Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At home with Benita

It's a holiday miracle! House tours are back with an absolutely charming turn around Benita Larsson's suburban Stockholm house. Benita is the crafty mastermind behind Chez Larsson, which was quite deservedly named one of The Times Online's top 50 design bloggers.

I mean, seriously. Check out this sugar cube Empire State Building she just constructed.

So I asked Benita a few questions about her home and style, and this is what she had to say:

How long have you lived in your home, and why did you choose it? We've lived here for a little over eleven years. We chose it because there was an opportunity to swap our inner city apartment for it. Plus a lot of money, of course.

How did you become involved/interested in decor and design?
Even as a little girl my favorite pastime was to rearrange and organize the furniture in my room and I knew I wanted to be in a creative field. I applied to be an interior design trainee at the head offices at IKEA when I was twenty and then stayed on for another couple of years to gain more experience.

How would you describe your style and is there anyone/anything that has inspired you?
You would probably describe it as Scandinavian but I like to just call it simple and comfortable. I'm inspired by lots of things like American east coast architecture, shaker style, mid century modern designers, Finnish design (I was born in Finland) and then there's Martha of course. As a person she has inspired me tremendously although style wise I'm more in tune with her younger crew's style.

Has your look evolved over the years? If so, how?
When my husband Martin and I met over twenty years go and set up home together we had a junkier style than we do now :) . We still reuse, repurpose and remake old things but then we had a more vintage and industrial vibe going on with stuff in their original and scuffed state. It took me quite a few years to convince Martin that white was the way to go but now he's really into our bright-white-with-a-bit-of-color-palette.

What's your favorite part of your home? Your least favorite?
I love the light that pours in everywhere when there's daylight to be had (not a lot of that to be had half of the year over here unfortunately). My least favorite part is the bathroom situation. The bathroom is in the center of the house in the basement without any natural light.

What's your next project?
We need to replace part of the siding of the exterior of our house and repaint it. I'm hoping to get to it in the spring. Also there are always windows to be painted, holes to dig, stuff to organize, things to sew. It's never-ending and I love (most of) it.

(ah! this kitchen is straight out of my dreams. containers all over the place! ahem, but neatly organized and all that.)

Where are the best places you find treasures for your homes?
Our basement used to be a great place to find stuff because the previous owners left quite a few things that we remade and used. We rarely buy furniture off-the-rack but instead build our own so I'd say the lumberyard and DIY store are our best sources.

Any good backstories on an object in your home or element of your home?
When I ripped out the under side of the little porch roof to renovate it I found the label of the dynamite that they used to level the ground when they built the house in 1937. I love stuff like that, that dirty little stub with coarse brown string really made me reflect on the people who built our neighborhood back then. Our neighborhood is an area of government enabled self builds which was a very novel thing back then. Workers with often large families who lived in tiny one room apartments in the city where overwhelmed at the large (700 square feet..) houses with central heating and running water they built themselves and were able to move into. Gives you a different perspective on things...

Benita says she finds inspiration reading Door Sixteen and Making it Lovely. Thanks so much, Benita! This was a great early holiday treat!

As always, I'd love to feature your home right here! Let me know if you're interested.


Katherine Lee said...

how lovely! a great interview. so happy to have discovered your blog, i've added you to my links over at urban flea, hope you can swing by sometime!

xo katherine aka. urban flea :)

Anonymous said...

This house is gorgeous!

me melodia said...

Every detail is flawless.

erin@designcrisis said...

The bathroom is super inspiring!

Kathy Carbone said...

Benita is obviously organized. I like how she arranges furniture and of course, the designs. I love her entire wood flooring. I share her idea of simplicity and convenience, as we do it in our home in Tampa since the weather is always sunny. Her laundry room is beautifully arranged.

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