Niki Explores the Beauty of Nordic Living
Since moving from the hustle and bustle of London, to the cultural hub of Malmö, Niki has been welcomed into Nordic homes with open arms. Her popular interior design blog, My Scandinavian Home takes us through some of the most impeccably designed households across the Nordic region, offering a rare glimpse into the unique beauty of Scandinavian interiors. Niki sat down with Mr. Wolf to discuss her transition into life in Sweden, weekends at IKEA and what truly makes a house a home.
As a London girl having moved to Sweden, how do you feel the Swedish culture has welcomed you in? Do you have any favourite cafes, bars restaurants or events around town?
I moved to Sweden 10 years ago (wow it's weird seeing that in writing, where did the time go?!). Since my husband is Swedish I have always felt very integrated. One of my childhood friends already lived here (she introduced us) and her wonderful circle of friends welcomed me in straight away so I have been very lucky.
As Sweden's third largest and Southern most city, Malmö is a great, thriving city which is constantly evolving and quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the art and social scene. I love that it's by the sea (my husband and I are sailors) and it offers some great bars and restaurants too. In the summer I enjoy having a drink outside at Lilla Torg (the old square). My favourite restaurant is Bastard, a lively spot with great decor and superb food (it get's extremely booked up so it's advisable to book early to avoid disappointment).
There are some great second hand shops in Malmö too. Every first weekend of the month I like to visit Nirvana to pick up Scandinavian mid-century bargains and I'd also recommend the weekly flee market at Drottningstorg. Another must do over weekends is a visit to Kallbadhus for a sauna and dip in the sea (rain, ice, snow or shine) followed by a fantastic brunch in the café to warm the cockles! It's the best way to blow the cobwebs away!
We have the Danish capital of Copenhagen 30 minutes away over the Öresund bridge so if I ever need a big city feel I nip over and enjoy the shops, bohemian cafes and fab restaurants (I can whole heartedly recommend an overnight's stay at the world's smallest hotel: City Hotel og Cafe and supper at Höst winner of the T + L Design Awards 2014.
What is your background in interior design and what attracts you to Scandinavian interiors?
I've always been interested in interior design, even as a child. When I moved to Sweden I couldn't believe my luck. Traditionally Swede's entertain at home so they put so much effort into creating a beautiful home which is both organised, practical and aesthetically perfect.
What does a day in your life involve?
I am a Mummy to two little girls who are 3 and 5 so my day usually starts earlier than I would like! I write a blog post every week day morning, as I like to offer my readers a little ray of sunshine in the form of a beautiful home tour, DIY project idea or even a give-away to enjoy over their morning coffee. I usually spend some time on Pinterest (an amazing source of interior inspiration and dangerously addictive!) and also looking at other blogs and interior magazines. I also get lots of e-mails from lovely readers, press and submission queries and sponsors so this takes up a fair amount of time to go through. I research future posts and will contact photographers etc for permission to use images. I'm always overwhelmed by how quickly photographers respond and how generous they are with their images. Requestiing permission to use other peoples' images is an absolute integral to what I do and something I feel strongly about in the blogging community.
I've always disliked the feeling of being cooped up so I try to get out and about, whether it's a short walk by the sea next to my house, or during the weekends, a trip to the nearby beech forest where we'll take a stroll and either have a barbecue by a forest hut or have afternoon tea at Statarmuseet. Right now I am preparing my home for a photo shoot, so we have been renovating the house and scouring designer and second hand shops in Malmö. There's still so much to be done!
The evenings are taken up with childrens' activities. Actually tonight we're going on a family visit to IKEA, which doesn't sound very glamorous but seriously, that shop has it down. My husband and I can take our time buying things for the home and the girls get to eat meatballs and mash in the restaurant and play in 'Småland'! It's a win win!
Sometimes I attend press events or go out with friends, or my husband and I will go on a date night in Malmö or Copenhagen. In the summer it's so light in the evenings the children can play outside until late and we'll throw an impromtu barbecue together with the neighbours. Oooo how I long for the summer!
Do you ever see a home you are featuring in an article and wish you lived there? Which one?
All the time! On my blog I only feature homes I absolutely love. As a result I have over 1000 posts featuring homes in which I wish I lived! One of my all time favourites is this home in Arild, Skåne not far from where my parents-in-law live. It was recently for sale and I was so tempted! I am also a huge fan of Swedish stylist Lotta Agaton's work, her monochrome apartment is a testament to her impeccable sense of style.
In your opinion, what makes a house a home?
In my mind, the most crucial thing about a home is that someone should be able to walk in and immediately guess who lives there. I visited a friend in Singapore recently and was amazed by how her house perfectly reflected every aspect of her and her families' lives. Whether it was a wall of photographs featuring sunsets her and her husband had enjoyed together on their travels (labelled and dated), a framed poem from their wedding day on the wall, or a portrait of one of their little girls her mother-in-law had painted. Looking around was a little like being presented with a gallery of their life together and to me that's a true 'home'. I found it really inspiring and made a promise to myself that when I returned home I would print off more family photos. I just need to find more time.
Words: Emily Hutchinson