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
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.
2 1& 4 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...
3 2& 3 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...
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