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Time for A New Wood Floor - Which Sample Is Your Favourite?

Houston, we have a problem. We need a new wood floor. It's not a decision to take lightly - but sadly, ours has bitten the dust! When we moved in over 12 years ago, our open-plan living room featured a dark oak floor throughout. It's a really dark room, so we decided to lighten it up by sanding down the floor and then applying a whitewash. It was only then that we realised that the owners before us had laid a laminate oak wood floor -  and the actual oak element was only a couple of millimetres thick. It looked beautiful to begin with, but over time, cracks started to appear, and the edges of the laminate started to furl. You can catch a glimpse in the picture above as well as the close-ups below! 


It had been bothering us for a while, since a tired looking floor can really bring the entire look of a room down. But the final straw came on New Year's Eve when we had a bit of a raucous party which resulted in a dance-off until 4am (remember those days before the - whisper it - 'C' word?). It was great fun, but our poor floor was not up to it - and great lengths of laminate became dislodged. It was definitely time to get a new wood floor! 

Where to start?!  
Living in Scandinavia, a wood flooring is the obvious choice - and thankfully we don't have a dog so   we're confident that the right wood floor would be a great, sustainable, long lasting option. The natural material helps to draw nature indoors and add warmth and depth top a room. There is an overwhelming array of options out there, but I already knew I wanted one of two looks: herringbone parquet or a wide plank. 

Herringbone Parquet

It's no secret that I've always loved a parquet floor (see my 'all hail the parquet floor' feature) - aren't they stunning?! The herringbone parquet floor in particular is hugely popular in Sweden and many turn-of-the-century homes are blessed with original versions, in all their creaky glory. This particular Boden oak with a matt finish in 'extra white' is absolutely stunning, the only thing is, our townhouse is modern (it was built in 2001 which incidentally makes it 20 years old this year - time for another party?!) so we felt we needed something a little more contemporary. 

Wide plank oak

I've been fan of wide plank floors for a long time. There's something really clean and contemporary about them and yet they still add a lot of warmth to a space (this one is the wide plank SVANSHALL in hardened oak - isn't it beautiful?).  Are you a fan too? Per and I agreed that this option would be the best one for our open-plan living space. 

The brand
Bjelin - one of Europe's largest floor manufacturers - was an obvious choice for us. Their wide plank wood floors are produced not far up the coast and since we're planning to lay the floor ourselves - we like that their planks click together without glue or nails. They also have a great sustainable approach: maximising the use of every log, reusing waste as filler or energy and sourcing raw materials from responsibly managed forests. And finally, they sell beautiful wide plank flooring made from cured the wood, which is super strong (roll on New Year's Eve!). Yay! 

Samples
It's one thing looking at the pictures on a website, it's another thing entirely testing out samples. We approached Bjelin and tested out as many samples as we could. We wanted to make sure that the wood had more of a grey tint (and not a yellow or beige note that might get more pronounced as time goes on). We also wanted to make sure that the wood wasn't too dark and fitted the design of the room (it's amazing how much a wood floor can change a space!). Here are a few of the wood floors we tested: 

Clockwise from left to right: Loarp, Lyby, Torekov, Arild, Hittarp

Do you have a favourite? 

I'd love to hear about your favourite wood floor style - and any tips and advice you might have from laying a wood floor in your home! Feeling a little nervous!

I promise to update you soon! 

Niki

PS Stop by tomorrow to take a peek around a breath-taking Danish summer cottage, it'll have you dreaming of a summer in Scandinavia all weekend! 

Photo 1: My Scandinavian Home. All other photos: Bjelin

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Choosing a Wood Floor For our Tiny Cabin, From Light to Dark

Disclosure: Norrlands Trä have kindly agreed to collaborate with us on this project

Hejsan! A cabin update is long overdue! We're still nutting out the interior details and lately we've been focused on the floor. Living in Scandinavia, it was a no brainer to go for a wood floor - I love the warmth, the softness underfoot and how it ages over time. We were specifically looking for a wood floor with a simple and traditional look and that comes from a sustainable source. We headed to Norrlands Trä - the Swedish company from whom we got our wall panelling (and only use FSC certifiable wood from the forests of North Sweden) to pick up some samples from dark to light. Here are some of the variations we considered - and the wood floor we eventually chose.

Blond tones
Nothing says Scandinavian like 'blond' wood, don't you think? The light touch is great for brightening up a space, while still adding warmth. But there can be massive variations in light wood - from almost white to dark blond (it's starting to sound like a trip to the hairdressers!), and don't get me started on the subtle nuances: from cold to warm tones, and how the colour changes over time. It's a minefield! 

Lightest shade
Save from painting the floor white, the brushed pine (Borstat Furugolv) in 'ultra protect white' is the lightest in the Norrlands Trä range. It's close to white and has a wonderful, ridged patina with the grain showing through. Pine can be incredibly soft, and so I like that the surface has been gently teased away with a brush, making it a more durable choice. 

