Our Favourite: Nordic Interiors

We’re heading off to Finnish Lapland in a few weeks’ time, thanks to the nice folks at Thomson Holidays. As well as checking in to say ‘hi’ to Old Saint Nick, we’re also going to be exploring the activities that Lapland has to offer for the (marginally) more grown-up traveller.

To get us in the mood, we’ve been looking at Nordic-inspired decor to cosy up our living spaces, now that November is coming into full force here in Blighty. The wild and windy weather and dark evenings are making it far more appealing to stay holed up inside, so it feels like we should make the most of it and embrace the Nordic spirit….

Our-Favourite-nordic-interiors

1. Skog Poster 48 euros  |  2.  Nordic Nights Hot Water Bottle £12 |  3. Danish Geometric Pots from £24 | 4. Golden Magritte Bookends £30 | 5. Copper Trim Chopping Board Set + Stand £71  | 6. Gran Tray, Green/white 42 euro | 7. Wooden Storage Boxes from £16  | 8. Ströva, Soft toy £12  |  9. Senior, Casserole with lid £30 | 10. Bears Mugs – Set Of 4  £4 | 11. Faux Fur Throws £35 (incl p&p)

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Rowen and Wren: Elegant and Distinctive Homewares

Retail-crushes-rowen-and-wren

Rowen and Wren have one of the most beautifully photographed homeware collections of any online shop.  The covetable vintage accessories; the backdrops of deep slate blue paint and whitewashed walls; I would happily move in to their online world if it existed.

As you’d expect from such a carefully crafted visual style, the collection itself is exquisitely tasteful, and it’s one of those shops where you can’t really go wrong if you’re looking for a gift.  Anyone with any sense would be happy to welcome something from Rowan and wren into their home.

Their collections do span a range price-wise, and some items are outside my personal budget, but there are also some really affordable gems, and it’s also a great place to look for well crafted antique-style hardware (think burnished brass, copper and nickel).

Liz has picked some of her favourite bits and pieces below….

Rowen and Wren homewares mason cocktail shaker recipe book

The Mason Shaker Cocktail book £18.

My other half bought me a Mason Shaker for last years Birthday but I fear my bottom of the bottle, back of the cupboard concoctions may not pass muster. I am buying this. If I remember I will let you know how I get on…

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Apple Crate Side Table

Say hello to the newest addition to our dining room!

In its previous life it was a pre-war apple crate, but with a bit of TLC it’s been re-purposed into a  2-4-1 piece of furniture, providing us with a new side table for our settle as well as some overflow storage for my (allegedly excessive) recipe book collection.

I picked it up on eBay for a bargainous £16.95  including UK postage.  They are sold pretty rough and ready, so they aren’t washed or sanded and they show a bit of wear and tear, but it doesn’t take much effort to get them looking pretty.

I gave this one a light sand down  – enough to knock off the roughest edges, but not so much that it sanded away the original branding, or the rustic look and feel.  Originally I was going to wax it, and I did use a clear Briwax on the inside (worked in with some wire wool), but I switched up to a couple of coats of clear varnish on the outside to give more protection from water marks and to seal some of the remaining rough, splintery bits.

All in all it was about £20 and an hour or so’s labour to give this crate a second lease of life (and in a cider lover’s home – very fitting!)

 

p.s. if you don’t fancy the hassle of prepping them yourself, you can also pick some up here from Baileys Store where they pre-scrub them for you.

 

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Our Favourite: Sink Tidies & Washing Up Aids

In the spirit of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, I’m going to start out small and realistic in my New Year ambitions.  So though I am unlikely to re-paint my kitchen units, put a new floor in and sand and re-varnish my worktops by the end of January (highly unlikely), I might at least be able to tidy up my sink area.

Sink tidies aren’t the sexiest item of kitchenware to shop for. They’re not quite up there with Kitchen Aids and cast iron casserole dishes, and you don’t find many interior decor magazines listing them in their ‘must haves’, but it’s worth shopping around and also taking inspiration from kitchens on Pinterest that use vintage crockery, bowls and glass dispensers to pretty up their sink areas (or cheat and hide everything for the photos).

My current sink tidy is a blue plastic version, which I think was bought from the pound store in student house days, and currently houses grey dish cltoths, a rusting scourer and a sticky fairy liquid bottle.  So it’s long overdue an overhaul, and I’ve just bought a smart new wooden dish rack from the nice folks at Brighton’s Utility to kick my re-vamp off.  Here are some other bits that caught my eye – for more inspiraton have a gander at our Pinterest board.

