Borta bra men hemma bäst. (Swedish for “Away is good but home is best.”) • Fans of the pared-back, practical style typically warmed up with wood and other natural elements that is true of so many dwellings in Northern Europe will love Niki Brantmark’s new book, The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light. Niki is the creator of the award-winning interior design blog, My Scandinavian Home, and author of Modern Pastoral: Bring the Tranquility of Nature Into Your Home. Her second book takes readers into 10 swoon-worthy city, country and rural homes in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, all of which speak to the tenets of Scandinavian living. “It’s a mindful, uncluttered lifestyle, and one that aligns well with modern thinking about sustainability,” Niki writes. “In many homes … you will find only a few beautifully crafted, high-quality iconic design pieces, antiques and flea-market finds made from natural, sustainable resources. All are pieces that stand the test of time.” Here are some of my favourite spaces from the the book. (Thanks for the copy, Thomas Allen & Son.)
I love bright, open spaces with lots of light and clean lines, so I’m keen on the dining area in this loft-style house just outside of Helsinki, Finland.
“The most striking feature here is the series of floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows at the front and back,” Niki writes. “These flood the space with natural light — a sought-after resource during Scandinavian winters when the sun barely reaches over the horizon. They also draw the nature indoors, creating a seamless feel between the garden and the ground floor.”
The owners added a sauna in a separate outbuilding, although the pair admits they rarely use it. “Rather than a luxury, saunas are seen as very much a part of daily life in Finland and as a place to relax with friends and family,” says Niki. The country is said to have more saunas than cars. (One sauna per household, on average.)
The dramatic dark walls, floors and woods in the dining room of this 1930s townhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark are a striking contrast to the white and pale-hued palettes typically used in Scandinavian homes. I usually gravitate towards lighter-coloured spaces, but I love the warm jewel tones here. Wouldn’t it be so cozy by candlight?
“The dining room alone has been furnished entirely in mid-century Danish design classics, including a PH lamp, table for architect Grete Jalk, and Arne Jacobsen sofa … which pop against the petrol blue wall,” Niki says. “The dramatic tones also create a wonderful setting for the abundance of plants, art, vases, and treasured items.”
“Textures such as silk, velour, wool, wood, brass and marble sit side by side throughout the room to create interest and a warm and inviting feel.” — Niki Brantmark
And how about this charming gazebo? It’s part of a property on an island in Norway’s Oslo Fjord and offers stunning views of the water. Its owners spend much of their time outdoors in the summer and built the gazebo almost entirely from reclaimed windows to extend their living space.
“One side is open and the others are glazed, so you can enjoy the view from every direction while being sheltered from the wind,” says Niki.
“I can start using the gazebo as early as April,” says its owner. “I use it for reading and parties. I like to sleep there in the summer.”
Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder. (Swedish for “There’s no such thing as bad weather. Only the wrong clothes.”)
The space is one of several outdoor zones, including a large seating area with a fire pit.
The Scandinavian Home is a gorgeous book for lovers of Scandi style, and a wonderful new addition to any design library.
Photographs 2, 3, 4 and the cover © James Gardiner, from The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark (CICO Books). Thomas Allen and Son sent me a copy for review. All opinions are my own.