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An Afternoon Tea In My Backyard - Fit For Royalty!

 Scandinavian brand story*:
An afternoon tea fit for royalty. That's how it felt in my little back yard a couple of weeks back. And I owe that to Georg Jensen. Last spring, the Danish brand announced an extension of one of its most recognisable tabletop collections designed by the Swedish designer Sigvard Bernadotte (1907 - 2002). And I couldn't be more excited! Formerly a Prince, the forward thinking and free spirited Sigvard Bernadotte, traded his aristocratic title to become part of Sweden's design royalty. His collaboration with Georg Jensen began in 1930 at the start of the functionalist movement and the bold simplicity of Bernadotte's silver designs were a huge over night success. In 2002, Georg Jensen reissued many of the items in stainless steel making them more accessible to the humble likes of you and I! Just add coffee, milk, and buns. OK, I did have a little prosecco later on in the day too...!

If this is a royal collection, then the Bernadotte Thermo jug is surely the queen - it's a true Scandinavian design icon. I love how it keeps your drinks hot (or cold) for up to six hours too - a perfect excuse to sit around all day! 

Another favorite: the Bernadotte dish on a stand. I used it for bread, but it also makes a beautiful fruit bowl! 

I was excited to see that in 2019, Georg Jensen added several new pieces to the line, including a series of vases, serving plates and platters, cutlery pieces and other small items - all of which respect the design heritage of the Bernadotte line. 

There's something wonderful about using milk jug (as oppose to just chucking the entire carton on the table we so often do at breakfast time) - and this stainless steel and mirror polished one is the crème de la crème (see what I did there?!). I love the shape and weight! It's also perfect for other things like salad dressings. 




What a wonderful afternoon! I'll be dreaming about this come winter!

If you love iconic Scandinavian design as much as I do and curious about the Bernadotte line and other Georg Jensen pieces I've used for my table setting, here's a quick guide: 
GET THE LOOK

1. Bernadotte Thermo Jug
2. Bernadotte Dish on A Stand
3. Bernadotte Creamer / Milk Jug
4. Bernadotte Bottle Opener
5. Bernadotte Etagère
6. Bernadotte Tea and Coffee Spoons
7. Cobra Lunch Plate
8. Cobra Porcelain Cup
9. Cobra Glass Set
10. Bernadotte Medium Vase

Do you have a favourite piece?

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week!

Niki

Photography: My Scandinavian Home
Styling: Helen Sturesson

PS I'll be back on Wednesday with an inspiring and beautiful Swedish home tour - never been seen before! See you then!

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Georg Jensen, who I am honoured to collaborate with. Thank you for supporting the wonderful businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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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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A Magical Farmhouse on a Hill In Vermont

One magical, sunny day in 2014, photographer James Gardiner and I made our way up a long, winding track in Vermont, USA. Eventually we came to a clearing, and there at the top of the hill amidst 100 acres of luscious New England pasture stood Nadine Dole's farmhouse. We spent the day shooting the house known as 'The Hill' for my book Modern Pastoral (now re-named to Relaxed Rustic). It would be a day I'll never forget. 

The remote farmhouse is simply furnished with a mixture of antiques, handmade items, vintage finds and wonderful pieces of art. Natural materials and a neutral colour scheme unify the eclectic pieces and work in harmony with the surroundings. The windows open inward and upward, filling the living space with a wonderful cool breeze - and providing uninterrupted views over open fields towards distant mountain ranges. 

Meals and afternoon tea are enjoyed at a 19th century pine harvest dining table. The natural woven seating of the dining chairs is slowly coming unraveled, enhancing the relaxed nature of the home. 

The kitchen is simple yet purposeful and made entirely from salvaged items. 

A row of linen aprons (this lovely linen apron* is similar) in muted makes a delightful display on the back wall. Vintage rolling pins are stored in the pockets. 

A Kasanof's & Paramount Bakeries tin bought in an antique store sits above the green armoire. The impressive 'Blueberry' painting is by John Young. 

Nadia collects art from all over the world. The nude portrait was found in a brocante (a secondhand market) in Maussane, France. Dried honeycombs found in the garden in winter rest on a table found at auction. 

An old schoolhouse light hangs above an ornate mirror and porcelain sink and a simple lion claw tub provides a perfect place for a soak while looking out over the pastures, where black bears, coyotes, wild deer and chickens wander freely. 

You can see more pictures of Nadia's magical home in my book Relaxed Rustic (formerly known as Modern Pastoral). 

I also love following Nadia's latest projects on her instagram

If you're as taken with her style as much as I am, you might also like to keep an eye out for one of her workshops - and if you're lucky enough to be in the area a little birdie tells me she might be opening a small shop, cafe or bakery (or perhaps all three?) soon! 

Discover other incredible country homes in the archive! 

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week!

Niki

PS There's currently a give-away over on instagram to win Relaxed Rustic along with five other interior books. 

PPS If you are one of the first to pick up a copy of Relaxed Rustic online and enjoy it, I'd be so happy if you could leave a review - thank you so much :)

Credit: Relaxed Rustic by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books (19.99 GBP). Photography by James Gardiner - copyright CICO Books. 

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Angela's Inspiring Light-Filled Munich Home (With The Cutest Snoozing Pup!)