Light pine
We were also drawn to the pine floor (Putsat furugolv) in ultra protect white which has been primed and then sandpapered giving a soft, smooth result (a treat for the feet!). We love that it has a traditional and rustic feel which is so synonymous with the Swedish summer cottage. One thing to be mindful of - the softer finish does require some extra work over the years to maintain it. However, it is made from solid wood so you can sand it down as often as you like - or leave it as it is and appreciate the patina as it ages.  I'm guessing we'd do the latter!

Darker wood floor tones
You might have noticed that darker wood floors have been making a comeback lately. The deep hue is great for adding contrast, grounding a space and creating a cosy ambience. 

Grey finish
This brushed pine floor (Borstat Furugolv) has a lovely rustic feel - and we liked the stone grey finish. Given all the windows in our cabin we could definitely get away with a darker floor like this one too. 

Dark finish
And finally, we looked at going completely over to the dark side with a brushed pine floor ((Borstat Furugolv) in ultra protect brown. The rich tone gives a wonderful atmospheric feel and adds a whole level of cosiness. It's perfect for creating that dark cabin feel. 


A note on wood ageing over time
Wood is a natural substance that darkens over time - especially when exposed to lots of light. Some wood gets more of a grey tint, whereas others can appear more yellow. Check with your wood floor supplier before purchasing to find out about each individual wood floor. Also, be mindful that rugs block the sunlight which can leave permanent marks on your wood floor. If the room gets a lot of light, think about removing them periodically.  

Our choice of floor
Edited: originally I wrote that we went for the primed pine floor in ultra protect white but this was an error - we actually chose the primed parquet pine floor in ultra protect white. This has an extremely similar look and feel, but the parquet is a more practical choice for us since it simply clicks into place making it easier to install, where as the solid wood needs to be nailed into place. Also, it's thinner which works better with the lower ceiling height in the loft. Overall, it has a lovely summery feel and during the winter it will help to brighten up the darkness! 


We tested the sample up at the cabin. 

Welcome inside my humble home! 

The panelling on the walls and ceiling is now in place and looks so beautiful! And the wood floor is a perfect fit! 

Below is the simple material and colour mood board we have decided to work with. The stone and white tile will be installed in the bathroom and the dark sand is for the kitchen cabinets. It feels like it reflects the surrounding coast and forest in a beautiful way - what do you think?  


It feels like things are really starting to happen now and it's the cabin is moving from an empty shell into a home! Exciting! 

What type of floor do you have in your home? Do you have a favourite out of these different looks? or perhaps you have gone for tiles, like my sister who has a dog. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Niki

Credits: 1. Lifestyle photo courtesy of Norrlands Trä, styled by Lotta Agaton. 2 - 6 Lifestyle photos courtesy of Norrlands Trä. 7+ photos snapped with my iPhone by Per and myself this weekend! 

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Per's Best Tips On Laying Hardwood Flooring Yourself







A few weeks ago I mentioned we needed a new wood floor in our open-plan living, kitchen and dining room. Thank you so much to everyone who shared their thoughts on which floor to go for - we loved reading all your comments, they were so helpful! After much deliberation, we decided to go for the Cured Oak LYBY wide plank (28 cm), with a rustic, white matte lacquer finish from Swedish brand Bjelin. We felt the wide plank fitted well with our modern townhouse and loved the light tone with a subtle yet lively, natural rustic touch (being a naturally dark room we were keen to brighten it up as much as possible). The cured wood is also known for being incredibly strong and hard wearing - perfect with the crazies around! Here's a close-up:


Rather than get someone in to install the floor professionally, we (or perhaps I should say Per!) decided it would be more fun to do it ourselves. With the work well underway, I thought it could be interesting to ask Per a little more about the workings of a wood floor, how difficult they are to lay and whether he'd recommend it!

Have you ever laid a wood floor before?
Yes, which actually made me hesitate to do it again as it was pretty difficult to get it right (*laughs*)

Why's that?
I started at one end but left a small gap, which made it tricky to lay the next row and so on. A small error at the beginning meant it took me way longer than it should have done. But the end result was good, which gave me the confidence to give it another go! 

Why would you prefer to lay a wood floor yourself than get someone in professionally? 
I think it's a nice feeling to know you've done it yourself: there's a certain pride in it. Of course, you save money in the process too, which is also a bonus!



Could anyone lay a wood floor?
I would say that anyone could lay a wood floor like this one. This time it was much easier because Bjelin floors have a special locking system which means the planks click into place without the need to use glue or nails. The only time it can get a little fiddly is around places like the radiators - but there's always a solution!

