Monday, November 17, 2008

SHELTER: Study in Scandinavia

Hurray, my first International SHELTER Study! I came across these sweetly retro apartment on Flickr and fell in love with that sofa. I was also intrigued by the clean and crisp decor of the space. Therefore, I was not surprised to find that the home was located in Norway. Though the owners, Rune and Cecilie, no longer live in this particular apartment, they wonderfully agreed to participate in this interview about their old space, and included some hints as to their new one.

Q: Would you consider yourself an artistic person? Is it something that you use in your career or daily life?
A: Yes, I would. I have worked as an illustrator and a designer, so I am very interested in the design and looks of things.

Q: Which one of you had the most influence in the look of that space, your partner or yourself?
A: I think we are 50/50 on that, at least I hope we are. We are both fans of fifties to seventies design, and a lot of the furniture matches that period. I'm more into furniture though, and my fiancee are more into decorations.

Q: How would you describe your personal styles?
A: Retro, fused with Scandinavian simplicity and brightness.

Q: Do you think your décor style matched your personal styles?
A: Partly, I regret buying some of the more modern furniture we have. If I could undo some of the purchases, I would go for more vintage design all over, and improve the atomic-ranch look of the kitchen. I think my fiancee would agree with that.

Q: Would someone who knew you think your space represented you? Do you think it did?
A: I think they do. We are creative and playful people, and I think some of that was carried over to the apartment. With our new apartment, it's even better - since the layout itself is fun and unusual, with more space for putting little fun details. A couple of our friends are into this style to, but most people just consider this old-fashioned in a negative way.

Q: What was your biggest influence in choosing the décor?
A: We wanted it to be bright, with each room not having too many conflicting colours. I need things tidy, otherwise my mind gets distracted. And we both love the style of furniture from when our parents were young - design had a lot more personality then.

Q: What was the most expensive change you made in that space?
A: The oak floors, I think. That took a lot of time and money.

Q: What was the least expensive, yet most influential change you made to your space?
A: The colour of the kitchen walls (paint is cheap, right). That was my choice, and we like it so much that we will use it in our new kitchen too.

Q: How different is your current home? Did your style change and if so, how?
A: It's still a city apartment, but we have moved up a couple of floors. We have more sunshine, and the rooms are brighter. We have fallen in love with high gloss paint and painted floors, so there's a bit of that. But it looks really similar, which is nice. But the new one is our favourite :) I will be putting up pictures on Flickr soon, there's just a little bit of carpentry left.

Q: What decorating styles are you most attracted to: modern, traditional, country, mid-century, etc?
A: Without a doubt: Mid-century modern, particularly the Scandinavian version of it. I think in the
US it's known as Danish Modern. I'm also a fan of the Atomic Ranch style, and have used that a bit in the kitchen.

Q: Can you tell me about your kitchen? In America, we do not have to purchase our kitchens. When we rent or buy, the appliances are already there. How much work is involved in putting together a full kitchen and is there an easy process in place for this?
A: Actually, if the appliances are built-in, they usually follow the apartment. IKEA is really what 99% of people go to here in Scandinavia
. They are cheap and fast, and really convenient for most people. When I bought the previous apartment, it had the cheapest of the cheap IKEA kitchens installed, and I really didn't want to keep any of it. I tried finding a new one at IKEA, but I really didn't like the design and quality of their kitchens. After some looking around, I found a new one at a store called R.O.O.M - with a fantastic retro design. The kitchen was my favourite place in that apartment. When we bought are new apartment, the previous owners had just installed a new kitchen, and it had a most of the appliances built in, so they were included. We only had to buy a fridge, a lovely SMEG. This new kitchen is IKEA, and I really want to swap it out sometime in the future - I don't like the colour or the design of it :) Unfortunately, R.O.O.M stopped producing kitchens a few years ago, and I think our old kitchen was one of the few in Norway with that design.

Q: I love the sofa you had in that apartment, it has a very retro look, yet you mentioned that it was new from Eskoleia. I did some research and found that it was the Hea, but I could not find any retailers selling it or what was the price. Did it go with you to your new place? How many other pieces in those photos are parts of your new décor?
A: Yes, we still have the sofa, and all the other furniture as well. Except the dining room set, that was something we borrowed. We bought the sofa at a store called Living here in Oslo
. We got it on sale, and I think it's because it wasn't any popular. I think they have stopped selling it, I can't find it on their webstore. The price was around 2,500 dollars for the sofa and two matching armchairs, which is what you pay for most sofa/armchair combinations here.

Q: Those lamps in the living room remind me of Vener Panton lamps, are they vintage or a new design?
A: Correct, those are actual Panthella lamps I got at a fair price at a vintage shop in Oslo
. I'm really happy with them.

Q: I also love the pillows and table runners. Do you have any information on those?
A: The pillows are new, from a store called Åhlens. The table runners are all vintage. I think those are from Cecilie's mother or one of my aunts.

Q: How different is your grown-up style from the places in which you two grew up? A: The similarity is very much there in the furniture and decorations. But the textiles, walls and floors are different. Our parents had (and have) a lot more heavily decorated fabrics, dark and strong colours and wall-to-wall carpets.

Lost Highway house, Iron Man living room interior
Tony Stark house exterior, Chemosphere from Charlie's Angels

Q: Have you seen any homes in movies that you would want to live in?
A: I like the house in Lost Highway
, David Lynch is great with interiors. I'm also a fan of Lautner, and the houses in Iron Man and Charlies Angels are very much my type of dream house.

Good luck, Rune and Cecilie in everything you do!

Images: Flickr,, P
hil Saunders (2),

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