Somewhere, deep in the southern most regions of Sweden, there sits an old stable with a working hay loft that Mikael Nojonen calls home. The owners of the barn finished off a portion of the first floor for rental space, and when Mikael recently began looking for a new flat, he jumped at the opportunity to make the unique space his own.
Most of Sweden has embraced a minimalist, Scandanavian approach to design. The furniture is modern, the accessories are long discarded, and the houses have a remarkably sterile story that can be hard to appreciate. Mikael however, raised by a mother who collects beautiful treasures, doesn't subscribe to that philosophy, preferring instead to surround himself with layers upon layers of unique and beautifully eclectic things.
Before I get headlong into this story, meet Mikael. Handsome, isn't he? And stylish too! I came to know Mikael through his beautiful Instagram page, here. When Mikael moved into the converted barn apartment, it looked like this:
The original barn beams were left exposed, as the ceilings are rather low. White walls, light hardwood floors, and lots of beautiful natural light. The living and kitchen were once where cows were stabled. His bedroom, a chicken coop.
Piece by piece, he brought in his favorite things. Mikael has a beautiful collection of vintage art, and is actually a talented artist himself. The rug in living room is a woven bamboo mat.
The living room began to shape up with the addition of his upholstered pieces, an English Chesterfield sofa and a roll arm chair. I would personally fly to Sweden to steal that table, which Mikael bought at a flea market. Just gorgeous, isn't it? I think one of the reasons that I relate so well to Mikael and his style, even from thousands of miles away, is because he doesn't seem to settle on anything for long. He's constantly tweaking rooms, making them better, peppering in his latest finds which he collects from estate sales, thrift shops, and family storage. He also has an incredible talent for creating stunning vignettes.
The apartment has a living and dining room combination. When he first moved into the apartment, his dining room looked like this:
Another gorgeous table in Swedish pine, atop a handwoven wool rug. A prayer rug hangs on the wall, and gracious drapery puddles on the floor. Just around the corner, to the left of the window, there's a lovely little niche Mikael creates on top of unused closet doors.
Again, Mikael's ability to create a wonderfully layered vignette shines through in this tight space. To the left of this, a walk in closet.
From the sofa, looking into the kitchen, you can see the rug for the dining room to the left. The same curtains on the window here to the right.
Another view of the updated dining room. Wicker chairs now have caramel velvet seat cushions and a zebra stripe pillow. A nod to colonial Africa, a design style that Mikael really loves and used loosely when imagining his new space.
In the bedroom, an older photo from when Mikael had just moved in. A collection of portraits hangs and leans against the window. Beauty and privacy.
A more current photo, with a large scenic eagle painting used in lieu of a headboard. As I mentioned before, art is very important to Mikael, and his ability to craft a gallery wall is unmatched.
Mikael finds himself drawn to all sorts of art, but he's particularly fond of dramatic paintings and portraits which showcase an artists unique perspective and broad brush strokes. Mikael shops often during his lunch breaks, popping into consignment and thrift shops around his office. Thanks to the current Swedish aesthetic of less is more, he's been able to find amazing treasures at fractions of their value.
Loot from just the other day. He says the basket will make the perfect hamper, and he's already hung the sconce in his living room for additional light. He's also planning on building an ottoman this weekend out of an old barley twist leg footstool he found, upholstering it with an old rug. (And you thought I had energy!)
The apartment has a small terrace that Mikael is excited to work with this summer, with this gorgeous view. He says we can look forward to lots of blue and white, wicker, plants, and sunny yellow accents. I for one, can not wait!
Now, I've given you enough to whet your appetite for this incredibly talented, and very handsome young designer, and I hope that you'll follow along on his instagram as he makes this once livestock and chicken stable into a very layered and chic home!