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.”

SHOWER ROOM 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....

BEDROOM 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,...

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