Swedish Council Of America Articles

Swedish Council Of America Articles








Nordic Style Historical Interior Decorating Books – Living Museums in Scandinavia

Nordic Style Historical Interior Decorating Books - Living Museums in Scandinavia

Living Museums in Scandinavia By Per Nagel- On Amazon From $89

An inspiring, interesting and useful insight into Swedish life and interior decoration of the past. This is a lavish photographic guide to 13 historic houses in Scandinavia that have been preserved exactly as their original owners left them. They have now been opened to the public as museums.

The houses featured represent a wide range of types, from the sophisticated Jugend style to simple country dwellings, city houses and studios, and belonged to artists, architects and scientists, as well as ordinary folk. Painstakingly reconstructed and preserved with authenticity, these homes offer the reader a rare opportunity to travel back in time to experience the best in Scandinavian style, characterized by simplicity and by clarity of light and color.

From The Amazon Preview:

The museums chosen for this book are all authentic Scandinavian homes. Their distinctive common Scandinavian origin is evident in the wonderful clarity of light and colour and in the beautiful, simple living style for which Scandinavia is so well

These museums also have in common that they seem especialry alive because they are still intensely reflecting the life that was once lived in them. They are all real, in
the sense that they were created by those who originally lived there. It is as though the residents have just stepped out for a moment! These homes represent a wide variety of types ranging from a sophisticated Jugend style to simple country style, and from urban houses to farms and artist’s studios. The residents have represented many social levels from famous citizens and farmers to well-known artists, architects and scientists.Because of the strong authenticity of these places, they offer us a rare opportunity of going back in time and experiencing different ways of living, and perhaps
finding inspiration for our own lives.

Photographer Per Nagel has collaborated with architect Vibe Udsen for many years in publishing the world-wide distributed architectural annual, LIVING ARCHITECTURE, which is based on his exceptional photographs of Scandinavian architecture.

In LIVING MUSEUMS IN SCANDINAVIA, Per Nagel’s evocative photographs convey the atmosphere of these old residences in such a magnificent way that the reader almost has the feeling of having been there.

Table Of Contents:

8 Melstedgard Farm House on Bornholm, Oenmark
16 Erichsens Gard Townhouse on Bornholm. Denmark
24 Hjorth’s Pottery on Bornholm. Denmark
26 Michael and Anna Ancher’s House The Artists’ Home In Skagen. Denmark
42 Holger Drachmann’s Villa Pax The Artist’s Home in Skagen. Denmark
58 Kauppila Farm House in Finland
68 Qwensel House Chemist’s Shop ana* Home in Turku. Finland
82 Hvittrask Architects Saarinen, Gesellius and Lindgren s Home in Finland
96 Carl Larsson-Garden Karin and Carl Larsson’s Home in Sundborn. Sweden
124 Zorngarden Artist Anders Zorn’s Home in Mora. Sweden
138 Carl von Linne Carl Linnaeus’ Town House and Summerplace in Uppsala. Sweden
163 Siggebohyttan Mine Owner’s House in Nora, Sweden
182 Husantunet Farm House in Alvdal. Norway

Nordic Style Historical Interior Decorating Books - Living Museums in Scandinavia

Melstedgard, Farm House on Bornholm, Denmark

Some Of The Best Swedish Books Are Old And Sell For $4 Dollars Or Less

Book Review: Jocasta Innes Scandinavian Painted Furniture

Jocasta Innes is the internationally renowned author of over sixty books on paint finishes, interior design and decorating. She is the founder of Paint Magic, which is a franchise chain of decorating shops which brought forth premier finishes such as color-washing and wood-washing.  Paint Magic by Jocasta Innes is still is one of the best paint technique books I own to date. Scandinavian Painted Furniture by Innes guides a reader through the background of Swedish painting.  Swedish painting has never caught more attention than in the last several years as people are still loving the lighter colored furniture, but want furniture more sophisticated than Shabby Chic.  Innes guides us through 5 countries which make up the Nordic Federation (Norway, Finland, Sweden,Denmark and Iceland) and have defined the classic Scandinavian Design through the 18th century.

