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An Interior Designer's Beautiful, Calm Open-Plan Living Space

How about something calm to complete the week? No one does soothing colours and materials like Holly Marder, an interior designer and co-founder of Avenue Design Studio. I once had the pleasure of meeting Holly when she came to photograph my home in Malmö many moons ago - and I've been following her work ever since. In 2019, Holly and her husband completely gutted the ground floor of their 1920s house in Delft, and set about renovating it with an aim to add "light, flow and functionality". The pair opted for a minimalistic palette inspired by nature in order to convey "a sense of calm and cohesiveness" throughout the down stairs living area. An eclectic yet muted array of furniture, mid-century art and ceramics collections complete the lovely space. Welcome to Holly's world - as with all her projects, you're in for a treat! 









Beautiful!

I always find muted colour schemes like this so calming and the wood adds so much warmth, don't you think?

I've shared so many of Holly's fab projects in the past - curious to take a look? Here are some of my favourites:

Holly's beautiful sitting room make-over
Take a tour of a calm, natural kitchen

Holly's former studio in the attic (and how she transformed it into a lovely guest room)

The crazies FINALLY go back to school on Monday and I'm looking forward to writing my daily posts again. Next week I've got a few exciting things lined up including some BEAUTIFUL home tours and also the final reveal of my new wood floor!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend - I hope the sun shines for you!

Niki

Photographs: Holly Marder / Avenue Design Studio

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Take a Tour of a Danish Family's Inviting Log Cabin

Oh, have I got a lovely Danish home to share with you today. Digital creator and communications consultant Marie Eigen lives in a charming 1930s log cabin with her husband Thomas (a dentist) and young family - Ludiv (3) and Ingrid (ten months). Located in Birkerød, North Zealand, the family moved in a little over a year ago and have been busy renovating it to reflect their personal style. I caught up with Marie to find out more. Keep a look out for the family's furry friend Molly!

Tell us a little more about your lovely house? 
We live in a log house dating back to the 1930s. We totally fell in love it with the first time we saw it, even though we were looking for something completely different. It's measures around 104 m2 (1120 f2) and has three bedrooms. 

It's all about the details - and I love this Mabel Terrazzo stool from Small revolution - an independent Danish company that specialises in pieces made from 100% recycled PE-Plastic.  

How would you describe the way you have furnished your home?
Our home is a mix of old and new, vintage finds and contemporary pieces. 

If you're looking for storage inspiration, Marie's home is on the money! Look closely and you'll spot shelving from Elfa (in the corner of the dining room) and Skagerak (in the living room), a bespoke bookshelf as well as vintage chest-of-drawers and wardrobes in the bedrooms. 

How do you select furniture for your home? 
When I decorate, I choose things that somehow speak to me and I often find older pieces which I like to make my own with a lick of paint. I don't follow a particular style or trend, and that to me, is how you make a home that is truly your own. 

How would you describe your style?
I think my style is somewhat calm, feminine and fairly minimalistic - and I hope our home seems warm and embraces that special vibe of 'hygge'.


In Ludvig's bedroom, Marie has combined a Sebra bed in forest lake blue with a cute pineapple Ferm Living rug. The lift crane was sourced from Hape toys. Cute Melville wallpaper from Cole & Son adorns the back wall. 

What is the most important thing to you when it comes to decorating?
We live with small children and it's very important to us that our home reflects that. 

Ingrid's nursery has been decorated using Klöveräng wallpaper from Sandberg and furnished with a wooden edition Sebra cot. A Collage Collection 04 print by Emile Luna can be seen on the wall. 

Well, I think Marie has achieved everything she set out to do with her home and MORE, don't you?! It has the most wonderful feel and I love all the details. 

Would you like to see an example of how Marie updates her furniture? Check out this vintage wall mounted cabinet:

A flea market find, Marie first painted the cabinet in a salmon pink (paint code: S 3040-Y90R) and then later updated it with a pastel blue shade (there's no code available, since she mixed the paint herself). 

Such a great, sustainable way to update furniture if you find yourself growing a little of tired of it!  I'm going to be looking at the pieces in my home with new eyes today! Is there anything in your home that could use a make-over? 

Oh, and how many times did you spot their darling little Molly?! 

See more of Marie's beautiful home on her instagram @marieigen

Fancy taking a peek inside a few more Danish homes today? It would almost be rude not to, now we're on a roll!


