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Feeling the Hygge: A Toasty Guide To Wood Burning Stoves

 This is a sponsored post in partnership with Arada stoves. All opinions and words are my own. 


Who doesn't love the crackle of a log fire and that toasty feeling you get from being tucked up indoors as the rain lashes at the windows? Although summer is still in the air, Autumn is just around the corner (dare I say it!) - so if you're looking to get that hygge vibe down before the big chill arrives, now is the time to install a wood burning stove. But where to start? Here's my guide to get you started.


Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

Why a wood burning stove?
Those who own one will tell you they're so much more than a black steel box. As Arada puts it, a word burning stove is"a living breathing thing, sparking passion in those who own it. The rituals of feeding and caring for it become part of your day. The scent and sound of it become part of your home. The glow becomes your companion."

Oh, and they're also heat efficient, cosy and make a pretty cool focal point when not in action too!


What do I need to do to install one? 
If your house isn't listed and you have a working chimney or flue your gaff is all prepped for the installation of a wood burner. If not, you'll need planning permission for an external chimney (bit of a faff but sooo worth it!). Verified wood burning stove companies such as Arada will do the rest.   

But there are so many to choose from?!
Since the stove will become the heart of your home, it's important to pick a style to suit your lifestyle and setting.

Will I feel the heat?!
The whole point of the burner is obvs the heat. So, before we get carried away with the design (who, me?!), it's important to think about how much heat you're looking to get out of your stove. The insulation in our house is so good that a fireplace emitting too much heat would have us 'glowing' akin to a session at the local sauna. We'd therefore totally need something with a lower heat output. The London house I grew up in as a child, on the other hand, was so cold I used to sleep with a hat on (I kid you not!) and we could totally have done with a wood burner designed to heat an entire room (and more!). Read more about finding the right output for your space here.

OK, now for the fun part
The design. When it comes to stoves I love a bit of authenticity. Choose between freestanding classic, contemporary and hardworking heating stoves and designs that are ideal for an inglenook fireplace or for an empty hearth, inset stoves designed to slot into a traditional British fireplace and cassette stoves which can be recessed into the wall for a sleeker finish.


Does it have to be black?! 
It is possible to go for something a little bolder should your heart desire it (hey, you may have noticed I've been going down the root of colour lately, so who knows what might happen next! OK. Yes. I'd probably go for black!).  But for those of you a little less colour shy, Arada offers a choice of seven colours:

Gas or wood / solid fuel?
Tricky one. The beauty of gas is that it's hassle free, there's less cleaning involved, and your fire can reach the desired heat quickly - and be more easily regulated. Plus gas fires have come such a long way, they often look like the real deal too. Having said that, boy/girl scout types might be disappointed about the lack of required probing, the crackling sound and scent of burning wood. The decision is yours!


Keeping it clean! 
Fuel has come a long way since the days of coal (cue black smoke belching out of chimneys across London!), but there's still a lot we can do to keep our fireside read a little more eco-friendly. A new clean burning stove from Arada will produce 90% fewer emissions than an open fire and 84% less than that of a stove produced 10 years ago). And once our stove is installed we can also take other actions too. There's a great guide here

What do you reckon? Could this be the year you install a wood burning stove? I'm incredibly tempted...

Find out more about Arada stoves here and check out their FAQ's for any burning (sorry!) questions.

Here's to chilly summer evenings and a toasty Autumn!

Warm wishes,

Niki

Pictures 1 & 2  feature the i600 Slimline Freestanding stove
Pictures 3 feature the Ecoburn Plus 5 Widescreen
Pictures 4, 5, 6 feature the Farringdon Catalyst Eco Wood Burner

This post is is sponsored by Arada stoves. All words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the brands that make My Scandinavian Home possible. 

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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

EXTERIOR BEFORE

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.

EXTERIOR AFTER



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. 

KITCHEN BEFORE


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. 

KITCHEN AFTER

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. 


BEFORE - WOOD BURNING STOVE / SITTING ROOM

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

WOOD BURNING STOVE / SITTING ROOM AFTER

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. 

DINING AREA BEFORE

DINING ROOM AFTER
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. 

BEDROOM BEFORE

BEDROOM AFTER

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!

Niki

Photography courtesy of The Cobb Haus, with kind permission

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The beautiful, nature inspired home of a ceramicist

Hejsan, hejsan! Sorry for the silence, I've just returned from 10 truly wonderful days in Kerala, India. My grandparents (and Mother) lived in India for many years and I've always dreamed of following in their footsteps. My expectations, already high), were far exceeded - the sights, the sounds, the smells, the vibrant colours, the lovely people, just everything! Have you ever been? If not you must! We only managed to cover the very tip of the iceberg so another visit is definitely in order! Tips welcome as always! I thought I'd kick off the week with this beautiful country house in upstate New York designed and owned by ceramicist Kelli Cain and partner Brian Crabtree. The open-plan space includes 4.5 metre (15 feet) high ceilings, a cosy wood-burning stove and has been decorated using earthy tones and an abundance of natural textures and objects - many of which have been made from reclaimed materials - for a truly warm and inviting home. 












Photography: Pia Ulin - shared with kind permission.

What a cosy space?

I don't think I've ever seen a fireplace right in front of the stairs before, have you?  I love how the disused space under the stairs doubles up as log storage too - very clever. If I had a wood burning stove I'd have it going right now beside me while I sip coffee and tap away at my laptop, how about you?

I also love how the magnificent barn door made from recycled wood which can be pulled across to slip in light or closed to separate the home office from the living space.

Is there anything that stands out to you? 

Get the look: many of the beautiful ceramics (including the incredible geometric backsplash!) are by Kelli Cain.  Herman Miller saucer pendant light, Carl Hansen CH25 easy chair, natural weave basket (love this!).

You can see a full write up and more pictures over at Martha Stewart.

The space reminds me very much of another home in Upstate New York which I featured in my book Modern Pastoral - both of which truly embrace the idea of bringing the tranquility of nature indoors. So inspiring!

Have a lovely day!

PS I'm announcing not one, but TWO give-away winners to today - so keep an eye out on Instagram and this blog post to see if either are you. 'Holding thumbs' as they say in Sweden!

PPS It was a pleasure to contribute to Houseology's round-up of 51 Scandinavian design ideas

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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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