Featuring an inspired mix of ethnic accessories and Norwegian sensibilities, this flat in Oslo o≠ers a fresh take on contemporary Scandinavian style
Ethnic accessories and Norwegian sensibilities unite for a fresh take on contemporary Scandinavian style.
Wanja Marriott could be forgiven if, upon moving into her first-floor apartment in Oslo’s desirable West End, she had painted the walls white and embraced the monochromatic scheme so associated with the Scandinavian aesthetic. The late 19th-century flat, in a fourstorey building just streets away from the Royal Palace and the sea, had the architectural details for it: high ceilings, lots of light, large windows and pale hardwood floors. For Wanja, however, whose love of global design is evident from the tribal artefacts and photographs of far-flung places, this was not an option. VARIATIONS ON A THEME “White is just so boring,” says Wanja. “Too many houses in Norway look the same because people simply go for white.” Instead, she has chosen grey as her background colour, yet rather than the same shade throughout, she has used gradations so no two walls in a room match. “Some are dark grey, some light; I like the contrast,” says Wanja. “It’s easy to add colour with furniture and accessories, while textural elements such marble, wood, glass and leather provide interest.”
Potted plants create further visual nuances, particularly in the sitting room, where sculptural shards of fresh green catch the light and the eye. In a further break with the Nordic norm, Wanja has abjured silver candlesticks and decorative
objects in favour of those in gold, as she believes they bring a sense of warmth and depth, rather than starkness and severity. ETHNIC INFLUENCE Wanja’s predilection for a richer palette is inspired by a safari that she and her husband, Per, took in the early days of their relationship. They joke that their first date was a trip to Africa. “It wasn’t quite,” she says, “but we did spend our first Christmas together travelling in Kenya and Zanzibar. My parents were so sad we weren’t with them.”
These days, their travels often take them to England, her father’s homeland. “His family is from Kent,” says Wanja. “I adore England, the countryside, London, everything. I think that’s why I have three co≠ee tables in our sitting room. In England you have lots of side tables and footstools.” Her mother, meanwhile, bequeathed her the Moroccan pou≠e that adds a burst of colour and pattern in the sitting room.
“I like to use old pieces where possible,” says Wanja. “They have character, and I hate to discard things. If I no longer want an item, I’ll sell it online or find a new owner. I do of course buy new objects, but they need to be distinctive, have personality and be well made.”
This philosophy extends to the her interiors store, Palma Skøyen, where she o≠ers a similarly diverse mix of items, just a 20-minute walk from her flat. But in her home, the embodiment of the new Nordic, Wanja has created not a showpiece but a place where she can relax and be herself.
I like to use old pieces where possible. I do of course buy new objects, too, but they need to be distinctive, have personality and be well made.”
Simply styled with bold black floor tiles and white walls, this compact room (left) was designed by the previous owners. Similar tumbled stone tiles, Tumbled interlocking marble wall tiles, £28.99sq m, Marblemosaics, marble-mosaics.com. ENTRANCE HALL
“I prefer built-in storage with floor-to-ceiling doors as it’s more streamlined,” says Wanja.
Washed linen bedding and a fabric-covered headboard add layers of texture to this pared-back scheme (right), which is given a glamorous lift with an glass chandelier. Similar headboard,
Montcalm headboard with decorative studs, from £239, Headboards Ltd, headboards.ltd.uk.