Make-over: Miami Penthouse Before & After

Don't you love a great before and after? I always find them so inspiring, but I rarely show the 'before' on My Scandinavian Home. So I thought I'd turn over a new leaf. So friends, welcome to a new mini series exploring home make-overs at the hands of some of my favourite interior designers and the likes of you and me! Firstly, a HUGE thanks to Builders Bay for sponsoring the series (check-out their site if you're in the middle of a renovation - it's every builder's little black book!).

I felt we needed something kind of fabulous to kick off the series - and this beaaaautiful home in Miami which has been given an overhaul at the hands of Avenue Design Studio  fits the bill perfectly. The design process was a year and a half in the making (imagine?!) - and involved a  tear-out, renovation and redesign of a two bed, three bath penthouse apartment! Wow! I caught up with my friend Holly Marder (one half of the talented design duo) to find out more.

What was the brief?
"The style direction for this Miami abode was fresh, contemporary and clean with a classic twist. We wanted to breathe new life into the space as a whole, open it up but at the same time ensure our client was left with a liveable, functional interior."

Open-plan dining and living area

What did you have planned for the dining / living area?

"As you can see we had mostly cosmetic changes to make, but I also felt that we needed to open up the spaces even further to allow for more light and a general flow. The living and dining area was large and spacious but the kitchen was small and the ceiling was low. We pulled out a wall or two, raised the ceilings in various places and then got started selecting all the finishes that would lay the groundwork for the renovated space, and overall the results are much fresher and lighter."


Can you tell us more about THAT fab storage unit?!

"To tackle our clients’ request for plenty of storage, we designed a wall to wall built-in cabinet flanking the dining table to house her dinnerware and glassware, linens as well as provide an interesting backdrop to her dining space. The goal with this design was to integrate it with the wall, as opposed to being a separate entity of its own and be ‘busy’ in the space. We wanted it to be streamlined and as flush as possible, and therefore opted to paint the whole unit the same colour as the walls (Origami White by Sherwin Williams) which turned out whiter than expected due to the finish applied to it. That said, it is fresh and clean and allows the accessories, and beautiful oak pulls from our friends at Design Studio NU, to pop off it while the large wooden table and sculptural Lambert et Fils pendant can stand out against a calm yet interesting backdrop."

Such a perfect dining area, don't you think? I especially like how the open shelves allow for displaying items you love and then you can shove less pretty / more practical things in the cupboards and drawers (also keeping them free from dust). Perfect!

Living room

What was your thought process behind the living room area? 
"We wanted the living area to be a central part of the room, without being ‘heavy’ . The goal here aesthetically was calm, inviting, organic. We brought in many different materials including walnut and other woods, marble, wool and leather to provide interest and contrast. While we used many beautiful pieces that are noteworthy in the living room, the splurge piece of furniture was the walnut sideboard by German furniture label Zeitraum."


Loving this! I've so got my eye on that coffee table - and the side cabinet (can totally understand the splurge, can you?! 


What did you have in mind for the kitchen? 

"For our function savvy client we designed an all-American kitchen, featuring custom cabinetry, tons of storage, a breakfast bar and lots of light and flow. I worked with Aukje Schukken on the designs and sketches here in the studio, and after selecting the materials in person in Miami and ironing out the details, Dan’s Carpentry expertly carried out the designs locally."

The design

What were your goals for the kitchen?

"For the countertops our client wanted practical but didn’t want to skip out on looks. And why should she? We hand selected a beautiful piece of Macuava Calacutta quartzite that has the most gorgeous soft green-blue vein through it, much the way calcutta marble would. We looked at whiter marbles but couldn’t get past how pretty this one was in person so after our arduous and thorough search inside the stone supplier in 38 degree Miami heat, it was a done deal. The colour we used on the cabinetry is City Loft by Sherwin-Williams. We removed the wall adjacent to the front door and created a breakfast bar there.  We also raised the ceilings throughout the entry, kitchen, halls and bathrooms."

Oh yassss! I think they nailed it, do you? Plus I could totally see myself with a morning coffee and a magazine at that breakfast bar, how about you?!

Tell us about the master bathroom re-design? 

 "The master bathroom was one of 3 bathrooms we designed, though due to time constraints we only shot the one. It was all cosmetic changes for the master suite as the existing layout worked well. As you can see from the below before shots it was a bit of a circus in there, or a zoo to be more specific. The previous owners had some fun with the walls and while we think a lot of creativity went into the monkey forest scene, we couldn’t wait to clean the space up and give it a fresh injection using quality materials, custom cabinetry and warm wood tones."

What were your plans?

