Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tina's Fashionable Swedish Abode

 This is Tina's super chic home that she designed and decorated herself.  Tina runs the blog called Signed By Tina - it's a must read.  I was totally blown away by how polished and glamorous her place looks.  She has  some serious style.  Tina grew up in Sweden but now lives in a small Swedish town.  "Country Living" does not mean a cramp on style.   

I love how Tina effortlessly blends modern with glitz.  Tina was kind enough to allow me to interview her.  Notice the IKEA chairs.

1.)  Can you give me a little background on yourself?  Where do you live (city, country)?  What you do?
I was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. When I was 25 I moved to Sydney, Australia to pursuit my dream of becoming a veterinarian. After finishing the degree, I moved back home to Sweden and ended up moving to my boyfriends hometown, Norrköping, which is located 1.2 hr from Stockholm. Unfortunately. the veterinarian profession was not for me, so right now I am studying web development.

2.)  Are you a designer or are you self taught?
I am self taught.  Although, my mother has worked with interior decoration/design for many many years. I think that my passion for having a nicely decorated home stems from my mothers passion. I have always worked with design of some sort....just not interior design. Both my mother and I are very creative, which helps with the design process.

3.)  Is your place new?  Did you purchase it and renovate it?
Our place was build 1910. We purchased it a year ago. It was run down with almost everything built in pine. We had to remove walls, remove the entire kitchen, strip the place of wallpaper - you could see all the layers from when it was built. I think we touched everything in this flat. I don't think the previous owners would recognize it!

4.)  You have some interesting wall art including a frame that has what looks like a lot of circular pieces of paper on it.  Is this something you made?  And if so what did you use?  Metallic paper?
I have done most of the art myself, except some of the photographs. I have a couple of those art pieces that you mention. They are made out of vinyl or faux leather. I found this gorgeous gold and silver metallic vinyl that I used for the paintings....and some of the furniture :) I cut out circles and then I glue them in different patterns. You can also use paper...

5.)  You upholstered a chair and a bench in a really pretty metallic champagne color.  What sort of fabric is it?  Do you have a source or a brand name for the fabric?
The chair is upholstered in the silver vinyl and the sofa in the gold. It is a rather thin vinyl and probably not the best for upholster furniture, but I could just not resist. They are bought at a Swedish online store called panduro.se. 

6.)  What inspires you when you are designing/decorating your place?
I collect clippings and digital images, and have done so for years. I only collect things that moves me and I think I have like 8000 pics. So for our flat, I actually went through every image that I had and picked out a few that I just loved...then I worked from those. You think when you start that it will look like the picture you have chosen, but in the end, they look nothing alike (you wouldn't even think the picture was my inspiration). It kind of evolves from that original idea into something that reflects you! And things change along the process as well. The kitchen was going to have green accessories and the dressing room baby blue and black colors - it didn't happen! I can still miss the blue in the dressing room but the wallpaper that I had picked out had the wrong shade.....totally wrong.

The kitchen during the remodel with bare walls.

The tiles that went up in the kitchen.

And Voila! 

A super slammin chic and sleek kitchen!

7.)  I noticed your kitchen is very minimalistic and all cream/white.  Is it difficult for you to keep it so clean?  What are the countertops made of?
It is minimalistic which wasn't our intention actually. We were suppose to have green as an accent color but I didn't find anything that I liked, so the base palette remained, black and white. I added white in different shades and gold to warm things up. We have now added more plants, which helps. The kitchen is not actually ready. We will have a huge wall-to-wall mirror over the stove and counter (behind the kitchen fan). I think it will look fantastic and open up the space even more. The counter tops are high shine laminated wood in arctic white. Because it is so minimalistic, I find it easier to clean, even if it is white.    Instead of hiding the dirt on darker surfaces, we find it and can remove it :) Hate having lots of bottles of oil and vinegar, salt and pepper shakers, other little accessories, that just sits there and collect dust and grease.


8.)  How would you describe your design sense or style?
Modern with some Hollywood regency flair :).....or just My Style. If there is something I hate, it's mainstream. Especially in Sweden, everyones home looks exactly the same. I thinks thats weird and spooky.....I rather see a home that reflects the people living in it - no matter how it looks.


 Now this is called paying attention to the details.  
I LOVE what Tina did with her towel bar.
9.)  How long did it take you to completely decorate your place?
It took us 2 months before we moved the furniture. I renovated the flat all day long while my boyfriend was at work and then he joined in the evening. Hard work, but fun! The last decoration pieces has just been finished or not finished yet (the kitchen). There are some things or ideas that takes time....and some rooms took longer than others. I am one of those people that can stare into a room and just sense that something is not right. It could be the position of a pillow, a missing accessory.....anything really! It is a bit of a curse, especially when you don't know yourself what is wrong with the room.....but it all comes down to harmony!
10.)  Do you have other hobbies or collections?
I don't collect things (except for my clippings). I am quite the opposite these days - I would love to have an empty storage :) Sometimes I feel things weigh you down.....
If I had the space and time, I would probably collect old furniture that I would renovate and sell :) Love old and cheap furniture!
11.)  Where do you usually shop for your furniture, accessories, lighting and etc?
There are things that you should splurge on and things you really shouldn't. A lot of our furniture are really cheap pieces, Ikea or second hand. We have painted them and modified them to make them personal. You can save thousands by doing this. New, expensive furniture do not usually have better quality than antique ones..... My main weakness are lighting! You definately need to splurge on that! You can just tell if it is cheap or not, and lighting is the most important thing....that is what sets the mood! Also, I would splurge on wallpaper (if wallpaper is what you want).....you can really tell the difference between expensive designer paper from cheaper brands. We saved quite a lot by shopping wallpaper overseas. Same brand, different price :)

Other tips!
Our home might look extravagance for some people, but it is not! I have used really cheap furniture, second hand  or from Ikea. Then you modify them to make them personal. Make your own art and save money, plus it makes the space really personal. Do most of the renovation yourself to save money. We actually saved 2000 USD by installing the carpet ourselves - never done it before, but it was so easy. Ask your friends for help - a friend put up the wallpaper for free for us.
There are so many ways you can save money but still have your dream home.....you just need to invest with your own time! :)
I hope everyone enjoyed touring Tina's home and learning about her as much as I did.