Shades of grey are gracefully combined to create a gentle, gleaming appearance in this elegant Norwegian apartment
Shades of grey create a gentle, graceful and gleaming Norwegian apartment
Think of the muted shades of charcoal, dove and rose that you associate with Scandinavian brands such as Menu or Muuto. They’re serene, soft and textural, and it’s this same palette that Cathrine Bækken, interior architect at Heem, has used to great effect in the two-bedroom apartment she shares with her fiancé, Ole Anders, and their four-year-old daughter Ella.
Situated in the Nordnes area of Bergen in Norway – all cobbled streets and Hamptons-style clapperboard houses – this thirdfloor apartment, which is located in a 19th-century building, is a lesson in how to use tone-on-tone colour in a coherent way.
Starting with an off-white shade in the entrance hall, the rooms get progressively darker as you move deeper into the flat, with the bedroom painted a rich, enveloping near-black. ‘I wanted to decorate each of the rooms in a different colour so they have their own identity and feeling,’ explains Cathrine. Her approach is the start of a new way of looking at dark tones. Charcoal, navy and fir green are increasingly being used as alternatives to traditional neutral colours. While at first glance they seem challenging, they are surprisingly flexible, partnering well with other, more muted hues. Cathrine has paired the darkest room in the apartment with a white ceiling and limewashed floor, brightening its drama.
When Cathrine and Ole bought their home two years ago, they stripped it back to its bare bones, unmasking original flooring, skirtings and architraves in the process. ‘ We were thrilled about all the old details, so our ambition was to return them to their former glory,’ says Cathrine. This process took just five months – a speedy project made necessary by the couple selling their previous home and needing to move in quickly. ‘I remember sitting up at night drawing plans as we both had full-time jobs,’ she adds. ‘It was a very exciting – and exhausting – time.’
There may have been some long nights, but the finished space is a great success, with Cathrine’s concise edit of timeless designs perfectly complementing her colour choices. ‘I’m affected by the Scandinavian style, with natural materials such as wood and leather,’ she says. ‘It feels calm and it feels like home.’ heem.no
Living room The ‘Tiki’ sofa is by Norwegian designer Andreas Engesvik for Fogia, available at Twentytwentyone. Above it hangs a ‘265’ wall light by Paolo Rizzatto for Flos and a mirror from House Doctor. The coffee table is the ‘Hoof’ by Samuel Wilkinson for &Tradition and the rug is by Linie Design Stockist details on p167 ➤
Above, left The charming cobbled streets of Bergen, Norway Portrait Homeowners Cathrine Bækken and Ole Anders Living room A vintage chair by Børge Mogensen and a ‘DLM’ side table by Hay create a cosy reading spot in front of the shelving unit by String Stockist details on p167 ➤