Home Decor Interview:
Dagny Thurmann-Hoelseth from
One of the coolest blogs we've come across in a long while is
Scandinavian Chic, which is run
by the inimitable Dagny Thurmann-Hoelseth.
Dagny has quite the eye for design and is very knowledgeable about her area of
expertise. A wife, mother, and career woman, she's also a big do-it-yourself'er
who has done substantial work on her own home.
She's also a really nice person to boot, and we got a kick out of doing this
interview with her. So let's sit down and pick Dagny's brain and learn
more about Scandinavian Chic!
1. Hi Dagny, thanks a lot for joining us today. Please take a brief moment
to introduce yourself and tell us a bit about
Scandinavian Chic and anything
else you'd like to mention.
Hi guys! So happy to be featured here today, and I have to say, Giorgina, great
Scandinavian Chic is your weekly
dose of everything Scandinavian and Chic. I mainly blog about my home, my
projects, my job, Scandinavian design, and most importantly Scandinavian
Maximalism. My blog is a happy blog and a big goal is to make our readers smile
2. First of all, welcome back! How would you sum up your
recent trip to Svalbard, and would you recommend other people visit there
My trip was crazy, amazing and breathtaking. The arctic environment is very
different from what we're used to in Southern Norway (Oslo).
It's much colder, and Svalbard is actually described as an "arctic desert." Like
all deserts, there's a wildlife, and there's over 3,000 polar bears residing on
the small island group. We landed in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, which is what
you can call the "capitol", or main village :) There's a handful of houses in a
very fresh and lively color palette, and since there aren't any taxes in
Svalbard, there's half a dozen sports equipment shops there (with great gear and
great prices :))
The most amazing part of the trip was by snow mobiles, and we traveled a total
of 240 km (150 miles) in two days. During those days, we went to Russian
territory (Barentsburg), and the destination of our trip at Cap Linné, Radio
Isfjord (an old radio station converted to a chic hotel). This is one of the
most likely spot to meet polar bears, so you're not allowed to walk outside
without an armed guide. (No, I didn't get to see any polar bears).
I would recommend visiting Svalbard to anyone interested in fantastic nature,
extremely friendly and humorous "natives" and a speed filled adventure (snow
3. Despite the name of your blog, you've said your style is "not
typically Scandinavian." Briefly, how would you describe your style, and how is
this different than what typically comes out of your home country?
Scandinavian interiors and design has for the past 60 years been identified
by clean lines, lots of white and a minimalistic point of view. Mine is the
opposite; I LOVE colors, doesn't have a single white wall and is a true
maximalist. But I'm still extremely passionate about Scandinavian design and
decor, and there's a new wave of exciting designers that belong to a style
direction I've called "Scandinavian Maximalism."
Scandinavian Maximalism is recognized by intricate patterns and vivid colors in
product design (but often with clean lines), in interior design, we see some
really colorful homes that incorporate colors on furniture, drapes and
accessories, but still keep the walls white. I think we'll be seeing a shift in
the future, from white walls to more colorful ones.
4. You've got a long list of projects on tap this year. Let's start
with your master bedroom, which you've been
pictures of on your blog. The wall color you chose is unique yet beautiful.
Can you please tell us how and why you chose that color, and what kind of theme
you want to go with in the master bedroom?
The master bedroom has been a project that's taken over a month (since I
painted), which is totally unlike me. I always prefer to finish yesterday ;) I
had been real unhappy with the color of our walls for a long, long time, and
knew I had to do something. I was feeling totally uninspired and felt lost as of
what to do. This is also very unlike me, I usually know what to do the minute I
see a room.
My day job is a creative role for one of Norway's largest "home renewal" store
chain (we carry paint, wallpaper, fabrics & accessories), and one of my latest
projects is to create the colors of summer/fall 2011. The theme was colorful
neutrals, and the color I chose for my bedroom happens to be one of the colors
we're launching in a few weeks. The change in the feel of the room has
completely surprised me.
