Source: Courtesy of Bjørn Wiinblad.
I’m a big fan on Scandinavian design. I love the sleek lines, simple beauty and functionality that is associated with decor from the Nordic region. If you’ve been over to our house or heard me talk about my heritage, you already know this.
I’m Scandinavian (a mix of Swedish, Norwegian and Danish), and have a concentration in Nordic Studies from University of Colorado at Boulder. That means I took classes where I studied everything from the social welfare system and conversational Swedish (Hejsan!) to Icelandic sagas and the Nordic sources J.R.R. Tolkien incorporated in his Lord of The Rings books.
While my knowledge of Scandinavia runs deep, so does my love for the region’s aesthetics. In college I wrote a term paper for my Nordic Societies class drawing comparisons between the visuals in the IKEA catalog and Carl Larsson’s paintings of the Swedish domestic life. The similarities were striking. (That reminds me, I need to dig up that paper!) It also was in that class that I fell in love with midcentury designers like Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner.
As Graham and I have established our home, I’ve managed to incorporate Scandinavian heirlooms that have been passed down from both of our families, along with larger pieces of contemporary furniture. With all the Nordic-inspired pieces that make up our home, I figured it was due time for a little blog post on some of my favorite home brands from the motherland.
Located in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s historic Old Town, this cute little shop sells beautiful home goods along with brushes that are handmade by visually impaired workers. While we were visiting for our honeymoon, I grabbed a few gorgeous knit hand towels to bring home for our house and as souvenirs for my mom and Nana. If you live here in Richmond, you can pick up some Iris Hantverk brushes at Accoutre in Scott’s Addition. irishantverk.se
I love everything about Bjørn Wiinblad’s designs. They are so whimsical and happy. You can find the Danish painter’s motifs on all sorts of homewares like ceramics, linens and seasonal decor. While shopping in Copenhagen and Oslo we saw a lot of his designs in home stores. I can’t find a brick-and-mortar here in the U.S., but Skandium and Connox both sell these pretty porcelain pieces via their web shops. bjornwiinblad-denmark.com
I’m a huge fan of Muuto’s sleek molded plywood and plastic seating. The Danish shop also has a beautiful line of light fixtures along with fun tchotchkes and textiles for the home. Here in the U.S., it looks like the best place to get your Muuto fix is via web shops like the Danish Design Store, Design Public and Lekker Home. muuto.com
While meandering around Stockholm I discovered this amazing high-end design house. As a fan of fiber arts, I love Svensk Tenn’s textiles, particularly artist-designer Josef Frank’s whimsical patterned fabrics. If you’re looking for some of the company’s vintage wares, be sure to check out Charish’s inventory. svenskttenn.se
This Danish design company reminds me of a high-end IKEA with everything from furnishings to the functional items and final touches you would buy for your home. Although based in Copenhagen, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on some of the wares, via modern furniture stores here in the U.S. like Design Within Reach or popular e-tailers like the Danish Design Store that focus on contemporary Scandinavian housewares. normann-copenhagen.com
Royal Copenhagen was started in 1775 under Denmark’s Queen Juliane Marie as the country’s royal porcelain factory. The timeless ceramics are adorned with simple, classic blue floral motifs that can really translate to any table. For the holidays, I bought some lovely Royal Copenhagen taper candles via Hygge Life, a brick-and-mortar in the Vail, Colorado area. The shop also sells pillars too. One day I’ll have to splurge and buy some serving dishes and platters. royalcopenhagen.com
Based out of Copenhagen, this sophisticated design shop sells everything from gorgeous upholstered sofas down to highly functional housewares. Seriously, look at Menu’s Sweeper and Funnel. Is that not the smartest, coolest dust pan you’ve ever laid your eyes on?! With one sweep your mess is in the pan and funneled out the bottom into the trash. menu.as