You'd be forgiven for thinking the beautiful home of Angela Giovanna is in Sweden. There's something about the light and airy, pared back feel, gallery walls and designer pieces that give it a distinct Scandinavian vibe. And then there's those wonderful towering ceilings, huge windows and double conjoining doors that flood the space with light. I couldn't put my finger on what exactly, but there was still something about the architecture that gave the game away and I figured the building had to be in Germany. Angela shares her wonderful home in the old section of Munich with husband Tommi and their furry friend Juno (the pair are expecting their first child in September (a baby boy!).  The duo have decorated look their apartment using a  strictly monochrome theme with vintage furniture nestled beside a multitude of New Nordic design pieces, books and art. I reached out to find out more. Meine Damen und Herren, allow me to present Angela's inspiring home!

An Ivar cabinet from IKEA has been painted to match the colour of the wall - a simple, clever way to add storage without drawing attention to it. 

What drew you to the apartment in the first place? 
We love the typical style of the old buildings in this area and were so happy to finally find our dream home last winter. Since then we have been slowly filling it with a lot of good memories and creating an interior we love. 

A series of decorative objects including an echasse bowl*David fragment sculpture and decorative coral have been arranged beside design books, magazines art and a lamp (from Westwing) in the sitting room. 

How would you describe your style?
I would define our style as a mix of design classics, vintage pieces and trend influences.  

Was a monochrome palette a deliberate choice, or has it evolved organically?
I love colours, but since I change my mind so often, I decided to go with a more monochrome scheme. It's timeless. 

Marshall bluetooth speakers* rest atop a vintage cabinet. Above, a series of decorative objects and design books have been displayed on Swedish String Pocket shelves

Do you have any favourite pieces? 
The pieces I love the most in our home are the ones that tell a story. We have a strong emotional attachment to some - like a vintage picture frame that my father gave me almost 20 years ago - and the glass cabinet in our home office (seen above). We also love to upcycle old flea market finds to create something new. 

There are many great German interior bloggers / instagrammers out there to follow for inspiration. Do you have any favourites? 
Yes, I love to follow @Sarah-cocolapine, @svenja_traumzuhause and @oursweetliving

Nothing like a snoozing dog! Being a non-dog owner, I'm curious, I heard something from training 101 that allowing a dog on the sofa is a complete no-no - is this true? 
Haha! Very good question! Before we got Juno, I was super convinced that I would be strict and not allow her on the sofa or bed. But when she was a puppy, she cried a lot during the night - so we allowed her to sleep in our bed. That was a big mistake - haha! She still completely owns them! 

On a different note, I noticed on your instagram @tasselsandfringes that you recently re-painted her dining room wall from dark to light. It looks fab (I couldn't resist sharing a couple of snapshots below) what made you decide to do this? 
Thank you! I really loved it in the dark colour, it gave the dining room a 'restaurant feeling' and was super cosy when lit with candles. But with coronavirus, the dining area became my home office and was simply too dark. In order to sit there eight hours a day, I needed to brighten it up. I love the light beige tone, it made a huge difference to the space. 

Such a lovely home! 

I can't wait to see what you do next - especially with a nursery to create - exciting times! 

***

You can see more of Angela's home and follow her future projects over at @tasselsandfringes

I've shared quite a few other lovely homes from Munich in the past (there must be a real creative hub over there!) - check out these if you're curious:


I've had Munich on my list of places I could live one day thanks to its proximity to the Alps - in the winter, you can hit the slopes whenever you like - luxury! Lake Garda in Italy is only 6 hours away too, just saying!

Wishing you a great day friends! I'll be back tomorrow with a beeeeautiful danish home, so make sure you stop by! 

Niki

Photography: Angela Giovanna 
Affiliate links marked with *

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A Magical Norwegian Cottage With a Wabi Sabi Vibe

Here in Scandinavian we're counting down the days to Midsummer's Eve. Nature has sprung to life in a riot of colours - with meadows and grass verges bursting with poppies, daisies, harebells and lupins. The sun casts a long, hazy shadow well into the evening as adults and children alike soak up every last drop of golden sun. In the small hamlet of Nesodden, near Oslo, Norway, Hilde Mork and her two children are enjoying the midsummer sun from their magical country cottage. Last year, Hilde and a colleague converted the former ceramics studio and stables into a family home using 100% recycled and secondhand materials. Inspired by Scandinavian functionality and 'Nordic wabi sabi', today the cottage also serves as a studio for Hilde's work as a graphic designer, photographer and storyteller - and an idyllic base from which to enjoy the surrounding forest and countryside. Velkommen inn to Hilde's magical world - where the beauty lies in the imperfection. 




The neighbour's cat often stops by for a visit, making himself at home beside a vintage cabinet, cookery books and bunches of dried flowers. 



In this close-up you can really see how the kitchen has been built using secondhand and recycle materials - from the reclaimed porcelain sink and taps to the cabinet doors. A vintage scissor lamp* provides light after sunset.


A simple rail serves as storage for an array of pots and pans and a traditional woven birch basket* is ideal for other small items. 

In the winter a wood burning stove helps to keep the cottage feeling cosy and warm, while in summer it provides a perfect spot for a vase of wildflowers. 

A series of vintage mirrors help to bounce the light around while also creating a lovely wall display! 



On warmer days, life moves outside, where the family enjoy the surroundings in an understated way while making the most of the long hours of sunshine. 


What a magical world! Slow and sustainable living at its finest. 

Could you imagine soaking up the Scandinavian summer sun from this charming Norwegian country home? 

Take a peek at more of Hilde's home on her instagram @hildemork78 and find out more about her work as a freelance graphic designer, photographer and storyteller on her website www.hildemork.me

Up for a little more Scandinavian country inspiration today? Take a look at these magical homes:


Have a great start to the week friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Hilde Mork, shared with kind permission. 

*This post contains affiliate links which means I might make a very, very tiny amount of money if you buy an item through the links marked with an asterisk. 


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