Author: cate st hill

Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

Inside Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

Maison Louis Carré – Finnish architect Alvar Aalto’s only remaining building in France – is a modernist architectural masterpiece situated about an hour outside of Paris. Open to the public from March to November, it’s a must-visit, Scandinavian gem for architecture and design buffs looking to get a deeper insight into his design process. As an avid Aalto fan myself, I’d already visited his home and studio in Helsinki, and was keen to step off the beaten tourist trail of Paris and step inside another Aalto interior, which combined architecture, furniture and design into a total work of art. The house is located in the remote village of Bazoches-sur-Guyonne and was the home of French art dealer Louis Carré. He acquired the sloping site in 1955 and the following year met Aalto at the Venice Biennale while the architect was supervising his pavilion there. They immediately bonded over their love of fine things – fine art, good wine, the good life – and became friends for life. Carré commissioned Aalto to design him a house that could serve both as a private …

Muuto grey armchair - 10 minimal, grey armchair under £500

10 minimal, Scandinavian-style armchairs for under £500

I’m on the hunt for a new, minimal, grey armchair for my living room. We already have this vintage, mid-century number – a bargain find from eBay (see it here in my living room makeover) – but we need another one to go opposite the sofa to even the space out and fill that empty corner. So that when we have friends over there’s plenty of seats to go around and we don’t feel like we’re all squished in a row on the sofa looking at one wall. Or someone invariably gets the short straw and ends up sitting on a hard dining chair brought in from the kitchen. It’s a fairly small space and we don’t want something too overpowering – just a simple design, most probably in grey, with bold, clean lines and minimal, well-designed details. Not too much to ask for you would think, but a small budget makes it a little trickier to find just the right thing at an affordable price. So I’ve scoured the internet and picked out the best buys for under £500 in case …

Fredericia furniture: The Modern Originals of tomorrow

Fredericia furniture: The Modern Originals of tomorrow

I’ve introduced the Danish design brand Fredericia before on the blog, when I visited their beautiful, light-filled showroom in Copenhagen. Today I am excited to delve a little deeper into their furniture collection and show you some of their designs styled in my own London home. Fredericia was founded in 1911 and named after the small Danish town of Fredericia, on the eastern edge of the Jutland peninsula. It has always been a family owned and managed company, from its modest beginnings as an upholstery workshop to its role in the emergence of Danish modernism led by designer Børge Mogensen in the 1950s. Today, it is a key player in the international design scene, collaborating with a host of respected designers, such as Jasper Morrison, Space Copenhagen, GamFratesi and Geckeler Michels. The brand strives to create what it terms ‘The Modern Originals’ – high quality, timeless pieces of furniture that are built to last and become even more beautiful over time. In-house designer Børge Mogensen had a philosophy for furniture that was ‘unpretentious, pure and honest’, and that message has stuck with Fredericia. Their designs are finely crafted armchairs that …

The daily ritual of coffee making with Stelton - the Theo range by Stelton

The daily ritual of coffee making with Stelton

I used to hate the taste of coffee, now I can’t get enough of the stuff. My morning coffee is one of my favourite moments of the day and one of the first things I do when I wake up – a few quiet minutes of calm just to myself, to slowly wake up and come to before the day really begins. During the week I’m a get-up-and-go kind of girl, the more time spent in bed the better, so a quick touch of my coffee machine is my saviour. At the weekends, the pace slows down and I can brew a large, steaming pot to treasure over a big pile of books and magazines in bed. As my coffee habits have grown and matured, so has my eye for all the paraphernalia that comes with it – amassing dozens of teacups and mugs in all shapes and sizes, French presses and milk jugs in the process. But I always ended up using the same cup day in day out. Now, instead of leaving all the best …

Sound absorbing cabinets by Norm Architects for Zilenzio

Sound absorbing cabinets by Norm Architects for Zilenzio

Danish studio Norm Architects has designed a new collection of acoustic furniture for Swedish brand Zilenzio. It’s their second collaboration with the company, following a colourful timber wall panel a few years ago. The colours of this collection are calmer, earthier and more muted, with rusty orange, burgundy red, yellow ochre and ocean blue. The perfect little dabble into colour for those who like their interiors minimal and largely monochrome. These sound-absorbing cabinets are designed to improve sound and help create a balanced environment in the spaces that matter the most – home offices or co-working spaces, multi-functional, open-plan spaces or hard-working living rooms. Called Tone Cabinets, they’re so smart and discreet that you would hardly know that their primary function was to dampen sound. They come in three different sizes, so can be incorporated into even the smallest of spaces. I wouldn’t mind these in my own living room, perhaps it would help quieten the noise of the busy road outside. With their slender metal legs and minimal handles, I can see them fitting in as a …

