Jennie Moraeus, Jon and their children Olle (5) and Esther (3) moved into their dream house in Örnskoldsvik (try pronouncing that!) on Sweden's North West Baltic coast six years ago. Over time, they've painstakingly renovated 'Elfvinggården' to transform it into the warm and inviting family home is is today. But acquiring the 1850 house wasn't without it's pitfalls. It was a chance meeting on a cross-country ski track that led them to obtaining the keys! I caught up with Jennie to hear more about the move, her love for DIY and how the family restored the space on a tight budget to become the beautiful home it is today.
How did you find the house?
"Actually, the house was in an area we weren't very interested in, but we met the estate agent out on a cross-country ski track and she told us we must come and look at a house that was coming out on the market a few days later. When we were at the viewing I mostly went around swearing!! We put in a bid way under the asking price (but the maximum we could afford), never expecting to get it. So when the estate agent called to say it was ours, we simply couldn't believe it! The seller chose us over the higher bidder!
Did you have a strong vision of how you wanted to decorate it?
After the bidding, we went on honeymoon and I lay on a sun lounger dreaming about the house. Built in the 1850, it was full of light and felt cosy and welcoming even though the rooms were large. When we arrived home we got the keys which was one of the happiest days of my life!
Over the last six years, we've made a series of small and bigger changes. We've mostly carried them out ourselves, with a little help from our parents - and always on a low budget. We didn't actually plan this in advance - it was more that we were careful to ensure each project cost as little as possible. Often you don't need to do re-do everything to make a big change, colour is a great way to transform a room!
How would you describe your style?
I have quite a varied style: a little vintage, a little bohemian, nordic, art deco - all in a crazy, eclectic mix! I still think that the aesthetic is fairly swedish: it's quite common to mix new and second hand pieces to create a cosy living space.
The wallpaper in Jennie's bedroom was a flea-market find. Etsy is a great source for vintage wallpaper.
I note from your Elfvinggården blog and instagram that you're a bit of a dab hand at DIY, have you always been creative?
I love DIY! We have loads of furniture such as armchairs and sofas which I've pimped up with the help of new legs. I'm always collecting old pieces even if they're in need of restoring. I feel it's in my blood as my grandmother was also a collector - I believe everything can be given a new lease of life!
It's difficult to put my finger on it, I love so many things about it! That it's old, the handblown glass windows, the big light-filled stairway that allows space for my beloved carpenter's bench, the mature garden - everything works together to give the house a wonderful feel!
What's next on your list of projects? Right now we're building a chicken coop (we were hoping to have it ready in time for summer but never mind!). We're also dreaming about building a terrace and greenhouse!
And finally, do you have any favourite Swedish blogs you can recommend?
PS We're still in holiday mode here in Sweden (currently on the stunning Danish island of Anholt in the middle of the Kattegatt sea) - I hope you don't mind that I will continue to blog every other day during the holidays in order to spend a little more time with the man and our crazies!I hope you're enjoying some down time too!
Are you a shower or a bath person? I love a soak in the evenings - the hotter and more bubbles the better! We lived in an apartment for one year without a bath and I missed it so much. To me, the bathroom has always been a place to escape, and unwind after a long day (preferably with a great book and a glass of wine!). It seems Jeska Hearne, creator of the beautiful blog Lobster & Swan (and owner of beauty and lifestyle shop the future kept) and husband Dean feel the same. The pair recently stripped out their dated bathroom in East Sussex, England to create a tranquil oasis in which "to inhale, exhale and let the peacefulness soothe the senses" and the result is a-ma-zing!
The bathroom had been in a semi-ripped out state for a while, and the couple longed for somewhere they could relax surrounded by plants and incense!
The pair took inspiration from rustic bathrooms filled with reclaimed treasures and were looking to find "as many beautiful textures and finishes" as possible.
I was thrilled to see one of their sources of inspiration was Nadia Dole's bathroom which James Gardiner and I captured for my first book Modern Pastoral! I'll never forget the peaceful spot, high up on a hill in Vermont which felt entirely private, save for the odd deer and bear wandering passed the window! Check out more bathrooms that inspired their renovation here.
Due to a busy schedule, the bathroom was a year and a half in the making (without a shower or sink - yikes!), and now their haven is finally complete. The space is a delightful patchwork of of items they've bought, salvaged or made by hand against a deep, rich Off Black hue.
"We love the mood and darkness in here, at night we can sink into the bath with the windows open and feel at one with the night air. In the day the sun filters in through the frosted glass and reflects the gold and white highlights of the vases, pots, frames and decorations."