 

Our-Favourite--Sink-Tidies-&-Washing-Up-Aids

1. Etsy | Magnetic Dish Cloth Holder £20 (£5.40 p&p)  2. Willow & Stone | Grill & Pot Brushes  £3.25-£4.25 (£5 p&p) 3. Joseph Joseph | Self-draining Dishrack £40  (free p&p)  4. Amazon | Chalk Coloured Washing Up Tidy £17 (free p&p)  5. Ikea | BESTÅENDE Detergent dispenser £4 (in store)  6. Red Candy | Jumbo Cutlery Drainer-Cream £11.25 (£2.95 p&p) 7. Objects of Use | Copper scourers £4.50 (£4.62 p&p)  8.  Hus & Hem | RIG TIG Sink Caddy Holder £9.95 (£3.95 p&p)  9. Jangneus | Black Bird Dish Cloth £2.95 (free p&p)

 

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Our Favourite: Egg Cups

How do you like your eggs in a morning?…

Personally I like mine boiled and served with buttery toast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not do it in style and invest in some fancy egg-cups? Whether it’s just for you, your kids or perhaps a ‘special overnight’ guest you really want to impress – here are our favourites.

More on over on our pinterest board…

Our-favourite-egg-cups

1. Bloomingville Isabella Egg Cups £3.95 each, 2. Set of Egg Cups £15.00, 3. Rob Ryan Egg Cups £15.00, 4. Tom Butcher Ceramics egg cups £4 each, 5. Car egg cup £20, 6. Bordfolk’ Egg Cups £12.50, 7. Greengate Egg Cup Zoe £4.50, 8. Beardy Man Egg Cup £11.50, 9. Blue Owl Egg Cup £16.99

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Form and Function: The Ostehøvel Model

On my first trip to Sweden, over 6 years ago now, I made two discoveries –  the Osthyvel and the Smörkniv (cheese slicer and butter knife being the literal translation). Admittedly they don’t sound like the most glamorous or exciting of objects but that is kind of the point. Scandinavians seem to have a knack  of making our lives easier and more beautiful at the same time, right down to the detail of the knife you butter your bread with.

So yes the Osthyvel (or Ostehøvel if we were to give it it’s native Norweigen name) is a good looking tool but it also cuts your cheese thinner than a normal knife ever could.

Here’s my pick of some of the best Scandi objects to brighten up your everyday…

 

Scandi-style-practical-and-beautiful-utensils

 1. Hang Around kitchen tools £25, 2. Norm beer foamer  £35, 3. RIG TIG Sweep-It Dustpan And Brush £19.95, 4. Normann tea strainer £17, 5. Goat Hair Hedgehog Dusting Brush £6.95, 6. Collective Tools/Cheese Plane £32.00, 7. A pair of Butter Knives of Juniper £2.50, 8. Dustpan & Broom  £19, 9. A week of dish cloths 7-pack £25

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Our Favourite: Dining Chairs

If you’ve read Our Favourite Dining Tables you’ll know that my furniture choices were inspired by the cover of ‘Simply Scandinavian’ by Sara Norman, a book showcasing the very best of Scandi interiors. With the table sorted, thanks to Made.com, I needed to source the chairs. I’ll be honest though my vision had always involved Hans J Wegner’s wishbone chair and nothing else could match up. I couldn’t quite stretch to the genuine article though, particularly as I needed at least four of them, but even the replica ones don’t come cheap.

However there is plenty of choice out there, so take my advice and don’t get too attached to an idea and you’ll be able to achieve something just as elegantly stylish without blowing your budget. These are just some of our favourites, more can be found over at pinterest…

 

Our-favourite-dining-chairs

1. Set of 6 1960s Danish dining chairs £600, 2. Farmhouse Slat Back Kitchen Chairs £70 painted / £60 waxed, 3. HESTER GREENS Wood Green stackable dining chair £95, 4. STOCKHOLM Chair, walnut veneer £100, 5. Red Vintage School Laboratory Stacking Stool £30, 6. Oak stacking chairs £114 7. Blu Dot Hot Mesh Chair £115, 8. Vintage Leather Dining Chair £285

 

 

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Future and Found: Bold & Bright Home Stylings

Retail-crushes-future-and-found

Future and Found is a relatively recent discovery, but you may have spotted their stuff appearing on recent round up posts, and their beautifully shot collection always stand out on our Pinterest boards.

