48 Hours in Stockholm

I always find design inspiration when I travel, so was especially looking forward to visiting design-savvy Sweden. I wasn’t disappointed, and think I may have found my ‘style home’. My family is half Norwegian, half German so it makes sense (maybe we carry this with us in our genes too??). I’ve always been drawn towards monochrome palettes with splashes of colour, streamlined styles, graphic mixed with more organic forms, and a little bit of quirky detailing. Recently, I’ve started looking for function and comfort as well. Stockholm had all of this in spades, and more.

We’ll start with my hotel room.

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We stayed at the Story Hotel in central Stockholm. The place and the location were both amazing, and I would especially recommend it if you’re a shopper and want to be near the upmarket shopping district. The room was small, but everything in it had been considered from both a performance and an aesthetic point of view. How fun is the pink, black and white tiling in the bathroom? Somehow it feels clearn, warm and colorful; not girly. This was offset with exposed copper piping, silver hardware and a handpainted porcelain basin. The ‘story’ on the bedroom wall is actually a massive print of Beatles lyrics. The rest of the art included a mix of illustrations you could buy from the hotel shop. I quite like them pasted directly onto the wall instead of framed up. It meant I didn’t have to worry about knocking off frames when moving around the small space. Smart, and something I might adopt in our kitchen. I couldn’t get a good picture of this (the room wasn’t big enough), but the headboard of the bed was an old door, complete with a mail slot in the centre, that had been refinished and mounted on the wall. It looked fantastic and added a bit of old world charm.

Moving out into the city, I discovered a mix of architecture. Modern buildings sit comfortably next to Italian, French, and Dutch styles. And every now and again you would find a touch of more rustic Scandinavian wood structures, or round windows reminiscent of the small portholes in boats.

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The mix of styles makes it feel vibrant and varied without feeling messy or cluttered. What ties much of the city together is the weathered copper that tops a number of the buildings. Apparently Sweden used to be one of the largest exporters of the metal, which explains why it appears everywhere.

The landscape is beautiful. Water dances with flat land, and the city itself is actually made of 14 islands, connected by over 50 bridges. In the winter I’m sure this makes it very cold, but in the summer it’s a clean and refreshing place to be outdoors.

On our last day, we had a morning of lectures at the Design School. One of the talks covered the ‘Funkis’ or ‘Funktionalism’ style, developed in the early 20th century. It believes that the design of a building or piece of furniture should be based on its purpose. If the functional aspects are met first, then the beauty should naturally follow. If I think about the homes and pieces of furniture I’ve seen, they are all stripped back and engineered to perform their purpose, leaving room for colour, character and life to flow around. They don’t scream to be noticed, but instead act like calm islands where we can pause and relax for awhile. Not a bad mantra to adopt.

To finish this post, I’ve included a few photos from the Elle Interiors Sweden I picked up while I was there. While I didn’t have time to make it into a home shop (seriously disappointing, but all the more reason to go back!), I did grab a few magazines on my way out of the country so I could bring the inspiration home. Definitely already spotted a few pieces and patterns I’ll be looking to add to our new home. I especially love the graphic black and white squares & triangles print below. Enjoy!

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2 comments

  1. James Mitchner commented about Nordic countries and the use of bright colored houses. The white of winter lasted so long the people needed something to break the monotony of it. I guess it works inside as well as outside. Love the bath in Story Hotel.

    • Apparently they made the coloured paint by mixing iron from the mines with basic paint. When this happened you’d get a bright red colour and a chemical that also naturally protected wood. Smart right? 🙂

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