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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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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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Book Update News: Meet Relaxed Rustic

I've got some exciting news to share with you today! My first book Modern Pastoral has had a make-over! My publisher in London (CICO Books) decided to give it a new name - changing it to 'Relaxed Rustic' and they've also changed the cover to this shot from a stunning Skånegård near our cottage (the full tour is in the book) - the content inside remains the same. 

I wrote this book in 2014 and it was released in 2015 (remember the sneak peek? I was crazily excited!). Having opened it for the first time in ages this morning, I was happy to find that the nature-inspired interiors are still just as relevant today - they have a beautiful, timeless appeal. 

If you didn't pick up a copy of Modern Pastoral - perhaps you might like to treat yourself to a copy of Relaxed Rustic this summer? It's available on all the usual sites such as Amazon, but you can also go closer to home and ask your local book shop or library to order a copy. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it / styling the pictures! 

Niki

PS My publisher is giving away a copy of Relaxed Rustic along with a selection of other interior books on instagram this weekend - keep an eye on @myscandinavianhome to enter! 

PPS I'm looking forward to sharing one of my favourite home tours from the book on Monday! 

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The Cosy, Small Flat of a Copenhagen Creative and Plant Lover

It was so fun to hear you all loved yesterday's home tour as much as I did. What's not to love about a beautifully restored Swedish country home (and Johanna renovated it to perfection too!). Today, I have something for all the city dwellers amongst us - a cosy, charismatic apartment in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. Dane Ann-Kristin Løye Hejl shares 'moments of motherhood, knitting and little corners of her home' through her inspiring instagram feed @annkristinlhejl (if you don't follow her already, it's a must!). A keen gardener, the flat is filled with plants and flowers - and on warm summer days, the balcony doors are thrown open so the family can enjoy a little outdoor oasis. Welcome to Ann-Kristin's world! 

 The pink crate-style storage boxes are everywhere right now in Scandinavian homes. You can pick up various colours at Lagerhaus. Now I've pointed them out, you won't be able to 'unsee' it!!! I think I'm going to refer to them as the IT crate from now on!

A vintage cabinet above the dining table adds charm to the dining area in the corner of the sitting room - while adding some extra storage (while leaving floor space free - perfect!).

Spot the IT crate? 


Ann-Kristin's creative projects are never far away. On the table you can catch a glimpse of one of her latest knitting projects (they have their own hashtag on instagram for good reason - I love everything she creates!). 





The pretty bedding is from JUNA Design - a Danish textile brand with strong a sustainable core. 

It's about 27 degrees celsius (80 Fahrenheit) here in Southern Scandinavia today, so I can imagine Ann-Kristine and her family are sitting out on this balcony enjoying a few rays surrounded by the divine scent of blooming summer flowers (I love this pic on her instagram - so cute!).

Here on the Swedish west coast, we're about to wander down to the water for a dip (it'll be the first of around five swims my children will take today!!). Last night, the final swim was at 9.45pm - and the sun was still up!). Swedish summertime at its finest (we need to make the most of it while it lasts!). Do you live near some cool water you can swim in too?

Before I head off with my towel, I'll leave you with some other  of my favourite Copenhagen home tours to feel inspired by:

A cosy Danish loft full of plants and vintage treasures
Johanne and Luka's beautiful Copenhagen townhouse
The timeless Danish home of a jewellery designer

Gotta love the cool, relaxed Danish style, right?

Have a lovely day! I hope the sun is shining where you are too!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Ann-Kristin Løye Hejl - shared with kind permission. 

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A Rundown House Becomes a Fairytale Swedish Country Home

In 2010, Johanna Berglund and her family were living in a tiny cottage in the village of Broddarp, North East of Gothenburg - and dreaming of owning a house. One day they heard a rumour that the nearest property was for sale. They immediately knocked on the door. And the rest, as they say is history. Well, not quite. The 280-metre square house needed a lot of work - but they knew it had great bones as it had been built by Johanna's husband's great uncle - a talented builder. The pair set about transforming the house room by room, learning as they went - and ten years later it's nearly finished. Before we take the tour, I can't resist sharing a picture of the house before the renovation - the transformation is simply incredible! 

Before

After

I actually had to do a double take to check it was the same house! I'm so impressed with their vision and how they've gone the extra mile. The level of detail is a rare sight these days and really warms the heart - don't you think? Her online moniker 'snickarglädjen' (joiner joy) starts to make sense now! 

Behind the beautiful carpentry, there's a deck complete with an outdoor kitchen and dining area - an idyllic place to enjoy long summer evenings! 

Johanna and her partner have taken equal care with the interior, creating a charming home full of traditional details, beautiful wallpaper (mainly by Boråstapeter) and a cosy corners. Enjoy the tour! 







What a magical home! The level of care that has gone into the renovation oozes out from every room.
So much so, that it's worth going through the pictures several times - you're bound to spot something new every time!

Is there anything that stands out to you? 

You can see more pictures of Johanna's home over at @snickargladjen and on her website. If you're in the area you might also like to stop by Prästgården - where Johanna runs a boutique and a place to enjoy a swedish fika - as well as pick your own flowers. I'm all in!

If like me, you're now dreaming of rural life, here are a few other homes you might enjoy today: 


Speaking of rural life... we're up at the summer cottage for a few days and word on the street is that my parents-in-law are about to arrive in the harbour by boat. The girls are rushing around me in excitement. I'd better get busy so we can go and welcome them!

Wishing you a happy hump day (nope, still not quite used to that term!!). 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Johanna Berglund with kind permission. 

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