Styling To A Tribal Beat

Image  from Teneues Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer

I’m a devotee of Scandinavian design – that is no secret – but through my extensive travels and 14 years of living in Australia, I have been drawn to more eclectic styles. Make no mistake, I will always respect the graphic elements and black-and-white styling that characterise Scandinavian design, but when it’s combined with tribal soft furnishings, for instance, well, to me that is just perfect, minimal or not.

I love styling that incorporates ‘found’ items – eclectic pieces picked up on travels overseas, items inherited from family and friends. Anything that evokes special memories or brings a personal touch is, to me, what transforms a display house into a home.

Image from Malene Birger Image 2

So you can imagine my excitement at discovering that Danish-born designer and artist Malene Birger is not only launching a new studio project (Birger1962 in Copenhagen), but also a new book! What a treat to see inside her three homes and discover her design secrets.Malene Birger manages to get the balance of old and new just right – just look at how she’s used Arne Jacobsen’s classic black swan chairs alongside tribal pieces and contemporary furniture.

Image from Teneues Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer Image 3 and 4

I love the classic composition of furniture in the left setting; the tribal components juxtaposed with the sleek industrial and deluxe. The earthy palette of warm reds and ochres soften the strong lines of the furniture and makes the space feel inviting and liveable. In the right setting, the classic black-and-white striped carpet beloved by Scandinavians is perfectly offset with an incredibly detailed and ornate antique dresser. It shouldn’t work, but it does!

Image from Teneues Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer Image 5

What I love about Malene Birger is the way she handpicks beautiful pieces with so much character. For example, these intricate and mismatched lamps add so much beauty to this space. This bedroom epitomises Malene Birger’s eclectic Scandinavian style: strong black-and-white graphics, tribal art, and a classic portrait. What a perfect setting to kick back and enjoy her book. I wish it were mine!

Image 1 from Teneues. Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer. Image 2 from Malene Birger. Image 3 -5 from Teneues. Photograhy Gori Salvà


Imperfectly Perfect Home Styling

Stylist Annaleenas Home Photography Kristofer Johnsson Image 1

It might be the time of year, but just recently I’ve been looking for a little more for my interior design. I’m drawn to quirky and original home styling – a bit of sunshine on a rainy day! Perhaps that’s why this photo of freelance stylist and designer Annaleena’s ‘temporary home’ – an apartment in Stockholm – jumped out at me. It’s got the touch of quirkiness that so appeals to me.

I love how this brass lamp, a prototype of Annaleena’s own design, totally jumps out at you in this minimal, black-and-white space. Flooded with natural light, this stark white room is softened only by the rug. There’s a symmetry about this room that appeals to me, too: the black table with its carefully selected ornaments; the sheepskin draped over the sofa; the oversized black pot in the right window – all balanced out by the small black and white ornaments in the left window and the magazine holder hanging on the right wall. Did you think such seemingly simple home styling could actually be so clever and complex?

Stylist Annaleenas Home Photography Kristofer Johnsson Image 2

As casual and as effortless as it may seem, every element of Annaleena’s home is carefully selected and positioned, from the fan and the leather tote bag to the industrial-style clothes rack (which I will soon be stocking at Scandinavian Wallpaper & Décor!). In any other home they may seem like clutter, but in this setting they are imperfectly perfect!

Stylist Annaleenas Home Photography Kristofer Johnsson Image 3

I love the way Annaleena uses contrast in her interiors to create interest by offsetting strong, sharp lines with soft, organic forms. She’s a strong believer in the ‘less is more’ ethos; not just because it looks good, but because it enables her to display the things she enjoys the most – and it’s easier to find things, too!

Annaleena recently joined Residence Magazine, and I’m looking forward to following her blog and getting a glimpse into her ever-changing home and exciting new projects.

Styling Annaleena Photography Kristofer Johnsson

Into The Holiday Spirit

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 1

I’m finding it really difficult to get motivated at the moment. Working, decorating – even blog writing – all seem very hard to do right now. It took me a little while to figure out why, and then I realised: much of Europe is in Holiday Mode! For Swedish people, taking a holiday in July is entrenched, so naturally my body is also ready for that well-deserved break. Scandinavians really do get the balance of work and rest just right.

In the meantime, I’m daydreaming about a trip home to Sweden in a couple of months. I’ve been looking for a sophisticated yet simple place to stay with the children, and I came across this unbelievable family and pet-friendly hostel north of Sweden. It’s close to where my family and I stayed on holidays as a child, and it brought back so many happy memories as soon as I saw it. The hostel, which has its own vegetable and herb garden, is surrounded by bushland and is just a stone’s throw from the water, which has a jetty to swim from. It’s like a postcard!

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 2

Inside, the hostel is just as inspiring and nostalgic. The communal living space is open and inviting, with high ceilings and white beams for added character. A couch piled with cushions and sheepskins adds extra warmth. The Swedish really do know how to effectively use textures to create a homely, inviting décor.

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 3

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 4

The hostel has its own restaurant and café, which are similarly homely. Here they serve sustainable, locally grown food, and the atmosphere is just perfect for communal dinners with family and friends. I love the black SMEG fridge and the eclectic mix of chairs and kitchen sofas …. all perfect for a long, relaxing meal, Scandinavian style. The antlers add a quirky touch and remind me of the wild animals in the Swedish forest – I can’t wait to teach my children about them when they’re bigger. The white cotton pendant light is just divine and is a nice contrast to the tiles and timber.

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank

The attention to detail in this hostel is just amazing. I know my children will be drawn to this corner of the kitchen area, with its curious collection of nick-nacks. And how beautiful is this collection of vignettes? It all comes together to create the homely and peaceful feeling I am craving at the moment.