"The colour throughout is Farrow and Ball Off Black, we used Modern Emulsion for the walls and ceiling and Estate Eggshell for the wooden panelling – (made from upcycled doors that we rescued from a house that was being knocked down in our village)!"
"The handmade curtains around the sink hide a multitude of cleaning products and other bathroom paraphernalia that is uneasy on the eye!"
"Black walls also make a great background for plants, each frond and leaf is visible and highlighted."
Rectangular Shower Tray from Victoria Plum, tiles from Mandarin Stone.
Be still my beating heart!
Could you imagine going for a look like this in your bathroom? Just in case you're feeling super inspired - there are a load more pictures and a complete write-up of all the items in this beautiful space over on Lobster & Swan here.
It's officially the summer holidays here in Scandinavia. From Smygehuk in Sweden to Rossøya in Svalbad, OOO's are on, the midnight sun is shining and cool, blue waters are lapping at the shores, waiting for the first of the 'morning dippers' to arrive. Forget fancy holiday plans - many Scandinavian's retreat to summer cottages, where they enjoy a simple life and make the most of what nature has to offer. Every July, part time teacher and part-time PR rep for Stolbjerg Copenhagen - Sidsel Garsdal, her husband Jakob and their two children Carmen (9) and Bror (5) take a 15 minute ferry ride out to their very charming cabin on the small danish island of Fejø to relax, be together as a family and in Sidsel's words: "make magic out of everyday life".
As with most Scandinavian summer residences, Sidsel's cottage has a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe and has been furnished in a simple, understated way, with no two pieces the same. "Most of the furniture here is vintage / second hand and inherited from our grandparents or bought at flea markets etc." confirms Sidsel.
This differs greatly from year round city dwellings, which often tend to be stricter with a more contemporary touch. "The furnishing here is more playful than in our Copenhagen apartment. I was aiming for a classic Danish summer house look, but also felt inspired by Southern beach houses. This is why I chose to paint the floors turquoise!" explains Sidsel.
Since life at Scandinavian summer cottages tends to be centred around the great outdoors and soaking up the abundance of light before it starts to fade, nature becomes a central theme indoors too. Sidsel has drawn the surrounding nature indoors using vintage school posters*, plants, pretty botanical themed bedding and a mix of natural textures.
Making the most of what nature has to offer includes daily dips - rain or shine. And it's not unusual to see our Nordic friends cycling / walking to the nearest shoreline in their dressing gowns (the more worn the better!) to take their daily dip. "I love being close to the sea," enthuses Sidsel. "We start and end our days by the sea which is a two minute walk from our cabin. In spring and summer it's a house rule to go for a swim everyday."
What an idyllic way to spend the month of July, don't you think?
I love the way Sidsel has decorated their cabin too - relaxed yet with so much character! Is there anything that caught youy eye?
If you'd like to see more and check out snapshots of their home in Copenhagen too, hop over to Sidsel's wonderful instagram feed.
Despite haling from London and being very much a city girl, I do love to go out into the great wide open and forget myself for a while. This summer we're island hopping on Sweden's west coast. If you've never been to this part of the world, it's a must! The nature is absolutely breath-taking (keep an eye out on my stories to see more if you're curious - I'd be so happy to share my tips with you!). Another girl after my own heart is Juila, founder of the delightful blog Copenhagen Wilderness. When Juila's not in her charming, boho loft in the heart of Copenhagen which she shares with her boyfriend Allan, Norwegian Forest cat Elmer, she's staking out remote forest cabins in the Scandinavian countryside. Here's a glimpse into Juila's inspiring world!
How did Copenhagen Wilderness begin? "I started blogging five years ago as a student nurse. I love DIY, plants and interior design so it quickly evolved. Now I also blog about small adventure travels - about giung out into nature and living the simple life in forest cabins and all sorts of other peculiar small 'shelters'. I love city life here in Copenhagen, but I also love the wilderness, so I unite them."
Perhaps this is why Juila's 124 metre square (1334 feet square) exposed brick and white washed loft is also filled with greenery and earth colours, which sit among beautiful Danish design pieces and other second hand finds.
Your home is full of beautiful pieces, how do you source them? "I love old Danish design from the 50's-70's and sometimes I get lucky and find something great on DBA or at a flea market. I love a good treasure hunt!"
The room divider was custom made by @jernogglas using four double doors which can be opened right out to create one large room.
A lot of your furniture looks beautifully crafted and I also spot many natural textures, was this a deliberate choice?
"I love the idea of buying furniture that's good quality and based on a more sustainable mindset, so I'm also willing to pay more to ensure good quality, that is also based on conscious and responsible sourcing."