"We continued the wood tile that we used throughout since it was so practical but still added such warmth to the space (which has no natural light). Seeing it in the bathroom I am still so pleased with the choice of wood tile we made. It was a tough task because most of them look manufactured but the movement, grain and colour of this one is so natural and in the bathroom is looks fabulous. We used a large polished stone tile on the walls around the bath tub, shower walls and baseboard, plus a beautiful striped matte tile on the wall between the bath tub and shower (that doesn’t show up as nicely in the image as it does in person – the texture is so beautiful in the space), polished quartz cararra  counter top, custom walnut door and drawer pulls, and custom cabinetry painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in the same ‘contemporary shaker’ style as the kitchen cabinetry featuring a walnut divider with integrated back and front storage."

And the result...

Oj oj oj (as they say in Sweden!), what a transformation! It just goes to show that it's amazing what you can do with a little vision (and the help of Avenue Design Studio!).

That's one lucky client, wouldn't you say?! Plus they have Miami on their doorstep too.... want to swap?!

Have a lovely day!

PS  Do you have a make-over you'd like to share in this mini-series? If so drop me a mail!

Photography & Design: Avenue Design Studio

Thank you so much to Builders Bay for sponsoring this make-over series (if you're in the process of renovating or carrying out any DIY work, I can wholeheartedly recommend this site!). 

* All words are my own, and I only ever work with brands and services I feel are of interest to my readers. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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Photo Competition: What Does #beingathome Mean To You?

Paid partnership with the Association of the German Furniture Industry:
What does #beingathome mean to you? This is the question the Association of German Furniture has asked manufacturers, experts and designers as part of the #zuhausesein (#beingathome) initiative. And now they would like to hear from you! You are invited to enter an exciting global photo competition to show what #beingathome means to you. 

Sound interesting? Wait 'til you hear what the winner of each category will win:
  • Integration of your picture in the photo exhibition at IMM Cologne 2020
  • Integration of your picture in the German Design Book 2020
  • Two tickets and one overnight stay to IMM Cologne 2020 (the VDM will provide a travel allowance of up to €500. The winner is responsible for making the booking which will be refunded by the VDM)
  • A fab piece of furniture from a German furniture manufacturer
And the competition is open globally! Yes, really!

You can enter a maximum of one image per category, with ten categories in total. Details on how to enter can be found at the bottom of the page. But first, here's a list of the categories:

Outdoor Living

SK 07 Ritual bowl: designed by Stefan Knopp for JANUA, the winner of the Outdoor Living category will receive this expressive bowl which traverses the border between furniture and objet d'art. Turned out of a piece of wood, the bowls are then char burned, resulting in a unique surface with cracks, holes and fractures. Perfectly imperfect, the bowl can be used in daily life or regarded as art (or both!).

2. Tiny Spaces

The winning entry in the Tiny Spaces category will win a Super Light. This small light has a BIG story and is lighter than you think. The reason? It has been expertly crafted using the same light construction process found in the aircraft industry. Made to last with powdered aluminium and 41 rivets set by hand, Bordbar designed this fab light so you can have a little piece of aircraft construction in your home!

3. The Hallway - the ticket to your home

LINE coat rack:  Hallways are all about making people feel welcome. And that is exactly what Schönbuch prides itself on in the production of creative, functional furnishings, fittings and concepts. The winner of the 'The Hallway' category will win a classic LINE coat rack which is available in countless colours and finishes and can be used solo or in a group - monochrome or multi-coloured. You decide!

4. Kitchen Lover

The winner of the Kitchen Lover category will take a home a beautiful Fabella light! Inspired by a Fontane poem, this pear-shaped porcelain light was designed by Laura Straßer for Caussa. Depending on the strength and colour of the light bulb and the colour of the glazing, the porcelain shade becomes translucent and emits a warm glow for a wonderful, hygge atmosphere. Choose between four colours and a white or black textile cable.

5. Relaxed Sleeping

Pfeife Night Stand: Designed by Vitamin Design, who pride themselves on ecological and timeless, modern solid wood furniture, the Pfeife night stand is the dream prize in the 'Relaxed Sleeping' category. Made from a single oak trunk and characterised by open knots and cracks, it will look beautiful by the bed!

6.  The Living Room - my private retreat

Rolf Benz 953 footstool: Since it's foundation in 1964, Germany's best-known sofa brand Rolf Benz, takes cultural changes into consideration in the design of every piece.  In recent years, living spaces have become more flexible - calling for creative pieces of furniture. The winner of 'The Living Room' category will receive a 953 footstool, which can be moved effortlessly so you can put your feet up anywhere in your home!

