The rustic Norwegian log cabin hide-away

How much would you love to head off to this rustic Norwegian log cabin for the holidays? If I could spend just five days at this retreat, belonging to founders and owners of Bolina,  I'd camp out by the  roaring log fire with a cup of tea, my book by Swedish novelist Jonas Jonasson- the one hundred year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared (which I've been meaning to read all year), play board games with my family, take long walks in the snow, and generally feel relaxed and very merry. How about you?!

Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer, Sisters Agency with kind permission.
Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer, Sisters Agency with kind permission.
Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer, Sisters Agency with kind permission.
Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer, Sisters Agency with kind permission.
Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer, Sisters Agency with kind permission. 

I have to say the owners have been ingenious in their decorating. At first glance it looks like a classic log cabin, but look closely and you'll notice a modern blend of textures  (concrete, wood, sheepskin, velvet, rattan) and styles (industrial, rustic, contemporary). Combine this with unique fittings such as the kitchen units crafted using reclaimed wood from a derelict barn and the result is an incredibly warm, cosy, personal retreat.

Oh how I dream to own a place like this. What about you?

More dreamy log cabin's I could pad around in this holiday include a Norwegian one by the sea (the sauna!), a black and white Finnish retreat, or a cottage in the snow that looks like this (toasty)!

If a rural retreat feels a million miles away right now and you have a christmas shopping list as long as your arm (it is the weekend before Christmas after all) you might want to take inspiration from these two fab gift guides: for children, for just about everyone. And my fail safe last minute man gift. Good luck!

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

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A black and white Finnish log cabin

I'm so happy it's Friday! Today I'm off with my little girls and we're planning on going out and doing lots of fun things. But first, I couldn't resist publishing this charming Finnish log cabin decorated in black and white and crammed with vintage finds. Oh how I wish I had a country home like this. Thank you Mrs Jones for the inspiration!

Photography: Krista Keltanen for Kotivinkki magazine
You can see more pics here (check out the way the creative homeowners use old doors and windows for decoration and ways to display items in many of the rooms - wonderful or what?!). 

Any plans for the weekend? Finding yourself a log cabin to renovate perhaps (I'm tempted)?. What ever you're doing, have a lovely one - and see you Monday!  

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Cosy bedrooms with a log cabin feel

Hello and Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Here in Sweden the lakes are starting to freeze so for those of you longing for your bed this morning here are a couple of pics of 'log cabin' inspired bedrooms from some of Norway's top bloggers. For more bedroom inspiration and to vote for your favourite bedroom on NIB (Norwegian Interior Blogs) click here.

Picture: Cathrines Hjerterom Buy deer motive bedding at the beautiful Norwegian online shop Hviit


This and above picture: Draumesidene by Elin Parr via NIB. I wish I knew where this ski bedding was from,  I LOVE it! Anyone have any tips?

What I love most about these bedrooms is the use of winter themed motives such as reindeer and skiiers on the bedding and all the natural wood used in various forms, so cosy for this time of year.

Got to run and get my morning Latte (*emergency!!*) but pop by this afternoon for inspiration on where to shop and what to buy for a log cabin feel! Hej heeej!

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A magical Norwegian mountain cabin

Just how much do you love the sound of staying at a cosy mountain cabin at this time of year?! Last summer, James Gardiner and I went to photograph the most magical Norwegian hide-away for my book: The Scandinavian Home. Located near Lillehammer (scene of the 1994 winter Olympics), the delightful timber cabin belongs to Marianne and Jon and their two children who love to ski in the winter and hike or simply hang out and enjoy the nature in the summer.  It's hard to imagine that when the pair first acquired the property it was completely run down and off the grid. "For the first five years, we had to bring our own water and ski down from the nearest road," Marianne confided. The pair kept the original building and created a magnificent extension, inspired by a traditional Norwegian seter. Today it's a beautifully cosy, magical mountain hide-away and the perfect spot to sit and recover from a day on the cross-country ski tracks or simply get away from it all.