They stock an eye-catching range of household bits, specialising in bold, clean, simple pieces with bolts of colour here and there (these guys love their neon).  They are particularly good for kitchenware, storage and tidy bits, and unusual gift ideas.   Their website has enviable style, and I’m pretty sure that their buying habits are influenced by what will co-ordinate best with their colour palette – you’ll notice a lot of orange and grey.  Hats off to their web design and photography people.

I have replaced some of our old plastic cups with their enamel tumblers.  I’m also very fond of the Donna Wilson knitted badger cushion - it’s on my splurge wish list  (though I suspect that Liz would be tempted to pinch it).

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Gift Ideas for Hosts With The Most

I’m not really convinced about the term ‘hostess’ gifts. It’s a bit 1950’s / Stepford Wives-ish and makes me think of the dubious ‘hostess’ badge that was on offer when we were Brownies in the early 90’s. I recall that it consistented of Liz and I making tea and sandwiches for adults, whilst holding polite conversation. Somehow I don’t think that the badge was on offer for the guys over in scouts…

In my mind host/hostess gift is basically a ‘thank you for feeding me / putting me up’, and the generosity of the gift is usually relative to the amount of time you’ve intruded on their hospitality. Take note: if you are someone who intends to stay a couple of days and is still crashing on your friend’s couch 6 months later, you owe you some serious gifting (or, you know, maybe some rent).

Booze, usually wine, is the obvious answer, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus it can be hard to buy for someone with an intimidatingly well stocked wine cabinet.   It also helps to get a bit creative if you’re staying for a longer stint and want to splash out to treat your hosts who may have saved you a hotel bill. So here are a few alternative ideas, and you can find the full Pinterest list here.

host&hostess-gifts

1.  Day of the Dead – Tequila Añejo 50ml £12.50 (+£6 p&p/collect in store) 2. Whitby Bone China Mug – Indigo £8 (£3.25 p&p) 3. ARV BRÖLLOP Serving stand with lid, clear glass  £15 (collect in store only) 4. Chocolate & Macadamia Biscuits £9.95 (in store/ £4.95 per delivery)  5.  Jersey Pottery Sardine Run Small Jug £19 (in store/£5.95 p&p) 6.  Raspberry Infused Gin £18.50 (+£6 p&p/collect in store)  7. Garden Recipe Cards £14.50 (£5.95 p&p/collect in store) 8. Pitt Cue Co. – The Cookbook £10 (free p&p) 9. Sinatra Stoneware Green reactive glaze platter | £30 (+£4.95 p&p) 10. Marbleised Servingware (Oval) £24 (in store/£8 p&p) 11. Amber vase £5.49 (+£4.79 p&p)

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Our Favourite: Dining Tables

We bought our first house two years ago now and I remember there being tons of stuff we needed to buy but the purchase I was most excited about was the dining table. Having previously lived in small rented flats, we never had any dining furniture let alone a room dedicated to the cause. Consequently it was one of the first things we bought. I figured it was an investment, one that would pay for itself after the first year – you see by eating in and having friends over for tea and drinks we’d save money by not going out as often, or at least that was the idea…

My dining room furniture choices were inspired by the cover of ‘Simply Scandinavian’ by Sara Norman, a book showcasing the very best of Scandi interiors. Unable to find (or more likely afford) the exact table I found a very similar one, from Made.com for only £299. There’s plenty of choice out there though, take a look at some of our favourites below. As you can see the industrial style seems to be trending at the moment, I’m quite keen on the refectory table on wheels from Rose and Grey.

Our complete pinterest collection can be viewed here.

Our-favourite-dining-tables

 1.Refectory Table £675 (Free delivery), 2. Vintage Iroko School Lab Table Desk £230 (£60 p&p), 3. 1960’s extendable French dining table £180 (delivery quote upon request), 4. Grey Washed (concrete effect) Top Dining Table £465 (£5.95 p&p), 5. Reclaimed Industrial Chic 6-8 Seater Solid Wood and Metal Dining Table  £295 (£70 p&p), 6. Ebbe Gehl for John Lewis Mira Dining Room Furniture £650 (Free delivery), 7. Quirky Interiors Aged Oak Zinc topped table, Made to Measure £540.00 – £960.00 (contact for delivery quote), 8. Sylvester Dining Table and Bench £1,100.75 (£58 p&P)

 

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