Muuto 70/70 table in green - modern Scandinavian design dining table - plants in the home

My Muuto 70/70 table – modern Scandinavian design dining table

When I revealed my kitchen makeover, I didn’t say much about my dining table, the focus was much more on the transformation of the space and the design of the kitchen units. But, the table is so beautiful and I’m so pleased with it, I thought it deserved a post of its own. Now many of you who have read this blog a while or even a little, may well know by now how much I like to stay in my familiar comfort zone of white walls and soft, light – mostly grey – colours. It’s an approach I’ve tried and tested and feel the happiest with – using neutral backdrops and adding interest and texture with furniture, rugs, artwork and plants. But, with grey kitchen units, light grey walls and painted white floorboards in the kitchen, I wanted something a little different to my usual choice for my dining table. I didn’t want more grey, or something black and heavy, nor something white that would visually fade away into the space. So I went for green! It’s not …

I wish I lived here: bright, white interior inspiration for Spring

I wish I lived here: bright, white interior inspiration for Spring

I’m back with another ‘I wish I lived here post’. And let me tell you, this one is the dream apartment – fresh, white walls, exposed, whitewashed floorboards and beautiful period details. Just look at the ornate frame around the door to the bedroom. The space is light, airy and perfect for some white interior inspiration this Spring. I can just imagine how the sunlight might flood in through those tall windows on a bright day, or coming back from a market with a big bunch of fragrant greenery and slouching onto that sofa with all its linen cushions. Bliss! There’s lots of simple ideas to steal from this minimal space, whether it’s pairing old with new – the gilded mirror and chandelier somehow just works with the sharp, white table and black bentwood chairs. I wouldn’t have put those in that space, but it adds a bit of detail without being over the top. Or adding lots of textures to the bed to make it look inviting, or even wrapping some cheap white cloth around an old pendant …

My IKEA kitchen makeover part 2 – small space storage solutions + everyday details

My IKEA kitchen makeover part 2 – small space storage solutions + everyday details

So you’ve seen my kitchen makeover before and after, created in collaboration with here (see it here), but let me show you inside those beautiful VEDDINGE grey cupboards. Are you ready for a nosy? The kitchen is where almost everything happens, it’s the social heart of the home, so it’s bound to get a bit messy and disorganised every now and then. And that’s ok – my kitchen wasn’t designed as a show home – but a few clever storage solutions and simple space-saving tricks can help you use the space more efficiently, and more importantly, savour and enjoy cooking without having to worry where things are. Some of the ideas shared here are simple and easy to achieve, such as making the most of a small space so its easier to prepare meals, sprucing up tired cupboards with some neat organisation, or simply adding a few fresh touches to brighten up a space and inspire you to fall back in love with your kitchen. These VEDDINGE grey units may look minimal and smart from the outside, but they’re working …

Studio Kaksikko - Stockholm Furniture Fair

My top picks from Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2017

Back in February, I went to Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair again – it’s the biggest meeting place for Scandinavian design in the world and it’s pretty epic. Spread across three, great, big halls at congress centre Stockholmsmässan, there are around 700 brands on show, with about 80% hailing from Scandinavia. So it’s true Scandinavian design heaven – from young, emerging brands to established greats, there’s always something new to discover. This year, I got the feeling that Scandinavian designers were trying to show that they were more than the cool, contemporary, monochrome minimalism they’ve become known for. There was a focus on sustainability, local craftsmanship and material details – New Nordic some might call it. They’re all aspects that have always been the backbone of Scandinavian design, but now there’s an emphasis on authenticity, warm minimalism and natural, earthy colours. Here I’ve picked out my highlights from the fair – including the latest product launches from my favourite names and hot talent to keep an eye out for. Made by Hand I wrote about Made by Hand back in 2015 …

COS x HAY spring/summer 2017 campaign

Fresh styling from COS X HAY Spring/Summer 2017

Spring is very nearly here, the days are lighter and everything feels brighter. As we look ahead to the new season, here’s some lovely, fresh, spring-like styling from COS X HAY’s new Spring/Summer 2017 campaign. The love affair between fashion brand COS and Danish design brand HAY continues with deep green accessories for the home, pared-back neutral ceramics and elements for springtime rituals. The curated collection, now in its third year, is available in stores and online, offering simple, straightforward, functional designs at affordable prices. Says Rolf Hay: ‘We want people to buy things that they can treasure for many years, not throw away.’ I’ll now let the images do the talking… Here are some of my favourites from the Spring collection, lots of fresh greens and soft neutrals: Shop the COS X HAY collection in COS London High Street Kensington, Vienna Neubaugasse and Gothenburg as well as online across Europe. What are your favourites? All images courtesy COS X HAY