Monday, January 14, 2013

Simple Scandinavian Style


I feel that I must begin this post with a little story. Approximately three years ago, I found myself reading "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series (who wasn't, right?) Anyway, you know how book characters often become Hollywood actors in your head while you are reading (or is that just me?) Well, from about page eight of book one in this suspense-ridden trilogy, the main character, Mikhail Blomkvist, was "played" by the handsome Liam Neeson (it fits, doesn't it?) Anyway, fast forward through the release of the Swedish movie version with sub-titles, as well as the Hollywood Blockbuster starring Daniel Craig (also handsome, but where was my Liam?) Needless to say, I bypassed several invitations and opportunities to watch these movies as I didn't want the images in my head to be disturbed (I am sure many professionals would have a field day with that comment, so let's just keep that between us, ok?) Fast forward again, until approximately one month ago, when I found the Daniel Craig version on the movie network and decided to give it a chance. And you know what? It was pretty good. Turns out, I didn't miss Liam as much as I thought I would. The best part, however?

The minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired, cabin in the woods that Mikhail finds himself living in while he does his research and sleuthing. I fell in love with it. So simple, so organic, so inviting. I looked online for some images of it to share, but couldn't seem to find any (perhaps I should have left Liam's name out of my Google images search?) In lieu of "actual" images, I thought I would share other images of what designers are calling "Simple Scandi Style."

This fishing camp is beautiful just in its simplicity. 

White, white, and more white - mixed with a few "pops" of carefully placed colour. 

I love the sharp contrasts here - black with white, cool steel with warm wood, old with new. 

I love the whitewashed planks and the entire wall of built-in bookshelves. 

Look at how three very different styles (contemporary chairs, traditional table, and casual-country bench) work together perfectly against the neutral backdrop. 

This day bed with built-in storage is calling me with its soothing grey palette and inviting textures. 

Here, industrial meets organic with a successful interplay between warm, textural wood and cool, smooth metal. 

Yes, I know that Christmas has come and gone, but if you can mentally remove the Christmas elements found in these images and focus on merely the "winter warmth," you will notice how cozy and inviting this space truly is. 

How fabulous are these oversized drum pendants? 

So, in a nutshell, this is what "Simple, Scandinavian Style" means to me (and please note, I do not propose to be an expert on the subject - these are just my humble musings):

  • minimalist - clean and simple design - without a lot of ornamentation 
  • use of natural elements (hardwood, stone, natural fibres, etc) 
  • functional and purposeful 
  • calm and serene spaces with relatively neutral palettes 
  • eclectic mix of old and new 
  • typically white walls are used to visually open up the space and to take advantage of natural sunlight 
  • warm and welcoming environments
  • love of the outdoors reflected indoors - nature photography, vessels of wildflowers, bowls of pinecones, pebbles, or shells
  • delineated spaces with clearly defined traffic areas (i.e. furniture placement is based on easy accessibility) 
  • small "pops" of colour (artwork, accent pillows, a quilt or throw, and even a coffee mug) are integrated to ground the airy and bright feeling of the space (and to add some visual interest) 
  • use of ambient lighting (several light sources are warmer and cozier than one large fixture)

Looking to incorporate, instill, or invoke a Scandinavian aesthetic in your home? Here are some inspiring places to look: 

Well, I think that's it for me this evening. I am off to dream of cozy Nordic sweaters, whitewashed birch  plank flooring, an iconic wishbone chair, and perhaps, if I am really lucky, my Liam will appear and wish me sweet dreams. ;)


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