I know colors can make a huge difference, but the impact this color has on both
me and my husband is really special. First of all the color makes me really
really happy. It's what I'd like to call a happy color :) Secondly, and more
importantly I feel SO much more awake in the mornings with this color than I did
with the poop colored brown we used to have (which is a huge advantage to me, I
have a 1 year old, and a 3 year old, and they prefer to get up EARLY in the
The theme is vintage glamour with a modern twist AND I wanted to create an
interesting and hopefully unexpected color palette. The cherry blossom pink
walls, are going to be paired with a navy blue and white fabric for the
headboard, with details in grey, coral and gold. Lots of minor details are still
on the to do list (like the headboard), but I have to finish up next week (I
have a photo shoot), so tomorrow will probably be a really important DIY day ;)
5. Not very many homes have a basement, but yours does and you're also
planning to do some work on it this year. When the basement is complete, how do
you plan on using it? Is it big enough for someone to live there, or is it
mainly a recreational size room?
My basement is what we call a "half basement." The rear of it is
underground, and the front has large, regular windows and a terrace door (you
can enter our back garden from it). It's quite large (by Norwegian standards),
and has a laundry room, two storage spaces, a small office space and a
recreational area (which will probably be either an office or a family room.
Since basements are usually quite fugly, I'm going to make this bold an
glamorous. I'm aiming on doing a stenciled floor (with some kind of Arab/Moorish
pattern in a white and x color (haven't decided yet). I haven't really decided
on much, other than the flooring and ceiling (it's going to be white, it's
currently a horrid, yellow pine). Almost all of my lighting is vintage, so I'll
be checking out flea markets this spring for some good finds
6. Since you've started blogging, have you enjoyed the experience thus
far and has it exceeded your expectations? Are there days you feel like you
don't want to blog, or is it something you look forward to every morning?
Blogging has by far exceeded my expectations! I've gained friends from all over
the world, and I've landed my dream job. After I started working I've had
writers block quite a few times, but try not to get stressed about it. I used to
be able to post 2-3 posts per week day, but now I'm down to 2-4 times per week.
I'm also unable to visit all the blogs I love so much because of lack of time,
and I wish I was able to travel more in the blogosphere. But still, I really
love blogging, it's a creative outlet and I love getting feedback from readers.
I will definitely continue to blog!
7. Your laundry room,
which can be seen on Design Sponge, is so incredibly cool that you make me
want to drop everything I'm doing and go wash clothes. How in the world did you
choose such a lovely wallpaper, and what inspired you to come up with that
particular decor for the laundry room?
Haha, that's exactly what my goal was when I designed it! I was actually
inspired by this room, but wanted to create a sassy little sister ;) I'm still
hugely inspired by Hollywood Regency, and black and white flooring is a nod to
that amazingly glamorous era. I wanted it to be fun, and not too serious, so I
opted for the totally over the top wallpaper (Palais Chinois) by Osborne &
Little. I also wanted to break the rules, by mixing brass & steel, and I think
it gave the room an extra edge. Decorating is my main passion, but fashion is a
close number two. I wanted to include that part of me in the room (since I'm the
only one spending any time there). I bought the Chanel poster when I was 19,
spending a summer in Antibes, France.
8. Dagny, we could be here all day asking you questions, but we'll stop
here. Thank you so much for doing this interview. For this last question, please
tell us your first memory of ever being attracted to home decor and design? What
event in your life gave you this passion? And when you're not thinking about
decorating, what other things in life are important to you?
I usually describe myself as an aesthetic. I've always been very interested
in how things look and what kind of vibe they send out. When I was five years
old, I changed my outfit twice per day, and I knew exactly what kind of look I
was going for (I know, I was, and still am strange).
I can't really think of THE moment I developed an interest for decor, I think
it's just always been there as a part of me. I decorated my first room when I
was 17 (although I tried to influence my mom's decisions for the rest of the
house from a very early age), and my first home when I was 20.
When I'm not decorating, I'm usually with my family. I have two young daughters
(1 and 3 years), and they (together with my husband) take up most of my time. :)
Love being outdoors, and we usually go for hikes during the weekends.
What a terrific interview and interesting venture into the mind and life of a
fascinating person. Thanks to Dagny for such a great talk, and we hope all
of you take some time to check out
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