Nat­u­ral spirit

Deep green walls and Wil­liam Mor­ris pa­pers bring a botan­i­cal feel to this Swedish home

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Words AMY BRAD­FORD Pho­tog­ra­phy ANDREA PAPINI/HOUSE OF PIC­TURES Styling ALEXAN­DRA YDHOLM

‘WE PAINTED THE LIV­ING ROOM GREEN – IT’S MY FAVOURITE COLOUR – BUT CHOSE A DARK GREY-GREEN SHADE SO THAT IT DOESN’T POP TOO MUCH. IT WORKS WITH EV­ERY­THING’

This 1920s apart­ment in Gothen­burg is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how high-street de­signs can con­jure up a lux­u­ri­ous look. Its owner Ca­jsa Berndts­dot­ter and her part­ner Tor­b­jörn Ols­son both work for the Swedish gi­ant, Ikea – she as a vis­ual mer­chan­diser, he as a prod­uct qual­ity spe­cial­ist – so they know a thing or two about mak­ing its de­signs look good. But it’s their com­bi­na­tion of the brand’s af­ford­able fur­ni­ture with un­ex­pected colours and patterns that trans­forms their home from sim­ple to stun­ning.

The cou­ple, who share the two-bed­room home with their two cats, Juni and Au­gust, were at­tracted to the apart­ment be­cause it needed ren­o­va­tion. They kept the orig­i­nal floor­boards, sim­ply white­wash­ing them, and knocked down a wall be­tween the kitchen and liv­ing room to cre­ate an open-plan space. Ca­jsa had fallen in love with two Wil­liam Mor­ris wall­pa­pers – ‘Chrysan­the­mum’ and ‘Pim­per­nel’ – in del­i­cate green shades, but she knew they would be too dom­i­nant in the main liv­ing area. She used them in the hall­way and the cou­ple’s bed­room in­stead, and they have in­spired the rest of the dé­cor. ‘That’s why we painted the liv­ing room green,’ she ex­plains. ‘ We picked a very dark grey-green shade so it doesn’t pop too much – it has a dull tone that works with ev­ery­thing.’

Ca­jsa em­ployed two clever tricks to pre­vent the dark colour from feel­ing claus­tro­pho­bic. The first is to have dif­fer­ent zones. ‘The green liv­ing room is one and the din­ing room is an­other. For the lat­ter we used an al­most pure white paint on the walls,’ she says. The same white on the ceil­ings helps to open up the space. The sec­ond trick is to use fur­ni­ture in neu­tral shades. Ca­jsa avoided adding ex­tra colours, cre­at­ing warmth and tex­ture with wood in­stead. Tan leather seat­ing and brass de­tails com­plete the pic­ture, unit­ing na­ture-in­spired beauty with mod­ern, min­i­mal style.

Ca­jsa found fur­ther in­spi­ra­tion us­ing Pin­ter­est, and be­fore cre­at­ing the art wall in the liv­ing room, she tested out ideas on her floor. ‘That’s a re­ally good tip – it means you can de­cide ev­ery­thing be­fore you start mak­ing holes in the wall.’

‘If we’re meet­ing up with friends, it’s com­mon to be in some­one’s home rather than go­ing out,’ says Ca­jsa. ‘That’s why we like to have a stylish, well-or­gan­ised, so­cial space.’ Some­how, we ex­pect gath­er­ings here are al­ways pop­u­lar. Fol­low Ca­jsa Bernds­dot­ter on In­sta­gram at @c.berndts­dot­ter

Liv­ing room Tan leather, warm woods and splashes of white bring the dark grey-green walls to life. The so­fas are both from Ikea but Ca­jsa (right) has cus­tomised them with new legs from Pretty Pegs. The slanted shelves on the ‘String’ wire stor­age sys­tem (avail­able in the UK at Nest) dis­play favourite images and or­na­ments

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