Happy 'lille lørdag' friends (which translates to 'little Saturday' - giving the Danes the perfect excuse to hit the bars for a mid-week refresher - while social distancing of course!).

Niki

Photography: Marie Eigen

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Step Inside Dave's Light and Airy Munich Home

Is anyone else sweltering today?! I'm back at my desk at home and it's over 30 degrees (86 F) outside - kind of crazy for Sweden! We're soooo not used to this! I love it, of course - but it's so distracting as all I want to do is head down to the sea every five minutes and dive in. It's times like this, that carefully edited, minimalist homes really come into their own, don't you think? Take Dave's home in Munich, Germany. The living space, which Dave shares with his boyfriend Enrico and their golden retriever Bruno, has been carefully edited to include only pieces they truly treasure. There's nothing superfluous to need. No frills. Just simple, beautiful pieces of furniture, each of which are like a work of art. The result is a light and airy home in the heart of the city that oozes cool. I wonder if he'd mind if I pulled up a chair and stayed for a while. Anyone care to join me?


I'm feeling cooler just looking at these pictures, how about you? Although a nice cool drink (did you see the summer herb infused lemonade recipe I shared last week?) on the rattan chair in his garden wouldn't go amiss too!

I particularly love the sitting room with the mid-century credenza (source a similar one here*), jungle wall chart and snoopy lamp* etc. Is there anything that stood out to you? 

Here a few other light and airy homes to keep you cool today: 

A beautiful, simple white Danish cabin

The wonderful playful loft of a furniture designer

Angelina's breezy Munich home (look out for the snoozing pup!)

On that note, I'm off to grab my towel (actually my bath robe - here by the sea where I live in Malmö, us locals wonder down to the waters edge in a robe over our swim gear and no-one bats an eyelid!). 

Have a wonderful start to the week friends, stay well, stay cool! 

Niki

Photography: @daves_home

PS I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was having computer problems (thank you for your commiserations, it really is infuriating!). The good news is that Apple managed to fix my laptop, the bad news is they had to wipe EVERYTHING - baaah! If you spot a few typos in the post it's because I haven't downloaded the Microsoft office (where I spell check my posts). It's on my to do list though, I promise!

PPS I'll be back with a new home tour on Wednesday! The crazies start school next week so I'll finally be back to posting daily again. Thanks so much for bearing with this mamma of two! 

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A Charming Little Summer Cabin By a Norwegian Fjord

We're at the summer cottage this week, so I'm strictly in holiday mode - even if the weather is not! Even so, I couldn't resist pouring over beautiful 'sommarstuga' (summer cottage) inspiration and thought it would be rude to keep this little gem to myself! The Norwegian cabin in a former boat house belongs to Jotun colour Manager Lisbeth Larsen. Measuring a teeny 36 square metres (387 sqft), the cabin in beautiful Nesodden, Viken County, has everything you might need for a wonderful holiday including a sleep loft, dreamy open-plan living space and direct access to the Fjord! Oh, and being the colour maestro that Lisbeth is, it also has a beautiful harmonic feel. Ready for the tour? 

The cabin has been furnished with a mix of old and new including a kitchen from Kvik, table and bench from FRAMA and vintage chairs which have been painted in Lady supreme finish 4477 Deco Blue

On chillier summer days (err... like today, as well as the past 10 days, and if the forecast is anything to go by - the next 10 days too - baaaah!), a Jøtul wood burning stove comes in handy (if I ever satisfy my lifelong dream of a burner, I'd like one of these bad boys!). 

The back wall behind the sink has been painted in LADY Minerals 0394 Varmgrå and LADY Minerals sealer


The wonderful wide wood plank floor is from Moelven and the bulk of the cabin has been painted in LADY 10679 Washed Linen

This cosy bedroom to the right of the sink has been painted with LADY Pure Colour 4629 Skuggblå and the bedding is from Swedish brand Himla




You couldn't get closer to the fjord if you tried. How wonderful to enjoy a morning coffee looking out over the water! 

Could you imagine spending your summer here? 

Love the blue and greige colour scheme too, it perfectly matches the cabin surroundings, drawing the nature inside. 

Oh, how I love property conversions, how about you? They always make for the most interesting homes! Here are a few others I love:


Also see the schoolhouse, warehouse and barn conversion archives - so inspiring!  

Do you have a favourite?

I'll be back on Friday (now on Swedish summer holiday timings!). 

Ha det så fint! 

Niki

Photography: Per Erik Jæger
Styling: Siv Brenne

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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! 

***

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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