The Swedish word lagom – meaning just the right amount – encapsulates the Scandinavian approach to design and the effortless equilibrium it engenders.
For many, this concept corresponds to minimal interiors in a monochrome palette of black and white, however, multi-disciplinary design studio Note illustrates that a studied application of colour can achieve even greater results in a central Stockholm apartment.
Dating back to the 19th century, the space was previously the head office of a fashion brand, an existence that all but divested it of any character, with white walls and unforgiving spotlights. Original wooden flooring and period features – including three masonry heaters – hinted at the building’s former splendour, and it was from these that Note’s designers took their aesthetic cues.
We noted the colours of the three tiled ovens; green, pink and a yellowish white,” explains interior architect Sanna Wåhlin. Behind a wall that was torn down to access the old piping, we found original 19th century paint on a doorframe, suddenly illuminating the entire white space with its powerful mustard yellow tint.” Using shades that they uncovered through carefully peeling back the layers of modernity, the designers were able to craft a new palette of eight tones that brought the apartment back to life and transformed it into a home.
In the spacious kitchen and dining room, a delicate peach hue with warm tones sets the scene, highlighting the unpolished parquet underfoot. It is here, in a room that is traditionally governed by unsightly appliances and utensils, that Note’s minimal Nordic heritage shines through, creating a clean and visually uninterrupted sanctuary of tranquility. Design statements come in the form of a terrazzo island unit and custom-built cabinetry, which is finished with a veneered surface bearing a repeating pattern borrowed from parquet found in the apartment.
The living room experiences a similar treatment, pairing the same peach shade with a duck-egg blue on the joinery, while a sculptural statement pendant light draws further attention to the decorative cornicing. Wall colours are extended to the ceilings in every room of this abode, which is both decidedly contemporary and gives the illusion of additional space by making the already high ceilings seem taller still. Elemental furnishings are pared back yet comfortable and include items designed by the studio, such as the Mango lounge chair that was inspired by the fruit from which it takes its name.
Even the children’s room does not break from the aesthetic standards set by the design firm. Orange and yellow cabinets bearing the parquet pattern ensure that clutter is kept at bay and a charming scaled-down double desk stands beneath the windows. The piece de resistance, however, has to be the swing that hangs from the ceiling, a playful addition to a space that, despite being design-led, never forgets that it is a home at its core.
A new wall was seamlessly added in the master bedroom to allow for a walk-in wardrobe and en suite bathroom. Like the cabinetry, it also inherits the pattern of the parquet, this time in a muted olive tone that coats the ceiling and bed frame too, which seems almost to float inches above the floor. It is in this room that one of the masonry heaters is found, its vintage emerald-coloured tiles reminding you of the apartment’s history and heritage, not that it is easy to forget. Note has done an impeccable job of creating a forward-looking, contemporary interior that is equally deferent to its building’s past, at the same time giving the client and his children a space to call their own.
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