Allison Lindeman and her husband Oeyvind were determined to bring their cosy, minimalist take on Nordic design to their renovation plans.
Incorporating Scandinavian design into their Victorian semi in southwest London was a priority for American interior designer Allison Lindeman of Saltbox Interiors and her Norwegian husband Oeyvind. They wanted to create a huge, open-plan family living area that still felt ‘hyggelig’ – cosy and welcoming. ‘When we looked at houses, we struggled to find one that fitted the open-plan concept, as properties within our budget tended to have lots of rooms – a front room, dining room and separate kitchen. So we decided to go for a cheaper house that we could change to suit our lifestyle,’ says Allison. To build their dream living space, the couple knocked four rooms – the dining room, breakfast room, kitchen and conservatory – into one, and created a main living space with different zones. ‘There’s a TV and play area, a sitting area with a fireplace, a dining area and a kitchen,’ says Allison. The result is a light, minimalist and relaxed family space where children Piper, eight, Finn, six, and Kaia, four, can eat and play and where everyone gathers to spend time together. Allison’s love of Scandinavian design is evident throughout the house. Downstairs, walls are white, and there are plenty of industrial touches in keeping with the Scandi design aesthetic – metal stools, brick tiling, raw wood shelving and a handleless kitchen. Even the floor tiles in the downstairs hallway and bathroom have an industrial edge. ‘They’re ceramic, but meant to look like cement,’ says Allison. The clean lines of the living space are softened by cushions and rugs. ‘The risk with this type of design is that it can come across as cold if not done properly,’ says Allison. ‘But good Scandinavian design is layered and varied, using texture and materials to create depth and interest.’ Throughout the house, the couple’s much-loved art collection provides splashes of colour against the monochrome backdrop. Yellow rugs, cushions, throws and chairs throughout the house pull the design scheme together. Upstairs, Allison painted her en-suite bathroom a stunning, deep blue. ‘I am particularly proud of the en suite,’ she says. ‘We converted a bedroom to a bathroom when we redid the house and the room was so large that I experimented more with colour and played off the blue in our bedroom.’ Keeping the interior design practical was a major priority for Allison. ‘A house with small children needs to work for everyone without any stress that things will get ruined,’ she says. ‘Our Ikea dining table also serves as a craft area, painting workshop and glitter palace. The kids can make a mess and draw on the table without worry as it usually wipes clean, but if it doesn’t, I don’t stress. We used wipeable paint throughout the house and had lots of storage built in so we can tidy away all the toys and easily create a grown-up space for relaxing and entertaining in the evening. It’s the perfect family home.’
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