O'Rourke (founder of RudyJude kids clothes) enjoy the house and it's beautiful surroundings first hand. 

I've always been such a big fan of black houses. They're fairly common in Scandinavia (especially for summer houses / cabins). For this charred black structure, Anthony was inspired by the island's black spruce and lichens as well as the wild landscape. 

The table (which was picked up at a local secondhand shop) is so beautiful, don't you think? My Mother has a similar one which she bought at auction years ago- sadly the drawers mean that it's too low to fit a chair / your legs under the table (just a word of warning to measure up before you acquire one of these bad boys!). She uses hers as a side table, and it looks equally beautiful!

I love how the textures - such as stone and wood - have been carefully selected to mirror the craggy surrounding landscape.


A small stove resting on a vintage chest-of-drawers serves as somewhere to cook evening meals (in a back-to-basics kinda way!).


Rails made from copper pipes and ropes are used as clothes hangers in the bedroom.

Wow! So striking, personal and unique! You can really sense the connection that the house has with its surroundings.

The interior would look equally at home on the rugged Swedish Baltic island of Gotland.

And the exterior reminds me a lot of this incredible black house by the sea in rural Iceland which I'm totally planning on renting one day! 

Are you a fan of black facades too?  

Niki

Photography Greta Rybus, found via Remodelista with thanks. 

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An inviting apartment with warm tones in Södermalm

I love the warm tones in this lovely apartment in Södermalm, an area in central Stockholm known for it's relaxed and creative vibe. The yellow, burnt orange and deep red accents help to create an inviting feel. All that's missing is the warm glow from candles in the masonry oven and you're all set for a rainy day! Speaking of which, I like that there's a grey base to the space too - adding yet another dimension and a great contrast to the warmer hues.  Keep an eye out for all the different lighting it in every corner too)....












I love this home, it's kind of creative, elegant and sophisticated, yet relaxed at the same time. What are your thoughts?

Did you notice the ceiling in the kitchen? 

A few items I know and love from this Stockholm home? (Oh go on then!): Sitting room - Tiki sofa. Try Loom and Field for lovely kilm cushions / pillows (like this one), source a mid-century daybed here. Dining area: Artek chairs, AJ floor lamp, the light is from Örsjö - this industrial light is similar (love this!).

Link guide:

Pianos in the home - It's enough to want me to start lessons! 

This hallway.

Fascinated by these 15 surprising things about parenting in Iceland.

Following on from my Malmö city guide, why not make a weekend of it and pop over the bridge to visit these 5 inspiring showrooms in Copenhagen?!

I'd like to wake up at this little beach cottage everyday.


Have a lovely day!

Source: Husman & Hagberg.

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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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A Soothing Swedish family Home With the World's Cutest Kitten!

How are you all doing? Ups and downs? I hear you. But hopefully I have something that can really lift all our spirits! Pull up a chair, put your feet up and stay for a while, this Swedish home will have you dreaming about calm spaces and fairy-tale children's bedrooms. Oh, and it even includes a cute dog and fluffy kitten for good measure! Welcome to the home of Anna-Maria Blomqvist. Anna-Maria lives in the pretty town of Sigtuna, just North of Stockholm. It's a lively little place known for its traditional wooden houses and having the oldest main street in Sweden. Anna-Maria, her partner and their children live in an old croft house which they've lovingly restored into a family home. The house is a sea of earthy greys, deep blues and forest greens, reflecting the lake and forests of the surroundings. Look out for the pretty wallpaper too! 

Since moving to Sweden, a blanket on the sofa has become an essential item (we actual have several these days otherwise there are actual fights!). This chunky knit* one sold online is similar. 

The family hound has found a perfect spot to snooze beside a Josef Davidssons wood burning stove. Oh, to be him today! 

Love this dining setting. But, gaaah, I've seen this star pendant light so many times and can't for the life of me remember the name - can anyone help? It would be great to provide the details.  Also, can I get a slice of that cake, please?



This seems to be the week for vintage glass cabinets (did you see the one in yesterday's Finnish home tour?) - beautiful! I love this one in the children's bedroom too, how about you?

The wall has been finished with Kalkitir chalk paint from Iceland. We painted one of our kitchen walls with this recently. It arrives in powder form and you mix it with water. It's surprisingly easy to apply, organic and gives a beautiful texture. Home DIY project perhaps? If there's enough interest, I might be able to organise a discount. Give me a shout if you're interested!

The wonderful Graylag goose mobile is designed in Sweden by Wonderforest Co. 

What a cosy bed, made even prettier by the Boråstapeter Nocturne wallpaper and bed canopy. And the best news of all for parents - with a bed like this, the children will have no need to turn the sofa into a den! Hallelujah!  


 And finally.....

Because who doesn't feel joy from a picture of the world's fluffiest kitten? Isn't she a Darling? Wonder what she thinks of the flying goose mobile?! 

I spotted this last picture in Anna-Maria's Instagram feed. Not only does it show a glimpse of Sigtuna's pretty Main Street, it also gave me a chance to tell you about a Swedish easter tradition you might not know about! 

On Skärtorsdagan (Maundy Thursday) children across Sweden dress up as påskkäringor (Easter hags) wearing brightly coloured head scarves and faces painted with rosy cheeks and freckles - as seen above! They then wander from door to door asking for sweets. I was so taken aback when I opened the door my first Easter in sweden. They look as cute as a button, but still, being British I was a bit baffled and not terribly well stocked up on godis (sweets)! It's one of the main signs that Swedish Påsk (easter) predates Christianity. It was said that on Maundy Thursday, witches flew to consort with the devil at Mount Blåkulla (a tiny island off Sweden's east coast), some swedes (particularly in the western part of the country) light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits - although these days more so on April 30th (Walpurgis Night). 

Do you have unusual Easter / spring holiday traditions in your country? If so, I'd love to hear about them! 

Back to the home tour. Is there anything in particular that stood out to you? I love the wood burning stove! It's a really beautiful one and adds so much warmth to the home. 

Check out more snapshots from Anna-Maria's home over on her instagram @annamaria.blomqvist.  


I hope this lovely tour (and sharing the unusual Swedish Easter traditions!) has given you a little respite today! Do share your thoughts in the comment section below, I'd love to hear from you!

Niki

Photography: Anna-Maria Blomqvist
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