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Cosy Hide-away: The Butcher's House

Just taking a little time out from my virtual holiday in Tasmania to share this beauty of a house with you. For those of you who are not a regular reader, I have a slight obsession with 'Tassie' right now and sharing my third holiday house in as many weeks (see also a cosy hideaway by the sea and the whale song shack). But as I said last time, a girl can dream. And when we can travel to far-flung places, The Butchers House in Bothwell will be on my itinerary (it's looking like we'll need to spend several months in 'Tas' at this rate!). I've wisened up to the fact that it's winter there right now (thank you newly acquired Tasmanian friends!) - but I'd be quite happy to read a book by the fire in this humble heritage cottage dating back to the mid 1800s, before taking a nice long soak in this lion claw tub with a glass of Tasmanian Pinot! There's even a fireplace in the bedroom for the cosiest night sleep ever! Ready to dream? Step this way! 






Have I got you dreaming today too? I sure hope so. A little escapism is a fine thing! 

Find out more about booking your stay at The Butcher's House here

And here are three other incredible hideaways in and around Tasmania: 


I'm so excited to share my guide of the Gothenburg Archipelagos with you tomorrow. Sweden's West Coast is my favourite place on earth, and having sailed there for over sixteen years, I felt it was finally time to share some snapshots - and ten of the best islands to visit! I hope you're going to feel inspired!

Niki

Photography courtesy of The Butcher's House with thanks.

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A Warm, Earthy, Vintage-inspired Swedish Home

Forgive me for my slight obsession with Swede Elin Jensdotter right now. Not only do I love her former home (which I featured a few weeks back) and vintage shop (Bodil vintage) - I've also fallen for her new home on the island of Ekerö, West Stockholm. Elin and her husband recently swapped their apartment in the city for this beautiful 17th century house, a rental in a detached wing of a castle. I especially love that it's steeped in history. The ground floor used to serve as a library which housed the love letters between Marie Antoinette and Axel Von Fersen before they were moved to the national archive. And the upstairs served as an art studio. Today, the lovely, warm, earthy house is filled with vintage finds, arranged around a vast fireplace. When the sun comes out, life moves outside to enjoy the rays surrounded by parkland. Welcome to Elin's vintage-inspired world! 







The former art studio still serves as a creative space for Elin and her husband. 


The shelves were built by Elin's husband and were inspired by the beautiful ones in the Topanga Canyon home of Serena Mitnik-Miller. There's a matching set on the other side of the room. I love how shelves like these provide plenty of storage and yet still allow the light to flow through. They also work perfectly in an awkward space. 

The cosy feel in the home is all thanks to the layers of natural textures - such as wood, leather, jute and rattan. Vintage pieces often have a lovely patina too - which adds to the warm vibe. 


I feel so charmed by this. I thought the home was beautiful just by looking at the pictures, and then I read that it was in the detached wing of a castle and I was utterly sold! I'm even wondering if my family and I should exchange our home for a rental somewhere special! Are you tempted too? 

Looking for vintage pieces for your home after seeing this? Check out Elin's store Bodil Vintage. If you can't find what you're looking for, I also find Etsy* a great worldwide source!

Oh, and you can also follow Elin's home updates and see her latest vintage finds over at @longingforlennon.

Other earthy, vintage inspired homes: 


Wishing you a wonderful mid-week friends! 

Niki

Photography: Elin Jensdotter / @longingforlennon
*affiliated links

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The Home And Studio Of Swedish Furniture Upholsterer Carina Grefmar

I moved into my studio in the centre of Malmö exactly one year ago. It was such a relief to leave my home office behind me, I was honestly climbing the walls (for those of you who may have experienced it for the first time this year, I'm sure you can relate!). But the absolute best thing of all was acquiring two new 'colleagues' one off whom, came in the shape of furniture upholsterer and craftsperson extraordinaire Carina Grefmar

I'd met Carina several times before at events around Malmö (loves a party this one!) but it was only chatting and seeing her work on a daily basis that I got to understand her sheer talent for craftsmanship: if you're looking to restore a piece of furniture, Carina's Sweden's finest. 

I decided it was time to put on (another) pot of coffee and quiz Carina about her passion for good design and craftsmanship, her lovely home and vast shoe collection! 

You must have the shortest commute of anyone I know!
I've had my studio for around sixteen years, I love it, it's my safe place - no matter how rocky life gets, it's my one stability. I always dreamt of being my own neighbour, so when the apartment next door came up around five years ago, I jumped at it. 

A vintage Eames armchair rocker, Alf Svensson side cabinet, and the Guariche lamp (one of Carina's favourites) take centre-stage in Carina's bedroom. 

