Scandi goes urban
Massimo and Jessica transformed their once gloomy Stockholm house into an open-plan, light-filled space with a London vibe
Massimo and Jessica, owners of home-fashion label Buster Punch, turned an unremarkable Stockholm suburban house into a loft-style home – with plenty of added Swedish soul
There are a million reasons why a person falls in love with their home. For Massimo and Jessica Minale, it wasn’t the bricks and mortar. In fact, Massimo describes the house as looking ‘really horrible’ when he saw it for the first time. It was the stunning views from the back garden that seduced the couple. Because, as far as the eye can see, the Mälaren, Sweden’s third largest lake, sits on the horizon, shimmering in the milky summer sunshine and looking radiant enough to induce feelings of soporific, aren’t-i-lucky-to-be-here calm.
Massimo and Jessica feel pretty chuffed to have stumbled across this remarkable setting after a tip-off from a friend. ‘It wasn’t the original plan to end up here,’ admits Massimo, who is half-italian, half-british. ‘I met Jess (who’s Swedish) in London and we lived there for five years. But Jess was homesick, so we decided to move to Stockholm. We’d just had our son, Otis, and we wanted a family home. When we saw this house, we didn’t like it at all, but then the wonderful view blew us away.’
‘I’m originally from a small seaside town,’ adds Jessica. ‘So water is in my blood. This setting felt like heaven to me. But neither of us were impressed with the house – it had tiny windows and boxy rooms. We wanted something open plan and full of light. The idea was to knock it down and start again, but then we found out we weren’t allowed to pull it down.’
With their initial intentions scuppered, a decision was needed on what they should do next. ‘We both agreed that living this close to a lake was an opportunity we just couldn’t miss, so the solution was to go ahead and buy the house, then pretty much pull the interior to pieces,’ says Massimo. ‘We kept the exterior façade and little else. Essentially, it’s a house with no walls inside, like a London warehouse-style property. It has a very urban feel to it – but with a Swedish soul.’
It was a slow process getting to the end result. The couple, along with their baby son, lived in a tiny caravan nearby for almost two years. Although they wanted to be close enough to oversee the project, they both roll their eyes at the memory. ‘That kind of experience puts hairs on your chest,’ says Massimo. ‘The winter wasn’t a lot of laughs and, because of the weather here, the builders had to down tools for months during the snow. Of course, that meant everything took forever.’
But when the fun bit of choosing the interior design eventually did come around, the pair had a very clear idea of what they wanted. There is a definite industrial feel to the overall look, with exposed RSJS, Crittall screens, steel staircases, metal light fittings and varying shades of smoky greys and black. Anyone who is familiar with the couple’s interiors brand, Buster + Punch, will spot the correlation with the latter. ‘Our home is a reflection of our design ethos,’ says Massimo. ‘We have many Buster + Punch products throughout our house because they demonstrate what we’re all about. We want to take the ordinary parts of a home – like the light switches, bulbs and door handles, then make them extraordinary.’
Back in the day, when Massimo worked as an architect, he spent his spare time indulging his passion for motorbikes. His talent for customising bikes led to the likes of George Clooney and members of Blur and The Rolling Stones becoming customers. Then, one thing led to another and enthusiasts started asking him to create products for their homes. ‘That meant I had the courage to quit the day job,’ he says. ‘Now the dream is for Buster + Punch to become a global home-fashion brand.’
But, in between conquering the interiors market, the duo are keen to make the most of their home and the socialising that comes with it. ‘We are big entertainers,’ says Jessica. ‘If you build an open-plan property, you have to fill it with people. And look what’s outside! That lake is there for enjoyment. In the winter, we ice skate on it and have ice hockey games with the neighbours. Then in the summer, we swim in it and go paddle-boarding. We couldn’t do any of that if we were still living in the middle of London.’
Check out Massimo and Jessica’s products at busterandpunch.com
With entertaining high up on the couple’s priority list, this part of the home needs to be functional as well as stylish. ‘There’s a lot of food cooked in this house,’ says Jessica. ‘And our guests all come together here.’ Get the look The dining table is bespoke. The Ren chairs are from Stellar Works. The Hooked 3.0 lights are by Buster + Punch. The rug is from Linie Design.