Many of the items in the home - including the side table by the window, knitted chair cover, artwork, lamps, coat and towel hooks and cushion covers  - have been handmade by Marianne who runs Slow Design Studio. The mid-century armchairs were a flea market find (source similar here).

Wall-to-wall seating is made cosy with the use of ex Norwegian army blankets, an abundance of locally sourced sheepskins (pick up similar here), and a ton of cushions.  Clever in-built storage storage beneath the seating is used for candles, spare blankets and everything in between.

An Ay Illuminate pendant light hangs over the table which is surrounded by Tolix Marais chairs softened with sheepskins. One of Marianne's beautiful knitted lamps which she sells through her online shop can be glimpsed on the wall behind. The floor is made from concrete with underfloor heating. They can turn on the heat and lights remotely so that it's already toasty when they arrive. So nice and welcoming!

The kitchen was designed by Marianne and made by a local carpenter using old barn wood. If you look closely you'll see the leather pulls - which have been made from old reindeer reigns.  The backsplash is made from copper which has been treated with acid to give it an aged look. 

A huge sliding barn door can be opened up to allow the warmth of the sun to penetrate the dining area - or closed to buffet the wind and snow storms and generally keep the cold at bay. Simple pine table and benches provide an ideal spot when the sun comes out.

You can see more of this cabin in my book - The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books. Photography by James Gardiner. ©CICO Books.

I was so mesmerised by the area that six months after the photo shoot, I returned with my family. Marianne and her family were kind enough to invite us to stay in the cabin.  The vista was equally stunning in winter time, when temperatures can plummet to minus 25 degrees celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) brrrrrrr! The light was crystal clear and we spent our days on the nearby ski slopes, intermittently diving into mountain cabins to warm-up over a hot chocolate (the girls), and glögg (the man and I!). A sauna back at the cabin worked wonders to warm the cockles and we'd spend the evenings on the long seat looking out over the panoramic views of the undulating snow-covered landscape. As the sun went down the valley was dotted with the glimmer of head torches as cross country skiers made their way home. It's a site I'll never forget! Here are a couple of snowy snaps I took during our stay....

The family enlisted the help of Marianne's sister, architect Benedicte Sund-Mathisen of Suma Arkitektur to extend the cabin and create frameless windows.
The original timber cottage dates back more than fifty years. Poles at the side of the road help snowploughs locate the road after a particularly heavy dump of snow! I have to admit we got stuck more than once (even though our car has specially adapted winter tires!) - and I learned a few new Swedish swear words in the process!!

Although the days were short, when the sun shone the light was crystal clear and the girls loved sledging on the slope in front of the cabin.

Aaaaaah, how I'd love to visit this region again one day. 

In case you'd like to find your own magical Norwegian mountain hide-away this winter, try Airbnb! Perhaps we'll see you there?!

Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm!

PS You must check out this rustic log cabin too! Guh!

PPS If you're Christmas shopping this weekend our scandi-inspired adult and children gift guides might come in handy!

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Before & After: A Dated Cabin Becomes a Dreamy Airbnb Hideaway In The Woods

Have you ever dreamed of owning a little home from home? Somewhere you can escape to at the weekends and completely switch off. Often the cost and effort involved in acquiring and renovating a second home is enough to put most people off. But actually, a fixer upper doesn't need to cost the earth - there's a lot you can do with a small, remote place on a tight budget. Tom and Hope had always dreamed of owning and renovating cabin in the woods. The answer came in the form of The Cobb Haus, a wooden cabin at the end of a track in the quiet rural neighbourhood of Whispering Pines, Cobb, California. The pair closed in February and set about transforming it into a peaceful retreat, a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I caught up with the pair to find out more about their wonderful hideaway in the woods - which is also available to rent


How long did it take you to transform your cabin into the lovely hideaway it is today? 
We completed in February and had it finished (I say that loosely as it is a continuous work in progress!) in June.


Wow, that was quick! What type of work did you carry out in that time?
Most of the work we did was purely cosmetic aside from the bathroom which was a complete remodel. 