What drew you to the studio and apartment? 
The building dates back to 1895 and has a ceiling height of 3,60 which is really high - I love that! You can put anything in this space and it will look good. 

The Stålhane vase was one of the very first ceramic pieces carina bought. 

Did you make any changes to your rented apartment?
The previous owner had a huge flat TV in the middle of the room, and everything was white. I don't like white, it's not a colour, so that had to change!  

Carina made her patchwork bed spread using scraps from her upholstery work over the years. 

You don't like white? How very un-Scandinavian!
Yes, but like many Scandinavians, I also don't go for bright colours, I appreciate subtle, calm shades like a hint of earthy green.  Some of my pieces of furniture and accessories are colourful but the background is always calm.

An Ax chair by Hvidt & Mølgaard, which Carina has upholstered in non-tanned vegetable leather, sits beside a side-table - a prototype designed by Louise Hederström - which Carina also updated with leather.

Your home is full of vintage design treasures and fun, quirky touches. When did your passion for design begin? 
I've loved well-crafted shoes since I was seven. And then I lived abroad in my late teens and experienced some fantastic, well-made lamps and furniture which I'd never seen before - that's when my passion for collecting design classics began.  

These days, I collect pieces from all over the world. I'm particularly drawn to Scandinavian furniture since I like the clean lines and light wood. I also love classic Italian and French lighting. My home is full of small knick-knacks collected over time, such Swedish ceramics (some of which are made by designer friends) and other pieces I really like and feel a connection to. 

How does your passion for the environment and sustainability translate into the world of design and home decor? 
Today there are so many badly made products on the market. The price-tag may make them seem cheap, but don't be fooled, they're actually very expensive. If you have to buy a new sofa every five years, it makes it expensive. When my grandparents got married, they invested in expensive furniture for their home and they enjoyed them until the day they died. 

Well executed design lasts longer. It makes sense to invest in pieces made from solid, honest materials that can be fixed when they break. Vintage items from the fifties and sixties are particularly well-made!

A pendant lamp by Max Sauze hangs over a Finn Juhl coffee table and a 50s floor lamp by Stilnovo. The bench is by Carina's friend, Malmö designer Louise Hederström.

What are your go-to resources for second-hand / Scandinavian design originals? 
I source items from all over the world both for myself and clients - mainly using online auctions, but also some dealers and contacts I've made in the business over the years. 

Do you have a favourite piece?
I don't have one favourite item - although, I do love my rare porcelain Swedish baby dragons! My lamps and shoes are probably my most treasured pieces. 

Table lamp by Cosack Leuchten 

You have more shoes than anyone else I know! How many pairs do you have?
More than 100! I love how I feel in really well-made shoes. 

Have you ever thought about making shoes? 
Yes, I have! Maybe in the future, who knows?

How did you get into upholstery? 
I had a serious motorbike accident and realised I was living someone else's life. I quit my job in search of something that would ensure I was self-sufficient at the same time as being interesting and fun. I made a list of things I enjoyed and that I was good at - and came to the conclusion that upholstery would be a good idea. I was accepted into upholstery school and have been working as an upholsterer for 22 years. I love it! 

What do you love most about your work?
It's very diverse and involves many different techniques and materials. I am constantly evolving and growing with every piece I rebuild. It's a constant challenge, which I really enjoy.  

What is the hardest thing about your job?
Upholstery is incredibly physical and really takes its toll on your body. It also requires a wide skillset. You need to be a problem-solver, have an eye for what a furniture should look like compared to its current state and also be knowledgeable about furniture design, colour and fabrics. It requires a serious amount of dedication! 

I love seeing the incredible pieces that come into the studio. What is the most memorable item you've refurbished? 
I once refurbished a magnificent AP45 Wegner Wing chair from the 1960s that wasn't in production at that time. I worked from pictures to restore it to its former glory and remodelled it in leather. I was so pleased with the results and was a little sad to say goodbye to it by the end! Recently, I refurbished a set of limited-edition Arne Jacobsen Giraffe chairs, working again from pictures. It was a real challenge, but the client was thrilled with the results! 

You also work with new designs, what's the background to this?  
A few years ago, I was paired up with Swedish designer Louise Hederström to create the Ticka shelves. She knew I was good at strange shapes - and she certainly challenged me! It was a strong partnership from start to finish. I could tell from Louise's sketches what would work and what wouldn't, and she adapted the design accordingly. I then made them by hand here in the studio. Today, the Ticka shelves can be found in the Hostler Burrows galleries in LA and New York - and one even made its way into the home of Robert Downey Junior! Louise and I continue to work together on new products using untreated Swedish vegetable leather under the brand G+H (Grefmar Hederström).

