30th March 2020

So hello again. It’s been a while. Of all the things that I imagined might draw me back here to blog again, a global pandemic wasn’t one of them. But look at how much our lives have changed in a few short weeks. Short weeks that feel so much longer. Two weekends back we were in Fife visiting Cambo Estate; having a bite of lunch in their café and walking in the walled garden; visiting the glasshouses before winding through the woodland with its carpet of snowdrops. We walked along Kingsbarns beach in the low, late afternoon light, enjoying the peace and emptiness of the scene. Two weeks ago, we couldn’t even have imagined the rules of social distancing; friends losing all their work and closing the doors to their businesses, unsure of when they might open again. A country in lockdown with all the restrictions this brings. A world in crisis.

And yet here we are. And over the last week as we’ve been adjusting at home to new routines together, and quietly mourning the things we’ve (temporarily) lost that we love doing – which for us means big nature walks, out in the open with no one around – I’ve also been thinking about positive things. Ways to channel some mental energy. I’ve worked from home for a long time, and feel very grateful right now to still have work, but I also recognise the importance of keeping the mind active and positive. Of thinking creatively.

Which brings me back here, as I feel like writing more again. Just… sharing things I’m enjoying and perhaps feeling inspired by right now.

I’d noticed this house on Fantastic Frank a few weeks back, back in the time of ‘normal life’, and when I was thinking about posting something again I remembered it. This feels like a strange time to be sharing interiors. This is also what I do for work and I’ve been acutely aware of this in the past two weeks. Writing about interior design feels so… unimportant against the challenges facing the world right now. But, looking at this from a different perspective, I’m also craving some sense of normality, for my brain if nothing else. When I was working last week, writing about a property for Sunday’s paper, I felt relieved to be having a discussion about design. Relieved to be thinking about something else, something familiar. Something I could understand, against the backdrop of a world situation that I can’t begin to understand.

So I’m sharing this as a little time out. Spending more time at home, you realise that design is still important. Consider the spaces we live in and how they impact on our mood; how they enable us to be adaptable, or not; how they help us to feel inspired or feel calm. To be grounded. How they offer sanctuary when we need it most. I’m pretty uninterested in trends, but I am interested in of all these things.

And, given that staying indoors isn’t a choice but a need right now, I wouldn’t say not to being holed up in this gorgeous house. Located in Öllsjö, Kristianstad in Sweden, I know some people might look at these photos and feel that this interior is ‘cold’, a little too crisp for their taste, but for me it feels quiet. And that’s what I always find myself craving. I love the timber panelled detailing and the big picture windows, and I can imagine the warmth of this floor with underfloor heating (I’m making an assumption here, as the details for this house don’t note underfloor heating, but looking at the design of this space and the fact that there aren’t radiators, underfloor heating makes sense). This serene palette will shift throughout the day as the light changes, illuminating the grains in the timber, and creating warmth at night with the ambient lighting glowing against the walls.

And I appreciate how the oak kitchen sits in the heart of the floor plan. This house was clearly designed to be a social space, but also, again thanks to the materials, I can imagine being here with my little family and enjoying the mental space that can come with long views, and that sense of inter-connectedness, both indoors and out.

But also, I just love the idea of living in a timber ‘cabin’. This house is clearly a very contemporary version of this, but there’s something soothing about being surrounded by a natural palette of materials. If the last few weeks have highlighted anything to me, it’s the importance of nature in my life. The thing I’m missing most right now are our long nature walks. Being by the coast, walking along the clifftop path at Gullane Point, gazing out across the sea as the waves roll in; or around St Baldred’s Cradle, braced against the wind, following the path that leads around the headland towards Ravensheugh Sands. Or walking through the woods at Yellowcraig as the sunshine filters through the canopy of trees, illuminating the new green life of spring pushing through the undergrowth.

Yes, I’m missing nature. So, in this house, I’m enjoying the materials and that sense of bringing nature indoors.

Until next time, stay safe and healthy. And please feel free to comment if you’re staying home right now, perhaps adjusting to working from home, and need a chat.

Fiona x

The house is now sold but you can see the listing on Fantastic Frank; all photography via Fantastic Frank.

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