PICK & MIX Sec­ond-hand buys and off­beat finds add colour and char­ac­ter to a mod­ern de­tached in Swe­den

Bar­gain hunter Martina Em­den has cre­ated a quirky and colour­ful scheme with sec­ond-hand buys and off­beat finds

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture JANE BOWLES | pho­tog­ra­phy LIVING4MEDIA/CE­CILIA MÖLLER

Back in 2014, Martina Em­den and her hus­band Per were liv­ing in an apart­ment in Linköping, Swe­den, when they de­cided it was time for a change. ‘We wanted a place with more space for our chil­dren, Vega and Ziggy, now 9 and 8,’ says Martina. ‘It was also im­por­tant to be close to a good school.’

Af­ter months of searching, the cou­ple found the per­fect prop­erty; a two-storey de­tached house built in the 1990s. ‘It was in a lovely res­i­den­tial area sur­rounded by for­est,’ says Martina. ‘The kitchen was dec­o­rated in dark colours and full of mis­matched tex­tures, so it needed ren­o­vat­ing quite badly, but Per and I de­cided to live with it for a while. How­ever, we did paint the en­tire house white, and it was a year be­fore we em­barked on ren­o­vat­ing the kitchen, which we did our­selves.’

The cou­ple stripped out all the old units and ban­ished the dark brown colour scheme. ‘We swapped the sink and oven around, to im­prove the sense of spa­tial flow, and reused the pre­vi­ous owner’s ap­pli­ances, as they were still in good con­di­tion,’ says Martina. ‘It was bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment and eas­ier on the wal­let, too.’ The Em­dens then in­stalled plain white cab­i­netry and match­ing wall tiles, with eye-catch­ing

yel­low grout. ‘And, to add depth and con­trast, I painted a fea­ture wall black.’

The white walls have mostly gone, and Martina has now put her own stamp on the house with colour­ful paint­work and pat­terned wall­pa­per. Ziggy’s bed­room is filled with candy colours, from the rhubarb and cus­tard asym­met­ric pan­els on the walls to the mauve and dusty pink hon­ey­comb-shaped shelves, and the fur­ni­ture even has pops of deep coral.

In the mas­ter bed­room, a mod­ern chest of draw­ers in dark blue is set off beau­ti­fully by el­e­gant grey walls. Martina also en­joys adding quirky touches, so framed prints have been turned on their side, and she has used pan­els of dif­fer­ent Vic­to­rian-style wall­pa­per fea­tur­ing birds and flow­ers to cre­ate a state­ment wall.

As with the kitchen, the cou­ple have adopted an eco-friendly ap­proach with their fur­ni­ture. ‘I love a bar­gain,’ says Martina, ‘so I’m al­ways hunt­ing in lo­cal sec­ond-hand shops or on­line for pieces I can ren­o­vate. In the kitchen, a work bench makes an ex­cel­lent in­dus­trial-style is­land, while a 1960s rat­tan chair adds to the retro feel in the sit­ting room.

It is not easy bring­ing char­ac­ter to a 1990s house, but the Em­dens have cre­ated a home that is full of charm and sur­prises, and are happy to stay put for a while. How­ever, Martina may well get her paint­brushes out again.

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DIN­ING AREA Colour­ful art­work and an an­tique chest, a present from Per’s grand­par­ents, make for a stylish blend of old and new. sweetpea & Wil­low’s Lori­ent chest, £609, would com­ple­ment this space. For sim­i­lar din­ing chairs try the Idolf range, £ 45 each, Ikea. ra­di­ate rug, £220, Lind­sey Lang, is an­other eye-catch­ing grey pat­terned rug

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SIT­TING ROOM the mod­ern grey sofa, along with the blue ab­stract can­vas painted by Martina, an­chor the look. Ikea Klip­pan sofa, £149, would also work well in here. Far­row & Ball’s Point­ing es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, is a good match for this wall colour. trouva sells a good range of hang­ing bas­kets, from £11

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KITCHEN ‘I love to dec­o­rate ev­ery room with plants, es­pe­cially in here,’ says Martina. In­dus­trial Chic din­ing ta­ble, £319, hamp­shire Fur­ni­ture, would make a good al­ter­na­tive. Mar­quis & Dawe has sim­i­lar metal­lic pen­dant lights, from £155

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