Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Forgot How Much I Love Swedish Style!

Oh my goodness! This post is so long and pic heavy! Sorry guys!

Carmen and I were at the library yesterday and I ended up, as I usually do, in front of the decor and craft section. There was nothing new to me, but I picked up this old friend for some fresh inspiration: I first checked this book out in 2000 and I still think it is quite timely. Probably because Ms. Waddell's interpretation of Swedish style is based on Carl Larsson's home which is, of course, timeless. It's a great style- like a paired-down cottage look, I think. That's perfect for me because with teenage boys and pets everywhere, I can't do a lot of cute collectables anyway. (That's why I love my china cabinet- it's all enclosed and safe!) Sasha Waddell still designs and sells lovely, Swedish inspired furniture pieces at her website and there are even some really beautiful fabrics here.

Anyway, I've been thinking lately that I'd like to decorate my dining, crafting, computer room in a "cottage garden" theme, but haven't really been able to get started. (Well, duh! I'm still not finished with my bedroom, nor have I started the boys' room! When it comes to decor, lately I feel like I am all talk and no action, but I'm sure I will get it all done eventually, say 2036 or so!)

When we first looked at this house, it was this room that sold me. Even though it is a north facing room, the fact that the kitchen was connected to the dining room with a big breakfast bar and that there were windows on two sides of the room, really made it seem light and airy.

I had seen a dining room on HGTV that I loved and I wanted to replicate with lime walls, white painted furniture and blue and white china with blue toile curtains. It looked so fresh to me and I thought it would be the perfect way to show off my blue and white china pieces. So we moved in and painted the walls green. It immediately got the nickname "Hulk Juice"! Then I went shopping for my blue toile for the curtains and instead fell in love with a red and white fabric collection! Here's how it pretty much turned out:
This is obviously the dining/working side and below is the wall opposite my work wall where we had enough room for this cute little loveseat that I slipcovered.

Directly to the right of the loveseat was the computer area. So... that was all good and cozy and cottage-y... except for when we tried to take photographs of actual people in this room!

Submitted for evidence:
Exhibit A: Yikes! My brother Dean and I against eye-befuddling red checks
and Exhibit B:
Max's tenth birthday party set against Hulk Juice walls with a seasonal orange tablecloth. Ugghhh....So, I knew I wanted to change some things! Last April I painted the wall in Toast, the same color as my living room. Here is how the room looked for Easter:

Hmmm, still not liking it. The toast color, which is so warm and cozy in the living room is just ...harsh and orange looking in here. All the colorful linens (vintage bedsheets) are gone now and I just have beige panels on the slider and this table and chairs:

Earl took the big table which is fine- it was his choice anyway, not mine. I adore my little table- it was a dumpster find, but that is a story for another day! I like my craigslist chairs too, but after my re-do, they might become outdoor seating. I think I need a more traditional wooden chair for a Swedish style room. *sigh* Like this beauty in this Larsson painting:

Sasha Waddell says in the book that it's the northern light that makes the difference and I think that's really true when you see this painting. Also, since my room is north facing, I think this pallette is much more suiting. Another thing in the book that I thought was interesting is that she suggests adding a small amount of raw umber to paint to soften the color. I really want to try that, but I don't still don't know what color to paint this room! I'm leaning towards an antique white with simple muslin curtains (I've talked about that idea before, I think, on my old blog) and then bringing in color with fresh flowers and accessories.

Well, Friends, if you've read this long rambly post all the way to the end, I salute you! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this room. It's big and it works hard. What kind of paint color and curtains do you think you would choose for it? I'm keeping the furniture where it is. There is still a computer in the corner and I think I want to paint the big craft cupboard to look like the TARDIS! Shhhh....don't tell Carmen- I want to surprise her with it! And yes, I do think it would still look cute with a Swedish style room!


my thrifty victorian home said...

Just love the green and red color scheme!

Blessings to you and yours,

Anonymous said...

Hia Bettsi, speaking as a person from the northern climes I've found that pure brilliant white paint can look a little grey in a north facing room (your light may be different) what about a "white with a hint of" like in the Dulux paint ranges? Do you have those in the US? I wish I had taken photos in the Kath Kidson shop in York. I think it would'vegiven you ideas abouthow to blend Swedish subtlety with vintage goodies. Perhaps her web site would help?

Tracey said...

I love the green and red as well! Maybe you should try a green that is a little more toned down like a celery color? I put the book on my library list. Also, look up Susan Sargent (she lived in Sweden for some time)at your library. She has the most beautiful color combos and makes her own rugs. My favorite book by her is The Comfort of Color.

Happy Decorating!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Thanks for sending me the link to this post (I read it all)! Gotta try that umber trick. I'm not sure if I've seen that book - I'll have to look for it and check it out. I love Swedish style too! I love the simplicity and the colors. I always think of my style as a paired down French Country. I just love Carl Larson! As a matter of fact I'm working on a post about him!


nikkicrumpet said...

I liked the hulk juice green and the red checks...I really liked it!!! It just felt bright and happy.