You wear it well: Costume-maker Pernilla Lindfors' Scandinavian style
When Lindfors was on maternity leave, she couldn't keep her hands still - which meant dressing up her house instead...
Sunday 10 February 2013
We Brits have long had a soft spot for Scandinavian style, whether that's wistfully scrolling through design blogs or lusting after lampshades in the background of the latest imported drama series, and Swedish costume-maker Pernilla Lindfors' house would seem to tick all the boxes. But she is also a champion of hand-made home-making: her country house features original fittings perked up with many of her own crafty projects. This is highly personal, not off-the-peg, Scandi design.
"While I was on maternity leave, I didn't have any costume jobs but I realised that I couldn't actually stop, I had to be doing something with my hands," she explains. "I've always sewn things, so I just started making cushions and stuff for the house."
While the cool interior with flashes of bright, functional design and more romantic hand-made items might seem a very Swedish mix, Lindfors learnt her trade in the UK. "I trained at the London College of Fashion, then I worked as a costume-maker in the UK," she says, adding that she has worked on such sumptuously appointed films as Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Finding Neverland and the Harry Potter series.
Though she moved back to her native country in 2005, she still works as a costume-maker – there's a workroom in the house – but when she finds time, she also creates cushion, bags, hats and lampshades which she sells on craft site Etsy, under the name VillaPernilla.
Lindfors and her partner Michael moved into their pretty wooden house on the outskirts of the village of Fagerhult in southern Sweden, about 120 miles from Gothenburg, in 2007. It was built k in 1909, part of the National Romantic trend, which Lindfors likens to Art Nouveau. "But where we live is quite rural, and the people were quite poor, so it's not loads of curly-wurlies!"
The couple "bought the house before the previous owner renovated too much, if you know what I mean". So, happily, many rooms still boast traditional white, ceramic fireplaces: "It is actually an old Swedish invention; they work really well. Once you've lit the fire, the smoke goes through all these little channels, so the whole thing becomes hot. They do heat up the room really well." The house also came with an old bread-making oven, but the kitchen was built up around it by the previous owners, and Lindfors' next big project is to "get that working".
There was a bit of redecorating needed, however, to get the house how they liked it: wooden panelling was stripped away, and a neon-orange paint job re-done to make it all a bit calmer and cleaner. Not that Lindfors wanted to go for complete minimalism. "In Sweden, there are so many people who have their whole houses painted white, because they're so upset about, you know, the light," she explains, jokingly, before adding that she likes to inject a bit of colour. "The whole shabby-chic thing, I guess it's me revolting against the whiteness everywhere."
The rich, red-velvet chairs and green sofa were bought at a Swedish flea market, and were then re-upholstered with material Lindfors bought in London (at John Lewis) while she was working on the film Elizabeth. The rugs were inherited from her parents, while that sweet cross-stitched footstool was left in the house by the previous inhabitants.
Her partner brought various pieces of his old furniture, too: "I wanted to use [them] but without it feeling like you are in an old-people's home. You have these nice inherited things but you want to somehow make it your own."
And then there are her own designs: the white and green pom-pom "Shooting Star" cushion, which can also be bought from her shop on Etsy, and other home-made cushions are strewn over the sofa and a wooden chair. Lindfors also made the white lampshade, by dipping lace doilies in wallpaper paste and moulding around a balloon.
Despite this industriousness, when asked how she likes to decorate, or if she aims for any particular style, Lindfors gives a laid-back answer: "It's just my own style – I just follow my instinct."
For more: etsy.com/shop/VillaPernilla
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