Are there any useful sources if you get stuck? 
Our wood floor came with a step-by-step installation instruction sheet. I also find YouTube tutorials helpful - especially when dealing with trickier areas.

What tools do you need to lay a wood floor?
The only power tool I used was a jigsaw but it would also have been good to have used a circular saw to cut the planks to the right size. You should also wear an eye mask and preferably a work bench and clamp to cut the wood planks too!

Side note: as with any work environment, you should also wear good, protective clothing - such as proper shoes (something I will think about for next time!). Thank you for the 'unknown' for pointing this out in the comment section, very good point and very important! 



How do you prep a room before laying the floor?  
1. Remove the furniture from the room (since ours is quite a large area, we shifted the furniture over to one side and then shifted it back once we had finished the section)
2. Remove the skirting boards and mark the back of them with a pencil so you know exactly where they were (it can be tricky to remember otherwise which can be time consuming later on).
3. Remove old flooring
4. If you're lucky there'll be an underlay already in place, if not you'll need to lay one.
5. Give the surface a clean.

Do you have any advice for anyone laying a wood floor for the first time?
Choose a good quality floor, preferably with a locking system like Bjelin's and dare to throw yourself at the task. Planning things in advance like which side of the room to start and plotting any tricky areas will save time later. If in doubt, get advice from your dealer. Also, measure up to five times before you cut any wood- a stitch in time saves nine! 



Did you make any errors this time? 
Not really. A professional floor layer would probably have made a cleaner job around the radiators, but I found that a special filler matching the tone of the wood did wonders to cover up any imperfections!

How long did it take for you to lay the floor?
Around 3-4 days in total. And no doubt 3-4 years to finish the details (like repainting the skirting boards etc!).

Did you learn anything for next time?
Next time? Are you plotting something Niki?

Might be...!
After removing the skirting boards and old floor, I'd give the walls and ceilings a fresh lick of paint before I lay the new floor.

Any final words to anyone considering laying a wood floor? 
Laying a wood floor yourself may sound daunting, but if you have the time and energy, it's a surprisingly easy task and you'll feel really proud knowing you did yourself!

***

What do you reckon, do you recognise this from laying your own wood floor? If so, perhaps you have some more tips to share with us. If you're about to get a new wood floor and considering laying it yourself, I hope this has given you the confidence to dive in!

I can't wait to show you the final results next Sunday!

Niki

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A Dutch Home Infused with Warmth and Harmony

Hello Monday! I hope you had a great weekend? It was midsummer here so we're all nursing slight schnapps hangovers (lethal stuff that!). Nothing a double shot of coffee and a beautiful home tour can't fix though, thankfully! And have I got a charming home for you this bright, sunny Monday! Located in Monster (amazing name!), close to the Hague in The Netherlands, Tinta Luhrman's abode has a tremendously calm and harmonic feel thanks to the touches of beautifully crafted wood throughout. It's little wonder the owners have turned woodwork into a successful online business. I caught up with Tinta to find out more about interior design, her love of 'brown' tones and working with wood.

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Who do you live with?
I live with the most special man, Rutger, the most beautiful girl Dieuwertje and the best dog ever, Paxi!



Selenelion Moon print by Stella Marie Baer, Olly Wood Surf Board


What do you do for a living?
My husband and I design and make furniture and also have a webshop selling handmade products. I am an interior designer and Rutger is a carpenter. After years of working independently, we decided to combine forces and start working together.

What is the essence of Woodchuck? 
Simplicity and natural materials are at the heart of our business. We live and breathe wood, literally ;-). From early on, I was drawn to the colours, smell and look and feel of wood and Rutger loves to work with his hands. Woodchuck is a concept that is 100% us. Everything we sell is created by us and passes through our hands. We love this old school way of working and believe putting that extra bit of love into a product gives it something special - both for us and the clients.

"Design is an ongoing process that keeps growing until it's finished. Nothing is so subject to change as wood and a creative mind."

Mobile by Laine Maison Makes, Art by Lily Nichols

You have a beautifully unique interior, how has this evolved?
Since I was little I have always surrounded myself with natural materials. I've always been into Scandinavian and Japanese style. I don’t follow trends, I've always stayed true to myself. I have a penchant for vintage items but also new designs. Every house needs a uniqueness. I always start with a white canvas and then I let the interior evolve. Every room has a different light and feeling so I use this as my base. The same goes for the colors I use.

"Everyone has his of her own color: brown is mine. It's a hue that brings me a sense of calm and happiness. And I eat chocolate every day ;)" 

 





Do you have any tips for anyone looking to introduce more wood into their home?
I think wood gives your home warmth and the combination of using different kind of wood enhances this. But not every one loves it. Choose the wood you like the most to create your own look.

