Senin, 30 Desember 2013

Reclaimed wood works

 Old is good. What is old can be new again with a little ingenuity, and I don't mind admitting that the art side of my brain has lots of that.   I think reclaimed wood  is beautiful, and this summer I made great finds on the beaches near our summer house.

Are you wondering how this connects to decor?  Keep reading!

reclaimed wood Newfoundland
Atlantic Ocean beach wood
 Storm tossed and sea sanded house/shed remnants  were dragged home against my better half's judgement. At the time I answered the strong call emitted by these materials, but  I didn't know why I needed them.  My art often begins with the call of materials rather than with sketches and preconceived notions of a final product.

 Margaret Ryall Duntara workshop
Not a pretty site/sight
No this is not the home decor section!

Move over hubby,  I am taking possessions of your precious workshed and tools.  Yep!  I know my way around drills, bandsaws, chopsaws and sanders and I discovered construction adhesive will stick most everything together. Drop paintbrushes, fine papers and canvas.  I have a new palette and perhaps a new series for exhibition.

This one is my keeper.
Reclaimed wood assemblage Beach Quilt Margaret Ryall
Beach Quilt, Margaret Ryall, 2013, reclaimed wood
 And here it is in the back entry of my summer house.  I have to wait until May to see it again (and take some decent shots of it).

You've reached the home decor part
Stay tuned for more creative moments in my life.  What have you created for your home lately?

All that glitters......

I can't believe 2013 has come to an end, it's flown by. I've had such a wonderful year, I hope you have too?! Now I'm gearing up for tomorrow night's new year's eve party which has to be a dipped gold glitter affair, how about you?

Dress designed by Jeffrey Monteiro for Bill Blass photo: Ann Street Studio


In case you're in need of some inspiration, here are some of the fantastic ideas I found on Pinterest: Glitter dipped door keys, gold confetti dipped balloons and beautiful glitter dipped nails! In fact my search has told me you can dip just about anything in gold glitter to make it look fab - an old pair of killer heels, a stained coffee cup,  tea light holders, mason jars, paper, star garlands, cutlery. The skies the limit for a year that glitters in gold!

In case you're after some fab new year's eve table decorating ideas take a peek at what Nina from Stylizimo did last year - so beautiful! 

In Sweden it's customary to let off fireworks at midnight so the year really does start with a bang - how about in your country?

Thank you so much for reading my blog in 2013!

Happy New Year!

See you on 2nd January for the first home tour of the year :)


Jumat, 27 Desember 2013

Elements of Scandinavian Design

 I have lots of love affairs and Scandinavian design is one of them. I developed this passion in my teenage years when I discovered a book in our local library.  Just to put you in the loop, it was a new book then.  It  is  hard to believe that one event can impact one's design aesthetic for life, but that's the case because  I've woven various elements of  mid century Scandinavian design into every home I've  had.

Scandianavian furniture design mid-century modern

Here's my take on  the elements of  mid- century modern Scandinavian design and how I've interpreted it in my own home. 


  •  function is the priority, and then  form is pared back to its simplest statement 
  • materials are chosen for their beauty and longevity
  • the lines are clean and  minimal , often with sinuous curves or  very "boxy"
  • craftsmanship is flawless
  • 360 degree design -  looks good from every angle 
  •  prominent use of wood , followed by  plastic and metals
  • emphasis on nature and organic forms; bring natural materials in
Scandinavian furniture design
Scandinavian furniture design

Scandianavian furniture design
Scandinavian furniture natural tones

Scandinavian furniture design light wood
White furniture on light wood

Check out  other iconic furniture designs in a previous post . So many well known furniture came from Scandinavian designers.


  • emphasis on magnifying natural light
  • white and off- white interiors with blue or blue gray or black
  • muted  tones,  restricted to neutrals 
  • simple or no window treatments

Scandinavian design colour scheme
Colour in Scandinavian Design

  White colour scheme Scandinavian design
 White colour scheme with light wood

 neutral colour scheme in Scandinavian design
Neutrals with natural wood


  •  geometric  patterns, free form / organic and florals
 textile patterns Scandinavian design
organic patterns

geometric textile patterns Scandinavian design
 Bold geometric patterns 

Love the hint of blue with the black, white and gray in the  geometric rug.  The pop of blue with the throw is inviting and also creates a sense of warmth in the room. 

geometric white and black patterns Scandinavian-design
geometric patterns

This is such a crisp but inviting room that is made interesting by using a range of textures and patterns.  I love how the striped rug anchors everything.

 accessories by  Lassen Scandinavian design
Lassen Accessories


  • wood is highly valued and  used extensively for floors,  walls and furniture
  • natural materials in textiles: linen, wool, cotton, hessian, fur (sheepskin)
  • glass, pottery is used for many accessories
texture in Scandinavian design
Texture in Scandinavian design

This image shows a simple room with  many natural material in one small space: wool, felted wool, fur , cotton and possibly linen.  And great art to anchor the space,.  Wouldn't you love to sit on that chair?

natural materials and texture Scandinavian  design
Natural materials in textiles

Another chair holding  a selection of cozy textiles that you can choose to cuddle up with. 

accessories texture Scandinavian design
 Texture in accessories

There's nothing like a matte inky black vase and natural elements to draw your attention to a corner or an interesting piece of furniture.  This one is so sleek next to the roughly carved  stool. A great mix. 

texture knits Scandinavian design
Knits in Scandinavian  design

 Nothing is as inviting as knits on a bed.  All that texture, light colour and cuddle potential.


  • uncluttered,  room to rest the eye
  • easy to move around
 open space Scandinaviandesign
Open design

 And here's my  always in transition, uniquely Newfoundland,  mid century Scandinavian look at Christmas!