How do you feel your work will pave the way for future upholsterers and craftspeople?  
We often hear the name of the designer behind a piece of furniture, but it's rare to know the craftsperson. I've always felt inspired by Ivan Schlecter whose name was etched on the furniture he made in partnership with big-name Danish designers such as Klint and Kjærholm. In fact, his stamp made the furniture more valuable. And now, after a lot of dedication, my name is starting to appear on the furniture I make. I hope this will inspire other craftspeople, and help them to be recognised for their work. It's important for people to understand the hard work that goes into making furniture - so they appreciate it even more. 

The Spoar bench is a Grefmar + Hederström design. 

I did say Carina's one impressive lady, didn't I?

This has given me so much food for thought, how about you? I particularly appreciate the point about investing in well-made pieces. 

I hope you feel as inspired by this interview, as I feel inspired by Carina on a daily basis! 

Do follow @carinagrefmar on Instagram to see her latest projects and shenanigans! 

Wishing y'all a fabulous Tuesday! 

Niki

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An Idyllic Rustic Swedish House In The Countryside

Tjena! I hope you had a great weekend! I might be at my studio in the heart of the Malmö right now, but my mind is distinctly in the quiet of the countryside - or at least, that's where I'd love to be today. And when you see this rustic cottage, I've got a feeling you might feel the same! This traditional red and white Swedish house has been decorated in muted greys and fresh white and filled with antiques, vintage finds and lots of interesting art. I could quite happily pad around here all week - working from that desk, tinkering away on the piano, enjoying coffee on the terrace and taking leisurely walks by the water. How about you?! 










What an idyllic retreat! 

Could you imagine spending your week here too?

I have always been a fan of a simple white and light grey combo! 

Incidentally, a friend of mine is moving into a new home this week and asked me to recommend a white paint. In Sweden the most popular seems to be 'Stockholmsvit' (Stockholm white) code S0502Y. It has a warm tint to it which adds a homely vibe of the living space. It also works in well with warm textures such as wood, rattan and other natural, earthy materials. 

I'll be quiet now and leave you to dream! 

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week. I hope it's as peaceful as this very house! 

Niki

Photography: Fantastic Frank found via Nordic Design with thanks

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A Charming Little Allotment Cottage In Malmö, Sweden

Fancy finishing the week with something quintessentially Swedish? In my mind, you can't get more 'svensk' than a 'kolonistuga' - and this little one is charming in every way! The little allotment cottage dating back to 1923 has been beautifully renovated by Rebecka Franzén - a physiotherapist with a passion for remodelling and decorating. I chatted to her about her little kolonistuga here in Malmö, the history behind these little cottages and why she's decided to put hers on the market

What is the story behind the 'kolonistuga'?
Allotment cottages have existed in Sweden for over a century. They were originally built for factory workers who moved from the countryside to the city as part of urbanisation. The idea was to give people an opportunity to grow their own vegetables and staples such as potatoes, carrots and fruit so they had some connection to their roots and could extend their household budget. 

Who owns these cottages today?
In recent years they have become increasingly popular with green-fingered people looking for a second home near to the city centre. 

How does a kolonistuga differ from other types of Swedish summer cottages?
The kolonistuga are usually quite small and not eligible for year-round living. Water is typically turned off between October and April. 

I am guessing they have been a welcome respite this summer? 
Oh yes, during the pandemic, they've been a real breath of fresh air for the owners, who can come here and feel connected with others while still maintaining social distance. 

Do these allotment areas have a close-knit community? 
Definitely. It's a place where people of all ages come together. There often organised events such as plant exchanging days, gardening activities and even boule tournaments and karaoke nights! Midsummer is also magical. 

Why have you decided to sell your cottage?
I recently quit my day job and bought an apartment in Lisbon that I am planning to renovate. This is why, with a heavy heart, I decided to sell my cottage. I really hope to find a new owner who loves this cottage as much as I have done. 

Well, I have to say, whoever snaps this up is one very lucky person!

Interested? Find out more information here

Curious to see a few other pretty allotment cottages? Here are some of my favourites: 


Could you imagine hanging out in one of these all summer? 

Or perhaps you have something similar I your own country? 

I know that in the UK you can build a shed but nothing that resembles a cottage. I remember spending copious amount of time at my Mum and Dad's allotment as a child - and will never forget treading on a slug barefoot. It still makes me shudder! My sister is on the waiting list for one in London, but it has a three-year waiting list! 

Right friends, I do believe it's time to wrap-up the week. I hope you felt inspired by all my posts this week! have a wonderful weekend! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Bjurfors.

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