I can't wait to see what it will be like, can you?! Perhaps it will be similar to some of the spectacular cabins Juila has visited in Sweden recently - like Naturbyn floating cabin on lake Eldan?!
I can't believe this cabin is only 6 hours drive from my house - I might just have to pay a visit! Is this your kind of over night stay too? If so, you might like to check out the full feature from Juila's overnight stay here - such stunning pictures!
In fact, if you're visiting Sweden and love to stay in places that are a little out of the ordinary, look no further than Juila's instagram feed, I've never seen so many wonderful places!
Do any catch your eye?!
You can keep an also keep an eye on her latest interior projects and travels on her blog Copenhagen Wilderness.
And for more beautiful Danish interior inspiration, check out these Copenhagen home tours. See you Wednesday! Niki
You might remember I went off in search of beauty sleep a few months back And guess what? I've finally got rid of my ancient bed (which was honestly about 25 years old!) and in it's place is Sandö bed from the wonderful Swedish brand Carpe Diem Beds. If you haven't seen me for a while it's because I can't get up in the morning. Ha! Justkidding. But every night I do feel like I'm sleeping on a big, fluffy cloud! Bliss!
Due to the low window, I don't have room for a headboard (a little annoying!), so I opted for headboard cushions in soft Zaragoza Eggshell in sand to match the upholstery. My husband was slightly sceptical (he placed a ban on me buying any new cushions several years ago!!), but even he approves of these - they make for an uber comfy bedtime read!
I'm so pleased with how the sand colour goes with my Blushing Peach wall too, these things are important for a design lover, right?!
The other thing I love about my bed is that it's named after an island in the Gothenburg archipelago (my heartland - not just because it outstandingly beautiful - it's also where Per and I met!).
And what makes it so comfortable are its three unique interacting spring systems that raise your sleep and the Contour Pocket System which was inspired by the heather on the islands and designed to ensure every inch of your body's supported.
I chose oak legs to bring a natural touch to the space - the beauty is in the detail, after all!
I hope you enjoyed the tour!
If you're looking for me, I'll be right here sleeping like a star fish!
PS In case you're also in search of a blissful night's sleep, Carpe Diem Beds are available in over twenty countries. You can find your nearest retailer here.
Photography / styling: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home
I am a very proud ambassador for Carpe Diem Beds who sponsored this post. As always, 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.
Not one, but two talented people I've interviewed in the past ten days (Ezz and Émilie) have cited Audrey Rivet as one of their favourite Instagram accounts. A coincidence? I headed off to take a peek and came to the conclusion it definitely was not! Audrey is a Montreal based content creator and graphic designer who loves "looking at life through beige-tinted, vintage glasses". Her posts cover latest fashion finds, hip Montreal hangouts and snapshots of her relaxed, apartment - all of which follow under the same beige-tinted umbrella! I thought I'd share some lovely snapshots of her Hochelaga-Maisonneuve home which she shares with boyfriend Francoise and two cats Barb (yes, she has an instagram account all of her own - she's a kitty cat star in the making!) and Victor (a little more shy). Enjoy the tour!
"I really love every interior design that has modern and old/vintage elements mixed up. I think that way we can have the best of both worlds and add a warm touch to a modern house. My favourite vintage style is Art Déco."
The transcribe on the right was given to Audrey by a friend. It was a print draft for a screen print event which was never intended to be used. I think it looks lovely on her office wall and am so curious to know what it says - can anyone translate it?!
"I am inspired by everything related to art, design and fashion. I find happiness in discovering new artists, new inspiring people, new creative spaces… and also in finding beauty within ugliness and obsolete things."
Right, I think that's it from me this week! I'll be stopping in on Sunday to share some pictures of the one thing I miss from home right now (we're currently travelling around the West coast - which I'm covering on stories) - can you guess what it is?!!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
PS I have to say I'm slightly nervous about the England vs Sweden world cup match tomorrow, it's going to be a little intense in our house - eeeek! I'm feeling quite outnumbered over here must say! I loved the UK metro's headline today: 'send them flat-packing' - brilliant! May the best men win!
No trip to the Danish capital would be complete without visiting Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district lined with brightly coloured townhouses, bars, restaurants and historical ships. But have you ever wondered what lies behind the colourful facade? Photographer Céline Hallas, husband Daniel, children Samuel (15) and Sienna (11) and their "very beloved dog" Yoda reside in an apartment with side views onto the canal. I caught up with Céline to find out more about what it's like to live in the famous district, her love of colour, collecting art and secret Copenhagen tips!
