Interiorssneak peeks

A Scandinavian Cottage by the Sea

by Garrett Fleming

We live in an age of information and access — with just a few clicks, you can find endless amounts of artists and homes to inspire. Here at Design*Sponge,  I talk to homeowners from an average of three different continents every day and it’s almost baffling how seamless our ability to connect has become.  With that ease of communication, you would think we’d have seen every corner of our wonderful world by now, but that’s definitely not the case. There are still so many more gems to uncover and things to learn and when I came across Lohne’s home in Norway, I definitely learned a thing or two.

Our peek inside this cottage is not only a case study in how to decorate with a muted palette, but a bit of a geography lesson as well. This quaint house that Lohne, her boyfriend and three daughters call home is on the island of Jøa. Only accessible by ferry and 21 square miles small, the island is only home to a few hundred people. Sweeping panoramas of the sea are visible from almost any point on the island and this cozy home was originally owned by Lohne’s grandmother. Lohne recalls it being a childhood haven for her, a “…safe place, quiet and peaceful place.” Fast forward to 2011 and her dream was realized when the home finally went up for sale. There aren’t many homes available on Jøa so Lohne knew she had to go for it. With both Lohne, a nursing-home attendant, and her boyfriend, a carpenter, working hard to provide for their three children, it was important that their family’s home be a place where they could comfortably unwind and enjoy one another after a long day. It is not a huge space, so the family was very careful when making design decisions that left no part of the space wasted. Each room was designed with a specific use in mind. A dining area with pillows so guests feel comfortable enough to lounge and catch up, a living room that brings the family together for games, and a dream kitchen that lets Lohne’s love of cooking blossom. Custom-made design surprises and unique touches make this home feel like the perfect place to gather with friends and family on a cold winter day like today. —Garrett

All photos by Lohne Strøm

The Living Room: Lohne chose a large sectional so her entire family could comfortably enjoy the space at the same time. "We love to watch movies and snuggle up in this big couch," she says. The curtains are from Kidinteriors.
These pictures in the living room are Lohne's treasured belongings. A wedding picture and letter from her grandmother mix with some of Lohne's modern art from AllPosters.
Lohne adores the snuggly mood set by these Home and Cottage candles and gold pillows in her living room. Since her home is on the smaller side, she leaves the windows unadorned to give the room the illusion of being larger and more open. The carpet is available here. Skull print by Vanilla Fly.
The dining area as seen from the living room.
The Dining Room: Lohne is a sucker for banquettes and table settings. She wanted her guests to feel so comfy they'd stay and chat for hours, so she covered her seating in down pillows. "The sofa was so big, we had to remove the window to get it in the house," she says.
The Music Room: There was a time when homeowners wouldn't dare mix various wood finishes in the same room. Here, Lohne cleverly chose finishes so drastically different from one another that they end up complementing instead of competing.
In the late 1950s Lohne's grandfather traveled across the sea to Svalbard to work as a carpenter. Upon his return he selflessly put his earnings towards buying his wife the piano she had always wanted. "My mother had it for years, and now I am so lucky to have it. It's the most valuable thing I own," the homeowner says. Skull votives by Royal Design.
The Kitchen: Lohne's favorite room of the house frequently gets the most love from guests. Designed from scratch by the homeowners, she took great care to make sure that the space was exactly what she wanted. Cooking is one of Lohne's favorite pastimes.
Lohne uses most of her kitchen's accessories every day, so displaying them puts them at arm's length while adding an eclectic touch to the room. She had always dreamed of owning a SMEG fridge so when it came time to renovate, it was a no-brainer buy.
Another look at the quaint kitchen.
The Kids' Room: "[My daughter] and her friends often pretend that they are having a picnic around the table. The couch we built ourselves. It also works as a storage space for toys." The table is from Ellos and the accessories are by H&M.
Lohne designed this bedroom set herself. "When I was a little girl, I dreamed of a bed like this," she says. The family had the opportunity to renovate so she wanted to give her daughter the comfiest bed imaginable.
The youngest daughter - the family comedian - adores the movie "Bambi." The second that Lohne and her partner saw this deer wallpaper by Norwegian designer Christine Emilie Sveen, they knew it would add a touch of whimsy to their little girl's room.
The Teen's Room: This sequin and gingham bedding was one of the unique combinations that drew me to Lohne's home. Her daughter wanted a large, comfy bed and, "the letter lamp and the skull art is her favorite." Throughout the home, skulls play a large role to push against the soft tones of the space.
The introduction of blue - her oldest daughter's favorite color - sweetly sets this room apart from the rest of the home. When designing the space, Lohne consciously mixed the old and new. She freshened up this old writing desk herself. You'd never know that the wall is actually covered in wallpaper.

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  • I’m obsessed with this house, particularly the pink Smeg refrigerator and the little girl’s bed! That’s still my dream bed. It must have been very difficult getting all the decor items out to such a remote area!

  • My favorite house tour ever!! From the skull votives to the gingham to the distressed wood wallpaper – PERFECTION.

  • OMG I love this house. I never thought of using a sofa for banquet seating because most sofa’s are too low for dining seating. I’ll have to rethink this in the future!

  • Hi I love your home! Its absolutely beautiful in every way! I’m particularly obsessed with the bed you made for your daughter. Is it possible to get the plans for it?


  • You never mentioned where the coffee table was from. Could you please supply me the information of the coffee table? Thank you so much!

  • I’ll build this girl-bed for my daughter, too. It’s the most beautiful i’ve ever seen. A dream!