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 7

On the upper level of the hostel there’s an amazing bright, white room with spectacular views. What a perfect space to relax in with the children after a long day playing outdoors.

Sågverket Möten Rum & Kök Image from Fantastic Frank - Image 8

And then, when the day’s over, you can retire to the simple, pared-back bedroom with it’s soft, natural light. If I close my eyes I can almost imagine myself there …

Of course, it’s just wishful thinking for the moment. But what a lovely place to daydream about …

Images from Fantastic Frank

Decisions, Decisions


Three years ago – before my home was taken over by babies and family life – I chose this adorable wallpaper for the room I used for reading, watching movies and relaxing. Since then the room has been the dining room, my bedroom, and most recently my two-year-old daughter Imogen’s bedroom. Although the room may have changed, the wallpaper has been a constant.

I love the graphic as well as the soft-greyish-white background – not that dissimilar from my favourite paint colour, First Snow! I guess the mural reminds me of Sweden, my home. You can see the graphic from the street, and I love people’s reactions when they walk or drive past and think I have a real tree growing in my house!

As this room now belongs to Imogen, I’ve decided I would like something different and perhaps a little more child-friendly on the walls. Although the wallpaper is one of Imogen’s favourites – she loves pretending to climb it and often sits beneath it to read her books – it’s time for a change.

But what to choose! I don’t want the wallpaper to be too girly and babyish, but I do want it to inspire her creativity. I must admit, I’m tempted to choose a new design with a repeat of pastel colours and watercolour effect so I can wallpaper the entire room.  Or why not a mural with an adorable deer designs to remind her of her Scandinavian roots? Then (wishful thinking for her), she could colour it in. This might discourage her from colouring in my sofa and the other white walls in the house!

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Image from Mini Willa 2

Image from Mini Willa 3

I’m also falling in love with the idea of using faux wood wallpaper, since being inspired by these black and white children’s rooms images from Mini Willa. Traditionally, classic stripes or pretty flowers have mainly been used in nurseries and toddler rooms, however so many contemporary children’s wallpapers have been released lately that I’m spoilt for choice.

Image from ZARA styling April and May photography James Stokes 2

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I’m also struck by these inspirational images from the Zara look book, styled by April & May. Aren’t they divine? I think they’ve nailed it, both in their choice of wallpaper and in styling. After seeing these I’m definitely leaning towards a white paper with textured effect, to keep the Scandi feel. This would give me the opportunity to decorate on top of the wallpaper, which is something I’m particularly fond of doing – I don’t like wallpaper to just be a feature on its own.

Last weekend a young couple came into the Scandinavian Wallpaper & Décor studio looking for wallpaper for their son’s nursery, and settled on a faux brick mural. The winner of our recent competition also used her faux brick mural wallpaper in her son’s room. I think they’re trying to tell me something!

Sunday Times

Lollos Design Files Blog Post 5 Photographer Ida Lindhag Image 1

Lollos Design Files Blog Post 5 Photographer Ida Lindhag Image 2

On Sunday I found myself in a strange situation. Jason had taken the children to see his mum and I was left with five-and-a-half hours all to myself. If you’re a parent, you’ll know how unusual this is. So what did I do with my day? Go to the gym, or perhaps to a day spa? No – I chose to spend my ‘day off’ painting my office. To be honest, I was in a bit of a ‘mood’, and decorating is the best form of therapy that I know!

My office needs a restyle to transform it back into a creative space. For the last few months it’s been a bit of a white-on-white dumping ground, packed with wallpaper samples, props and other bits and bobs from second-hand shops and markets. Add to that my magazines, postcards and photos and it’s ‘organised chaos’, which I must admit that I do find quite comforting at times. For inspiration I couldn’t go past these incredible images from Danish artist Tenka Gammelgaard’s Studio in Copenhagen.

Lollos Design Files Blog Post 5 Photographer Ida Lindhag Image 3

The starting point with any room restyle is the walls. My office is the only room in my home that doesn’t have wallpaper – mainly because the paint I used when I first decorated the room had a sand finish, which I now know is impossible to wallpaper over. I haven’t let it beat me though! I’ve bought one of those ugly green doors from a warehouse, which I’ll cover with one of our magnetic wallpapers. Problem solved!

I’ve been obsessed with First Snow from Solvers Paint since I first came across it a few years ago, and was reminded of my obsession when I attended a fun workshop with Inside Out magazine recently. When my colleague Catherine pulled out a paint colour chart at work the other day she pointed out a lighter version of First Snow, which she’s using to decorate her newly built home. I was seriously tempted by this paint for my back room. It was more greyish-white than my current white colour and had that softness I really like.

But, with time at a premium, I went for the easier option: digging out the leftover paint from my last decorating ‘mood’. I think this was the right decision in the end, as using the same colour throughout the house has made it feel more connected.

Although my office was in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint, I was a little time-optimistic and obviously didn’t get the job done before Jason returned from his mum’s with Imogen and Julius. Not surprisingly there’s no time for painting when they’re around!

I did, however also manage to swap Imogen’s room with my bedroom over the weekend (this is something I have been considering for a while!) so she’s now better connected to the living room. It was a great idea: she can run and play freely between the two rooms, and she’s dragging a lot more of her toys out to play with now, which is nice.

Lollos Design Files Blog Post 5 Photographer Ida Lindhag Image 4

With one completed project and another under way, I now have a bit of a problem, although quite a nice one! You could describe my home as a bit of a work-in-progress, with lots of projects started but none completed and styled to the level that I’d like them to be. Now that I have started I feel really inspired to keep going so I’ll just have to pack Jason and the kids off to Grandma’s again next weekend!

Images from Danish artist Tenka Gammelgaard’s Studio in Copenhagen. Photographer Idha Lindhag