Studio Heaven – How 34m2 can work!

When less really is MORE….

As the cost of m2 to buy/rent in our major towns and cities continues to increase we need to become ever more resourceful at making do with less. The answer is at studio apartment, where a larger property has be subdivided and I want to show you how to create your own Studio Heaven. Less space, less clothing, less of everything.  It is surprising what we actually don’t need to have a perfectly normal life!

I wanted to show you that with careful planning, using interior design techniques, less can actually feel like more! 

This luxurious pied-à-terre in the heart of Stockholm is only 34m2. With a neutral palette, clever storage, a glass partition and the fact that one wall is all windows this space has a light and airy feel. 

(note: all images from homedsgn.com) 

source: homedsgn
source: homedsgn

The bedroom becomes a feature of the room, the glass rejecting the windows to bounce more light around the room.

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The oversized candles add a bit of the unexpected, and the mix of modern and antique creates and authentic feel and prevents it feeling like a show-home.

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There is plenty of light with 2 sets of windows and french doors to the balcony.

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The sofa cushions and throw are Swedish folk style. The linen sofa stands on a layer of sisal rug.  When using neural colours texture is key to the look working well.  The subtle blue print on the cushions and throw together with the artwork is enough colour and print to balance the colour palette of the space. 

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Can you believe there is an original fireplace!  This adds another authentic, elegant and homely touch.

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Having the outdoor space means the the room extends and adds to the feeling of space. 

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The white kitchen and white mosaic splash back melt into the background, and the marble worktops are repeated on the antique Swedish table which is teamed with modern soft linen dining chairs.

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The large hessian lampshade mirrors the round table and roots the dining area to that spot. Round tables take up less floorspace. 

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Cleverly concealing the fridge freezer into the wall extends the living area. The oak on the underside of the wall cabinets link with the antique coffee table and gives the kitchen a more bespoke feel. 

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The shower room is all about function, the white tiles bounce light around the room and the large mirrored cabinets double the space. 

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There is even a walk-in closet beside the fireplace! I was so impressed by the simple layout and how effective the interior design is at making this tiny space seem rather more than adequate! 

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If you want to make your own project always try to think of the eco way, you will feel better in a room with few or no chemicals and every little step – even just one of the below will help our environment.

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Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

 

Eco Garden Design Part 2

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In part one I gave some stylish ideas that I will be using in my garden to save, better use and collect water … 

In this post I wanted to shed some light on how easy it is to use recycled, eco and chemical-free building products to build the hard landscaping, i.e. fences, steps, flowerbeds, pathways and garden structures.

STONE  is unique and highly prized for the patina it gathers over time…

Reclaimed Yorkstone Paving
Reclaimed Yorkstone Paving

Get to know where your local builder’s salvage yards are (see Resources on the top menu bar for some ideas) and look online at eBay/craigslist/gumtree sites.  All types of stone, gravel, rocks taken from old churches, schools, factories etc… can be found – there is a  multitude of fabulous product out there and not only will you have a unique look but the satisfaction of seeing it in a new home (together with a quirky backstory) is not to be underestimated! 

Reclaimed Brick Driveway
Reclaimed Brick Driveway

I am often asked why is using new stone bad for the environment it’s natural?  The problem is that to produce use new stone it must be cut from quarries. This requires huge amounts of water in the cutting and extraction process, together with general the manufacturing and transportation causing air pollution all adds up to an un-eco product.  Especially when there is so much beautiful stone around just waiting for someone with a bit of imagination to come along and reuse it! Perhaps we could also start to think of natural resources as finite, i.e. once they are gone that is it … and surely we need to consider to leave some for future generations. The other big advantage of using reclaimed stone is that it has a patina which gives your garden instant gravitas and blends better with nature….

Small courtyard garden by isabellalopezquesada.com
Small courtyard garden in Madrid by isabellalopezquesada.com

Concrete is a highly debated subject in the eco world.  However it can tick a lot of eco boxes; be locally produced, needs no maintenance,  is highly functional, lasts a very long time and can be recycled again.

 As with many eco decisions it is about weighing up the pros and cons!

The most damaging component in concrete is the use of portland cement in the mix which causes vast amounts of CO2 emissions when produced.  The good news is that this component is no longer necessary (unless you are building skyscrapers) and can be replaced by other things including fly ash from steel production waste instead. So investigate that you are getting a greener concrete and you should not feel un-eco to use it. 

