Interview
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Meet Niki Brantmark cozying up in BWB's favorite Scandinavian home

Founder of MyScandinavianHome.Com

The Nordic countries are known for their bright, natural light. Lamps are a thing of the past when it comes to illuminating Scandinavian apartments and houses. With a couple windows, the right palette, and some key accessories, these homes are becoming works of art.

No one knows this better than Niki Brantmark, a London girl who moved to Sweden and started her blog, myscandinavianhome.com, inspired by the gorgeous interiors of Nordic countries. Having authored two books of her own, The Scandanvian Home and Modern Pastoral, Niki is our go-to expert for advice on how to turn a room into a masterpiece.

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YOUR INSPIRATION

For starting your blog…
I have always been passionate about interior design. When I moved to Sweden 13 years ago, I was truly inspired by the homes. My blog was a way to document how inspiring the beautiful Scandinavian interiors were, and to share them with others.

For turning a hobby into a career (two books)…
Two years ago, I finally quit my job as a marketing manager at a large global corporation so that I could focus on my blog. Shortly afterwards, I was so excited to be approached by CICO Books to collaborate on a book, and Modern Pastoral came out in March 2016. I enjoyed the experience so much that we collaborated on a second book, The Scandinavian Home, which comes out in April. Some days I have to step away and think, wow, I can’t believe I’m doing this for a living – it’s so exciting and makes me so happy!

Nature is never far away here in Southern Sweden, and sometimes I find it helpful to take a stroll along the beach or hike in the forest to clear my mind. It’s often in those moments when new ideas come to me.

How to stay creative…
Although writing a blog is rewarding, it’s also a big commitment. I need to find content five days a week, 52 weeks a year and come up with new ideas for photo shoots and material for my books. Nature is never far away here in Southern Sweden, and sometimes I find it helpful to take a stroll along the beach or hike in the forest to clear my mind. It’s often in those moments when new ideas come to me. I also love to travel and experience new places, either within the neighbourhood, other parts of Scandinavia, or further afield. There’s always something new to look at, and ideas to incorporate into my work.

YOUR HOME

Best quality fabrics/textures…
I try to stick to natural materials such as wool, linen, sheepskin, wood etc. Layering different natural textures adds real warmth to my home and I love the feel of them.

Go to interior design online stores…
I usually buy homeware items online and particularly like Etsy for handmade and vintage finds, Houseology for new Nordic pieces, and independent concept stores such as Ingredients LDN for small items such as candleholders, ceramics, and scents.

Favorite cozy pieces of furniture/accessories to add to a home…
I love cushions (my husband has currently banned me from acquiring any news ones until I get rid of a few!); they’re a great way to add color and texture and can be easily changed according to the season. I also have lots of Gotland sheepskins, super soft blankets, and throws to max out the coziness!

Chic office space must-haves…
Lately I’ve been really into organizers. I’ve realized that having a (lovely) home for everything is essential to creating a nice office environment. My latest purchases include a natural leather Macbook folder, desk organizers, and a pencil case from Danish workshop Ham & Lerche (available through NOORVERK).

YOUR CITY

What you love most…
Malmö is continually developing. It was also recently recognized as the 5th most innovative city in the world. Many of my friends work for start-ups. It’s so exciting to live in such a thriving city that’s constantly changing for the better. It has a wonderful positive energy.

Favorite afternoon café…
I work from home and often feel I need a change of scenery by the afternoon. I like to go to a little café out on the end of a pier called ‘Kalbadhuset,’ which is also a sauna house. It’s laidback with an old school style and overlooks the Öresund sea and the bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark.

Go-to lunch place…
There’s a new food hall called ‘Malmö Salhuallen‘ which has been built in the shell of an old warehouse building. You can pick your own restaurant depending on your mood. I love to meet friends there for a chinwag!

A night on the town…
I love to eat out. My favorite restaurant is Bastard in the center of town. The food is quite experimental and always excellent, and the staff is great fun too! You need to book well in advance, as it’s very popular. In the summer, after dinner we’ll walk around to an old square called ‘Lilla Torg‘ that is buzzing with people enjoying drinks alfresco.

YOUR DAY

Morning beauty routine…
I’m notoriously bad at waking up in the morning so my husband always brings me a nice strong coffee in bed! Once the kids have been dropped off at school a quiet falls over the house and I’ll get to work on my blog post, e-mails, writing and other work.

I love Danish design, it’s very clean and simple with a cool twist.

Perfect outfit…
I’m a real dress person. I usually throw on some kind of asymmetrical dress in the morning. Most of my clothes are Danish; I love Danish design, it’s very clean and simple with a cool twist.

Evening relaxation…
The days are really short here in the winter and I feel most of it goes on collecting the kids, preparing supper, etc. but when I get the chance I love to read, watch a series on Netflix or even get a little creative. In the summer, the days are really long so I’ll go out on my stand up paddleboard or we might go for a lovely long sail (oh how I miss the summer!).

YOUR BEAUTY

Must-have skincare rituals…
Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of saunas. We stayed in a Norwegian hytte a few weeks ago and went to a sauna everyday when we returned from skiing; it was so unbelievably relaxing and they’re perfect for cleansing, too! We have a sauna pier not far from our house, and I try to go as often as I can. Recently, we’ve even been discussing building one at home.

Favorite makeup products…
A lot of my make-up is from MAC – I love their eye shadow, mascara, bronzer and shimmer. I’ve also used a Clarins foundation for years.

Favorite Perfume…
Chanel No.5.

The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark will be published by CICO Books on March 7th (US)
Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark, published by CICO Books

Bedroom image: Photography – Niki Brantmark / ‘My Scandinavian Home’ Styling – Genevieve Jorn.
Sitting room image: Photography & Styling Niki Brantmark / ‘My Scandinavian Home’
Profile image: Photography: Karin Bjöklund

Lani Allen

Lani Allen is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Creative Writing with a concentration in Spanish. Having served as Vice President of her class for two years, she has since contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with an interest in the beauty industry, Lani intends to pursue a career in either journalism or fashion marketing.

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