I recently started watching a Lilyhammer, a TV show about an American mobster who enters the witness protection program in Lillehammer, Norway. While part of the humour lies in the fact that he chose to hide in some snowy mountains instead of a beach somewhere, it's also easy to see the appeal of the area: everyone races around on skis, dons chunky sweaters and lives in cosy wooden farmhouses with sprawling views of the hills and lakes. Personally, I wouldn't mind hiding out in this charming retreat just west of Lillehammer in the town of Heggenes. Let's take a look inside.
Nine traditional buildings are tucked into the hills on nearly three acres of land. Part of the property is currently being used as, charmingly, a Christmas tree farm, so I'm guessing some of the buildings are used for equipment storage. When you tire of paddling the canoe around that tiny pond, portage over to the dock on a much larger fjord.
This angle gives a better (and gorgeous) idea of the setting. I love the use of the exposed rock as a terrace, which makes it look like the house has been here forever. (And it may well have — the first building on the property dates from 1770.)
The current owners are decidedly unafraid of colour, and even brought in Norwegian artist Sigmund Årseth to paint the rooms. (I'd love to get just a bit closer and read what it says on the back of the door.) The combination of the unabashedly cheerful pink, blue and red with a fussy gold console and chandelier is intriguing; you might say mismatched, I'd say... spirited.
This panelled and painted dining room really drew me to the house; tidy cupboards and red chairs make the room seem tended, but unpretentious. For even more relaxed dining, there's a breakfast nook off the brightly painted kitchen (which may or may not have a wood-burning fireplace; I can't tell from the photos).
There's only one photo of the four bedrooms (and none of the one full bath or one half bath), but it's enough to convince me. As a kid, I would have loved tucking in to one of these bunks; as an adult, I could lounge on the couch and look out the window for hours. And with 2,600 square feet, there's probably a quiet corner for everyone.
What do you think? Would this charming country home inspire you to pay the $1.5 million asking price and start a new Scandinavian life?
1–5. Regent Eiendomsmegling, via Christie's.
The holidays are fast approaching. Here are five ways to bring festive style to your home from Bombay:
1. Raise The Bar
Set up a well-stocked area for drinks so your guests can serve themselves. The Drummond Bar (below) boasts plenty of organized space for bottles and glassware. Because it's compact, it works well in most living or dining rooms. When not in use, the bar serves as a handsome perch for decorative trays or may be used as an additional buffet surface. (This blog post is sponsored by Bombay Canada.)
2. Welcome Overnight Guests
If you're lucky enough to have a dedicated guest bedroom, play up a luxurious hotel vibe with Bombay's Herning Four Poster Bed. Its carved detailing, rich wood stain and classic canopy create a grand yet cosy retreat. Deep red and gold accents in the Spice Route Bedding Collection help to set a festive theme.
3. Make Room For Everyone
With its generous size — it expands to seat eight to ten people — the Calais Dining Table from Bombay can help you to recreate a bygone era, when formal dinner parties were de rigueur. The rich wood grain and textured inlay table features a double pedestal base. For relaxed dining, the table's expansive surface is ideal for informal buffets.
4. Rethink Your Colour Scheme
Bombay is known for being a destination for traditional Christmas designs in Canada. Their Winterplum ornament collection — resplendent in rich plums, lilacs, mauves and blue purples — offers a fresh change from the traditional red-and-green decorating scheme. Combine with the Bombay Gilded Spruce Collection on a tree or strung on a garland, these ornaments will imbue a room with formal sparkle and sophistication.
5. Give a Signature Gift
Good manners never go out of style. The Glamour Mirrored Jewelry Box from Bombay makes a wonderful gift. It features a richly-detailed velvet interior and is a great way to inject a small dose of Art Deco-inspiration to a dresser or vanity.
A leading retailer of Traditional and Classic furniture styles, Bombay & Company Inc. operates 60 stores across Canada. Visit their website, Facebook page or in-store for style inspiration, special offers and updates on new products!
Plus, sign up for Bombay Canada’s eNewsletter and enter to win a $250 gift card!
I’ve been out on the market scouting lately and the travels have left me with three words top of mind: green. velvet. sofa. And they are all just so pretty, each one lovelier than the one before. I can’t quite decide on a favourite. You?
In a room that’s a monochromatic celebration of greens, this chesterfield-style model is right up my style alley.
This is a fresher more apple-green take on the classic, but I think it has a few dozen too many tufts for my liking.
This one is exquisite and formal with its gilt frame, camel back and deep emerald colour. This one is made for perching (preferably in a fabulous gown and with a glass of champagne in hand).
Ikea has joined in the fun with this special edition Stockholm sofa in the most perfect shade of green on earth. I quite love it.
And in case you worry it’s too daring a colour choice for a big ticket item. Don’t. Green is nature’s neutral — name a colour that doesn’t look gorgeous next to a green field or tree in full leaf. You can’t. Green goes with everything!
Learn about more luxurious winter fabrics here.
Our kitchen is finally done! It has been a long road through the biggest renovation of our lives. It wasn’t easy — especially at dinnertime — but the final product is well worth all of the work. In fact, our new kitchen is even better than we could have dreamed of, thanks to AyA Kitchens and Baths.
See below for photos of the new space. Plus, tour our kitchen in an episode of H&H Online TV.
We are thrilled with how open our kitchen is now. Our son has been running laps around the island and is enjoying all of the freedom this new space provides. (And I like being able to keep an eye on him while I’m making dinner.)
