LET IT SNOW
A Swedish apartment decorated in cool whites and soft textures
As the festive season approaches, all is calm in Elisabeth Nilsson’s elegant apartment which is just the way she likes it. Having fallen for the handsome townhouses in this area of central Stockholm, the textile specialist moved here with her husband Sture once her children had flown the nest.
‘We bought the apartment during a December six years ago and there was this magical Christmas feel in the whole area, with its red-brick façades and a magnificent church at the centre,’ says Elisabeth. ‘So every year, we recreate that feeling at home. We have also started a new tradition, whereby we invite all our family and friends for homemade spiced wine in the run-up to Christmas Eve – the ritual of heating white wine and adding cinnamon, cloves, star anise and vanilla is something we love to do. It really kicks off the season.’
With a background in sourcing and supplying textiles, Elisabeth is no stranger to decorating and home renovation, but for the first time, moving here did not entail any major building works. The apartment had already been fully refurbished by a well-known Swedish architectural firm, Tham & Videgård. ‘We had always refurbished our previous properties,’ explains Elisabeth, ‘ but
when we saw this apartment, we loved the fact that it had a timeless feel – it’s just what we would have done if we had been starting from scratch.’
The lateral space, with its enfilade of sitting room, dining room and kitchen flowing seamlessly from one to the other, features a largely monochrome palette that creates a sense of effortless cohesion. Stained oak floorboards provide a natural anchor, contrasted by plenty of white cabinetry for a light touch.
‘This home is smaller than our previous villa, but it feels just as spacious thanks to plenty of floor-to-ceiling storage and sleek design solutions, such as the bathroom, which is integrated into the bedroom but separated by a simple sliding door,’ notes Elisabeth.
When it came to decorating this space, the couple let the architecture do the talking, with its graceful proportions and generous, original window frames. ‘I chose a palette of off-whites and greys, warmed up with plenty of luscious textures such as rustic woods, raw linens and deeppile rugs,’ says Elisabeth. ‘They are warming touches that work particularly well at Christmas, and they are given a lift by some dramatic artwork. We also love the warmth of the oak features.’
Fittingly, the tree is adorned simply. ‘I find that our Christmas tree looks great decked out only in lights,’ says Elisabeth, who complements the rustic look with fresh foliage dotted around the house. ‘Then of course, we have a typical Swedish stove in the sitting room, which we light most evenings. It’s very dark at this time of year, so lighting is important to us and candlelight creates a soothing atmosphere.’
Though their children, Lovisa and David, have left home, they still live nearby and Elisabeth will be preparing a feast to remember over Christmas and the New Year. ‘They will come home to the smell of gingerbread baking,’ says Elisabeth. ‘Then after the traditional celebrations, we’ll be heading off on a family skiing trip to northern Sweden. But as much as we love travelling, one of the highlights will be returning to this cosy home. It’s our favourite place to be.’
DINING ROOM Sitting snugly between the sitting room and the kitchen, this area is a natural magnet for family gatherings. Foscarini Le Soleil pendant light, £575, The Conran Shop. KBH chairs, €975 each, KBH Shop. Bermuda table, £ 4,512, Twentytwentyone. Iittala Nappula candleholders, £31 each, Trouva
SITTING ROOM This corner room benefits from dual-aspect windows, allowing in plenty of light. Casa Botelho’s RD15 eight-arm chandelier, £ 4,805, recreates this look. The Imo folding stool, £355, Pinch Design, is similar to this one. White linen sofa, price on request, Garbo Interiors
KITCHEN Floor-to-ceiling storage and a central island make the most of the space. The plain white units are offset by Swedish limestone worktops and stained oak parquet flooring. The Integra Fusion kitchen, from £3,962, Magnet, has this streamlined look
DINING AREA A round table dressed in textured linens makes for an intimate eating zone. Find tablecloths like these at Summerill & Bishop. The Hooked pendant, from £210, Buster+punch, is similar. Sonna Rosen Danish Sunbeam chairs, £1,213 each, 1stdibs. The artwork is by Luciana Ame
HALL A bold artwork and an oak storage bench strike a contemporary note in the entrance to this apartment. try Desenio for modern prints
EN SUITE Neat sliding doors separate this chic bathroom from the bedroom, where base and wall units, plus a shower, are cleverly incorporated into the compact area. Metro white tiles, £19.50sq m, topps tiles, are similar
BEDROOM ‘We furnished this room simply for a serene feel,’ says Elisabeth, who opted for space-saving floating bedside tables and a muted grey-and-white palette. Maisons du Monde has a range of similar floating shelves, from £115. the birdy wall light, from £222, holloways of Ludlow, is comparable to this one