Swiss concrete production
Swiss concrete production
Recycled broken concrete pavers source: greenposting.org
Recycled broken concrete pavers source: greenposting.org

It is fair to say that here in Switzerland they do like the modern look. The terrain is quite hilly and they love concrete. I managed to find some concrete walls that I don’t find hideous!  

images of concrete below from creabeton.chScreen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.35.06Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 13.12.03

If you do decide that you will go with an ‘eco’ concrete (as outlined above) there is a big variety and concrete can be customised by colour, moulding and texture…… e.g.the wood profile below is quite a good way of having a maintenance free decking/path and I like the ‘trunks’ to sit on or make stepping stones with…

Wood effect concrete
Wood effect concrete
Concrete tree trunks
Concrete tree trunks

Concrete can be coloured and textured to look like stone..

concrete steps look like stone
concrete steps look like stone

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Wood is versatile, and sits in nature without even trying. Here in Switzerland it is no longer allowed to use railway sleepers in your gardens because of the diesel/ chemicals which leach into the soil even after many years.  As a removal incentive the local council even allows you to deduct the replacement of these with something non-toxic from your tax return!

fsc-certified-wood-teaserboxThe best rule of thumb is to use FSC registered wood products (now widely available at your local DIY depot) or repurposed wood (from salvage) which is untreated and free from toxic paints/stains.

Reclaimed rocks/wood planks make a modern entrance
Reclaimed rocks/wood planks make a modern entrance

When painting/staining garden structures use zero VOC products. Look at resources above and check out Sansin Wood stain.

You can also choose to leave wood untreated, allowing it to weather to a lovely silver grey

Weathered wood fence and gate Source: Gardenista
Weathered wood fence and gate Source: Gardenista

The versatility of wood means that you can create just about anything you want, from fencing, pergolas, glass houses etc to suit modern or natural gardens and the colour can blend with your interior or disappear into nature….

Painted wood cladding gives a sense of indoors/out to a small garden by Leopoldina Hayes
Painted wood cladding gives a sense of indoors/out to a small garden by Leopoldina Hayes
Black vertical timber wall source: deavita.fr
Black vertical timber wall gives a contemporary twist source: deavita.fr
Recycled Timber Fence
Recycled Timber Fence

I will be making a shady corner in my garden and am very inspired by this…..

Eco Pergola Idea source: Elle Decor
Eco Pergola Idea
source: Elle Decor

… and I would love one of these to help my non hardy plants in pots survive a Swiss winter – FSC of course! 

Forest Garden FSC Glass House
Forest Garden FSC Glass House
Forest Garden FSC Glass House from greenfingers.com
Forest Garden FSC Glass House from greenfingers.com

Willow and wicker is a great natural and sustainable option (grows quickly and locally found) and gives a lovely texture to your garden, it also allows the light to filter casting interesting shadows. It is hardwearing and requires no maintenance. 

Willow Fence by flechtart.ch
Willow Fence by flechtart.ch
Willow support structure for climbers
Willow support structure for climbers
Terra Willow Panels from greenfingers.com
Terra Willow Panels from greenfingers.com
Wicker raised vegetable beds by Daylesford Organics/The Chelsea Flower Show 2009
Wicker raised vegetable beds by Daylesford Organics/The Chelsea Flower Show 2009

Containers of all sorts can be repurposed, the trick is to keep it simple and not mix too much otherwise you might end up feeling like you are sitting in a junk yard! 

Old zinc tub used as large planter at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey, England
Old zinc tub used as large planter at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey, England
Recycled crate source: petershamnurseries.com
Recycled crate source: petershamnurseries.com
vintage french mushroom baskets from petershamnurseries.com
vintage french mushroom baskets from petershamnurseries.com
Old birdcage used as planter for flowers. source:decorating mamma.com
Old birdcage used as planter for flowers. source:decorating mamma.com

Garden furniture is widely available in FSC woods and can also be reclaimed. Once you start looking you can find…… the wood is likely to be better quality also and last a lot longer so justifies a slight premium on price….

FSC Arbour from greenfingers.com
FSC Arbour from greenfingers.com
FSC Acacia Garden Bench from greenfingers.com
FSC Acacia Garden Bench from greenfingers.com
Reclaimed Garden Furniture from rikstorms.com
Reclaimed Garden Furniture from rikstorms.com

Gates and railings can be found in salvage yards.

Reclaimed Garden Fencing/Gates from burbri.nl
Reclaimed Garden Fencing/Gates from burbri.nl

You might find some interesting ways to recycle – just use your imagination! 

Old Iron Headboard used as garden gate
Old Iron Headboard used as garden gate

Antique terracotta chimney pots look wonderful as plant pots, bird baths or just sculptures in their own right! 

Antique chimney pot
Antique chimney pot

I hope I might have inspired you to look for some interesting ways to make your outside space beautiful and tap into the wonderful eco resources all around us!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share!

Amanda x 

Kitchen Heaven

If you, like me,  will spent the festive season cooking for and entertaining family and friends whilst quietly counting the days until you can remodel your outdated and clumsily designed kitchen, then you have my sympathy.  I am hoping 2016/17 will see me have my dream kitchen and I look forward to sharing ALL with you.

by jhinteriordesign.com sshh.... the inspiration for my dream kitchen ;-)
by jhinteriordesign.com sshh…. the inspiration for my dream kitchen 😉

Today,  more than ever,  the kitchen is more than the part of the building equipped to prepare and cook food.  Most homes today have a family kitchen where meals are prepared and eaten, papers are read, children do homework, TV is watched and casual dinner parties are held.  In many towns and cities as space becomes and issue, often kitchens are incorporated into the living room area. Continue reading “Kitchen Heaven”