The cabinets are what really pulls this whole space together. The dark grey colour is exactly what we were looking for, and I love how they stand out against the white walls and accessories.
Remember how cluttered our old kitchen was? (Read about it here.)
We now have tons of storage space, including a few lift-up features to hide some of our smaller appliances.
Above is the first appliance lift-up cabinetry that hides the microwave. A few years down the road, if we no longer need our microwave, we can still utilize this space for additional storage.
Here is our second lift-up that houses the toaster and blender. Both of these small appliances used to be eyesores on our counter, taking up valuable preparation space. Now they are tucked away and ready for use whenever we need them.
Our AyA designer, Sandra, was so helpful throughout the entire process, especially when it came to space planning and flow. As you can see, we also have a lot more usable counter space. The island alone provides us with more counter space than we ever had before. I love how much built-in storage we have now.
Last, but not least, is the banquette. The handsome drawers below the seat cushions look so sleek — you’d never know that they’re housing small appliances, linens and other kitchen items. And because I love to bake, I now have plenty of specialty pans and tools that are easy to reach.
Our kitchen was once a cluttered space that wasn’t functional for our busy family. Now, we have a beautiful kitchen that we can’t wait to use. We couldn’t be happier!
Since it's nearly Halloween, here's a house that's been home to a vampire and a wizard. Well, OK, just actor Robert Pattinson, who has played both. And the only thing scary about this house — besides the nearly $7 million price tag — is how lovely and well-maintained it is for a twentysomething guy's digs. Let's take a look inside this Hollywood villa.
The listing describes the gated property as "awe-inspiring without being overwhelming," and I agree. Built in 1922, the 4,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-style house still has both plenty of room and many of its original details. Stucco walls around the lot, for example, charm visitors with blue tile details and a burbling fountain, but keep out crazed fans.
In back of the house, one-and-a-half acres of land stretch up in an elaborate terraced garden with views of the LA skyline to the south. Beyond the property's wall lies the 4,000-acre expanse of Griffith Park, so you can take in the sights in peace. The only downside? When actor Tim Curry owned this home in the '90s, he apparently had to hire a full-time gardener and garden consultant.
The pool, perched at the top of the garden, seems to be the source for a water feature that runs all the way down to the house. Sure, you do need to do some stair-climbing before going for a swim, but I think it would be worth it to lounge in this grotto-like oasis.
When you tire of exploring the gorgeous garden, retreat to this beautifully beamed living room. The doors at right open to an outdoor dining area, making the space ideal for entertaining and, since this is an actor's home in Hollywood, a screen drops down in front of the fireplace.
The dining room also opens to the courtyard. I'd happily linger over a meal under the barrel-vaulted ceiling here, but the sofa and chairs clustered around the outdoor fireplace are pretty tempting, too.
Here's another arched ceiling in one of the three bedrooms. I'm guessing the windows open to a second-storey walkway, and the arched doorways lead to a dressing room or one of the three bathrooms. And in case you didn't already suspect the house had been staged, the white bed linens and yellow rose upholstery don't exactly say 'hot young actor's bachelor pad' to me.
I'd be charmed by this house even without the celeb connection. What about you?
If you've fallen prey to a bit of Twihard streak, be sure to check out the listing, which has a time-sucking 65 photos of the lovely house and gardens.
1–6: The Partners Trust
I recently headed out to Vancouver to attend IDSwest 2013, and shoot Kristin Lehman's home (she's the star of CTV's Motive, watch for it in our April 2014 issue). I saw some great examples of design inspiration while I hit up my favourite shopping destinations, and discovered new restos.
Firepits have become a real trend, and there were two at IDSwest that captured that cosy, communal campfire vibe — indoors!
The Monogram Dinner by Design at IDSwest featured some gorgeous tablescapes by West Coast designers (look for Kelly Deck's entry in my January editor's letter). This table by Sophie Burke looks pulled from a fairy tale and has a rustic Scandinavian look that's both modern and whimsical.
Robert Blaney Design gave a more raw, masculine rustic take on the forest theme with chunky tree trunk chargers and stump stools, but is also romantic.
Provide was a phenomenal source for propping, we pulled plenty of items from their well-edited shelves.
I so wanted this painting of Vancouver seen from Bowen Sound by David Burns, but at over $6,300, it's a misty fantasy, for now....
Of course I had to visit The Cross, a staple in the pages of H&H. I love this oversized white leather pouf.
Here is another Vancouver shopping must-see, Örling & Wu. It's pretty and colourful, and just made me feel happy.
I adore Heather's Ross's store, which recently moved to a new location near South Granville and The Armoury. She has a great eye for finds, and I am really keen on her vintage West German and Blue Mountain pottery in watery shades (I ended buying the brown and blue vase on the second shelf).
Heather has a way of merchandising that makes me want to buy everything in sight.
Just look at this vignette of a geode, linen and rustic twine.
I had a memorable meal in the new Homer St. Café and Bar. Patterned floors are a huge trend and they really played it up, the space is stunning.
Here is a shot of their yummy ginger cookies served with a melted chocolate dipping sauce. Simple but so delicious.
As a pescatarian, I am always excited to find a vegetarian restaurant with a great look: Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant in Vancouver has a really pretty, pared-back design.
I loved how they mounted a wall of garden utensils to look like art, it's fitting for a restaurant that's all about garden-fresh fare.
1-10. Suzanne Dimma
11. Arriz Hassam
12-14. Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant