What kind of art do you choose for a cottage with a traditional Scandinavian decor, replete with light wood floors either stained or painted, painted furniture usually in blue and yellow, and furniture with clean almost severe lines? We’ll show you what one woman chose to enhance the decor, but more importantly artwork that “spoke to her heart. It is creating “an outside you” to match “your inside you” that is the cornerstone of our seminars.
Norma is a successful executive who had lived in the same townhouse since earning her MBA and garnering her first high paying job. There was certainly nothing “wrong” with the house. It just wasn’t Norma. Expensive leather furniture, lots of taupe, chrome and glass served as simply a comfortable place to “hang her hat”. When Norma confessed she truly would love to live in a cottage, everyone in the group immediately thought of Laura Ashley. We were wrong! There are cottages and there are cottages.
Norma is Scandinavian and her heritage is very important to her. Some of her fondest memories are of her grandparents’ cottage.
When Norma called me to say she had finally found her cottage, I expected the white picket fence, wrap around front porch and maybe even a thatched roof. She gave me the address; at first I thought I had the wrong place. There did not appear to be a home on the lot, only thick foliage and beautiful thick trunk trees. I walked up a stone path, and suddenly there was the house. It was so nestled in the landscaping it appeared to be part of it. Norma had found a charming house.
When you entered the home you were in a small anteroom similar to the small anterooms in the Northern farmhouses where people leave their heavy jackets and muddy or snowy boots. Norma re-modeled hers and made it into a foyer. A few more steps and there was a huge kitchen. The ceiling was high and the wood cabinets rose from waist high to the ceiling, complete with glass paned doors. Norma had torn away linoleum and stripped the hardwood floors. Rather than stain the wood a dark wood hue, she used clear stain, keeping to the Scandinavian tradition of light woods.
The large living room also featured light stained floors. Norma in working out a budget had chosen to pay top dollar for some authentic Swedish furnishings and to cut corners by buying other equally Swedish from IKEA. Although much of Scandinavian furniture is austere with straight lines, Norma opted for an overstuffed Swedish Stromsholm sofa in a blue and white print. Two armchairs, one a Fanny Chair in blue and a Rosendal easy chair in a bright yellow were also pricey imports. The coffee table was a large piece of unfinished wood, which she had sanded and stained and then placed on ornate legs from an auction antique table.
For the living room Norma chose Gustav Klimt’s Baby and Vincent Van Gogh’s Bank of the Oise at Auvers.
The large dining room served as the eating room for all meals. A large airy room with eastern exposure, Norma furnished it with a heavy oak dining room table she had snapped up at auction and painted white. The Blue side chairs were pricey in Natural wood by Gripsholm. A large sideboard was the only other piece of furniture.
For this dining area she chose an oil painting reproduction of Paul Cézanne’s Apples and Biscuits as well as Cézanne’s Chrysanthemums
For her bedroom she chose a white Chrislinelund bed. For all the other pieces, she shopped flea markets and garage sales and painted all her finds white as well. Because wallpaper is often used in Scandinavian décor, she used wallpaper throughout the house including light white and blue print Swedish wallpaper in this room. Don’t think because you have wallpapered walls, you can’t hang paintings. They can be as at home there as hung on painted or wood walls.
One of Norma’s favorite rooms was a sunroom on the opposite side of the house overlooking a garden and thick foliage. The focal piece was a Gripsholm blue and white patio chair, ottoman. She stained the floors a light blue, another characteristic of Scandinavian décor. This sunny room features 2 oil paintings – Leonardo Da Vinci’s Birds-eye View of a Landscape 1502 and Peter Brueqhel’s A Vase of Flowers.
The guest room was the most “romantic” room in Norma’s house. A large white canopy bed was surrounded by white furniture stenciled in blue and yellow. Unlike her pricey bed she bought a king size bed from a wholesaler and painted it a dark blue. She stenciled other bedroom furniture from Ikea. The room was light and bright. For this room she hung Wassily Kandinsky’s Black Lines and His Harmonie Tranquille.
I would have to say that Norma’s home is one of the most charming I have even been in. Along the staircase leading to the bedrooms on the second floor she had hung family pictures, all of which she had transposed into black and white. Hanging family pictures offers a homeowner a chance to show what he or she truly values. Displaying those pictures is an important part of a home as well. But, as they say, that is another story.