A designer’s deft touch with colour and love of the handmade results in a Swedish family home that’s dressed to impress
Who lives here: Designer Emma von Brömssen, her husband Edward Lundin, a software developer; and their sons Herman, 13, Hannes, 11, and Alvar, 7.
Style of home: A three-storey timber house in Västra Frölunda, just outside central Gothenburg in southern Sweden.
Emma von Brömssen’s creativity begins with the intricate patterns she creates for textiles, wallpaper and accessories, but this instinct extends far beyond her work to the clever design ideas and carefully curated vignettes she styles in her family home.
After falling for the house’s features, including beautiful timber floors and paned wooden windows and doors, Emma and her husband Edward made the decision four years ago to upsize from another home in the same area – Västra Frölunda, a borough of southern Sweden – to accommodate their three growing boys. Originally two residences, the building was reconfigured as a single family home where the kitchen was enlarged and a double glass door out to the garden was added. And Emma’s creative drive has seen her add a mix of patterned fabrics and painted timber furniture to create a charming home with plenty of personal touches.
The entry sets the tone for the rest of the house, with its mix of Moroccan-style floor tiles, African baskets and a cupboard papered in one of Emma’s own wallpaper designs for Eco Wallpaper. The space is also an indication of the family’s can-do approach to home projects. “We made the sliding door from two MDF boards that we painted and papered. We attached the handles ourselves and bought door hardware from a builder’s merchant,” says Emma.
In the living area, more decorative DIY projects are on show. To cover the windows on the boundary of the room, Emma mounted a curtain strip to the walls and attached fabric panels, along with lengths of a William Morris textile. The same pattern features on the opposite wall, behind a TV cabinet built from an IKEA frame dressed with enamel-painted MDF panels and new legs and handles from Superfront. Above the cabinet, a craftily concealed TV sits behind a timber shelf with a drop-down fabric panel in Emma’s ‘Stäpphöna’ design. “It’s not difficult to make, you just saw the length you want and cut the fabric,” she says.
A passion for creativity runs in the family; Emma’s great uncle was an interior designer and she also has an uncle who is an artist and sculptor, and another who is an actor. “I think my parents could also have had creative professions, but they weren’t necessarily considered ‘real jobs’ at the time they were starting out,” she says. “It meant a lot to see my great uncle work in a creative field and I’ve always encouraged my sons to express themselves creatively.”
Emma’s top-floor studio was the first part of the house she worked on, adding a fresh coat of paint to the ceiling cladding and floor, and bringing in a mix of old and new furniture pieces. Throughout their home, Emma and Edward have chosen to use linseed oil paint – a traditional Scandinavian paint that’s free from solvents. “I love the feeling you get with linseed oil paint,” says Emma. “It gives you a calm and natural colour scheme that we like very much. It’s lovely to paint with, and you really work the colour into the material.”
In the spacious kitchen, the painting process was a real labour of love and test of patience. “We were building a new kitchen in an old house, so we thought it was important to be able to see a handmade element in the creation of something new,” says Emma. “We painted all the doors and all the walls in the kitchen and each coat has to dry for three days before you can apply the next!” White cabinetry is softened with leather pull handles, and the benchtop and walls hold a mix of small items and artworks collected over time.
It’s this approach – of taking time to choose the right materials and put together the perfect mix of pieces for each room – that makes this home so special. “We are still decorating: our house is always changing,” says Emma. “I think it’s always that way for creative people, but I love our mix of inherited things and old furniture. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s definitely homely and it’s personal.”
See Emma’s work at emmavonbromssen.se.