Timber was widely available in the Nordic region which made it accessible to create new furniture, and common enough to transform with paint.  Classical Greeks painted marble, the Medieval English painted stone, and the Swedes were blessed with wood which they painted.   These few countries in the Nordic region left us a heritage of beautiful designs known world wide.

What makes pre-twentieth century scandianavian furniture so appealing is the detailed paint finishes that have lasted through generations.  Scandinavian furniture painting added color and provided much needed light into dark homes.  Swedes found themselves depressed by the notoriously long northern winters where daylight would last an hour or two.  Many homes were dark through the long winters, and without electricity, candles provided the majority of the light.  Homes remained so dark that extra measures over time such as paint used on furniture and on the walls was almost a necessity to bring in any extra available light.

Painted pieces were not limited to just free standing furniture, but also included cupboards, built in shelving, dressers and lets not forget the walls.  Painting furniture provided an appeal and allowed for variation than just wood furniture that decorated the home.  They also believed that layers of paint would deter beetles, as well as guarded against dirt, grime and wear and tear.  Old Scandinavian paint formulas contain vitriol and lime which did deter insect parasites which did eat tunnels through furniture, which overtime just fell apart.

There are two different styles of Antique Scandinavian Painted Furniture that developed in the Nordic countries.  One style was a rural peasant type of decoration that flourished within the middle class, and another style referred to as “gentlemanly” which was often found in the higher class grand homes.

Scandinavian / Swedish Peasent Furniture:

Rural country peasant furniture is often referred to as folk furniture which is often distinguished by strong colors and a wealth of decoration.  Peasant art and painting was not notable for its originality or self expression.   Each distinct area would have specific colors much like national sports teams.  For example the NFL is made up of  30 teams started out of the major cities of the United States.  The Seattle Sea-hawks wouldn’t wear the Washington Redskins uniforms, much like the Scandinavian regions wouldn’t paint anything but their own distinct motifs which were passed down through generations.  Painters were content to work within an inherited regional collection of motifs and colors.  Much of this resulted just from the inspiration in their local areas.  They didn’t have the internet to compare different styles, but they did from time to time discover new techniques and  embellishments which they would just adjust some changes on their basic themes.   A regional style or a typical color scheme once laid down, was then faithfully copied in its essentials by the succeeding generations of painters and craftsman.  Today, as they sift through different Swedish furniture which a name is accredited,  is often individual artists which had an acknowledgement of local reputation.


Folk Furniture ~ Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Folk Furniture ~ Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture

Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Folk Furniture ~ Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture

Scandinavian / Swedish Gentlemanly Furniture:

The other renowned definitive painted furniture most people are acquainted with is referred to as “gentlemanly” furniture, thus making the distinction between the peasant farms and gentleman estates.   This furniture was made for upper class grand homes, and castles than the wooden villas and urban middle class homes.

This type of Scandinavian furniture is all together different in its use of paint, color, shape and function.  These classes of people were well educated and travelled and were familiar with areas of high influence such as Paris, London, Berlin and St Petersburg. The styles of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism were then repeated in their Scandinavian homes with the aesthetic remaining the same, but the overall design distinctly Scandinavian.

By the 18thcentury, soft colors became quite popular. Putty, straw yellow, blue and green were finished with layers of glazes and combined with gold leaf.   Upper class furniture had a restrained sense of color, typically simple with limited decoration.  The overall finish was sophisticated, formal and elegant, than fussy brightly painted country styles.  Furniture was often made of softwood, and its shape, style and function imitated foreign models from other countries.

Higher Class Furniture ~ Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture

Higher Class Furniture ~ Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture

Scandinavian / Swedish Country Provincial Furniture:

As high society moved on to country estates, so did the furniture.  Some of the most appealing Scandinavianfurniture comes from this style, as it is known as “provincial”, with local touches.   Jocasta Innes’s step to step painting guides are some of the best painting books on the market.  Scandinavian Painted Furniture details over 20 projects typical to Swedish painting and decoration.

Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture
Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture

Swedish, Gustavian, and Nordic Style Furniture