I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to beautiful Norway myself—though was unlucky to tear a ligament in my ankle on the trip, moments after a successful (and yes, I’ll admit, typical) “I’m in Europe!” mid-jump photo. However architecturally gorgeous, the cobblestone streets weren’t fooling around that day. But not even a cast could stop me from soaking in and swooning over the history, culture and Scandinavian design and architecture. It’s a design style that’s stuck with me over the years and one that I often browse and seek out online, so when I was scrolling through my Instagram and came across @BenesNordicHome, I just had to get in touch.
Characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality, Scandinavian design has become such a popular design trend in the last few years, but what a lot of people don’t know about this movement—including myself until I experienced it firsthand—is that it’s also very much about creating a space that evokes happiness. So when I asked photographer Benedicte Thomassen what her goal was when she and husband Daniel were searching for a home and decorating, I wasn’t surprised when she came back with “My goal was a happy home!”
Built in 1887, Benedicte and Daniel’s wooden townhouse is nestled on a quiet street near the city center of Skien, a region in southern Norway. When Benedicte and Daniel first saw the home, they knew it was the right home for them, their two Chihuahuas Zoe (3 years) and Chanelle (6 months) and budgies Pipp and Papp. They instantly fell for the white-painted wood exterior, the large windows and the modernized aspects of the historic home. “There was an original timber wall in the kitchen, stairwell and wooden floor in the living room,” explains Benedicte, “The house will never be [perfect]… but that just makes it charming.” —Sabrina
Photographs by Benedicte Thomassen
Images above: Benedicte’s living room is her favorite place to hang out, whether it’s reading a book, styling her cabinet filled with beautiful trinkets, sneaking in a nap or cuddling with her dogs. Her sofa is from Muuto’s Connect Sofa System and the feline pillow is a custom print of a photo she took in loving memory of her cat.
Image above: The windows remind Benedicte of her childhood home and serve as a nostalgic reminder of the good old times.
Image above: Benedict has a love for the color pink and mixing the old and the new, such as the mirror and dining table that are over 100 years old, given to Benedicte by her parents. The chairs are from HAY.
Image above: Daniel enjoys watching TV, so Benedicte hung a charming banner up to serve as a reminder to go outside every once in a while, saying “I’m not entirely sure he has noticed it yet, hehe… It makes me smile, though.”
Images above: No surface is without books or decor. The lamp from Seletti greets you as you enter the hallway from the living room which can also be seen from the front door. “I think it’s a nice welcome to our home with a greeting and a vase of flowers. And a pig. Pigs rock.”
Images above: The original staircase built in 1887 is the first thing you see when you enter Benedicte and Daniel’s home. The prints are from WhatWeDo and plenty more home goods and housewares fill the corner underneath the staircase, such as an awesome and charming dog purse from Etsy.
Image above: The old timber wall in the dining area is original to the home and a beautiful focal point of the kitchen, anchoring the new and modern pieces such as Benedicte’s Eames side chairs.
Image above: Benedicte’s colorful mug collection from Moomin is one that started when she was just a little girl.
Image above: Oh, how jealous I am of Benedicte’s yellow SMEG fridge in the kitchen. “It’s probably the thing my guests first comment on when they visit us,” Benedicte says. I wouldn’t doubt it!
Image above: Benedicte’s little corner of joy in her office. It may be small, but she enjoys her pocket of productivity.
Images above: Benedicte and Daniel designed and renovated their bathroom to be functional and pretty. Modern yet classic pieces fill the room, such as the round strap mirror from HAY, hanging lamps from Muuto and the black cabinet from IKEA. I absolutely love the white subway tile covering the walls, and the surprise of a paneled ceiling!
Images above: Benedicte and Daniel’s bedroom is bright and airy. The sunlight streams in through their white curtains and acts as an alarm clock in the morning. On the wall beside Benedicte’s side of the bed is a collection of small things that make her happy and start her day off right in the morning. “Animals are always a part of my happiness.”