Scandinavian colour scheme Newfoundland home
Scandinavian colour scheme

I like minimal window coverings in a south facing window when privacy isn't an issue, hints of black and natural toned birch with lots of white and gray.

Scandinavian design with a twist
Scandinavian design  with a twist

Christmas decorations without the traditional red or green and my new Kubus 4 candle holder  that is quickly becoming my favourite accessory next to  pillows from my sister who knows just what a room needs.    
 mid century modern dining room Scandinavian design
Mid Century Danish modern hand crafted

Scandinavian design Christmas
Natural elements Christmas

Margaret Ryall


What elements of Scandinavian design do you have in your home? 

Oh so cosy Scandinavian log cabins

Hello! I hope you had a very merry Christmas and are enjoying the holidays?! We're having such a wonderful time with my family in England. The internet is so slow here at my parent's though I'm afraid I'll need to come back Monday with an extended post, but....

Credit - unfortunately I cannot locate the details for this beautiful image, can anyone help?

.......until then, I'll love you and leave you with links to some oh so fab and cosy Scandinavian log cabins. Just add snow!

Loving this Norwegian bedroom with a ski chalet feel and the Norwegian cabin by the sea.

Or how about a romantic Swedish log cabin with a twist.

Perhaps a Finnish family retreat in the islands is more your style.

Or if you're up for an alternative ski holiday, how about Glamping on the slopes? I'm there!

Have a lovely weekend and see you Monday! /Niki

Senin, 23 Desember 2013

10 Special Painted Santas

Santas are an important part of Christmas decorating  in my house.  Rather than buying them over the years, I've enjoyed creating my painted Santas.  I began with tall wooden  Santas that stood like sentinels on my stairs each Christmas.

painted birdhouse santa
Birdhouse Santa

For many years  this family of Santas  provided a great topic of conversation for guests who were eager to see what the new Santa would be.  As time passed, so did  my interest in just a little too many Christmas decorations.  These  Santas now  lie in my storage room lonely, covered in dust, and  reminiscing about better times.  Perhaps they will become the illustrations for  Christmas stories for my granddaughters. 

The Santas that still hold a special place in my heart, and get displayed on my  tree each year, are the small ornamental ones. No material was sacred: slate, driftwood, balsa wood, cinnamon sticks, light bulbs etc. . Today they all sit proudly next to glittery balls, sparkly stars and other finery.  It is never the glitz that people admire on my tree; it is always my Santas. So much for sparkle.

painted Swedish Santa
Swedish Santa

90's Driftwood Santa Designing Home
Driftwood Santa

Holly painted Santa Designing Home
Holly Santa

painted Santa striped Designing Home
 Striped Santa

painted Santa Designing Home
Green eyed Santa

painted Santa Margaret Ryall
 Light bulb Santa
Long Beard Santa

painted Santa Margaret Ryall
 Slate Santa Blue Eyes

painted Santa
 Santa Don

painted Santa
Cinnamon Santa

What special ornaments hold a place in your yearly  Christmas decor?

Merry Christmas!

Petra Bindel for Elle Decoration
I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

See you on 27th!

N xxx

Sabtu, 21 Desember 2013

A nature inspired Christmas

Wooh!  I am overwhelmed with all those over the top Christmas home tours popping up on Pinterest and blogs.  Is it me or have people gone totally overboard  with Christmas decorating? The practical in me rebels.  Where do they store all those new decorations each year?  How much money is invested yearly when one does a complete decor  change at Christmas?  Where is tradition in all of this? 

It's was so refreshing to visit  my sister's home this week and see that nature and thrift inspired much of what she has done to invite Christmas cheer. We both love a good bargain and forage our gardens for materials to decorate.  Some of the objects get used year after year in different ways and a small portion are purchased new.   So come along and see what she has done.....

nature inspired Christmas
Christmas Welcome

She  has the perfect roofed entry for welcoming  Christmas decor. A centre layout doesn't hurt either.  She couldn't pass up these  lovely birch pots even thought she went looking for something larger. I love the colour and texture of them. They  are so versatile and  could easily be used inside too on a table or buffet.

nature inspired Christmas
 Birch Pots

 A closer view.  The local dollar store had lots of inexpensive ornaments to add to the cedar and pine.

nature inspired Christmas
 Berries and Birds

The red tub and a sprinkling of snow adds to this delightful combination of birds, berries, twigs and greenery.  Happy holidays to all who decide to enter by the back door.  That would be almost everybody in the town where she lives! While I was visiting there were high winds and we were afraid the contents  of this arrangement would  end up in the neighbour's yard.  Decorating outside in Newfoundland is a risky business.

nature inspired Christmas
Dove with greenery

 And inside a stained glass dove, a gift from us several years ago, is incorporated into  this very simple arrangement of greenery in a basket that gets used every year.  This arrangement also serves a practical purpose - it creates privacy and allows the outside in.   Taken at night this shot shows the inside wreath on the opposite wall,  the bare tree outside and  the neighbour's lights.  I wished I had my camera and not my I Phone for better shots.

 This  versatile candle holder might appear anywhere during the year in her house, but this Christmas it is on the buffet in the dining area. 

 Add a red candle.... 

And a $2.00  mini wreath, you guessed it from the local dollar store,


 and viola .... ready for Christmas. 

We were wishing there was a third one to balance out the wreath.  Spreading them out a little helped.  That shot never got taken.

 And a lovely 3 D snowflake on a spent orchid stalk.   So simple and so riveting .  Your eye will  follow  red anywhere.   We had great discussion about where  the snowflake should be placed.  We decided to put it on the edge of the vignette to move your eye on to the next thing. Two sisters who are both decorators can spend hours talking about very little (according to family)!

An inviting home and a great sister.  Merry Christmas Vera, and thank you for allowing me to show some of your Christmas cheer.

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