Discover The Scandinavian Design of an 1860’s London House ⇒ The infamous Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century and flourished in the 1950s, in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. We peeked inside this wonderful house owned by a historian and collector of Scandinavian art and design. There really isn’t any better inspiration source for your own Scandinavian decor than this!
The colour of the living room is one of the (many) aspects of the house that the owner loves. She and her husband bought the 1860s Italianate house, in which they live with their two sons, for its big, light rooms. All the original features were kept– the plasterwork, from the curved door to the dining room. The fireplaces were stacked up in the coal shed, but they were all there.
The owner is a historian and collector of Scandinavian art and design, a passion developed during a Masters degree in Sweden. He loves the measure, the simplicity and the quality of Scandinavian pieces. On the walls of the ground-floor drawing room are works by Norwegian modernist painters Knut Rumohr and Jakob Weidemann. There is also an exquisite rug in delicate pinks and greys by another of her favourites, the Swedish rug maker Märta Måås-Fjetterström. A pair of stools by Josef Frank sits under the marble-topped tables, and there is an original 18th-century gilded Gustavian sofa against a wall. Stephan had two other sofas from the owners’ former house re-covered in velvet – one in yellow to match the walls, the other in turquoise. The yellow wall colour is pleasant during the day, but at night it is amazing.
The owner agrees that her guests seem to be energised by her bright drawing room, ‘It feels welcoming, celebratory. It gets people talking.’ The pale blue dining room, lit by candlelight from a low-hanging antique French light, with its long trestle table and sober grey Howe chairs, is characterised by its relative spareness.
A small library off to the side is a contrast in bold colours. Its walls are painted in a bright khaki-ish green called ‘You Call That a Pub’ by Colour Makes People Happy, which sets off the shaggy blue Scandinavian rug, a pair of armchairs in dyed ticking and a Josef Frank cabinet with prints of flowers pasted onto it.
Neutral colours reign in the kitchen below in the basement, with its Aga, cupboards by Plain English, a farmhouse table surrounded by antique Gustavian chairs, steel doors leading out to the garden and a handsome, well-stocked larder off to one side. The grey of the walls in here is continued up the stairs and into the main bedroom on the first floor.
Here, the simplest ingredients have made a calm but sophisticated room. Four Forties Swedish mirrors, used in the hall of the owner’s previous London house are hung on either side of the bed, which has a headboard and matching lampshades covered in a handsome Turkish striped silk, handwoven on a narrow loom. There is a yellow mid-century rug by Märta Måås-Fjetterström beside the bed, with an antique Beni Ourain rug and a Howe ‘Greyhound Sofa’ sitting at its foot.
An oak-lined bathroom next door leads to a loo and linen cupboard, their floors laid with green handmade tiles in a herringbone formation. The oak continues seamlessly into a dressing room corridor, which connects the main bedroom and study. At the study end is a ‘Lamino chair’ by Yngve Ekström clad in a soft sheepskin. On the wall above is a painting by Knut Rumohr and, behind the chair, a light Moroccan kilim in bright stripes is used as a curtain. This is a microcosm of the meeting of the owner’s taste and Stephan’s.
On the top floor, you have a spare bathroom with some patterned tiles cleverly mixed, with simplicity though, showing how they work well together. Stephan has paired the flower-patterned floor tiles with a grey cast-concrete sink, a black tap and a buttercup-yellow Victorian bathtub – and above it, she has hung a glorious flower painting. They are two (design) hearts that beat as one.