7. The Bathroom - the private wellness temple

L-Cube shelf element: Quiet, clarity, space for contemplation. This is how designer Christian Werner described his vision for the L-Cube - a range of bathroom furniture for Duravit AG, a leading international manufacturer of designer bathrooms. The less distracting the bathroom, the more likely the occupant will find peace and relaxation. And the lucky winner of 'The Bathroom' category will certainly find peace with an L-Cube shelf element! 

8. Living with Children

Birdy: Poufs can take up a lot of space, but not this one! The 'Living with Children' prize is the birdy stool from Hülsta - an ideal piece for putting your feet up or as extra seating. Available in ten different pure new wool colours, the designer stool works equally well in the living room or a children's room. Plus, it's super cute!

9. Work at Home

Cantilever chair: Dynamic and innovative, Tojo Möbel GmbH develops multi awards winning furniture at affordable prices. The highly functional, space-saving and comfy Cantilever Chair has an exchangeable seat shell and can be dismantled when not in use - and has been reserved for the lucky winner of the Work at Home category.

10. Other Forms of Living (e.g. caravans)

S18 side table: The clever design of the S18 side table by Uli Budde for Thonet reads like an ode to the first Thonet bentwood classics. Made from a powder-coated base frame and a lacquered surface in black, this circular side table is waiting to add an exciting new perspective to the home of the winner of the 'Other Forms of Living' category.

Feeling inspired to enter the photo competition? Here are the next steps:

How to enter
1. Take a picture that answers the question 'What does #beingathome mean to you'? (you can enter up to ten photos - one for each category).
2. Share your image/s on your preferred social media channel: Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtags #zuhausesein and #beingathome and tag VDM (Facebook: (@zuhauseseinVDM), Instagram: (@zuhausesein_VDM) or Twitter: (@zuhausesein)
3. Like VDM on your preferred social media channel (Facebook: (@zuhauseseinVDM), Instagram: (@zuhausesein_VDM) or Twitter: (@zuhausesein)
4. Send your entry (photos must be at least 300 dpi) to along with the following details:
  • Name of the category you are entering
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Country
  • Telephone and email
  • Name of your social media channel
The deadline for all submissions is 23.59 (GMT+1), 18th August, 2019. The winners will be announced here on 27th August, 2019.

Wishing you best of luck - I can't wait to see your entries!

Terms and conditions:
This competition is global; there are no country restrictions. Participants must be over 18 years of age. Only one entry can be submitted per category (maximum of ten submissions in total).

Data protection and legal Recourse:

Responsible: The Association of the German Furniture Industry e.V. (VDM is the organiser of this competition and is responsible for data protection. Real Communications will run the competition as an authorised service provider and handle the personal data entered or left behind by the participants in this campaign responsible. If you have any questions, you can contact the data protection officer of the association at

The essentials in brief; personal data requested from participants in order to participate in the VDM competition will be processed primarily for the purpose of running the competition. The processing of personal data takes place lawfully on the basis of the DSGVO, names - depending on the purpose - for the fulfilment of a contract or the execution of the competition. Only our service provider Real Communications has access to the data, which is only used for sending the prizes by post. We do not receive the data ourselves and do not pass it on to other third parties within the meaning of the DSGVO without our consent. We delete the data records as soon as the winners have been determined and notified, the prizes have been dispatched, no complaints or complaints regarding the competition are to be expected and, above all, insofar as there are no individual obligations under commercial or tax law to retain data. The latter may last up to 10 years.
A cash payment of the profit is not possible. The profit is transferable. legal recourse is excluded.

*The winner retains copyright of their own image but agrees to VDM using it on their social channels, website or publications for an unlimited period for the purpose of the #Zuhausesein campaign. All sources will be acknowledged. 

This post is sponsored by the Association of the German Furniture Industry - however, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too.

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My Sitting Room Three Different ways

Partnership. The most popular room in our home at this time of the year has to be our sitting room. It's where we chill out, watch TV (yes, there is one hiding in this room somewhere, can you guess where?!), play games and chat into the early hours all winter long.  

In my childhood home, my Mother insisted on two antique chesterfields which looked stunning - but didn't move an inch when you sat down - do you know the type?! God forbid if you were to sit on one of the arms (there'd be an almighty cracking sound!)! In our sitting room we might not benefit from the history that comes with antique sofas - but boy is our IKEA Söderhamn 3-seater, armchair and chaise longues comfy! 

We can also update the furniture whenever it starts to look tired thanks to Bemz (who create custom covers and legs for IKEA furniture in hundreds of high end fabrics that are made to order in Europe (LOVE THAT!). I tried out a few different looks in my sitting room to suss out which cover (and layout) works best for the chilly winter months ahead.  

