Book review: Simply Scandinavian

By Michelle Kelly »Michelle Kelly

May 4th, 2010

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London-based journalist Sara Norrman grew up in Stockholm and spent her summers at a 19th-century summer house in the Swedish countryside. She has “cottaging” in her blood it seems, and the decor ethic presented in the recently released book she edited, Simply Scandinavian (Ryland Peters & Small, 2010, with additional text by Magnus Englund and Caroline Clifton-Mogg), reflects the casual, simple style that is so appropriate to lakeside living.
 
The homes profiled—located in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland—each feature prominent use of natural and found materials, as well as simple fabrics and colour schemes, making for rooms that invite you to plop down and relax, just like those found at a cottage should. Here are a few of my favourite rooms:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I can imagine that the view from this table would be quite something! A collection of bird feathers stuck in the window frame add lots of texture to the room and also bring the outside in. It's that kind of detail that shows you're not in the city anymore.

I like to imagine that the view from this table is quite extraordinary! A collection of bird feathers stuck in the window frame add lots of texture to the room and also bring the outside in. It's a detail that indicates you're not in the city anymore.


 
These flags from Norsegian merchant vessels hang in the hallway of an Inn on the southern coast of Norway. It's a wonderful jumble of mementoes to greet visitors as they enter, isn't it? Flags aren't just for poles...

These flags from Norwegian merchant vessels hang in the hallway of an Inn on the southern coast of Norway. It's a wonderful jumble of mementoes to greet visitors as they enter, isn't it? Flags aren't just for poles...


 
The wood grain in the floor is stunning here, and makes for a subtle contrast against the white walls and ceilings. I'm loving painted ceilings these days. Also note the chandelier; I saw a similar one in a Stoney Lake cottage once that the family used to display their scores from recent Scrabble face-offs.

The wood grain in the floor is stunning here, and makes for a subtle contrast against the white walls and ceilings. (I'm loving painted ceilings these days.) Also note the chandelier; I saw a similar one in a Stoney Lake cottage once that the family used to display their scores from recent Scrabble face-offs.


 

The curved shape of this pine deck, part of an island summer house in Finland, is designed to complement the shape of the land and the buliding's cliff-top site. When I first saw this photo I immediately thought I was looking at a cottage on Georgian Bay—the landscape seems so similar!

The curved shape of this pine deck, part of an island summer house in Finland, is designed to complement the shape of the land and the buliding's cliff-top site. When I first saw this photo I immediately thought I was looking at a cottage on Georgian Bay—the landscape is so similar!


 
Photos credits, from top: Paul Massey, Debi Trelor, Paul Ryan (x2)


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Michelle Kelly