As well as stuffing my face with Quality Street, thinking about (but not doing any) exercise, and generally loafing in clothes with an elasticated waist, I spent some time over Christmas mulling over some new regular features for the blog that I hope you’ll enjoy. I want to make sure that I am genuinely adding something to the crowded interiors space so I’m hoping to really up the global ante this year, and bring you new textiles, shops and interiors inspiration that you may not see elsewhere. Today, (cue drum roll) I am extremely excited to introduce you to my first ‘Bringing it Home’ feature, with the wonderful Abi Dare, creator and founder of These Four Walls Blog.
Abi’s site is one of my favourite go-to sites for Scandinavian style inspiration, thanks to a carefully crafted palate of muted tones, simple living and indulgent textures. I thought you would enjoy, as I have, taking a sneak peek at her home in Bristol and getting the lowdown on her new online shop as well as her own sources of global inspiration. Lucky for you, Abi was kind enough to answer a load of my nosy-parker questions as well as share some shots of her fabulous home. Enjoy.
How would you describe your style?
A blend of Scandinavian minimalism and global boho, with a few vintage touches thrown in. I tend to veer towards light, restful colours (particularly grey, which I am a little obsessed with!) and natural textures such as wood, linen and wool. I also like mixing old and new together, with classic design pieces alongside more contemporary items and our house’s Victorian features.
Has your love of Scandinavian style evolved over time or is it something you’ve always been drawn to?
I’ve always been drawn to it – I love the way it balances style with comfort, and it’s as much about ambiance and functionality as it is beauty. It’s exemplified by the Danish concept of hygge, which doesn’t have a direct English equivalent but which roughly translates as the warm, cosy feeling you get from good company and good surroundings. I’ve been visiting Scandinavia since I was a child, and I think it’s influenced not only my taste in interiors but also my lifestyle as a whole.
To what extent does travel influence your style at home?
Travel is a huge influence, and I pick up inspiration wherever I go. I’m lucky enough to visit all kinds of interesting hotels and destinations through my day job as a travel writer, and I always come back brimming with ideas.
What are your favourite influential destinations and why?
Unsurprisingly, Stockholm and Copenhagen never fail to inspire me. But I also collect lots of inspiration in Spain (I spent a while living in Barcelona) and Portugal – the ornate azulejos in Lisbon, the Moorish influences in Andalucia, the weird and wonderful Gaudí architecture in Catalonia… I love design which is based on a sense of place, and these areas all have it in spades.
What are your top tips for creating Scandinavian style at home?
Choose colours and window dressings which make the most of natural light – so, for example, try sheer white curtains rather than heavy drapes. And avoid cluttering your rooms with lots of accessories and knick-knacks, which can make spaces feel cramped and constricting; instead, invest in pieces that will last for years, and personalise your home by mixing and matching items from different eras and designers. But most of all, focus on creating a comfortable space that you want to spend time in, with lots of texture and warmth. Scandinavian style is supposed to be welcoming and liveable.
Where is your go-to place for style inspiration?
I love the sleek Scandi lines at Future & Found, and the elegant, timeless designs at Rowen & Wren. For lovely muted colours and beautiful ceramics from independent designers, you can’t beat Bristol-based website Between Dog and Wolf. And, whenever I’m in Copenhagen, I make a beeline for interiors department store Illums Bolighus – I always end up spending hours (and a lot more money than I mean to!) there.
You’ve recently started an online shop selling home accessories. What do you look for when deciding which products to stock?
I started the shop as a way to bring together items from my favourite independent makers and retailers, and I only stock products which I either have in my own home or which I’d love to own myself. The range also reflects my personal style, so there’s a focus on simple, Scandinavian-inspired design, clean lines and muted colours.
What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment and why?
The Uashmama washable paper bags from The Future Kept. I have a few myself and they’re so versatile – I use them to display plants, to store kitchen utensils, even to serve bread when we have guests. I also love the L:A Bruket bath and beauty products – they’re made on the west coast of Sweden using natural and foraged ingredients, and they’re a real treat.
What’s your favourite Scandinavian brand and why?
Skandinavisk (well, I think it counts – it was started by two Englishmen but they’re based in Sweden and Copenhagen!). Their scented candles celebrate different aspects of Scandinavia – Norwegian fjords, the Danish seaside, Finnish forests – and they create such a wonderful ambiance when they’re lit.
Your colour scheme is fabulously neutral. Do you ever get the urge to go a little crazy and throw in some bold colours?
To be honest, no. That’s not to say I don’t love colourful interiors, and I always enjoy seeing how other people create vibrant schemes, but I like my own home to be a calming, softer space. It’s an antidote to a hectic life, I suppose!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting their own blog?
Blog about something you love – it you’re passionate about your topic and enjoy what you do, it will shine through and inspire others. And don’t be tempted to spend ages comparing yourself to other bloggers – the internet is large enough for everyone and we all have our own voice to offer, so just be yourself and have fun!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into Abi’s home as much as I have. I just adore her style and I know that many of you will too. If you share Abi’s love of Scandinavian style, why not take a look at her blog – and the items she has on sale in her shop.
I have a few more house tour and interview posts lined up so if you don’t want to miss any, be sure to sign up below. You won’t regret it!
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Happy travels, and shopping