A Swedish Design Duo’s Eclectic 18th-Century Apartment

For Nina Norgren and Bengt Thornefors, the discovery of Magniberg, a commanding 18th-century Swedish manor household with gabled home windows and a standard lime plaster facade, made available an remedy to a incredibly unique set of demands. In 2008, the pair, who had been residing in Stockholm on and off for decades, were being craving additional place, and a adjust from their happy but increasingly predictable schedule of socializing and working in the Swedish money, Norgren as a florist and gardener and Thornefors as a designer at Acne breakouts Studios. “We appreciate our mates,” says Norgren. “But everyone goes to the identical places to eat and sees the exact same exhibitions. We needed a thing new.” They found it a minor much more than an hour away in Nykoping, a harbor town on the pristine southeastern Baltic coast with settlements that date back to the Bronze Age. Right here, in a quiet corner of city, surrounded on a few sides by communal gardens inhabited by deer and the occasional white owl, and bordered to the east by a forest of Swedish oak and silver birch, was the area that would encourage — and lend its name to — the house textiles and furnishings business that the pair went on to establish in 2016.

“There’s a real calmness in this article,” says Norgren. “You can comply with the seasons and very easily escape into nature.” It is this feeling of retreat that has proved transformative for both their family and brand. “It’s our possess Bullerby young children fantasy,” Thornefors says, referring to the protagonists of one of the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s beloved children’s ebook series, which depicts a nostalgic eyesight of rural Scandinavian life. On a modern weekend, the pair took their sons, Antoni, 9, and Adrian, 6, on the small drive to the coast to ice skate and picnic on the frozen sea. In the summer months months, past yr being an exception, they’ve held an open up-dwelling coverage, welcoming buddies for crayfish events and impromptu sleepovers. Norgren is happiest, while, when tending the backyard, which in total bloom teems with honeysuckle, sweet peas, dahlias and hollyhocks that she transplanted from the nearby open fields. There are also radishes, rhubarb, carrots and herbs. And minimize flowers usually find their way into the residence — and Magniberg’s visible strategies — filling vases by the Finnish midcentury designer Alvar Aalto and the present-day Danish glass artist Nina Norgaard.

Crafted in 1769 as a three-tale dwelling for the proprietor of a close by sugar mill and brickworks, Magniberg became a retirement residence for neighborhood craftspeople and their family members in the following century. Finally abandoned, it fell into disrepair and remained that way until the late 1980s, when it was cautiously restored and split up into a series of private properties. “This property is whole of tales,” states Thornefors. “We’ve been informed that a biker gang applied to satisfy up in the basement.” These days, Magniberg and the small cluster of structures all-around it are home to 10 families. Norgren and Thornefors’s 1,570-square-foot condominium comprises the second ground of the primary residence, as well as a guest home on the flooring below.

At the considerably finishes of the room are three spare but inviting bedrooms. A pair to the east belong to Antoni and Adrian, and a 3rd, to the west, to Norgren and Thornefors. The communal living spots make up the centre of the home and involve, in addition to a kitchen and dwelling room: a simple toilet, modeled immediately after the minimalist layout of a Swedish public bathhouse with white tiled partitions a tiny business office that doubles as a stroll-in wardrobe, devoted in portion to Norgren’s many Cecilie Bahnsen dresses and Thornefors’s array of cowboy boots and a library, exactly where a 10-foot-tall wall of black Swedish pine shelves property the couple’s massive collection of botanical and art textbooks.

When Norgren and Thornefors initial observed the assets — they had been remaining with mates close by and frequented the constructing out of curiosity — the grand scale of this sophisticated enfilade of rooms was mostly disguised by the then-owner’s garish patterned wallpaper and curtains. “Luckily, Bengt has a fantastic eye, but I located it a great deal harder to see the opportunity,” admits Norgren. “It has been a journey.” Instead than embark on an exhaustive refurbishment, the pair have adopted a gradual and deemed tactic to decorating. “We really enable the area get its time,” she claims. Soon after introducing a soft soap finish to the uncoated Swedish pine floors all through the household, they stripped again the thick levels of wallpaper in the residing place to reveal plaster with a mottled, timeworn patina in tones of environmentally friendly and orange, gray and beige. “We assumed about portray more than it,” she states. “But 12 many years later, in this article we are.”