I'd love to know which of the three you like the most!

Look One: Lovely Linen

The Design 
For the first look I wanted to create something that felt soft, floaty and snug. The Brera Lino linen in Dusk is a soft, middle blue with a very slight green tint to it (Per insists it is green... but then again, he also thinks pink is red sooo....). I liked the idea of combining it with Brera Lino Pebble and brown accents.

The Look

I've been a fan of the Bemz Loose Fit style cover ever since re-arranging my living room in 2017 (remember that look? I've since been through a few more styles including this one last autumn!) - you know me! I love the floaty, relaxed look and the contemporary seams, is this your kind of style too? This time I opted for a Bemz Loose Fit sofa cover in Dusk Brera Lino linen for the IKEA Söderhamn sofa. It was one of those instant matches with with my coffee table (an old workman's bench which I've had for years).  I love it when a plan comes together!

I've always loved the way linen catches the light - and also how it looks equally fine creased as it does flat ironed - perfect for a messy (or maybe I should say, very relaxed?) family like mine! 

I picked up the camel coloured wool and mohair blanket from online Swedish shop Granit.

The sitting room doubles up as a thoroughfare to our back garden which makes it kind of tricky to furnish! It was the first time I've tried a chaise longues in this position (it was Genevieve Jorn's idea) and it just seem to slot into place. Per might wonder where his bar cart has gone, along with the Hendricks - but the girls and I love it in this position! What do you think?

The Ikea Söderhamn chaise longues has been kitted out with a cover in Bemz Loose Fit cover in Pebble Brera Lino

When it comes to rugs, I say the fluffier the better at this time of the year, don't you? This Beni Spezial is from from the family-run company Natur Pur in Austria. 

There are so many details in my living room - some of which are fairly new, and others I've had for years. Here's a quick low down:

Get The Look
1. Z1 Cotton Lamp
2. Paris Print by Anna Johansson
3. Bemz Single Curtain panel in Belgian Linen Blend, Unbleached
4. Söderhamn 3 seater in Loose Fit Dusk
5. Colour Print by Maria Leinonen
6. Granit Wool & Mohair Blanket
7. Antique Chinese Bench
8. Söderhamn chaise longue in Pebble
9. Blue Print by Berit Mogensen Lopez
10. Bemz Cushion Cover in Belgian Linen Blend, Unbleached

Look two: Luxurious Velvet

The Design
While the Dusk look is ever so slightly darker than my previous cover, I felt I wanted to go even darker and create a seating area with a really luxurious feel. 

My Mother's infamous (and very lovely, I must say) antique sofas have always been upholstered in dark blue velvet - a look that never fails to make me feel nostalgic. In my own sitting room I wanted to incorporate this and explore a blend of Indigo, camel and soft grey. 

The Look

For this look I covered my Ikea Söderhamn sofa and armchair with a Bemz Regular Fit cover in Indigo Simply Velvet. The fabric has a wonderful soft feel and a sheen that changes with the light - so beautiful! 

I used to have sheer white linen curtains in the sitting room (you can catch a glimpse of them here) - for these two looks I swapped the white linen out for Curtain Panels in Unbleached Belgian Linen. It's a slightly thicker fabric and immediately made the room feel more cosy - it's funny how that can happen, don't you think?

I have to say, this look was so popular with my family (mainly because the sofa is so soft!). I also sent over a few pictures to my Mum and she absolutely loved it too!

Here's a quick round-up of some of the pieces: 

Get The Look
1. Zuiver Shady Iron Wall Lamp
6. Stockholm 2017 Rattan Chair
10. House Doctor Shelf

Did I miss something? If so, please give me a shout in the comment section below and I'll do my best to help!

Look Three - The Reading Corner

For the final layout we moved the Ikea Söderhamn chaise longue with a Bemz Loose Fit cover in Pebble to the corner to create a reading nook. It's been topped with matching pillows and a cushion cover in Belgian Linen Blend, Unbleached and Spice Linara by Romo. 

If you're looking for me this weekend you might just find me here. 

Or should I keep the velvet look. Or maybe the dusk linen? Hmmm. What to do?! Do you have a favourite? 

If you've got any questions about anything, please do ask away in the comment section below!

In the meantime, I might just go and snuggle up in my new sitting room! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 


Photography: Niki Brantmark - My Scandinavian Home
Styling: Genevieve Jorn 

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Bemz and contains affiliate links. However, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I absolutely love and think you will too (#Ilovemyjob!). Thank you for supporting the businesses that help bring fresh content to your mail box and make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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