Modern Heritage Meets Scandi Chic

Elly Deakin Biophilic design, Furniture, Recycling / upcycling, Vintage

This project for Norway’s TV2 show ‘Tid for Hjem’, proposed that we redesign a family living and dining room within a countryside villa built by family members during the 1920s. The home is situated down a quiet lane with spectacular views out onto lakes, trees and mountains; a setting that was the inspiration for many of the books written by the current owner of the house.

The existing room was underused and cluttered – over filled with old furniture and family heir looms. The lack of zoned space and focus led to the family not knowing how to use the space or when. As well as applying a fresh, contemporary finish to the space, we maintained the richness of the Nordic villa’s heritage. The family living space now features upcycled furniture, bespoke shelving for displaying trinkets and integrated banquette seating for those family moments. We raised the floor by 200mm to make the beautiful views from the internal seating more accessible for the family when seated in the lounge area. The integrated window seat creates a relaxing place to sit and unwind close to nature and an opportunity to gain exposure to natural light. The seat structure is under-lit with soft LED lighting, which makes the seat appear as if it’s floating. We also incorporated shelving into the structure, which displays many of the family’s books.

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A family dining area with built-in banquette seating was constructed in a corner furthest away from the window, which is surrounded by numerous heirlooms displayed on grid shelving. This design feature intends to spark conversation and enhance family memories. Painting the ceiling and existing stone wall in a light colour gives the space a fresh, airy feel. The shape of the existing fireplace has been simplified in order to allow for a cosy corner seat, where family members can sit and read.

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The fireplace structure uses hand glazed burgundy tiles, which create a striking focal point to the room and complement the rich berry tones found in soft furnishings. We upcycled many pieces of the existing furniture to maintain the interior’s character. These included family heir looms, chairs and an old typewriter that we transformed into a lamp – with a jelly mould as the shade! Applying elements of colours to the plain furniture adds a contemporary finish and helps balance the overall colour scheme.

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The room also features many bespoke pieces of furniture including the book table situated at the centre; being our favourite design element as it allows the family to display many of the grandfather’s books, which are very valuable to them. The project gave us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate some of the key Biophilic design principles, improving views onto nature; increasing exposure to natural light, the use of textural natural materials, natural colour schemes as well as ensuring nature is always in the periphery vision. These ideas help to create a calming, restorative and social space, where the family are able to relax and unwind together.

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