How did you get hold of your apartment? I can imagine it's pretty tricky to get hold of one?! I really don't know how it happened. We had sold our old home without finding a new place to live and actually had to move in with my parents. We were looking in a totally different part of Copenhagen, but while we were sitting there in my parents' basement, constantly looking at what was for sale, this apartment in Nyhavn kept haunting my dreams with it's beautiful details and colourful courtyard. We fell in love with the apartment, not the area. We really didn't know the area and the fact we now never want to live anywhere else is pure luck!
What do you love most about living in Nyhavn? I love being surrounded by culture and history and even though it becomes part of everyday life, I always feel so blessed when I return home each day and see the colourful houses - this is home! To live by the water feels like an amazing gift. Sometimes when I open the windows in the early morning and smell the sea, I have to pinch myself to believe I'm not dreaming.
Are there any challenges? Sure there are! Tourists LOL! I sometimes feel they forget that this is our home with all that comes with it and not just a place where they can ensure the perfect picture to document their trip to Denmark!
I love the colour in your home - how do you decide on each shade? I have always been obsessed with colours and colour combinations and it has always been my strength. So for me, it's more instinctive then sitting down and deciding on a colour. I find inspiration all over the place. I primarily use Farrow & Ball, the colours are all so beautiful.
Do you have any tips for anyone looking to use more colour? Don't be scared, what's the worst thing that can happen? Maybe you'll have to re-paint it to get it right - it's so worth it. Life is so much more fun when you fill it with colour.
You have some wonderful pieces of furniture in your home, what are you drawn to? I'm not into one style, I'm into great design and quality. I am drawn to pieces with colours, but I'm very selective about colours, it has to be just right, I'm very colour sensitive. If something has a 'wrong' tone it makes me depressed, I wish I was kidding but it affects me a lot.
Where do you shop for furniture? We primarily buy at auctions - Lauritz and Bruun Rasmussen. But we also find a lot at dba (a Danish online second hand shop).
Do you have a favourite piece? I think I have three! Our green couch from VITRA - beautiful to look at and even better to relax in. Our dressing table - it's hard to find a piece of furniture that brings so much joy. And our amazing post modernist floor lamp called Callimaco from Artemide, it just make me so happy to look at!
I love all your art, have you been collecting for a long time?
Art has always been an important part of my life and I have had some of the pieces wfor years - such as the Wiinblad and Richard Mortensen. Over the last few years, my husband as really started to enjoy art in a new way and we both really love filling our home with it.
Do you have any secret Copenhagen tips? I don't know if I have any - but if you are into art, I would recommend swinging by Bruun Rasmussen when you are visiting Nyhavn. It might be an auction house, but it feels like an ever-changing art gallery.
How fun to take a peek behind Nyhavn's facade. I often look up at the open windows and wonder what lies beyond!
Thank you so much for inviting us into your home Céline!
You can see more pictures of her home and insights into family life in the district of Nyhavn here.
I particularly loved the gallery walls - it's especially refreshing to see a children's bedroom with more mature artwork, which could help them to appreciate the beauty of art in a different way. What do you think?
Another thing that's really interesting about the Danes is that they are massively forward thinking and as a result, big trend setters. If you like to keep your home bang up to date, it's worth taking note of the colour schemes, materials, patterns etc in this home - they'll almost certainly be a hot trend next year!
Gog morgon vännen! How was your weekend?! The official holiday month has started here in Sweden. Swedes everywhere are rushing off to summer cottages, mapping out road trips or simply wondering down to the nearest bathing desk in their dressing gown for a morgon dopp (morning dip!). We're currently in Varberg on Sweden's West coast which is a bit of a surfer's paradise and I'm enjoying an hour's respite from my family (eeek, is that mean?! I do love them really, it's just that, you know, school holidays and all that...!). I thought I'd take an hour, pour myself a coffee and we could virtually transport ourselves to Portland Oregon and the home of assistant interior, prop stylist and interior designer Ezz Wilson, what d'ya think?! Recently featured in Rue Magazine, Ezz's bright and airy home is delightfully sepia (cue: white with touches of tan, rust and ochre) with natural textures throughout. I caught up with Ezz to find out more about it!
Can you tell us a little about the history of the house?
The house is a 100-year-old, former farmhouse that was turned into a multi-family building, and then back into a house, and then humbly patched and slap-dashed together before we moved in. So, needless to say, the layout is somewhat wonky! So much so that we almost didn't get the house. But it felt so cozy and charming that we decided to adapt to the layout as best we could. But there are days when you find a hidden chimney stack in the TV room wall or a mysterious doorway outline appears in the bedroom wall as the foundation settles over time and the drywall cracks and you think to yourself, "What on earth??" The size of the house is about 1500 square feet.