Do you have any general interior styling tips?
Decorate your home in a way that feels good to you and dare to be different. Stay true to yourself. Surround yourself with beauty and try to have less storage space so you don’t buy a lot of things you don’t use. That’s why we have an open kitchen: we only have things in our kitchen that we use, not a pantry full of things we don’t.



Thank you for welcoming us into your home Tinta. 

Anyone else tempted to add more wood to their home now? If you're looking for me today I'll be over on the Woodchuck website (or Tinta's instagram feed - looking for inspiration!), see you there?!
I also love the floor in the children's bedroom - I've got such a weakness for painted checks! Is there anything that struck you about this home? 
In case you're feeling inspired by all things wood you might also want to check out a Brooklyn home with reclaimed wood and the lovely home of ÉmilieDesjarlais (in case you missed it last week!) and also this guide to parquet floors.

Oh and this Dutch home features some lovely pieces from Woodchuck too.
Have a great start to the week!

Niki

All photography: Tinta Lurhman / Woodchuck

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5

Danish knock on wood

In Scandinavia wood floor is obviously a huge part of any interior space. So I am often being asked what type of wood floor to go for, usually a tricky question. But today I think I have the answer - Dinesen. This Danish wood floor company does everything right. The distinctive wide wood planks made from Douglas Fir are simply stunning. And it helps that the spaces are too!







Dinesen 

Modern floor, classic, simple, white interior with incredible architect, I'm in love!

This post about wood floors raises the big debate and one I am always battling with as a Brit in Sweden. Swedes are forever asking - why do you have carpets in England? What is your take on wall to wall carpet versus wall to wall wood floor?

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In Copenhagen, An Enchanting Home In Shades of Soft Sea-Green

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? There's something about the relaxed vibe and their love of all things hygge which makes me feel immediately at ease. It's been a while since I've been, so today I thought we'd take a peek behind a facade in the leafy area of Fredriksberg. Danish interior stylist, brand and visual storyteller, Sedsel Roug lives in a beautiful 145 m2 (1560,77 feet) ground-floor apartment with her Colombian husband Louis Carlos and three children Isabel (8), Luis (3) and Gabriel (3). The space has all the characteristics of a late 19th century apartment - including original wood floors, towering ceilings and large windows which let in soft pools of light. The harmonious feeling is accentuated by Sedsel's love for pale sea-green walls, fabulous vintage and antique finds and lots of art. I caught up with Sedsel to find out more. 

Your apartment has beautiful bones - can you tell us a little more about the history of it?
It's an old apartment dating back to 1860 with original wood floors and a ceiling height of 3.10 metres! 

How would you describe your style?
I like that my home is an experience and that one gets surprised from the blend of styles. I like to decorate with vintage pieces and art and mix all kinds of materials and shapes. I am particularly passionate about marble, brass and velour. 

"My favourite item of furniture is the Romeo Reha brass shelf from Italy, which I found at caution many years ago. It's timeless and like a work of art."

Would you say your home is typically Danish? 
My home is inspired by many different styles and countries. I have lived abroad (Brussels, Plymouth and New York for eight years) and love to travel to South Europe where I find inspiration for furniture and art. I also love to mix Danish design with wood details. 

What inspired your colour scheme? 
I'm very inspired by flowers and art. I mix all the wall colours until I feel inspired by the colour. I tend to go towards shades of green-grey / light sea green which has been made up using a blend of paint leftovers!

The tones are beautiful! Can you advise on similar colour codes?
Colour codes 3495, 4491 and 4502 from Flügger are similar to the walls in my home. 

Where do you source items for your home? 
I have bought many items at auction in Germany and Italy. Actually, most of my furniture and accessories are vintage. I also adore upcoming artists and collect ceramics and art prints. 

Any favourite artists? 


Finally, what do you love most about your home? 
I love how my home is constantly changing (I like to move furniture around!). I also love the light - there's not much natural light as it is a ground floor apartment - but the light that does come in is peaceful and enchanting. 

So lovely! There's something enchanting about Sedsel's apartment, don't you think? I particularly  love the sea green palette combined with wood furniture. 

Is there anything that stood out to you?

Wanna see a little more? Take a peek at @sedselroug

In case you're curious about where some of the items are from (I know I was), here's a round-up:

Get the look from Sedsel's home


1. Bycdesign Mid Collection 08*
2. Ikea STOCKHOLM 2017 Cabinet
3. Hein Studio Ostrea ROCK Glass Vase
4. Afteroom Plus dining chair City Velvet*
5. The E1027 Collection No 05
6. H&M Cotton Satin Duvet Cover*
7. Hein Studio The wise man 01*
8. Skagerak Georg dining table
9. Bolia Lady Armchair
10. New Works Kizu Table Lamp

What amazing pieces! Time to go vintage bargain hunting...

Meet you at the antique market?

Niki

Photography: Sedsel Roug, shared with kind permission. 

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