They reimagined the relaxation of the rooms in a neutral palette and the ensuing house has a tranquil, undone attractiveness that makes it possible for the home’s older aspects — these as the kitchen’s 19th-century solid-iron stove, and a stone floor in the hallway that was introduced listed here from Nykoping Castle, the nearby medieval seat of Charles IX of Sweden, when the property was developed — to established the tone for, alternatively than dictate, the rest of the décor. Indeed, what brings genuine depth to the condominium is the couple’s at any time-evolving arrangements of objects and home furnishings, which notify the tale of Sweden’s style historical past by a up to date lens. They manufactured their kitchen table, for case in point, by topping a set of slender dark wooden legs, sourced from a close by antiques store, with a circle of grey glass. Positioned close to it are a pair of transform-of-the-century hand-carved picket seats the relatives inherited from Thornefors’s grandfather and that have been made in the classic Swedish allmoge design and style, which emphasizes natural products and craftsmanship. And beside them are two chairs from Magniberg’s own ultramodern household furniture line, which the couple conceived as a detailed universe of pieces in which they could exhibit the brand’s exuberant bedding (materials include a metallic poplin jersey that pays tribute to Pop Art, a pink floral Italian lace and superior-high quality linens and Egyptian cottons in a rainbow of hues).

Thornefors compares this interplay of old and new style to a dance. And it is 1 that carries on in the sitting home, the place the organic and natural, undulating kind of Marc Newson’s Orgone chair offsets Magniberg’s Horse chair, a jagged-edged throne solid in stainless steel, as properly as seating by Sven Markelius, the influential Swedish architect and city planner who intended the midcentury Stockholm suburb of Hogdalen, exactly where Thornefors grew up. For him, a direct line can be drawn among Sweden’s folks artwork traditions and the purity and simplicity of Magniberg’s present day aesthetic. The brand’s household furniture, which privileges putting components these types of as granite and un-lacquered pine, is even designed in the exact same neighborhood workshop employed by the storied Swedish inside layout enterprise Svenskt Tenn.

“We do not like to overdo matters,” says Thornefors. “We prefer undesigned spaces that can conveniently fit with our possess creations.” This fingers-off ethos attracts inspiration from Carl and Karin Larsson, the late-19th-century artist pair whose do the job and lovingly embellished cottage, Lilla Hyttnas, in the village of Sundborn, 140 miles northwest of Stockholm, ended up precursors to Swedish modernism. “We’ve been researching pictures of how they lived — the way they enable factors occur about them and permitted their children to just be about,” he suggests. The Larssons’s freewheeling, spouse and children-concentrated philosophy feeds into Magniberg’s most recent collection of bedding, Sweet Store. A tribute to childish abandon, it borrows its buoyant, 16-tone palette from Antoni and Adrian’s tubs of crayons and Play-Doh. “We needed to evoke that emotion of pleasure that we see when they participate in,” suggests Norgren.

Given that the commencing, Magniberg’s influences have been eclectic. Early inspiration arrived from the contrasting materials in an impression by the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, and the few — who fulfilled in 2001 when doing work at a Stockholm nightclub run by the Nigerian-Swedish pop star Dr. Alban (he was a bartender, she was a waitress) — hope to instill a fresh new, unconventional power into residence textiles. “The bedroom is for so numerous items moreover sleeping,” Thornefors suggests. “It’s a location to try to eat, read through, relaxation, operate, converse and have intercourse — it’s a very emotional house.” The line became their key concentration previous year, and because then the company has partnered with the Danish textile firm Kvadrat, which just lately obtained a 50 % share of the company and now handles their logistics and creation.

Nevertheless, at the core of the brand is a spirit of experimentation, and an invitation to mix unpredicted tones and textures. And this ingenious approach permeates all features of everyday living at the family’s residence. Indeed, it is there that Norgren and Thornefors persuade their sons to examination all their new creations. It’s the young children, Norgren states, who “get the remaining word.”

Angela M. Arriola

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