I grew up in a sunny climate in the U.S., in a Puerto Rican family, and was heavily influenced by the Mediterranean and Caribbean, although I didn't care for those styles as a kid. If you told me that when I grew up, my house would end up full of rattan and wicker, I probably would've cried! When I was 19, I moved to Sweden for about six months, and I think that must have influenced my love for Scandinavian design as well.
For a long time, I've felt that my style was the love child between a serene Swedish minimalist and a bohemian, beach-loving Spaniard, even though I wasn't sure how to execute that combination at first. But I finally narrowed in on what I really wanted this home to look and feel like. I need lots of white, calm and clean lines in my home to feel relaxed and clear-headed. Yet, I also need plenty of warmth, natural fibers and folky 70s vibes to get me through the long, dark winters of Portland and help me feel more connected to my roots and culture.
You have some beautiful pieces in your home, where do you shop? I've found a lot of great pieces through my local thrift stores, Craigslist, World Market, Urban Outfitters and Target. I also love the following ethically minded companies: Fine Life Co - a beautifully curated shop in Arizona that mostly sells ethically made clothing but has some lovely ceramics too (and the shop owner Emily Benziger has a gorgeous home!), Bohemia Designs for Moroccan straw bags, stools etc and Bea Linen* for linen sheets.
Can you recommend three inspiring Instagram account 'must follows'?!
This gathering was made possible by Granit - all words and thoughts are my own.
Do you have a favourite beach? One of my all time favourites is Ljunghusen on Sweden's south-western tip. Dunes and powdery white sand stretch out as far as the eye can see and the Baltic waters are crystal clear and a cool, blue-grey. Oh and the beach is almost completely deserted! I've always felt it would be the perfect spot for a beach gathering - and what better than a My Scandinavian Home summer celebration to kick off the start of the Swedish holidays?!
Sarah Brooks-Wilson and I nipped to Swedish brand Granit, who sell an assortment of interior design and functional storage in timeless neutral colours - as well as a local DIY store to pick up everything we needed.
We decided to keep the look simple to match the surroundings, opting for natural materials such as linen, bamboo, sea grass, wood and glass and soft, muted colours. The table was constructed from a wooden palette (the only heavy item!), which we covered with a linen towel.
In my mind no gathering is really complete without flowers, what do you reckon?! To match the wild setting we filled glass vases and jars with simple blooms such as Baby's Breath and Queen Anne's Lace and tied left over sprigs to bottles and napkins.
The food was kept equally simple - with tapas style olives, charcuterie, salad, bread, cheese and the most delicious orange and sultana loaf baked by Sarah (she makes a mean cake!).
You'd never find a Swedish home without one of these cheese slicers! Incidentally, the irregular shaped plate it's resting on is actually made from eco paper - such a great find!
The light was pin sharp (it's an area famous for artists because of this) and the evening air balmy (we were very lucky in other words - especially for Sweden!). Even so, the sky shifted constantly between dramatic, bruised clouds which threatened to leave us running for the car one minute and a golden sunset the next!
For the awning / wind break we used wooden poles from a local DIY store (make sure they have a spiked end so they are easy to bury in the sand) and 2 metres of sheer white fabric tied on with elastic bands. It honestly took about 2 minutes to put up!
Here's a quick run-down of all of the other items we used in case you'd also like to recreate this for an evening at the beach:
* Granit has physical stores in Sweden, Germany and Finland and ships Europe-wide.
We had a truly magical evening - and now I know how simple it is to set-up, we'll definitely be doing it again soon!
There are only two thing I'd do differently - the first would be to take a wheel barrow or some kind of mode for transporting the stuff down to the beach... and the second would be to ask Sarah to bake even more of that cake!! It was sooooo good!
Do you have a beach near you for sunset gatherings like this? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below!
And speaking of beaches and summer, I hope you don't mind that, as per every year, I'll be paring down to three posts a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) over the next three weeks to enjoy a little down time with my family and make the most of everything the Swedish summer has to offer.
I hope you are able to enjoy a little down time to njuter av solen too!
Thank you to Granit for sponsoring this post and making our My Scandinavian Home beach gathering possible. As always, all styling and words are our own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that make fresh content possible.
A couple of day's ago I featured Genevieve Jorn's beautiful sitting room make-over here in Malmö and I promised to pop back and share the details! So here's the post - one day late but hopefully well worth the wait - there are so many lovely ideas to steal!