Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: klara bothen

by Amy Azzarito

Klara Bothén’s home in Dals Långed, a small town in southwest Sweden, is a 100-year-old workman’s cottage that was built strategically close to the local factory, which once manufactured horseshoe nails. The space and surrounding landscape of forests and lakes provide ample inspiration for her work, which is deeply connected to home, identity, objects and memory. For example, a recent project, her Granliden Mittens, were knit from wool that Klara’s mother and grandmother dyed with forest plants and vegetables in the summer of 1982 at their family summer cottage. This home was her first real place, so out of necessity, everything was inherited, found or thrifted. It’s a constant work in progress. Klara is still hoping to find that perfect vintage ’60s credenza. — Amy Azzarito

Image above: The thrifted ’60s sofa is really stylish but uncomfortable. Although I love the textured velvet pattern, it’s not the kind of sofa you fall asleep on, which has its advantages. I never nod off while watching a film. I’m planning to put it in my future studio. I have also loved the combination of red and pink (as on the striped cushion) ever since one of the cool girls in high school made clear that the colors clashed and clashing colors were ugly. It’s become one of my favorite color combinations.

Image above: Instead of the proper canopy that I always wanted as a kid, I hung a favourite piece of fabric behind the bed — “Clouds” by Swedish textile designer Gunila Axén. On the bed is a thrifted blanket with a lovely wood-anemone print. The crochet bedspread and little blue suitcase I bought from a friend. The little clip lamp was originally clipped to my granny’s loom.

The full sneak peek continues after the jump . . .

Image above: These bookshelves are good old Billys from IKEA. I’ve had them forever, and they’re just as wobbly as you’d expect them to be. And I can’t fit half of the books I own into them. I dream of someday having a whole wall covered with bookshelves. The chair was found in the old barn in the yard outside. People have used it as a place to put discarded items for as long as I can remember, and so you never know what you might find. The desk comes from my childhood home. I sanded and painted it myself when I was 13.

Image above: Last summer I painted my kitchen walls this shade of light blue. I got the rag rug from my dear granny when I moved in. Later she gave me the loom as well. The cabinet was lent to me from my parents. It has so many small drawers inside where I keep my tablecloths, pillowcases and my collection of little crochet kettle holders. When I came home with the yellow lamp, it turned out my mum had a similar one in her first flat! The table was given to me by my auntie — I remember that she had it in her kitchen when I was a kid. The Warhol poster is truly my motto, so I put it on top of the cabinet as a statement.

Image above: The blue chair came with the sofa. I use it most for storage, actually. Now it’s home to my Granliden mittens. Hanging above is a found knitting sample and a print I did in art school.

Image above: Since I like my walls nice and clean, I could never make up my mind about where to hang framed pictures and such. So I ended up putting them all on the same wall. It feels more relaxed that way. The dresser is one of my first second-hand finds for this flat — the drawers are lined with little white hearts on a red background. On the dresser, there is a wedding photo of the Swedish king and queen, some vinyl records with nice sleeves, my Polaroid camera and a tiny collection of stones I found at a beach on the North English seaside.

Image above: The suitcase was thrifted in my favorite charity shop, the Pentecostal Church Second Hand in Kristinehamn. Inside, there is an old blanket from our summer place. It has the most beautiful floral pattern. The knitting magazine is from the ’60s and is filled with great patterns.

Image above: This drawer unit is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It’s stylish and practical; I keep all sorts of things in it — paper clippings, magazines, beads, sheet music, ’60s mail-order catalogues. With some cushions, it makes a perfect bench. I got it from the nursery school where my mum works when they moved. I use the champagne box on top as extra storage for books and my portable record player.

Image above: I am very weak willed when it comes to glass and porcelain. I can’t help finding new coffee cups every time I pop into a second-hand store. The collection is ever growing, but if I ever start a café, at least I have the dishes! One of my favourite pieces is the black enamel coffee pot from good old Kockums.

Image above: This shot was taken with my analogue Olympus OM-1. During the summer, I love filling the kitchen table with little flower pots and wild flowers. Among my favorites are forget-me-nots, lupin and lily of the valley. Recently I have also started bringing in pine-tree trunks.

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  • I love that a knitter did all this…goes to show that we’re not all just about a yarn. We like decorating homes too. Like this knitter, I love the juxtaposition of blue and pink. It’s just so unexpected.

  • “I have also loved the combination of red and pink (as on the striped cushion) ever since one of the cool girls in high school made clear that the colors clashed and clashing colors were ugly.”

    That, my friends, is a day-maker, right there. High five, Klara.

  • This place is so dinky and cute! Loving the vintage vibe and the way things are grouped together to make little collections of ordinary stuff, I love the bright red chairs in the kitchen!x

  • I like the drawer on the 8th image. :)
    BTW, finally got your book. My brother gave it to me this Christmas, I was so happy when I saw it! This year I’ll be moving to my 1st home, and your book is a source of inspiration!

  • Because I don’t have to sit on it, the fact that it’s uncomfortable has no influence over me, so I’m positively weak in the knees for that 60’s blue velvet couch and chair set. The fabric, the style, everything. Also, are you kidding me with the while scallop trim on those kitchen shelves? Where has it been all my life and how quickly can I get it on my shelves?!? LOVE!

  • Stunning home, just stunning. I am constantly obsessed with checking DS to see new and beautiful homes. Grace you have such impeccable taste in the homes you feature, i love the manner of display for the art in this home, and i love much of the art in the home as well. thank you for sharing! with love, briana

  • The most precious part of her house is how lots of the furniture is from relatives (or is like something from them :-) ). That’s style that money can’t buy.

  • I laughed at the pink/red story. I went through a similar scenario in ’82 but with red and purple. I got cool deep purple corduroy overalls for Christmas (I was 12). They were of great quality and I loved them! I was excited to wear them on the day back to school but that morning I was running out of time and grabbed red ski socks in the rush (also forgot my shoes at home which forced me to stay in socks all day). Some older, cool girl teased me at the water fountain in the hallway. In my defence I said I liked those colours (which was sort of a lie) and she left laughing. I was hurt but then I really looked at my feet and realized that it was a cool combo! How could it be wrong when it felt so good looking at it? It took me a looong time to find the courage to use the red and purple again but when I did, I felt a deep personal satisfaction taking over me. Now I have a deep dark purple couch with a red throw and it feels rich during the winter blahs. Always follow your own instincts!

  • I love this style, kind of modern and haphazard with plants and retro touches, like the scalloping on the kitchens shelves. Also, there are some great mid-century modern pieces like that dresser and nightstand. Hope she finds that perfect credenza – I’d like one too : )

  • What a beautiful vintage space! Charming & lovely.. everything is perfect just like the scandinavian design…