Mia Rodak, Website Manager
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 3:13 PM EDT
I'm a big proponent of mixing and matching different design styles in my home in order to achieve a balance that feels comfortable and original, rather than overdone and forced. My personal tastes run towards a modern look, but I like to include some eclectic pieces, even the odd chabby-chic or modern country item (quilts? love'em!) and I am especially fond of Scandinavian, mid-century modern furniture, patterns and design in general. I come by my love of this Scandi-style honestly, as my maternal side of the family, the side that raised me, were all born and raised in Denmark.
My mother immigrated to Canada when she was 9 years old and after many years in a small Northern Ontario town, she laid down roots in Toronto while her parents eventually settled down in a tiny beachside home on the stunning shores of Lake Huron. Their home would become the go-to destination for summer vacationing for my entire childhood. My grandmother, now 81 years old, still lives in the house, which now consists of two separate halves (one half was an amazing beachy diner run by my grandparents for years). My Nana lives on one side of the house and the other half is now used exclusively by the rest of my family as our cottage.
Most of the major pieces of furniture used on both sides of the cottage are authentic, vintage mid-century modern pieces that have travelled for years with my family and come directly from Denmark. This is real deal. Beautifully designed teak furniture sits in every nook and cranny and most has not been refinished, reupholstered, retouched in any way since the day it was purchased.
The curtains were all handmade by my grandmother and speak to a past era with patterns and colours that would probably never work in such quantities in any other space. Orange carpet, brown curtains and olive green upholsery is everywhere and bright blue and turquiose is used heavily as an accent colour (totally en vogue again today, as we know).
I absolutely adore the way the cottage looks, but I have an obvious emotional attachment. Probably, if I were taking it all in through someone else's eyes, I'd find the over-abundance of mid-mod furniture, patterns, accessories and colour-schemes - all together in one place - a little overwhelming. Particularly today, when many of these beautifully designed pieces are being spruced up, sold at high prices and used sparingly in modern homes to achieve a bit of kitch, a touch of vintage charm, or even as a dash of high-brow design.
It's easy to see why Scandinavian design is exploding in popularity today, the classic lines and functional construction of the sleekly designed furniture look beautiful in a well-taylored city home. But to me this style will always define comfort, warmth and coziness. And I think that for a place of retreat, a space you go to kick off your shoes and be surrounded by comfort and love, you can never have too much of a good thing.