What was your decorating goal? 
We really wanted to keep the original 40s / 50s charm while adding some modern touches. It's a small space so keeping the decor minimal and well thought out was key. 


The upper cabinets were replaced with relaxed open shelving and the lower cabinets were painted in Woodland Lichen by Sherwin Williams. The green was a perfect choice as it draws the surrounding nature indoors. 


"There is no central heating but there is a wood burning stove and two small space heaters you can move around as needed."


The pair painted the wood burning stove with special paint and replaced existing the hearth with tiles from Home Depot. 

The cosy sitting room has been kitted out with poufs and a side cabinet from IKEA and an Article sofa. There green curtains from Target were picked out to match the kitchen cabinets for a cohesive look. 

What inspired the interior style? 
It's hard for me to pinpoint one style as inspiration, but I love to pull from Scandinavian, mid-century and a little boho, while keeping a minimalistic feel. 


I see (with glee!) that you rent out your cabin through Airbnb - did you have this in mind during the renovation?
Ultimately, we wanted it to feel like home for whoever walks in. We wanted it to feel cosy and inviting with a focus on the beautiful views of the surrounding forest. 



A lick of white paint on the floors, walls and ceiling have completely transformed the bedroom into a light and airy room. A glimpse of the forest through the window makes a great focal point (almost like art!). 

The side table is from HomeGoods, however, you'd be forgiven for thinking it has been fashioned out of a tree trunk from outside the door. A perfect nod to the surroundings! 

Truly inspiring, don't you think? 

In case it's rekindled your dream of going for that fixer upper you've always dreamed of, here are some budget friendly lessons to learn from this renovation:

6 ways Tom and Hope saved money
  1. Carrying out a lot of the renovation themselves
  2. Painting existing kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them
  3. Working with the existing structure
  4. White washing the interior for a fresh feel
  5. Furnishing with items from IKEA, Target etc
  6. Renting out the cabin via Airbnb to cover running costs
Not quite ready to purchase your own rural hide-away?! The Cobb Haus is available to rent through Airbnb. And word on the street is that you can also order healthy, homemade meals directly to the door! It sounds like a trip to Whispering Pines (beautiful name!) might be in order, don't you think?

Read more about The Cobb Haus here and check out more pics on instagram

Other incredible rural retreats to dream about this Monday:  

Wishing you all a truly inspiring start to the week! Here's to new future projects, big and small!


Photography courtesy of The Cobb Haus, with kind permission

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A Cosy Off-The-Grid Cabin in The Woods

There's two ways go in Autumn / Winter - embrace it or escape it. And boy does Alice Saunders embrace it. When Alice isn't making travel bags for her successful business Forestbound in Boston, she's escaping to her magical cabin in the woods in the heart of New Hampshire. It's 'escape' in every essence of the word. Located at the end of a dirt track, the off-the-grid cabin has no running water or electricity and mobile reception can only be obtained by rowing across the lake! Alice and her boyfriend spent several years renovating the space on a shoestring budget, furnishing it with charming vintage pieces and cosy layers of textiles. The result is an unbelievably cosy, rustic, relaxed living space where the pair can truly switch off, read and enjoy the surroundings - completely uninterrupted! Time to dream....

This has to be one of the cosiest little cabins I've ever seen! I'd so LOVE to be kicking about there right now, candles lit, book in hand. How about you? 

It would also make the most perfect writers retreat, don't you think? Once, of course, I've come up with a topic - details friends, details!

Could you imagine escaping here for a few days too?!

If you'd like to see more pictures,  hop on over to Alice's instagram here. Better still, if you're planning a long weekend at a similar log cabin, you might just want to pick up one of her Forestbound original tote or carryalls made from found and salvaged textiles. They're fab! 

There's a load more dreamy places to drool over in the rural retreats and log cabin archives (some of which are also on Airbnb - just saying!). 

Have a cosy day! 


Photography: Alice Saunders, shared with kind permission.

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